Downtown Beirut is the central district of Beirut, with its outdoor cafes restaurants and high end designer stores. The inner area around Nejmeh Square is pedestrian-only. Ashrafieh is to its east, while Hamra, Ras Beirut, Manara and Rawcheh to its west. The Beirut Marina (the Cornich starting point) is only a short walk away. Some complaints are that the area is over-priced, and that it caters more to tourists from the Persian Gulf than to the locals.
Getting to downtown from other parts of Beirut or one of the bus stations is easy. Hop in any taxi/service and ask for either "Downtown" or "Solidere".