Gracia is a neighborhood that many Barcelona students might know well for its smaller bars, great restaurants, and beautiful public squares. The neighborhood is a rapidly gentrifying section of Barcelona that is close to the mountains as well as well connected to Plaza Catalunya by Passig de Gracia.
The neighborhood has a decisively different feel to most other areas in Barcelona due to its unique grid. The neighborhood was previously its own city separate from Barcelona, allowing it to create its own small and narrow rectangular blocks. In the Old City of Barcelona, while the streets are similarly narrow, they often go at random angles unlike the more predictable and navigable ones in Gracia. Gracia is also much quieter and residential than anywhere in the Old City because it is not the tourism hub of the city. The shops and restaurants are much more affordable and better value than in the Old City.
The fewer people also means that it is easier to admire the beautiful architecture without feeling pressured to keep moving. While the area is very densely packed with buildings, they are not as tall as elsewhere in the city and the spaces feel more friendly. Many of the streets are pedestrianized meaning that there is little to no car traffic. These are a pleasure to walk in, and are much better than some of the car friendly streets in the neighborhood which have really small sidewalks.
Aside from walking its beautiful streets, Gracia is a great place to eat with some of the best new restaurants in the city of various cuisines (I’ve gotten really good Vietnamese food in several places in Gracia). There are many restaurants and bars that are around larger public squares—usually with a beautiful church. Try and get to one of these restaurants if possible since they are great places for people-watching and to enjoy the sun. These public squares are also great places at night. There is a great, more local, and chiller nightlife in the area and many beautiful bars. So if you’re getting tired of the Old City, please check out Gracia! It is a great first neighborhood to explore if you’re trying to get to know more of the city.
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Hi All! My name is Curtis Kline, I'm from New York City, and I am abroad in Barcelona this spring. I am interested in food, culture, and urban studies. In my free time I will be exploring Barcelona and Europe and am excited to share my experiences with you!