Things to Do
Essential museums, monuments, walks, talks and tours in Barcelona
- December's must-see art
- 20 great things to do in Barcelona
- Spas: 20 urban oases
- Barcelona for kids
- Open your eyes to architecture
What's on in Barcelona
It's not just about Sónar and Primavera Sound. For an unforgettable year of music, art and cultural experiences, follow Time Out's guide to festivals and events. The coming months promise an endless array of events showcasing the best in Catalan and international culture - from hip hop and documentary filmmaking to religious and traditional celebrations. Plan your year here.
This week and beyond
The Parc del Fórum hosts the Festival of Chinese Lanterns, a traditional show of giant silk figures lit from the inside like a lantern, which represent typical symbols and motifs of ancient Chinese culture. All the figures – more than 500 large-scale lanterns – boast an original design and are crafted by a score of Chinese artists with painted, non-flammable silk. Lanterns shows have a long tradition in China, where the Festival of Lanterns is just one of their big parties, held during Chinese New Year celebrations as well as the Moon Festival.
After three years in the works the Museu de Disseny, Barcelona's new design museum, finally opens on December 14 to show off all its charms. To celebrate the grand opening, you're invited to take in the whole collection, made up of more than 70,000 pieces, for free until January 31. Visit the space and learn how it is that an everyday object deserves to be a museum piece, how the concept of design has evolved over time, and why Barcelona is one of the world's leading cities in the field.
The second-hand market with the biggest pirate spirit in Barcelona is back. Find the most unusual stuff at great prices. This time around the stars of the market are clothes, especially vintage and those by small designers.
Born in France but now living in LA, artist Thierry Guetta (Paris, 1966) – who goes under the moniker of Mr Brainwash – is today a global name in urban art. Since his early days in LA in 2006, Mr Brainwash has shown his work in cities such as New York, Miami, Toronto, LA, London and Cape Town, collaborated with Madonna and Seth McFarlane, and starred in a documentary directed by urban art icon, Banksy. 3 Punts Galeria is showcasing a selection of his most emblematic works for the first time in Spain, amongst which you'll find unique pieces on material, cardboard and paper, in small, medium and large formats. In addition, there is a series of small-sized works specially created for this exhibition, as well as a sculpture focusing on one of the city's most-loved and much-missed symbols, the albino gorilla Floquet de Neu (Snowflake).
The holiday stalls of toys and crafts are back on Gran Via. It's a good opportunity to get an unusual gift or for last-minute shopping on Christmas Day and Epiphany ('Reis', January 6). The 270 stalls are open from December 19 to January 6, and on January 5 you can shop until 3am if you're really that much of a last-minute Larry, or maybe you just really like outdoor winter shopping.
- Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes (between Muntaner & Calabria)
- Sun Dec 28 - Tue Jan 6
The Festival of Childhood is back. This annual event that's been in Barcelona for more than half a century brings all kinds of fun, cultural and musical activities to the city for the whole family to enjoy together. This year, activities related to technology and ecology, and traditional performances will be the stars of the 51st edition, and will coincide with the XD Young Fest, a new festival of entertainment and multimedia experiences aimed at young people ages 12 and up. Among the various activities of the Festival of Childhood this year are 3D cinema sessions where images are projected in 360 degrees, as well as interactive and sensory games that allow the littlest ones to discover technology in a surprising way. Small children will also be taught how to grow food in an organic garden that will be created to commemorate the International Year of Family Farming, and of course they'll find the usual programme of puppet shows, clowns and magic, as well as adventure areas, a skating rink, car circuits... All the ingredients you need for kids to have a great time!
- Rated as: 3/5
Inside the Raluy Circus Museum's welcoming new tent, you can enjoy the magic of being part of the privileged spectators of the fantastic world of circus. Be wowed by the aerial games with Jean Christophe de Beauchamp and Kerry Raluy, the daring feats on wheels of Emily and Niedziela; the sensuality of Rosa Raluy with her poetic performances; the ever magical world of Louisa Raluy; along with jugglers, clowns, music and more from a whole cast of characters.
Welcome to Barcelona! Get the insider's guide to all you need to know while studying and living in your new city