Sunday morning in Barcelona and (almost everything) is closed. For those of us who didn’t stay up too late partying last night, us early birds might feel called to enjoy the Sunday sunshine of Barcelona. Whether you find yourself recovering from a brutal resaca, you’re bright eyed and bushy tailed from a morning yoga session, or you’re simply looking to leave the house for some fresh air, be sure to head to one of our favorite plaças this weekend to enjoy the social buzz of Barcelona.
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Plaça de Sant Felip Neri
Nestled in the Cathedral complex in El Barri Gotic is Plaça de Sant Felip Neri. Despite its proximity to the hustle and bustle of downtown Barcelona, the plaça is like a quiet, idyllic oasis away from the movement of the city. The quaint fountain, weeping mimosa trees, the sound of children playing and the old walls of the Catalan cathedral make Plaça de Sant Felip Neri one of Barcelona’s hidden gems. Plaça de Sant Felip Neri’s appeal, apart from its romantic beauty, is its potent cultural history. In 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, Franco’s regime commanded bombs be detonated on the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona. In an extremely unfortunate sequence of events, a bomb dropped on the plaça as children were running across to seek shelter. On January 30th, 1938, 42 Catalan children lost their lives there. Barcelona’s city council has elected to keep the original walls where shrapnel from the bombs have damaged the walls, as a reminder of this devastating event. Bring this knowledge of Barcelona’s history as you make your way to visit Plaça de Sant Felip Neri. The tranquil beauty of the plaça juxtaposed to its potent history makes it one of the most special places in the city.
The Gracia district of Barcelona is riddled with plaças, from Plaça Diamant, Plaça Revolucio, and Plaça del Sol, to the famous Plaça Virreina. A beautiful church occupies the northern quarter of the plaça, and to the south, the restaurant-lined Carrer de Torrijos. On the last Sunday of every month, you’ll find one of the city’s best daytime parties…swing dancing! Hundreds of locals and visitors alike try their skills out and swing dance the afternoon away. Throughout the day, you’ll find a rotation of local musicians and performance artists showing their skills to the plaça-dwellers. The three cafés on the plaça offer plenty of seats to sit down with your caña, soak up the sunlight, and enjoy the bohemian energy of Gracia’s Plaça Virreina.
Plaça de Prim
Plaça de Prim might best be known for it’s impressive Ombu trees originating from south-eastern South America. This area of the industrial neighborhood Poblenou mostly maintains its austere façades, but in Plaça de Prim you’ll feel the pre-industrial, old fishing town vibe. The whitewashed walls, orange trees, and gigantic tree roots breaking through the concrete make Plaça de Prim our favorite seaside hangout.
Last but not least, Plaça Reial–royal plaza, in Spanish–might be the first plaça that comes to mind when discussing typical Barcelona public hangout spots. Adjacent to the famous, centrally-located avenue La Rambla, Plaça Reial boasts tall palm trees, many lovely restaurants, and a beautiful fountain. Plaça Reial hosts three well-known Barcelona nightclubs: Jamboree, Sidecar and Karma. Don’t forget to look up…the lamp posts are designed by Catalonia’s very own Antoni Gaudi!