MUTT Bookshop & Art Gallery
Comerç 15, El Born
Juanjo Fernandes is a popular local figure and long-time bookseller, and his MUTT gallery has a drool-worthy collection of books on art, architecture, graphic design, music, and more. Located in the arty Born neighborhood, it's also a great place to get a taste of the local art scene, as Fernandes always has an exhibition from a local artist on the walls. Pop in early on your trip to see if there are any events on the calendar; they often host lectures, live music, and fun openings.
8 Carrer de Sèneca, Gracia
This hole-in-the-wall garage located steps away from the Passei de Gracia is a real find, housing designers Marc Morro and Oriol Villar's wooden furniture along with their favorite vernacular design, from traditional earthenware dishes made by local craftsmen, to HAY desk accessories. If you don't fall for one of their perfectly Mediterranean-feeling wooden beach chairs, or their re-release of Catalan designer Miguel Milá's rattan chairs, you'll at least leave inspired and with a small trinket or two.
17 Calle Comerç, El Born
We like to think of this dizzyingly fun retail concept as a cross between Urban Outfitters and Colette, meaning that the buy is eclectic and vast—pillows, gift-ables, accessories, clothing, kids furniture, etc.—but the prices, for the most part, are reasonable. There’s also an industrial-looking gallery that is host to edgy art shows and installations.
93 Passeig De Gracia, Eixample
Historically, this 170-year-old design house has been in the business of haute couture, and while they still produce a house line for women and offer custom tailoring and suiting services for men, the lush space is mainly devoted to a handpicked assortment of big-name lines. For women, there’s Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Saint Laurent; for men, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy, and Nick Wooster.
Mar de Cava
293 Carrer de València, Eixample
With a focus on Barcelona-based designers and under-the-radar lines from all over the world, this two-story multi-purpose space (shop, gallery, and studio) offers a little bit of everything, from furniture to home décor to clothing to kids toys to art. And while the assortment is vast, the fun, modern aesthetic acts as the unifying factor. To make the best use of the space, the owners host workshops, talks, and exhibits for the local community.
30 Carrer del Pintor Fortuny, Ciutat Vella
In a town that’s pretty heavy on color and pomp, this cozy home décor shop is a standout for adhering to a refreshingly restrained aesthetic. Think: canvas totes, imported woven baskets, linen throw pillows, and utilitarian items like hooks, candle holders, and bowls that are carved out of natural wood then dipped partially in pastel paint.
La Manual Aspargatera
7 Carrer d'Avinyó, Ciutat Vella
Like Antigua Casa Crespo in Madrid, La Manual is where you want to go for authentic Spanish espadrilles. With roots that go back to the Spanish Civil War, it’s really no wonder the handmade slip-ons, slides, lace-ups, and wedges have amassed a cult-like following among locals. Tourists tend to get a little overwhelmed at the sight of floor-to-ceiling cubbies packed with shoes, but at under $50 a pop, leaving with multiple pairs is totally justifiable.
73 Carrer del Rec, El Born
Though it's broken up into six distinct boutiques (two men’s, two women’s, plus a concept shop and a home décor store), La Comercial as a whole takes up a significant stretch of El Born’s best shopping street. With a designer roster that includes Carven, Comme des Garçons, Fornasetti, and Kenzo to name a select few, it’s easy to compare it to say, a Barneys, but the clever use of space and merchandising make a shopping experience here feel entirely new.
616 Gran Vía, Eixample
Hailed as the biggest travel-centric bookshop in all of Europe, 30-year-old Altair is an essential stop for slightly less app-obsessed globetrotters. In addition to multi-lingual guides and maps for destinations far and wide, the shelves here are stacked with biographies, memoirs, and specialty tomes on everything from flora to fauna to architecture.
29 Calle Valldonzella, El Born
This color-happy shop is a paradise for anyone born before 1982 or old souls with an interest in records, polaroid cameras, and quirky home décor. While the kitschy stuff is clearly the draw, the offering of contemporary, design-centric brands like Fern Living, Papier Tigre, and HAY shouldn’t be missed. Also worth exploring is the excellent children’s section, stocked with everything from delightfully analog wooden toys to sweet retro-inspired enamel plates. Leave plenty of time to browse the wall of indie publications: All the usual suspects are here (Kinfolk, Toiletpaper, Cerial) plus more obscure titles like Kink and Victory.
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