Barcelona is a city for the explorer. Easy to walk, with delicious food, wine and nightlife that goes until all hours, everyone will be able to find something to love.

SEE

La Sagrada Familia: I was wary of paying to go see an unfinished church but I must say this was majestic. Make sure you buy your tickets ahead of time or you will have to wait in the hour-long line. The towers ticket is worth it for the fantastic view.
National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya): If you are interested in Romanesque art, this has the best collection in the world. The rotating exhibitions are also interesting to see. Pay the extra for the rooftop, it has the best view of the city.
See the Gaudi sites: Many of the Gaudi sites are expensive but I found all of them interesting and worth the Euros. If you have to pick just one, I would advise you to visit la Sagrada Familia.
The Magic Fountains: Off the Placa d’Espanya stop on the L2 metro, this is 100% touristy but still worth it to go see. The combination of water and lights gets you a bit hooked. Get there early if you want a seat on the steps.

DO

El Gothica: A walk through this neighborhood is a must. Between the small shops, Roman ruins and local bakeries, you’ll find something that looks uniquely Barcelona!
Parc de la Ciutadella: Long day of eating or walking? This is a perfect place for a nap. Just be mindful that you will want to use the restroom elsewhere.
Go to the beach: Weekdays are better, it gets quite crowded on the weekends. Wear flip-flops because the beach is covered in a plethora of shells.
Visit the many Jazz and dance clubs: There are a few in el Born and Poble Sec.

SHOP

Oslo in Gracia: A quirky shop in Gracia not far from the Cafe Camelia.
Mercury for Venus: I bought an excellent cat tote here but this area also has shops with lower priced dresses and accessories.
Astrue: I don’t usually care for shops that have Tibetan Jewelry but this shop was fun and well priced. Good if you are walking through the area.

EAT/DRINK

Market Botequia: Stop here for a fresh fruit smoothie (the cheaper vendors are in the back) and wander through the meat, seafood and food stands. Good for a snack in between meals.
Ca l’Tete in L’Eixample: If you are leaving the Magic Fountains, this is a delicious place for lunch or a snack. The pastries here are quite good.
Cafe Camelia in Gracia: Try the cheesecake and baked goods here. This is a great place to stop on your walk back to the metro from your Parc Guell visit. Also, if you miss soy lattes, they have them here.
Café Con Leche: If you like coffee, try a café con leche, which is a mix between a Cuban coffee and a latte. I enjoyed this with breakfast at Dino Pan in Poble Sec near the El Paralell stop off the L2 metro. It was a chain but the staff was friendly and the crowd was local.
Quimet in Poble Sec: Delicious tapas restaurant, filled with locals and tourists. Try the prawn and caviar or the salmon.
Tapeo in Born: The Bravas (think small potato wedges) are excellent. The Cava sangria was also top notch. If you feel like pork, get the spare rib tapa.
La Bombeta in Barceloneta: Located near the beach, this is cheaper and more authentic than the restaurants on the beach or Main Street in Barceloneta. Try the mussels or fried calamari. The mushroom omelet is also tasty. One note- Catalan and/or Spanish is a necessary here.

A FEW NOTES

*Try to eat off the main avenues – Anything on La Rambla will be more expensive than restaurants in el Born or Poble Sec. Tourist traps tend to be close to the metros on the main roads.
*Most places do not give out tap water so when you ask for water, most likely it will be bottled.

*Cava (Spanish wine) is plentiful here as is the Sangria. Most of the locals drink beer with lunch.

-by Nicole Collins

Nicole lives and works in New York City as a photographer and designer. Follow her at http://cuyleravenue.com.