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.
Argentine designer Marabís tiny atelier is filled with her handmade patchwork animals; the playful dolls, which have been displayed at the Museu d'Art Contemporani, appeal to both toddlers and adults.
Antxón Gómez launched this legendary club in the 1980's.
Claim an outdoor table in the folksy Sarrià district’s stalwart bar and try the city’s definitive patatas bravas.
The Plaça Reial, with its fading Neoclassical façades and Antoni Gaudí lampposts, is a lovely oasis, just a few steps from bustling La Rambla.
The polished-concrete and cast-iron décor is as slick as the collection of coffee-table books and architectural tomes at the experimental bookstore and exhibition space.
Discos Castelló is an independent record store located in the Raval neighborhood. Established in the 1930’s, the shop is one of the oldest on Tallers Street, which is lined with stores selling music of all kinds.
Cereria Subirà claims to be the oldest shop in all of Barcelona, although no one can agree on when exactly it was founded, and it hasn’t always sold candles. This “waxery” (or cereria) stocks home accessories, most of which have something to do with generating light.
Since 1897, Els Quatre Gats (“The Four Cats”) has served many purposes: pub, café, hostel, cabaret, and restaurant. Located on the ground floor of a Josep Puig I Cadaflach-designed building, this space was a rumored haunt of artist Pablo Picasso.
This unassuming shop stocks exquisite Italian leather goods: buttery-soft black flats from Pompeii and bags from the Sicilian line Bid Hand Made.
The concert hall, designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner (a contemporary of Antoni Gaudí) and inaugurated in 1908, explodes with vibrant color and ornamentation. After a restoration and the addition of a chamber music hall, the Petit Palau, the building is newly resplendent.
Pick up a Ruta del Modernisme brochure at Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and amble the Eixample district admiring the mosaics, wrought-iron railings, and grand spiral staircases.
The well-edited boutique for men and women is stocked with the greatest runway hits from, among many others, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
A Catalonia-born graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, in New York City, Helena Garriga has worked for the likes of Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Now she’s a curator of edibles, assembling the choicest local and international foodstuffs at her new shop.