Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, is aptly known as the 'the Paris of the Middle East'. It is the commercial, cultural, and tourist center of the country. The city's vibrant nightlife and rich historical legacy make it one of the topmost tourist destinations in the country. From ancient sites to eateries and shopping centers, you can find it all in Beirut.
Being the largest city of Lebanon, Beirut is a favorite of tourists all over the world. If you are looking for fun things to do in Beirut and interesting places to visit, you will not be disappointed as the city has a lot to offer. Whether you like to party it up or spend time browsing for goods to take back home, you will find yourself pleasantly surprised. One of the essential Beirut attractions before you start with anything else is to marvel at just how beautiful it is and what better way to do this than going for a stroll along The Corniche. The coastline offers an interesting mix of the fishermen, the wealthier people in their Lamborghinis and loud vendors trying to sell you coffee and tea all in one place. The fresh sea air blowing from the sea serves as a bonus point. One of the things to do in Beirut is to stuff yourself with some amazing delicious food. Food lovers are in for some treat when visiting Beirut since the place has so many good and affordable restaurants. Dar Bistro &Books, Tawlet etc are some of the popular restaurants here serving you deliciously heavenly food. One restaurant in particular is ‘Motto’ which has the honor of being the only restaurant in all of Lebanon where customers have the right to pay whatever they think is fair for whatever they eat. Talk about convenience!
One of the most famous places to visit in Beirut is the National Museum of Beirut. Though it is not that big in size, it still contains a lot of interesting things for you to look at. The beautiful mosaics in the museum serve as the cherry on top. The artifacts that are displayed here are no less than intriguing. Since the museum is not that big, and if you are looking for places to visit in Beirut that don’t eat up much time, a visit to this museum is a must. Another one of the fun things to do in Beirut is to practice your photography skills! Beirut offers so many beautiful views that you would be crazy to not capture some beautiful shots. Places like Zaitunay Bay are perfect for pictures. Considered as the one of the most posh areas in all of Beirut, it serves as the perfect backdrop for your pictures. So dress stylish and blend right in with the environment.
Lebanon’s famous Raouche Sea Rock, also known as Pigeon Rock, is located along the coastline of Beirut. The stunning set of rocks is a natural landmark that attracts thousands of tourists every year. The gigantic natural rock formation is located just off the western end of the Corniche (seaside promenade), and as a result, is particularly crowded during the sunset hours when a large number of tourists visit the place to witness its majestic beauty. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the spectacular sight of sunset from Raouche Sea Rock, you must leave early and stroll the Corniche to find the perfect spot. In addition to the Corniche that stretches in front of the rocks, there is a track on the southern side of the rocks that takes you down to the lower cliffs. Walk down across the shore from the track and you will find yourself standing in a spot surrounded by chalk cliffs. A part from its natural beauty, Raouche Sea Rock is also known for its high-end residential neighborhood and restaurants. Sit down in a cliff-side café, enjoy a cup of coffee, and appreciate the natural beauty of the offshore rock arches of Raouche Sea Rock.
Housed in an extravagant Italian-style white mansion, the National Museum of Beirut proudly displays the archeological artifacts that offer visitors and locals an overview of the country’s history. Located on one of the most high-end streets of the city, formerly known as the Green Line, the National Museum of Beirut started in 1919 when a French officer residing in Lebanon displayed some ancient artifacts in one of the rooms of the German Deaconesses building. In 1923, the authorities decided to organize the collections and build a museum in Beirut. Two architects, Antoine Nahas and Pierre Leprince-Ringuet, designed the architecture of the building. The museum was officially opened to public in 1942. The National Museum of Beirut suffered extensive damage during the Lebanese Civil War. However, pre-emptive measures taken at the eleventh hour saved most of the architects. The museum was renovated and reopened in 1999. Today, the museum displays a magnificent collection of over 1,300 artifacts in a chronological order from pre-historical period to the artifacts of the Ottoman Empire. The collection, though small, is well-organized and offers insight into the Greco-Roman, Assyrian, and Pharonic influences on the country’s culture and history. To serve visitors coming from faraway places, there is a small restaurant and a bookshop across the street as well.
