I come to the American University of Beirut (AUB) on Bliss Street when I want to escape for some greenery and shade, especially in the heat of the summer. Open to visitors all year round (do bring ID and be prepared to go on a guided tour), AUB is a haven of foliage and scenic views of the Mediterranean. The university has a stunning campus and there’s also an on-site archaeological museum which is well worth a visit.
The campus, which is filled with ancient trees, is a home to hundreds of stray cats, who get fed daily by the local residents. Look out for Zaha Hadid’s distinctive modernist building built in 2014, set between the 100-year old buildings, and the secret staircases leading downhill.
The campus also occasionally hosts events, including ticketed concerts. Check the Facebook page for details.
Whilst I’m in the area, I usually stop off at one of the many small eateries on Bliss Street – look out for the excellent saj (a thin dough topped with zaatar or other toppings) bakery and the fresh juice and ice-cream places.