Establishment neighborhood
Museu del Disseny de Barcelona
Pl. de les Glòries Catalanes, Eixample
Completed in 2014 and located in a neo-Brutalist building affectionately nicknamed "The Stapler," Barcelona's new design museum brought 4 local design archives under one roof, making it pretty expansive as it goes for design collections. With its vast holdings in textiles, product design, and printed materials through the centuries, it provides a perfect entrance-level survey into the world of design, though it's the small though thoughtful permanent exhibition on Catalan product design that wins our vote with over 80 years' worth of locally-made design.
Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 700, Eixample
Aptly named, this is indeed the mother of all cold-pressed juice in Barcelona, having kicked off the trend in Spain back in 2014. Owner Gemma Ponsa duly spent time in California where she fell in love with the lifestyle and brought it back to Barcelona together with pastry chef Lili Figel. Together they make delicious green juices, smoothies, healthy treats, and one insanely delicious granola. We're partial to the convenience of the second outpost in Casa Bonay, but the original location is in El Raval.
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.
Museu Can Framis
Carrer de Roc Boronat, Poblenou
It's hard not to get lured in by Catalan culture when in Barcelona, and for those who want to go a little deeper there's the Can Framis which shows some of the greatest local contemporary artists from the last 60 years. The real draw here, though, is the building itself and its surrounding green spaces by local Catalan (of course) architect Jordi Badia. There's something incredibly serene about the hulking, semi-industrial space in this quiet old neighborhood.
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.
Antoni Gaudí Tour
As one of Spain’s most renowned figures and a globally celebrated architect, a trip to Barcelona is not complete until you see some of Gaudí’s incredible work in person. Admittedly, touring Gaudí’s famed church, Sagrada Familia, can feel daunting—if you’re only in town for a few days, the idea of spending hours in a queue isn’t super appealing. (That said, there is good reason for the long line.) You can also just do a stroll-by—the exterior is impressive despite ongoing construction. And there are other worthy Gaudí creations to see throughout the city, like: Palau Güell (an early commissioned home palace in El Raval), Casa Battló (the remarkably mystical house on Passeig de Gràcia), Casa Milà (commonly referred to as La Pedrera, a near optical illusion of curved stone), and Park Güell (Gaudí’s enchantingly imagined landscape). For an easy-to-read map of these Gaudí sites, click here.
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