A private museum within the city of Beirut, the Mim Beirut, is situated on the campus of the Saint Joseph University. The most unique and interesting feature of this museum is its exhibit. There are a total of 1400 minerals which have been set for exhibition in the galleries that represent the 300 different varieties of species which have been collected from over 60 countries round the world. The credit for the collection of this amazing mineral exhibition in the gallery rests with Mr. Salim Edde, ever since 1997. The collection within the museum offers pieces which have originated from a variety of different renewed collections, which are both recent and old. Some even belong to the great mining excavations and discoveries executed within their era. The Mim museum has earned the distinction of housing one of the most paramount collections of minerals with high quality and variety in a private setting. The museum has been designed with a didactic circuit, which has been set up with screens that show scientific applications along with films related to mineralogy. The videos and the museum have been set up to unravel a mysterious world of unknown marvels, which have great aesthetic and scientific importance. The museum is a must see site in Beirut.
The bank of Lebanon museum welcomes all visitors from Tuesday to Thursday 8:30am till 1:00pm and Friday to Saturday 8:30am till 12:00pm to see how the currencies evolved from coins to notes and how the Lebanese Pound came to life along with a very rare collection of world currencies as well through overwhelming interactive technologies, adding value to all that rare monetary collections on display, and providing guests with ultimate immersive experiences, inviting them to explore history, the present and the future of Money. The Bank of Lebanon had a big role during the financial crisis to maintain the stability of the financial state in Lebanon overall. The banking sector in Lebanon was not affected and remained standing, and on the contrary managed to take advantage of the situation. The Bank of Lebanon museum is more than just a display of money notes and coins, it is an entertaining educative experience on how to spend and understand the financial and banking system as well. The architecture of this walk-in experience is designed to create an exciting story, revealing monetary secrets and leader’s wisdom at every step. Certainly worth the visit if your credit cards and financial statements are more of a trivia.
AUB Archaeological Museum is located in the Post Hall building of the American University of Beirut. The Museum covers ancient history eras, from prehistory to the Islamic period, with diversified exhibited collections. It fairly represents all aspects of civilizations (silex, ceramic, bronze, glass, currencies, mosaics…) The Museum is divided in two parts: free of charge galleries open to the public on a side and a unit open to students and researchers on another side. A gift shop at the entrance of the galleries displays copies of objects exhibited.
Officially referred to as the Nicolas Ibrahim Sursock Museum, this art museum is a hub of contemporary and modern art in the city of Beirut. A private villa was built by the aristocrat Nicolas Ibrahim in Beirut in the year 1912, which is now the site of the famous Sursock Museum. As per his will, the wealthy aristocrat dedicated the villa to the city, upon his death. The museum was opened in 1961, under the direction of Ibrahim M. Beyhum. The museum building symbolizes Lebanese architecture mixed with Venetian, Ottoman and Italianate architectural impressions. This museum can be found on the historic street of Rue Sursock, within the Achrafieh Beirut district. Around a hundred exhibitions have been organized at the Sursock Museum till date, which include the work of international and other Lebanese artists. The permanent art collection of the museum includes works which consist of Japanese engravings, and modern along with traditional Islamic art. With a collection of 800 artworks, the museum offers tourists and art connoisseurs the chance to explore paintings, graphic arts and sculptures belonging to the 19th and the 20th century period. There is much to see and explore in this museum which was built by the most well known families of the city, namely the Bustroses and the Sursocks. The building offers a peek into the culture of the city and the art which Beirut boasts of, making it a must site for every tourist.
