Beirut is at its best in the summer time! Here are a few things you need to tick off your list this summer.
1. Take a trip through the stars.
Image via Khalil Azar
Before we get to the food, music, and alcohol, let’s take a look at something a little less worldly. Khalil Azar has been hosting astrophotography workshops which will have you getting a theoretical and practical handle on photography under the dark skies. Check out these photographs to see why it’s worth your while. For something a little less formal, he also hosts almost weekly “astro-photo-partay.” Like the name suggests, you’ll get tips in a more relaxed setting.
2. Relax on an island.
Image via wolves-clan
Tripoli’s Rabbits Island, or “Jaziret El Araneb,” is a hidden gem located north-west of Mina. It’s one of the largest islands in Lebanon, but it’s not a crowded attraction like other clear beaches on the coast. A boat will take you out to the island where you can barbecue, snorkel, and relax. There are loads of endangered species and migratory birds inhabiting the island, so if you’re an animal lover, this place is for you. And for history buffs, in 1224, Queen Alice of Cyprus married Prince Bohemond V of Antioch in a church on the island, of which you can still see the ruins.
3. Check out some live music.
Image via @tommasocappellato (Instagram)
This summer, there’s no shortage of live acts to catch. Fete De La Musique(June 21) is just around the corner and offers something for everyone. Jump around from Zaytouna Bay, Mar Mkhayel, Gemmayzeh, Saifi Village, Beirut Souks, Grand Factory, and more, listening to a wide range of genres, like electro indie pop, reggae, blues, pop, and rock. Some highlights include Loopstacheand Beirut Jam Session’s Karim Khneisser. For a full list of the acts, check out this page.
It’s festival season, with the Beiteddine, Batroun, and Byblosfestivals coming up, but there are a few specific acts which stick out. Byblos International Festival has Mashrou’ Leila as one of the more exciting headliners. But what you really can’t miss is Sia on August 9. Her live performances are unique to say the least.
For a smaller more intimate venue, check out Station’s live music in the next few months. Coming up next is Sandmoon’s EP release concert on July 23. The venue has a rooftop for your visual and audial pleasure.
Beiteddine Palace Chouf Mountains, Beit Al Dine, Chouf Tel.: +9615500077
Byblos Unesco Square, Jbeil Tel.: +9619542020 Sector 66, Street 90 Facing Beirut Art Center, Sin El-Fil Mob.: +96171684218
4. Drink some alcohol.
Summer is the season of alcoholic beverages. Well, so is winter, fall, and spring. But summer is the time to feel less guilty about it. The Cocktail Festival (August 18 – 21) in Printania, Broumana has over 40 pubs bringing you their bartenders and mixologists for the week. You can also head to Batroun for a wine and beer tour(July 2). If you’d rather freestyle, check out any of the wineries like Ixsir, Kefraya, or Ksara for a tour with a view. On July 9th, theres even a concert in the Ixsir vineyards. If you prefer beer or something more casual, go to Colonel, the microbrewery. You can see how they actually produce their beer and sample each kind to find your favorite (personally, it’s the Red Irish).
Souk Al Akelbrings you all kinds of food and drink every Thursday evening. Nothing is as quintessentially summer as a food festival. Grab a beer, a burger, and top it off with some mouthwatering dessert. They’re also doing a special Ramadan edition, offering lots of options for those breaking their fasts. In the daytime, fulfill your forgotten New Year’s resolution and stock up on some local produce from Souk Al Tayeb.
6. Use muscles you didn’t know you had.
If you haven’t heard, cirquenciel is a a circus, arts and movement school that has opened in the Ashkal Alwan building in Jisr el Wati. They offer free juggling, Poi, acro-gymnastics, monocycling, stilt, and slacklining classes, among others. Most recently, they built a human powered slackline. Check out their Facebook pagefor more details and updates. John Kennedy street Jisr El-Bacha Tel.: +9611495561 Mob.: +9613959842
7. Have a bonfire
Image via @charlinemoujabber (Instagram)
Grab some wood, marshmallows, and beer and head out to Ghineh for a bonfire. When you get to the top of the mountain, the view of the city is worth the ride.
8. Be a kid again
Thought I would throw this one in here for fun. Let loose and do something silly in the summer. There’s a Coloring Night every Wednesday at Joon On The Moonin Achrafieh). They’ve also got Art Jam nights and Arabic calligraphy workshops. If coloring sounds too juvenile for you, you can always do happy hour before and make some tipsy art. 100 Rue du Liban, Achrafieh Tel.: +9611569575 Mob.: +96176987575
9. Take advantage of your local park
Image via @livelovebeirut (Instagram)
For the time being, Horsh Beirut is open on Saturdays from 7 AM – 7 PM and on weekdays from 7 AM – 2 PM. Still, it’s one of the only green spaces you can get to without driving too far from Beirut. Do some yoga, bring a book, or have a picnic with friends. Sometimes you can catch some of the cirquenciel group practicing slacklining too.