Things to Do
Essential museums, monuments, walks, talks and tours in Barcelona
- The Time Out hot list
- December's must-see art
- 20 great things to do in Barcelona
- Spas: 20 urban oases
- Barcelona for kids
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).
Pay close attention for your first big pre-Christmas present. Monday, December 22, actor Viggo Mortensen will be at the Boliche cinema to present 'Jauja', the latest film starring the lovely and talented Viggo himself, directed by Lisandro Alonso. There will be a discussion period following the screening of this Spanish-language drama, which Time Out Barcelona's Catalan and Spanish editions voted among the top films of 2014. Get your tickets now at the cinema box office.
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)
- Mon Dec 22 - Tue Jan 6
This exhibition has been designed by Ai Weiwei himself especially for the Virreina Centre de la Imatge as a way to get to know the body of work in the artist's long career, from his beginnings in New York in the 1980s until today, making him the most well-known and influential dissident Chinese artist in the world. An activist and a celebrity, Ai's work merges with his militancy in denouncing the lack of freedom in China, while at the same time appearing at major events and in contemporary art collections. The exhibition explores strategies of approach and intervention on reality through images. From an artistic practice that includes photography and documentary film, sculpture, design and architecture, Ai's images are operations that transcend formats and disciplines, infiltrating and circulating through social networks and related areas of popular culture. In addition to several key works to get you deeper into the artist's oeuvre, La Virreina will also present previously unseen works, new productions and an installation conceived by Ai Weiwei specifically for this show.
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