Mar Mikhael Street and Gemmayze in the city of Beirut Is a stretch of pubs, restaurants and art galleries with the weirdest shops selling artifacts and antiques that some are spooky enough! The Mar Mikhael side of the street is where the casual daily nightlife happens. It’s not only about bar hoping and what the pubs provide. Mar Mikhael Street is the hub where Lebanese artists and musicians meet! There is a surprise at every corner. The Gemmayze side is a bit more chilled out, the pubs are less crowded and the art galleries are the highlight of it. Very recommended anytime of the day, any day of the year.
If you want to pay a visit to the latest entertainment destination in Beirut, then the Zaituna Bay Marina is the ideal choice for every tourist and local. Boasting a stellar location and an impressive portfolio of 8 cafes, 18 restaurants, 5 retail stores, along with 2 state of the art activity centers, there is a lot to see and discover at the place. Built in the very center of the Downtown Beirut area, the Bay extends the Corniche area present along the seashore, with a delightful series of overlapping platforms. The tourist strip has been designed as an urban beach, and has a vehicle free environment, having up to 7 pedestrian access spots. The Bay Marina is completely open to public access, and the lower and upper promenades of the site have been designed to offer an intense activity area, which serves as the hub of action and entertainment for all tourists and city lovers. Visitors enjoy a wide selection of succulent menu choices, and the promenade offers ample space for hosting a variety of events along with amazing festivals, interesting exhibitions, fascinating cultural festivals, fun concerts and a range of city celebrations! This amazing quayside commercial project was designed by the famous American architect named Steven Holl, who gave the city something amazing to enjoy and attract tourists with.
The Corniche is one of the most popular seaside promenades in Beirut, Lebanon. Stretching from the Ramlet al Bayda to the Saint George marina, the 4.8 kilometers long waterfront esplanade is lined with palm trees. Since the Corniche is located in the Central District of Beirut, it offers a great view of some of the city’s renowned manmade and natural landmarks, such as the famous Raouche Sea Rock, the summits of Mount Lebanon, and the Mediterranean Sea. The Corniche was built during the time when the French ruled Syria and Lebanon and has its foundation in the Avenue des Franҫais. Since then, the place has undergone several changes. In 2001, a Lebanese artist designed colorful cut ceramics to cover the old cement benches. The new colorful benches further enhanced the beauty of the Corniche and added more colors to it. In addition to the breathtaking views of the city’s assets that the Corniche offers, the tourists also enjoy a number of activities at the seaside promenade. The place is a common destination for pole fishing, cycling, running, and skating. There are a number of coffee shops and restaurants as well alongside the length of the Corniche where tourists can sit down and relax.
Martyrs’ Square is a public square in downtown Beirut built by the Ottomans in the 19th century. The place is a lot more than just a monument. It has a long history as a site of public political expression and revolution. Until the early 20th century, the city center was known as Place des Canons due to the Russian artillery which was placed there in the 18th century. After its use as the site for execution of Lebanese nationalists, the square was renamed as Martyrs’ Square. The place has always remained a popular spot for protests and demonstrations. The most notable demonstrations that were organized at the Martyrs’ Square include the 2005 anti-Syrian protests and the 2007 anti-establishment protests organized by Hezbollah. Martyrs’ Square suffered extensive damage during the Lebanese Civil War and the political upheavals that the country faced. In order to renovate and restore the city’s geographical, political, and social center, an international contest was organized by the government in 2005 for transforming the square into Beirut’s premier public space and tourist attraction. Today, while the landmark bears the scars of wars, the Martyrs’ Square manages to attract thousands of visitors every year because of the spectacular view of the sea and the Garden of Forgiveness it offers to its north.
Beirut, with its rich history and culture, remains one of Lebanon’s most frequented cities. Each year, you would find people from different walks of life, discovering the numerous Beirut attractions. Some things to do in Beirut include visiting its famous landmarks such as Pigeon Rocks, Place de l'étoil, Martyr’s Statue, Jeita Grotto, and more. There is just so much to discover and so many things to do in Beirut. Visit it now!