The Top Cultural Places To Visit In El Raval, Barcelona

MACBA | © Antonio Picascia/Flickr
Joanie Magill

If you’re in Barcelona for only a short hop and want to dose up on both culture and street life, El Raval, Barcelona’s cultural hub, is the place to check out. Raval is sandwiched between the Gothic Quarter, Poble Sec and Sant Antoni districts. Read on to discover the top cultural places to visit while exploring the streets of El Raval.
El Raval hits the sea at Drassanes and Barcelona’s World Trade Centre. Once a notorious red light district, it was cleaned up in the late 1980s and the gentrification process began in the mid-1990s with the arrival of Richard Meier’s MACBA. The neighborhood maintains a growing artist population and the district is home to a number of important cultural centers as well as numerous galleries. It still retains a slight edge, but it’s one of Barcelona’s more interesting areas and is the place to get a good fix of contemporary and Catalan art and culture.


If architecture is your bag, the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona is worth a visit for the building alone. Cool, white walls, sleek curves, and angles fill the space, huge windows flood the interior with light and cast shadows on the ramp that slowly winds its way up around the interior of the building. Dedicated to contemporary art from around the world and a changing program of touring exhibitions, it brings together works by Catalan, Spanish, and international artists, particularly from South America and Eastern Europe. More recently, work by artists from North Africa, the Middle East, and the Arab world has been included in the programming.

Open Mon, Wed, Fri 11.00 – 19.30, Tues closed, Saturday 10.00 –21.00, Sundays and holidays 10.00 – 15.00
MACBA, Plaça dels Àngels, 1, Barcelona, + 34 934 12 08 10


2. Arts Santa Mònica

Arts Santa Mònica

Down where Las Ramblas hits the sea, and a short walk from Drassanes metro is Arts Santa Mònica, another multidisciplinary center dedicated to the exploration of creativity. It focuses on transmedia and digital culture and keeps close to art research, features a broad program extending across architecture, visual arts, music, literature, design, and gastronomy.

Open Tuesday to Saturday 11.00 – 21.00, Sundays and holidays 11.00 to 17.00, Closed Mondays

Arts Santa Mònica, Les Rambles, 7, Barcelona, + 34 935 67 11 10

3. Filmoteca de Catalunya


Filmoteca de Catalunya | © laumaceiro/Flickr
© laumaceiro/Flickr

Filmoteca de Catalunya

Housed in a modernist, even brutalist, concrete building just off the Carrer de Sant Pau, council owned Filmoteca de Catalunya is an arthouse cinema showing a good program of world film. It’s the place for a budget night out. Cinema tickets are cheap and the Monroe bar is dynamic and attracts a mixed crowd of cinema goers. It’s a good place to people watch whether inside or on the outside terrace.
Filmoteca de Catalunya, Plaça de Salvador Seguí, 9, Barcelona, + 34 935 67 10 70

Filmoteca de Catalunya | © laumaceiro/Flickr

4. Gran Teatre del Liceu

Gran Teatre del Liceu | © Manuel Martín/Flickr
© Manuel Martín/Flickr

Gran Teatre del Liceu

For music fans, this is an experience not to be missed. Built in 1847, funded by selling shares, and programmed in part by the shareholders until 1980, the spectacular 2292 seater, Gran Teatre del Liceu is a world class cultural institution in Barcelona. It wasn’t until it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1994 that a new legal framework was created to put it into public ownership. The artistic program is now a mix of works by new composers and a range of the classical repertoire and aims to make it accessible to a wide audience. If you are under 30, you can get a last minute discount of 50% on the day of the performance.

Gran Teatre del Liceu, Les Rambles, 51-59, Barcelona + 34 934 85 99 00

Gran Teatre del Liceu | © Manuel Martín/Flickr

Flea Markets

If you are a fan of vintage, retro, and anything second hand, flea markets are on the rise in Barcelona. On the first Sunday of every month at the Filmoteca de Barcelona is Fleadonia which is organized by the Asociación Cultural Freedonia. It features vintage and original hand-crafted products by artists and designers. El Rastro de la Virgen is on the first Saturday of every month and organized by cultural neighborhood association ‘Arco de la Virgen’. Second-hand clothes recycled and hand made products can be found at Carrer de la Verge.

Fleadonia, Plaça de Salvador Seguí, 9, Barcelona

El Rastro de la Virgen, Carrer de la Verge, 10, Barcelona

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