Beirut is a city full of contradictions but a captivating spirit. It is a city perhaps best known for its vibrant nightlife, culture, academia and arts – so could Beirut also make a suitable city break with your kids?
We’ve been on the search to uncover the best of Beirut that all the family can enjoy.
Beirut Souks and Martyrs’ Square Area
A new shopping area, built over the site of the historic souk you can still see inside and original areas of the souk that have been preserved. A pleasant area for a stroll and to peruse the shops (very modern, don’t come expecting market stalls!) – loads of jewellery, kids clothing and accessories. Stop here for a coffee or it’s the perfect place to come for a movie on a rainy day.
Don’t miss having your photo taken with the “I Love Beirut” sign.
Planet Discovery Children’s Museum
In the Souk you will find Planet Discovery. It offers interactive exhibitions on the human body, the universe, the laws of physics, the animal world and much more. They run a series of edutainment programs, arts and crafts and services including educational workshops and birthday parties. Learn more here.
Where Christianity & Islam sit side by side
The famous “Blue Mosque” aka Mohammad al-Amin Mosque sits next to Saint Georges Maronite Cathedral in the centre of Beirut. Both beautiful buildings and worth taking a peek inside. Make sure you are suitably dressed.
The Roman Baths
The ancient Roman Baths or Berytus can be found in front of the Blue Mosque in Downtown Beirut. Take a stroll through the city’s ancient past, layer upon layer make up this ancient Phoenician city, the Romans are but one chapter.
Place de l’Etoile
This is the clock tower in the centre of Nijmeh Square. A popular meeting spot in the centre of Downtown Beirut, surrounded by cafe-lined streets.
Gardens & Greenery in Beirut
In a city as lush as Beirut, you must get out and enjoy some of the greenery! This is probably the first thing that will hit you when you have come from other parts of the Middle East. Here are some places to try:
Sanayeh Public Garden
Also known as the René Moawad Garden, a beautifully maintained urban escape for families in Beirut, including a playground.
The American University of Beirut
In the Hamra area of Beirut also has beautiful grounds for a stroll.
The largest of the cities parks, it’s more of a nature park than beautifully manicured gardens but a good deal of open space for bike riding or running around the park.
Stretching for 4.8 kms around the city, this is the hub of evening and weekend attention; a must for people watching and simply enjoying the sights and sounds of Beirut.
Beirut by Bike
Near the entrance to the Four Seasons, downtown Beirut area is where you can hire your bikes for riding along the Corniche. Learn more here.
Beirut Luna Park
Located along the Corniche you will find this old-school style Fun Fair. Not at all on par with its international namesakes but kids could probably be kept amused for a while trying the arcade style games and fair rides. Learn more here.
Beirut Central District
A new up and coming area of the city, perhaps at present better known for a number of nightlife hot spots like Iris. Here you’ll find the giant Kidzmondo. It is a very similar concept to Kidzania which you may be familiar with in other cities around the world, real-life role play based activities.
Also called Pigeon Rocks are an iconic rock formation feature of the city. Found in the Raouche area there are a few cafes you can head to with dramatic cliff side views. There are many touts also offering boat cruises around the rocks.
Water, Beach and Sporting Clubs in Beirut
If strolling into the water off the Corniche like the locals do doesn’t overly appeal, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the water and cool off around Beirut.
The Sporting Club
Nothing over fancy but a great waterfront location off the Corniche with restaurants and pools.
The St George Yacht Club & Marina
Beirut’s best-loved beach bar has huge swimming pools, terraces, water sports, restaurants and kids activities. It’s also a resort hotel, you can pay by the day or they have annual memberships. Learn more here.
Waves aqua park and resort
The biggest aqua park in Lebanon and one of the biggest in the Middle East, it’s pools and slides galore! Includes a wave pool and lazy river. Open during the summer months only. Learn more here.
Rio Lento Aqua Park
One for your adrenaline junkies. Slightly out of town in Mount Lebanon Governorate, there are several slides, pools, a diving pool and a wave pool here. Learn more here.
Museums in Beirut
National Museum of Beirut
Not entirely kid-friendly – but one not to miss. Ask for one of their interactive iPads when you pay, then spotted around the museum you will find QR codes. Scan these and you will get an explanation in the language of your choice what you are looking at.
There are over 1300 artefacts from pre-historic age through to the Hellenistic period. Its the perfect educational spot for your slightly older children who have started learning these topics at school.
The Museum building itself has its own unique history too, a fascinating story of surviving through the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970’s.
The Wonders of the Sea Museum
A marine life museum located in a traditional Lebanese house with a garden. Located 10 minutes out of town in Jdeidet El Metn. Learn more here.
A minerals and metals museum in Ashrafieh, best if you have any junior geology fans. Learn more here.
For those keen on art, this house-turned-museum is home to the best contemporary art in Lebanon. Not so kid-friendly but may appeal to those with an interest in the arts. Learn more here.
Not too far out of town you will find the Silk Museum. The building has as fascinating a story as what is inside and it is set in the most beautiful olive grove gardens – for this alone the kids will probably enjoy the short visit out of town. Kid-friendly tours can be arranged where they demonstrate the lives process of silk making. There’s also a display of antiquities from the famous “Silk Road”. Learn more here.
Other fun family activities in or near to Beirut
THE place to go for a big day out with the kids! A wonderful day tripping area with everything from picnic tables to overnight camping. The adventure activities here go on and on; you can swing from the tree treetops, use the giant human swing, bungee trampolines, mountain biking, archery training, air rifle shooting and in their latest addition a giant maze. Best for your school age to teens age group. Learn more here.
Freij Fun Fair City
Can be found in the Dora are of the city, next to City Mall. Full of fair park amusement style rides. Learn more here.
Animal City Lebanon
A petting zoo and animal sanctuary. There’s also a restaurant and playground on site. Learn more here.
We will have more to come on fabulous day trips from Beirut. Beirut is really central withing Lebanon so pretty much all parts of the country are possible to explore as day trips and still come back to use Beirut as your base point overnight.
Best areas for food and drink with kids in Beirut
A few areas of town where you will find plenty of options:
- Hamra Rue and surrounding areas
- Beirut Souk
- Mar Mikhael district
- Zaitounay Bay is a lovely new precinct of the city, perfect for a waterfront stroll and a meal
Where to Stay in Beirut with kids
For more on where to stay in Beirut, stay tuned! We will soon be covering the best areas of town to stay and some hand selected hotels that are perfect for when you have a party of 4 or more to cater for.
Do you have a particular hotel you would like to recommend? Let us know here.
This list has been compiled with the help of fabulous Lebanese Mama in the know Haneen from Working Mother of 2. Thanks also to Rida Blaik-Hourani for all her wonderful recommendation.
Please let us know if you have any further activities to add for Beirut, we will keep adding to this list as new discoveries are made so bookmark this page or you can save it to Pinterest for future reference planning your family trip to Lebanon.
This post was originally published in September 2018 by our founder Keri Hedrick. An avid traveller, writer and mum of 3 based in the UAE you can see more of Keri’s regional and overseas adventures with kids at Our Globetrotters – Adventurous Family Travel. This article is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the businesses mentioned but does contain affiliate links which may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you.