Kid-Friendly Activities in Barcelona
Spain is, in general, a great country to visit if you have kids, and Barcelona is no exception to this. Like almost everywhere in Spain, there are wonderful natural landscapes to explore just outside the city; within central Barcelona the streets are safe, and you can ride a bike almost everywhere. Kids are warmly welcomed at many restaurants and attractions all over the city.
If you want to experience something truly locally distinctive with your kids, there’s nothing better thing than bringing them to a soccer match (nowadays tickets are available everywhere). You can also visit an amusement park (the largest one in Catalonia, Port Aventura, is just a couple of hours from Barcelona); or explore the mountains around Barcelona, or simply wander among some of the culturally and architecturally rich city neighborhoods. In my opinion, though, the best choice of all is to come to Barcelona in spring or summer, and bring your family for a day at the beach followed by a great seaside meal.
I know there’s a kind of fear of soccer games outside Europe, but the stadiums in Barcelona are safer than the streets (and that’s saying something). Just pick a game early in the evening (some happen at around 4 p.m.) and enjoy watching not just the match, but also the environment and the passion Catalans have for this sport. For just a little more money, you can get a Tribuna or Lateral ticket so you can watch the game properly. Camp Nou would be my first choice, for obvious reasons (Messi or Neymar, for example), but the Español stadium is pretty good, as well.
Many residents of Barcelona have memories of visiting this park when they were kids. The Tibidabo amusement park is located at the top of one of the hills surrounding Barcelona. It’s an old-school park (don’t expect big rides here) that claims to have the best views over the city. I like to have an ice-cream here in the summer while watching the sunset.
One of my favorite family activities in Barcelona is bringing the kids along to the city’s markets. It’s a learning experience, because we always find ingredients and products that are new to us. From fruits to vegetables, from sausages to seafood; the range of smells and colors make the trip special for everyone. Of course, if it’s your first trip to Barcelona, bring your kids to La Boqueria and let them see the best market in the world.
Day at the Beach
If you’re visiting Barcelona when temperatures are warm, this is the unbeatable choice. The city's beaches are clean and well preserved, with huge avenues and boardwalks that run parallel to the sea for miles. Why not rent some bikes and enjoy a sunny day in a city that has laws against those who bother bikers? That said: don’t forget your helmet!
This is the perfect neighborhood to walk around with kids. There are no cars around, it's full of beautiful squares crowded with students, and there are tons of cheap-but-great restaurants serving Catalan cuisine. When spring comes, practically the whole neighborhood can be found out on the sidewalks, enjoying the weather.