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Arts & culture

Upperground, a cultural centre in El Raval

Written by Miguel
Photo by Javier Cuchí Burgos via Visualhunt

Photo by Javier Cuchí Burgos via Visualhunt

Located in the neighbourhood of El Raval, in the Ciutat Vella district, Carrer de Joaquín Costa is one of the streets with most commercial activity in Barcelona. A tourist hotspot, it features organic markets, butcher shops, the famous Goya Theatre and many other points of interest. A place of great cultural diversity, it is home to immigrants from countries such as the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Israel, France, Brazil and Colombia, to name just a few. With many traditional Catalan establishments and frequented in great numbers by English and German tourists, Joaquín Costa might actually be one of the most international streets in Europe – or perhaps even the world.

A great place to shop during the day, with products from all over the planet at very low prices, this El Raval street is also known for its frenetic nightlife, with its many bars and clubs attracting locals and tourists alike. In the middle of all this cosmopolitan bustle, though, there’s a place in particular we want to tell you about…

Related article: Great hotels in El Raval

Upperground Barcelona

Photo via Pixabay

Photo via Pixabay

Upperground is like a door to another dimension. Located in an old piano factory, it takes you exactly 106 steps up its stairs to get to “the sky”, as they call the terrace where most of the organization’s activities take place. Once you get there, still trying to catch your breath after the climb, it gets taken away from you again as you’re struck with an incredible panoramic view over the city.

As you admire Carrer d’Elisabets to your right, Montjuïc to your left and El Tibidabo facing you from the distance, your ears will slowly join your eyes in the moment, as you start to notice the sounds of tribal drums or the ruminations of a jazz band. Turning your attention to what’s happening in the terrace, you’ll see Caribbean dancers and movie projections.

You can’t hold your focus for long, though, as your nose calls for your eyes to find the exotic dishes it is detecting – moquecas, sancochos, arepas, aguadepanela… Once your senses have settled, you’ll start mingling with the small, lively groups of people that gather in Upperground – and you’ll soon have a handful of new friends in Barcelona.

Related article: Where to eat on a budget in El Raval

Events and activities

Photo by Paulina Jadeszko via Unsplash

Photo by Paulina Jadeszko via Unsplash

Down in the street, you were in the centre of a multicultural world. Here, you are at its core. At Upperground Barcelona, you are free to be yourself – or even to find out who you are. Free to be expressive, to dance, to sing, to play guitar or act in a play. “The sky” works as a concert stage, a theatre venue, a coffee lounge and whatever else its members want it to be. They organise events every week, so make sure you stay informed of their schedule. If you enjoy the activities they offer, why not even join the team and help prepare them? It used to be that subcultures stayed in the underground… but where better to let your imagination fly than a place where the clouds seem to be within a hand’s reach?

Are you staying in Barcelona? Will you visit the barrio of El Raval and check out Upperground? Let us know all about it using the comment box below. Have fun discovering Barcelona!

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About the author


Miguel is a freelance writer and copywriter who believes that words can really take you places - so hop on his words and dare to discover the wonders of Barcelona with him.

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