Things to do in Barcelona when You're Dead
July 11, 2011 1:07 AM   Subscribe

I need things to do in Barcelona

Hi all,

I'd like a list of things to do in Barcelona while I'm there: clubs I should visit, sites I should see, fun things to do. I only have a few days; I'm not going to spend most of it in art museums (I like art museums, but there are other aspects to cities that can be explored). Interesting neighborhoods? Cool social projects? Squatter communities? Clubs? Places to dance that don't play techno? Literary venues?
posted by outlandishmarxist to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Raval is interesting, it's funky and cool. Places that don't play techno of some kind are few and far between. Live music is not easy to find here either.
posted by conifer at 1:36 AM on July 11, 2011

I ended up spending hours every morning at La Boqueria eating fruits and vegetables and pastry. Top finds: fig as big as my fist, alive snails in a big sack, handmade candy.
posted by troublesome at 1:38 AM on July 11, 2011

If you have time before you go, spend a penny and buy a used copy of Barcelonawalks, which is part of my all-time favorite series of guidebooks. It consists of five or six very detailed walking tours of fascinating neighborhoods. It will take you to corners of the city you might not otherwise see, and tell you interesting things about every block you walk down.

Sadly, it's been out of print for years, so all the information on museum hours and restaurants and such will be way out of date. But the gorgeous architecture and fascinating history it tells you about will still be relevant. (Just make sure you supplement it with an up-to-date, more traditional guidebook.)
posted by yankeefog at 2:01 AM on July 11, 2011

In similar-minded research, I turned up the

WTF Jam Session - every Monday night for 10 years at a club on the Plaça Reial, inviting well-known musicians to play from 9pm. The structure is that the concert starts with their music, their style; then their music, a new style (jazzy?); then a real jam session.
The Flotarium - your "standard" sensory deprivation experience, but the prices were more reasonable than what I had found in other countries.
My best time there recently was spent early morning on the beach at Barceloneta, before the bods come out and it is just us and the people sweeping for scrap metal like lost wedding rings.
- Parc Guell should not be missed because it is free, large and great for people watching. If you see one other Gaudí thing it should be Casa Batlló, the house inspired by the forms of the sea.
- Sadly, though I like La Boqueria because I like food, it is really over-priced and full of tourists. If you go at the end of the day, you can sometimes get free stuff with the things you wanted to buy.
posted by whatzit at 2:58 AM on July 11, 2011

El Born is my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona, lots of cool cafes and bars there. If you are into pastries, I'd recommend Hofmann and Bubo (both in El Born). I also enjoyed a bar, El Xampanyet, but it was very full and slightly touristy.
Mercat de Santa Caterina is a fun food market in a very cool building, probably less crowded than La Boqueria.
posted by marais at 3:01 AM on July 11, 2011

posted by Murray M at 4:29 AM on July 11, 2011

I went out of my way and greatly enjoyed my experience at Jamonisimo.
posted by spec80 at 4:33 AM on July 11, 2011

Do you like architecture? Barcelona is great for amazing design. Try Jean Nouvel's bullet shaped Agbar [called 'El Suppositori' locally] at Placa de les Glories - it's got two 'skins', one inner of polished aluminium and the outer of 60 000 glass panels. Looks great at night. Also Richard Meier's glittering white MACBA is fantastic in the Raval district. I love to walk around that area and the eating is g o o d, and the art is too. Seconding Marais' suggestion of cool cafes and late night bars in El Borne. You could spend many nights enjoying yourself stumbling from one cool night spot to another [remember though, that nothing starts until well after midnight]
posted by honey-barbara at 4:43 AM on July 11, 2011

Hire Bikes and do a Tour past (in) all the Antoni Gaudí buildings!

Eat. I put on 5 Kilograms in about a week last time i was there. the food in Barcelona is great. Especially from the markets.
posted by mary8nne at 5:48 AM on July 11, 2011

Seconding Parc Güell. If it's reasonably warm outside, watching the sun set over the city from the Three Crosses is gorgeous.

When I lived in BCN I loved 23 Robadors... great DJ's, awesome vibe. Kind of a hole in the wall though, so maybe not ideal for meeting new people. But great for going with friends.
posted by DLWM at 6:09 AM on July 11, 2011

It's been a few years since I was there, but Parc Guell was absolutely fantastic and gave me crazy dreams for a year afterward.
posted by pjaust at 6:25 AM on July 11, 2011

My best memory of Barcelona is the life sized mammoth sculpture in Parc de la Ciutadella. It's just cool.
posted by howfar at 7:49 AM on July 11, 2011

I know you said you don't want to spend all of your time in museums but come on, XOCOLATA!
posted by JJ86 at 7:58 AM on July 11, 2011

Walking around and checking out the various parks on Montjuic is pretty fun - if you're from a country with draconian liability standards for playground equipment (i.e. the U.S.), the playground in the Jardin de Joan Brossa is pretty entertaining, and there are some other interesting areas. A decent way to go is to take the funicular up to the cable car station, then the cable car to the castle and work your way down from there (the funiclar is part of the metro system, so you don't need to pay an additional fee for it if you've already got a metro card, but the cable car is extra), working your way back to the Placa de Espanya.
posted by LionIndex at 8:16 AM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go to La Rambla in the evening and sit at one of the restaurants on the sidewalk. Order tapas and some colorful ridiculous drink. Proabably not the best meal of your life but it will be an interesting one.
posted by Busmick at 8:41 AM on July 11, 2011

Yeah, definitely the Montjuic park(s). I ended up enjoying them a lot more than the more hyped-up Parc Guell. Take the funicular up!
posted by threeants at 9:03 AM on July 11, 2011

It's kind of cheesy, but I really enjoyed the dancing fountains in Barcelona.

Be very careful of your money, credit cards and valuables in and around Las Ramblas. It's notorious for pickpockets and scam artists.
posted by essexjan at 10:17 AM on July 11, 2011

…but the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is really fantastic. Just sayin'.

The bike tours are pretty fun, and you can get on unofficial night rides with the tour guides for even better views of the city if you go out drinking with them.

When we went for a wine brunch at Els Quatre Gats, we ended up next to some Maulets and Estat Catala workers and got a pretty cool tour of revolutionary/separatist murals. They had an office not too far off La Rambla, but I'm a poli sci nerd so I don't know if you're interested in that. (Still, if you hang out with Catalonians in Barcelona, you will get 300 percent more cool free shit than you will sticking to Spanish.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 AM on July 11, 2011

I also loved La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, anything Gaudi, really, and the chocolate museum. I spent a day with my son at the CosmoCaixa science museum which was also a bit of a hike to get to, and really enjoyed it
posted by lgandme0717 at 6:47 PM on July 11, 2011

Nthing Parc Guell, Sagrada Familia, and La Boqueria. For non-techno dancing, my vote is for Sidecar in Placa Real - more of a rock club vibe.
posted by naoko at 8:48 PM on July 11, 2011

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