Things to do in Barcelona
At the center of Barcelona’s old city lies the Gothic Quarter, a maze of narrow medieval streets packed with intriguing shops and cafés surrounding the Cathedral de la Seu, which is composed of Roman ruins and Gothic structures. Architecture buffs can’t miss Antoni Gaudí’s modernist structures, like Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Park Güell, and his masterpiece, the still-unfinished Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s genius is represented in every imposing structure and whimsical detail of his constructions.
A walk down La Rambla is an unparalleled way to absorb the city’s energy. This tree-lined pedestrian street starts near Plaça de Catalunya and ends at Rambla de Mar, by the water. Find newsstands, souvenir kiosks, street performers and sidewalk cafés along La Rambla, and stop at La Boquería, a magnificent food market, for a bite to eat.
Head to Plaça d’Espanya, a grand square built the 1929 International Exhibition, to be welcomed by the Venetian Towers. Nearby, the Font Mágica de Montjuïc provides a beautiful spectacle of dancing fountains, lights and music in the evenings with the Palau Nacional in the background. For soccer fans, taking a tour of Camp Nou, home of Barcelona FC, is a must. You’ll never run out of things to do in Barcelona.
Urbanized after 1860, L'Eixample (the Expansion) is now the city's main shopping district and the world's top repository of Art Nouveau architecture.
Originating as a collection of rare perfume bottles, this small shop now specializes in vintage couture garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the 20th.
Pick up spinach-and-pine-nut coca (Catalan pizza) at this old-fashioned bakery.
A colorful fishermen's quarter, the laid-back Barceloneta is lined with seafood restaurants and lovely beaches.
A five-story dance school in the Sants-Montjuïc district, Ball Centre provides dance instruction in several different styles.
Nibble on plump pistachios and Marcona almonds roasted at the 1850’s shop.
An important fixture in the Barcelona arts scene, Sala Beckett was founded by the Teatro Fronterizo group, which was highly influenced by Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.
Two spacious floors house Midcentury Modern furniture and lighting, plus glass objets d'art. Look for curvaceous wooden chairs by Danish designer Hans Wegner.
Considered the finest example of Catalan Modernist architecture, this 600-year-old former hospital is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The result of six small hospitals merging together in 1401, the original complex was rebuilt to meet the demands of modern medicine in 1902.
The principal venue for opera, concerts, and dance since 1847, the hall reopened in 1999 after a major fire and is now one of the most technologically and acoustically advanced theaters in Europe.
A biannual literature festival that looks at Spanish-language art, film, poetry, and books.
Following the success of their popular El Born boutique, designers Custodio and David Dalmau opened a second shop in the Barri Gòtic, which carries their flamboyant men's and women's lines.
The stand is full of cotton napkins of all colors and sizes.
Slide into a leather booth at this watering hole and you'll be immersed in the chatty camaraderie of the professors, writers, artists, and theater types who live nearby in the streets surrounding the Meseu d'Art Contemporani.
Every Thursday, the Plaça Nova, at the base of the massive 15th-century Catedral de Barcelona, the city’s most famous edifice (not counting the Gaudís), hosts an outdoor flea market.