What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

See above ^ - Jul 2016

Some of my favourite activities were: - hiking with the group VAMOS TODOS on organized excursions around the city. - going to the public beach in Tyr or to cheaper beach clubs in Batroun. (No need to pay US$20-$30 at Edde Sands) - shopping at the farmers market organized by Souk el Tayeb. - walking on the Corniche. - having brunch at Tawlet Ammiq in the West Beka'a Valley - Feb 2015

There are few secrets on compound but there are many fantastic things to explore in Lebanon. The National Museum has an excellent collection as does the Mouawad (the Sursock Museum is reportedly opening soon). You will likely go to Byblos more times than you can count, but it is always beautiful. Beiteddine Palace makes for a wonderful excursion as does Jeita Grotto and Our Lady of Lebanon (Harissa). There is excellent hiking in Tannourine, the Chouf, and Kadisha Valley. Downtown has wonderful galleries, shopping, as well as clubs and rooftop bars. If you have the opportunity Music Hall is a unique and wonderful experience. There are local wineries and wine tastings. In the summer, there are many beach clubs, which are more akin to bars in a pool. As you will soon discover, it isn't the dearth of activities that is so frustrating, but your inability to do most of them. - Nov 2014

Who knows. Embassy personnel are limited to one trip (maximum 6 hours) off-compound per week. This is in an armored vehicle with a driver and, depending on the locale, with body guard. Each trip, or "move" can include up to five people, so theoretically, you can include others on your move and others can include you, thereby increasing the number of times that you can get off compound. In addition, the Community Liaison Officer, or CLO, arranges moves to the grocery store (several per week) and various moves throughout the week/month for entertainment purposes as well as a weekly church move. However, the use of excessive moves in any given time period WILL count against you and the warden can threaten to suspend your privileges if he feels that they are being abused. (A very subjective call which has no recourse) If you venture beyond the run of the mill venues (the malls, the grocery stores) you will have a body guard shadowing you, so you can forget about spontaneity and discovering any secret or hidden gems. Your trip itinerary will need to be submitted days in advance so no secrets there. - Apr 2014

Mar Mikhael is an up and coming neighborhood and there are a lot of interesting shops and restaurants popping up. Tawlet is a restaurant with food from around Lebanon that is worth checking out. Don't wait until the end of your stay in Lebanon to try Armenian food like I did. - Jan 2014

Beach clubs in the summertime. Skiing in the winter. - Apr 2012

Culture (theater, music, movies), restaurants, skiing, hiking, beach, boating, shopping, ancient ruins, museums, you name it, Beirut probably has it. - Sep 2010

It's only three hours door-to-door to Damascus, so you can also explore Syria. With a little creativity, you can also visit Israel via Cyprus or Jordan, but you'll need to use a second passport. Istanbul is an excellent weekend destination at a mere 1.5 hours away. - Jul 2010

The embassy has a basketball court and a swimming pool. - Jun 2009

Dine out, go to the beach, go skiing, go shopping, go to nightclubs (Christian and Muslim), check out the ancient ruins. - Jun 2008

Private beaches, good night life, great restaurants, excellent historical sites. I heard the skiing isn't bad. - Mar 2008

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