El Born Cultural Center
12 Plaça Comercial, Born
The Born neighborhood has a bit of an artistic reputation, so it's really no surprise that when it came time to remodel their market, they re-imagined it as a historic and cultural center. The new project was first unveiled in 2013, corresponding with the tricentennial of the Siege of Barcelona—a hugely important date to Catalans, as it represents the end of the War of Spanish Succession and the last time Catalonia was independent from Spain. The market itself is a historic structure, as it was the first Spanish market to be built in the iron-framed, French market style, but an excavation beneath the old floor reveals ruins that date back to medieval times. A permanent exhibition explores life in the city in the early 1700s, and is a great way to dip a toe into the city's complicated and fascinating history. You can also check their website for lectures, music performances, and temporary art exhibitions.
Bar El Xampanyet
22 Carrer Montcada, Born
This little tapas place in the Born neighborhood is always crowded, so you have to eat standing up (there’s a little table at the far end, but it’s always taken). To accompany the tapas, they offer a very nice and inexpensive kind of “champagne” (it’s really white wine with sparkling water).