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Where to go, eat and shop in Barcelona

An unconventional guide to the city on the occasion of the Sónar Festival

Where to go, eat and shop in Barcelona An unconventional guide to the city on the occasion of the Sónar Festival

One of the most anticipated music festivals of the summer is about to begin. The Sónar Festival returns in fact from July 18th to 20th with a programme full of concerts and DJ sets ready to make the crowd of Barcelona dance til the morning: SkeptaSheck WesStormzyDisclosurePaul KalkbrennerKaytranadaBad Gyal, the list of artists not to be missed at Sónar is really long. While you take a look at the full programme of the festival here, nss magazine has prepared for you a practical guide to lesser-known and less crowded places of the city. If you find the energy to stroll around the city between one concert and the other, these are the places to see and don't worry, we even found the best café to get over your hangover. 


To Discover  

If you've never been to Barcelona it's only fair that you go and see the great majesty of the Sagrada Familia and its incredible play of lights; the uniqueness and the originality of the buildings designed by Gaudì, like Casa Battlò or the Pedrera; you must take a stroll on the Ramblas and have a quick stop at the Boqueria market to get some fruit. But you feel like going somewhere far from the crowd of tourists here can find a few useful tips. 


El Born Neighborhood

The area also known as the La Ribera has an aristocratic past and a bohemian present, and despite being close to the Rambla, it's still not very crowded. Many tourists venture into the streets of El Born to reach the Picasso Museum - a must-see for all the art lovers - but you can get lost among the colourful and charming alleys of the neighbourhood. El Born is, in fact, the area of the artists, full of art galleries, small and large museums, studios and bodegas, and it's characterised by historic buildings that have not lost an inch of their charm. in this area you can find moreover the Market of Santa Caterina: opened in 1848, it's the oldest covered market of Barcelona, the more authentic alternative to the Boqueria. After the recent renovation, now the wavy roof of the market is covered by 325.000 ceramic tiles in more than 60 nuances. At sunset, El Born turns into one of the coolest areas of the city, thanks to its great numbers of cafes, clubs and restaurants. 


Caixa Forum  

It's one of the most important cultural centres of the city and of Spain, but what strikes the most is the innovative building where the art collection is housed. Located at the foot of Montjuïc, the 173-meter-high hill in the south of Barcelona, Caixa is based in the old Fàbrica Casamarona, a modernist building designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch and recently renovated. The large and bright rooms of the former textile industry host not only temporary exhibitions but also one of the most remarkable collections of the Country, combining both artworks by Spanish creatives from the Modernism until today, and pieces of well-known international artists. The part of the museum that stands out is definitely the media centre, which aims at making available to the audience as much audiovisual material as possible, to better understand and highlight contemporary audio and visual culture. 



It's worth going to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona for two reasons - besides the collection of the museum of course, which gathers the work of well-known artists of the second half of the XX century from all over the world. First of all, it's interesting to see with your eyes how such a modern and innovative building (designed by the American architect Richard Meier) interacts and coexists with the historic and old buildings of the El Raval neighbourhood, where the museum is located. Moreover, thanks to the shape and the structure of the square in front of the MACBA, the museum has become one of the most important skate spots of the city: it's the best place to go if you want to see or try some skate tricks. 



To Eat & Drink


Bar Marsella

Reportedly this is the oldest bar of Barcelona, officially opened since 1820, and over the course of the years, it's here that the most popular artists and writers would come to drink, figures like Mirò and Hemingway. Entering this place it's like going back in time: high ceilings, furniture like the French style in the 19th century, walls filled with old bottles of wine covered with dust. Two are the words engraved on the mirrors of the venue: Prohibido cantar and Absenta. On the first rule, the owners of the place are not that strict, but when it comes to the second rule there's nothing you can do: if you ask for a tip on what to drink the answer will always be one: absinthe

Bar Marsella
Carrer de Sant Pau, 65, 08001


Bar Mut

Here the keyword is on the other hand vermouth. Bar Mut actually is also the perfect place to try the typical Spanish tapas but revisited in a more European vision and taste. You must taste the fish. 

Bar Mut
Pau Claris n° 192 


Brunch & Cake 

This is the perfect place to get over a hangover thanks to cupcakes, cakes, sandwiches, toasts and bowls all made with natural and organic ingredients. You'll need this energy for another day at the festival. 


To Shop


When it comes to sneakers there's not a better store than this, from the latest releases to the limited editions, from timeless silhouettes to vintage and rare shoes. At Sivasdescalzo you'll find the biggest sneakers and streetwear brands, along with emerging and new labels. It's worth swinging by also for the design of the store itself. 

Bailén 18, Barcelona 


Trait Store

A unique selection of streetwear brands, from the most well-known like The North Face, Carhartt WIP and Stussy, to new proposals like Minimum and Rains. Don't miss the accessories selection as well. 

Carrer del Parlament 28 
Barcelona, 08015 


Chandal Store

Just a stone's throw from the MACBA there's a unique space where to find Polaroid cameras and independent publications. The concept store was born in fact with the intention to bring to Barcelona magazines hard or even impossible to find in the city: here you will find magazine dealing with fashion, photography, design, music and interior design. Don't miss it. 

Carrer d’En Tantarantana, 16