Schedules are updated every Thursday.

Angie Nassar 01 Dec 2014

Ten Free (And Fun!) Things to Do in Lebanon This December

Believe everything you’ve heard. This really IS the most wonderful time of the year.

Get ready for a lot of Christmas cheer and holiday spirit as we get ready to countdown the final month of 2014. The only thing that could make this list better? Nothing. It’s all free. Go enjoy yourselves, and see you in 2015!

1. Christmas Market in Badaro

For two days, the residential neighborhood of Badaro is bringing a much-needed breath of fresh air to the nightlife scene. See fantastic Christmas lights in a (gasp!) totally car-free atmosphere with a number of activities and events to keep you occupied for hours. We’re talking about Santa’s village, a wine tasting session, handmade gifts, a flower market, fashion show, kid’s parade, a ton of food and so much more.

Just head down to Badaro from 10am to 11pm on December 6 and 7 for a whole weekend of fun and entertainment as you surround yourselves with the colors, sounds and smells of Christmas. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit.

Date: December 6 and 7
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Location: Main Street, Badaro

Check out the event on Facebook

2. The Beirut International Book Fair

The Beirut International Arab Book Fair at BIEL, now in its 58th edition, is organized by the Arab Cultural Club and the Union of Publishers in Lebanon.

The fair will host dozens of parallel events, including seminars and lectures on a wide range of topics, fiction and poetry readings along with ceremonies to honor local writers.

Date: Friday, December 5 to Sunday, December 14
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
BIEL (Beirut International Exhibition & Leisure Center)
Port of Beirut
Tel.: +9611995555

3. Light Up the Way to Christmas

Christmas in Beirut is cool, but Christmas in the Bekaa is even better. Hop in the car and head on a road trip to the village of Jib Jannine December 5 through 7 as Caritas Youth Office hosts an array of holiday activities including a karaoke night, Christmas decorations, Santa’s workshop and even a chance for kids to meet old Saint Nick himself.

Festivalgoers also have the option of purchasing Christmas decorations, wine, food and winter supplies (Moune’). All profits will go to helping the needy during this joyful season. Give a little, get a whole lot back.

Date: December 5 to December 7
Time: 5:00 p.m. to Midnight
Location: Jib Jannine, West Bekaa, Lebanon

For more information, head to Facebook.

4. Rose House Exhibit

(Photo courtesy of Karim Sakr, via Facebook)

Artist Tom Young is bringing new life to another one of Beirut’s forgotten gems. You’ve probably seen the “Rose House” atop a small hill overlooking the Corniche – right across from the Military Beach in Manara. As journalist Habib Battah reports, the building is likely slated for demolition after Fayza El Khazen – the building’s tenant – was asked to leave the premises. But Mr. Young is making it his mission to draw attention to the gorgeous old structure as he embarks on a month-long artist residency there.

The hope: that enough people can see the beauty old buildings like this bring to Beirut, and to potentially save it from future destruction.

Date: Through December 31 (closed on Sundays and Mondays)
Time: Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. / Fridays until 10:00 p.m.
Location: The Rose House

For more information, head to Facebook.

5. Dhour Shweir Christmas Festival 2014

The decorations are up, and there’s snow on the ground, all you need to do is show up for a good time. For the third year in a row, the Municipality of Dhour Shweir and Ain El Sindyaneh ­are proud to present this joyful Christmas festival for all ages.

Some of the highlights include: wine tastings, Satnta’s workshop, live performances and fireworks.

Date: From December 6 to December 7
Time: All day
Location: Dhour Shweir

For more information, head to Facebook.

6. Exposure 2014 Group Show at Beirut Art Center

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t feel like December until the annual group show at the Beirut Art Center begins. Unlike previous editions of the exhibition, Exposure 2014 will be a curated exhibition that revolves around a specific theme. The theme of the show will be “under construction,” in reference to the participating artists and the early stage at which they are building their practice. It also refers to Beirut, a city in a continuous process of transformation. Its landscape is regularly destroyed, rebuilt, and redrawn

Date: December 12 to February 17
Time: 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Closed on Sundays)
Location: Beirut Art Center

For more information, head to the BAC website.

7. The Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra at the Beirut Chants Festival 2014

The Beirut Chants festival is bringing back a novel set of holiday performances with 26 nights that celebrate Christmas and the holiday season. Through the years, it has become a tradition that allows a large audience to enjoy music and the Christmas atmosphere in Beirut.

Join them this December for an unforgettable holiday season filled with love and joy. For this performance, Daniele Rustioni will be conducting the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra with Francesca Dego on the violin.

Date: Friday, December 12
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Saint George Maronite Cathedral
Amir Bachir Street
Tel.: +9611685055

For more information, head to Facebook.

8. Beirut Dog Walking Event

Rarely do dog owners in Lebanon get a chance to bring their furry friends together for some group fun. Thanks to new efforts by the Dog Market collective, you and your dog can gain new four-legged friends and share in your love for animals during a safe walk through downtown Beirut. The event is open for dog owner and their dogs only. No pet turtles allowed.

Date: Sunday, December 14
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Gathering point in front of Virgin Megastore in downtown Beirut

For more information, head to Facebook.

9. Matteo El-Khodr at the Beirut Chants Festival 2014

The only thing better than looking at Matteo el-Khodr’s gorgeous face, is listening to the countertenor’s incredible voice. The opera singer taught himself to play piano in his younger years and then began imitating the voices he heard on his grandparents’ old records: Carmen from Bizet, Violetta from La Traviata (Verdi), Leonora from La Forza del destino (Verdi), and so it went.

Get the rare chance to hear him perform live as part of the Beirut Chants Festival.

Date: Wednesday, December 17
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Saint Louis Capuchin Church
France Street

For more information, head to Facebook.

10. Fireworks in Downtown Beirut on New Year’s Eve

Fireworks will explode in the air as Downtown Beirut celebrates the start of 2015, marking the end of another year in Lebanon.

On December 31, head to the streets of Nejmeh Square and the surrounding area to wish your friends and fellow countrymen a happy new year in our beloved capital.

Date: December 31, 2014
Time: 8:00 p.m. onward
Location: Al-Amine Mosque, Downtown Beirut