What to do in Barcelona?
August 25, 2012 11:26 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in Barcelona for a few days this upcoming week with a friend, and we're staying in the Las Ramblas area. What are some fun things to check out while there?

We're intentionally heading there without much of a plan, however it would be great to get some suggestions on what to check out that's "off the beaten path" as far as getting the local experience.

So if you have any recommendations for seafood, nightlife, festivals, or anything else that's note worthy, I'm all ears! Thanks.
posted by helios410 to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Just a thought - don't deny yourself the big sights just because they happen to also be tourist destinations. Sagrada Familia is astonishing even if it's filled with visitors - that's why they go here!

I don't have a lot specific recommendations (we were there in July but not that long), other than hang out on Las Ramblas at night and see what happens. We were there the night Spain won the Euro Cup and it is was pretty cool. That's unlikely to be repeated during your trip :-) but it's still fun and vibrant at night and to my untrained eye there looked to be plenty of locals. Watch your money though; pickpockets abound.
posted by captainawesome at 1:22 PM on August 25, 2012

At the top of La Rambla in the Plaza Catalunya, buy a pass on the red tourist bus. Take the western route and get off at the Joan Miro museum and the Olympics Complex. Then take the eastern route and get off at Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.

Walk the Rambla and marvel at all the people.

Stroll along the Mediterranean and marvel at all the people.

Find the Grand Hotel Central, make your way to the rooftop pool and bar and enjoy a giant gin-tonic while gazing over the city.
posted by tmharris65 at 2:17 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Here's a terrific restaurant down in the Barri Gotic. It's not expensive and they serve these traditional Catalan pizza-like dishes called coques-- to die for! It's a cool little place in a building that's nestled into part of the old Roman wall.

Another very cool and not too expensive restaurant you'll be nearish is El Atril. Again, the emphasis is on traditional Catalan food (with a modern twist). They also have live music occasionally.

If you're looking for lunch while out on La Rambla itself you could do worse than Can Culleretes--which is just a couple of corners off the Rambla itself (which has a lot of pretty dull touristy food options). Can Culleretes is the second oldest restaurant in Spain and you'll definitely not get anything cutting edge there, but what they do do they do very well, and the decor of the place is a kick.

Oh, on the Rambla itself don't miss the Market of St Joseph (Sant Josep); even if you're not food shopping yourself it's a feast for the eyes just poking around the immense piles of succulent seafood, veggies, cured meats, jujubes etc.

And for the rest, yeah; just go to the places everyone raves about--like the Palau de la Musica Catalana (see if you can get tickets to a concert there during your stay), and all the wonderful Gaudi buildings, and Sta Maria del Mar and the Cathedral etc. Barcelona is wonderful--just wandering around at random you'll have a terrific time.
posted by yoink at 4:53 PM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Which days will you be there? On Saturday evenings, at I think 6:30, you can go to the front of La Seu and watch them dance the Sardana. Moving, if you know even the littlest bit of Catalan history.

I don't know whether this is off the beaten path enough for you, but we went to see some Flamenco dancing in a sort of bar/theater off Placa Reial and were glad we did. It's impressive.
posted by troywestfield at 4:59 PM on August 25, 2012

Seconding the markets. I stumbled into Sant Antoni and it was amazing. I was the only tourist in the place and nobody even noticed me. Antoni is a little walk from the Ramblas but worth the discovery.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:10 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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