Top 10 (Things to Do in Barcelona): October Edition
- Start using Uber
- Uber has arrived in Barcelona! Download the application on your iPhone or android, make a new account, and then make sure you plug in the promo code: AASHILIST to cash in on two free taxi rides (each for 15 euros or less)
- Corre Barri
- If you’re new to the area and looking for runs, look no further! The 3rd annual Corre Barri will take place on Sunday, October 12th along Barcelona’s scenic beaches. This is a fun 10km race amongst the main 10 barris (“neighborhoods” in Catalan) of Barcelona, where each barri wears a different color/ designed shirt. For more info, check the FB page; signup ends on the 7th!
- Fiesta Nacional de España
- Coincidentally enough, the 12th of October also happens to be Spain’s national holiday, which is celebrated throughout the country. Although it falls the day after Columbus Day in the US, Oct. 12th here also commemorates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas. (In general, way bigger deal in Madrid than in BCN).
- Check out a museum (& don’t forget to use student discounts!)
- Fall weather makes for perfect days to check out one of Barcelona’s great museums, including but certainly not limited to: the Picasso Museum, the Joan Miró Foundation, the Can Framis Museum, and MACBA.
- Brunch, and brunch often
- The idea of going out for brunch has finally started to make inroads here! Exciting stuff. Myriad dining establishments now offer brunch menus, complete with the corresponding cocktails. Personal favorites thus far include: Marmalade, Milk Bar (Marmalade’s little sister spot), & Federal Café.
Pancakes at Marmalade
- You can still lounge on the beach…
- The incessant humidity and heat has finally began to taper off, but that doesn’t mean you can no longer frequent the local beaches. On the contrary, skip the suit, and just go for a nice afternoon/ evening to catch up on your reading or share a bottle of cava with a friend.
- Get a public library card!
- The Barcelona network of public libraries is super underrated. Find your nearest library, take your passport, and you can easily get your own personal library card. Armed with that card, you gain free access to Wi-Fi on the premises, study rooms, books, DVDs, and a ton of BCN insider info.
- Go to a FCB game at Camp Nou
- If you haven’t had a chance to go to a FC Barcelona soccer match at their home stadium, Camp Nou, now’s the time! In the month of October FCB will play at home twice on the 18th and again on the 21st. You can easily buy tickets online on their website.
- Hit up the Barcelona Casino
- Although there are plenty of Salon de Juegos sprinkled around the city, the real deal in terms of casinos is located next to the Hotel Arts only a few minutes walk from the Vila Olimpica (L4) metro stop. All you need to bring is your passport and luck, and the gambling world is your oyster!
- Sadly, Halloween here is not quite as big of a deal as it is in the US. That being said, locals get way more into dressing up in costume for Carnival in March. If you are a Halloween die hard though, of course more touristy bars and clubs will cater to your Halloween costume party /contest desires. Make sure you stay tuned with Aashi List to join the best Halloween festivities!
After having been here for a while, I have come to think of it as useful to compile “top 10” lists monthly as to avoid missing out on all that Barcelona has to offer. So, here’s my “Top 10 Things to do in Barcelona: September Edition.” (Mind you they are not in any specific order)
- Go to the beach, often!
- You guys – let me do the math for you on this one: You are in Barcelona + It is September = Soak up the rest of the warm weather in the sun & sand! You have like 50 beaches to choose from, whether you want to stay close and just park it at Bogatell beach in the city, or take a commuter train out to Casteldefels or San Pol del Mar. Also, watch out for complimentary beach events hosted by Aashi Guest List (like on Sept. 7th around 5pm there’ll be a beach picnic w/ sangria and snacks)!
- Annual Neighborhood festivals
- While the majority of neighborhood festivals take place in August, one of the best ones happens mid-September… Poblenou! Starting Sept. 12th and finishing up on the 21st, La Festa Major de Poblenou is an over a weeklong celebration in the beachside neighborhood. Personally, I am looking forward to participating in the 10k race on the 14th as well as the live-music shows on and near the Rambla de Poblenou. Check their FB page for more details!
- La Mercè
- The annual citywide celebration of Barcelona’s patron saint, the festival of La Mercè is not something to miss! Well actually it would be hard to miss, but still. The actual holiday is Sept. 24 but the festivities start days before and continue on for days afterwards! My favorite parts of the festival last year were the free outdoor concerts in plazas (like Plaza de San Jaume) and the shows in Ciutadella Park. There’s also the La Mercè 10k on Sept. 28th!
- Find your workout groove
- I say this because September means that the gyms and yoga studios have all come back from vacations and are now back to their normal class schedules. I recommend Yogalinda for hot yoga classes in English near Vila Olimpica. Also, still great weather for boardwalk runs and then along with the aforementioned races, you’d be good to go!
- Explore a less-touristy area
- Perhaps you’re a study abroad student who has just arrived in Barcelona… in that case once you get your bearings in the city, get off La Rambla and explore the less-touristy areas. Neighborhoods like Sant Antoni, Raval, and Poblenou are perhaps more off the beaten path, but so very worth it! There is much more to BCN than Barceloneta and the gothic quarter!
- Check out the Encants market
- Take the metro to the Glories stop on the red line and follow the signs out to the Encants market. Open Monday, Wednesday, Friday from about 8am to 2pm, the recently renovated Encants market is the perfect place to find antiques, cheap gifts, second-hand goods, discount stuff for your apt, and so much more! Slightly overwhelming at first, take your time to look around, people watch, and sift through whatever tickles your fancy.
