This is the coolest neighbourhood in the world right now

Some 40 ’hoods made our annual list, but this thriving European district is officially the place to be in 2020

Ellie Walker-Arnott
Esquerra de l’Eixample
Photograph: Shutterstock

Every year Time Out picks the coolest neighbourhoods on earth, with the help of our global network of editors, locals on the ground and the tens of thousands who take part in our annual Time Out Index survey. This year, the search has been a little different to usual. 

Over the past six months, thanks to lockdowns and restrictions, billions of people all over the globe have found themselves spending way more time in their homes or close to them, in their local neighbourhoods. That means that while 2020’s coolest areas are still exciting, innovative hubs of food, drink, arts and culture, they are also the areas where communities and businesses have helped each other through some very tough times. 

So which neighbourhood has topped the list this year?

Well, it seems we should all think about upping sticks and moving to Esquerra de l’Eixample in Barcelona. Residential, down-to-earth and off the tourist radar, it’s been a hub of mutual aid during lockdown. 

‘Eixample has a characteristic architecture where each block of flats features its own interior courtyard. During Barcelona’s strict lockdown, these spaces became focal points for the city’s energy – as in the pop-up Hidrogel Sessions, in which residents dressed up in costumes and organised mass dance parties from their balconies,’ says Borja Duñó from Time Out Barcelona, adding: ‘A local Mutual Support Network was created to help the most vulnerable, and Ada Parellada from the well-known Semproniana restaurant started cooking for health workers. These are just a few demonstrations of the humanity shared by an authentic Barcelona neighbourhood.’

Esquerra de l’Eixample has beaten the likes of Downton LA and London’s Soho to take the top spot. You may not be able to pronounce it – but, once travel’s back on your agenda, you should definitely try and make the trip.

Find out if your neighbourhood made the top 40 by reading the full list

Sold on Esquerra de l’Eixample? Read up on your new dream neighbourhood: 
📍How community-run garden Espai Germanetes came into its own during lockdown
📍Introducing Odd Kiosk, the world’s first LGBTQ+ magazine stand
📍A local’s guide to the best places to eat, drink and shop in Eixample

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