- Spend an evening at the Montjuic Magic Fountain
- The Font Magica is located on your way up to the top of Montjuic right off of Plaza España. In the evenings Thursday through Sunday, the fountain plays FREE musical shows on the half hour and includes musical styling to everything from Disney soundtracks to Michael Jackson’s greatest hits.
- Languish on a street terrace
- Find a café and grab a seat at a table on their outdoor terrace. Advance warning; outside terraces often come with a ten percent markup on your order just because they can. But it’s usually worth it to chill out outside and relax like so many Barceloneses do on a daily basis. I particularly enjoy the Rambla de Poblenou, any plaza in Gracia, and Carrer Blai for outside seating options galore!
- Celebrate Catalonia with the locals
- September 11th happens to be the National Day of Catalonia (or Diada Nacional). Sept. 11, 2014 officially marks the 300 years since Cataluña became an official part of the Spanish entity; long story short, the day is not meant to celebrate Catalonia becoming an autonomous region of Spain, but rather it celebrates what once was the independent Catalan state, something that many locals hope to make a reality again. Get ready for protests, parades, parties, and more all over the city!
- Get out of Barcelona!
- Given that September still has really nice weather to be out and about and enjoying the outdoors, don’t miss out on getting to those just outside of Barcelona spots. Think Montserrat, Girona, Figueres, Sitges, Tossa, Roses, etc. The world (or Spain) is your oyster folks!
After having been here for a while, I have come to think of it as useful to compile “top 10” lists monthly as to avoid missing out on all that Barcelona has to offer. So, for my inaugural post on this particular blog, I will now outline my list of the “Top 10 Things to do in Barcelona: August Edition.” (Mind you they are not in any specific order).
- Go to the beach, often!
- You guys – let me do the math for you on this one: You are in Barcelona + It is August = you should be at the beach! You have like 50 beaches to choose from, whether you want to stay close and just park it at Bogatell beach in the city, or take a commuter train out to Casteldefels or San Pol del Mar. All easy to get to and the best way to cool off is in clear Mediterranean waters!
Mags, myself, and Linds at Bogatel beach!
- Free, outdoor movies on Barceloneta beach
- So from July 17th to August 24th, Barceloneta beach plays host to free outdoor screenings of alternative films every Thursday and Friday evening. Yes, you heard me correctly – it’s FREE! All you have to do is bring a towel or folding beach chair, a beverage, and show up around 8 to ensure getting a good seat! For more information check out their website: http://www.cinemalliure.com
- Annual neighborhood festivals
- Each August marks the annual neighborhood celebrations that pop off starting with my neighborhood, Gracía, to Sants, to Barceloneta, and finally end with Poble Nou. Gracía’s particularly colorful weeklong festival is not to be missed – picture decorated streets, drink and food stands galore, and more outdoor concerts than you have time to attend!
Up Close and Personal during the parade at last year’s Gracia festival!
- Evening runs along the boardwalk
- If you’re like me and realize you need to run off some of the many croissants you’ve downed while being in Barcelona, I highly recommend an evening jog along the boardwalk. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can run from Mar Bella beach all the way along the boardwalk to the Hotel W and back for a solid 10k! You can’t ask for better scenery, nor do you have to wait at stoplights.
- Picnic in Ciutadella Park
- Perhaps not enjoyable at the dead heat of the day, pick a good time to go and have a picnic in Barcelona’s biggest park, Ciutadella. You can easily pick up a bottle of tinto de verano and some fresh olives at the Born Market, walk over to the park, and relax to one of the many music performers often doing their thing in the park.
The big fountain at the heart of Ciutadella park
- Movies on Montujuic
- Self-described as an “open-air film festival under the Barcelona sky,” Sala Montjuic is open this summer from the 6th of July to the 8th of August. Tickets are 6 euros and can be bought online at their website: http://salamontjuic.org
- Swimming pools on Montjuic
- Up on the top of the Montjuic hill there are two public outdoor swimming pools – the Piscines Bernat Picornell (open year round) and the Piscina Municipal de Montjuic (only in July and August). Great alternative to soak up some rays minus the sand and saltwater.
- Summer eats/ sips…
- Summer in Spain means it is… yes, Gazpacho season!!! Three cheers for cold, ever-refreshing tomato soup! While it may not sound appetizing if you’ve never tried it, you must give it a go. August is prime time for gazpacho, tinto de verano, watermelon, gelato, and of course icy-cold sangria.
Enjoying some cava sangria at Makamaka!
- Summer sales
- July and August in Spain are the months of summer sales in most retailers, aka Rebajas! You can find great deals up to 75% off merchandise of all kinds, from malls to mercados, and boutiques to souvenir shops. With all that money you save from using Aashi Guest List (your key to getting into the best clubs FREE), this is the best time to spend it on new threads!
- Get out of Barcelona!
- Yes, a bit contradictory to the title of this post, but August really is a good time for a weekend trip, a day getaway, etc. Barcelona is surrounded by easily accessible, affordable spots such as Sitges, Casteldefels, and of course the gorgeous towns in Costa Brava. Pick one and go!
Kayaking day-trip to Costa Brava!