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Throughout the summer, most evenings see special cultural and gastronomic activities held at venues around the city. Many modernista spaces, such as La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, host concerts, suppers, drinks and audiovisual shows. In turn, several cultural venues, including Poble Espanyol, CaixaForum and El Born Centre de Cultura i Memoria, open late at least one night a week, allowing you to enjoy their exhibitions and special activities away from the daytime crowds and heat.
Film fans can head to open-air screenings like Sala Montjuïc, which shows movies at the castle on top of Montjuïc, Gandules, an event at the CCCB where the audience sits in deckchairs (gandules in Catalan), and Cosmonits, a whole programme of sci-fi films at CosmoCaixa.
So, if you are looking to enjoy summer nights, Barcelona has a wide range of options for you.
Prepare to set sail. Well, to at least imagine yourself setting sail on one of the magnificent vessels on display at this year's Barcelona Boat Show. This edition sees the city's Port Vell fill up with the latest yachts, speedboats and catamarans for potential buyers to peruse, and the interested to ogle.
All the principal makers of sporting and leisure boats are represented, with hundreds of gleaming crafts on show, alongside numerous stands where you can try the latest technological advances in the sector along with the newest must-have accessories and equipment.
This is the main architectural event in Barcelona, a weekend in October where over 200 buildings of every shape and size open their doors to the general public. It is an initiative of the 48h Open House Barcelona association, which began in London in 1992. From then on, the concept of an 'Open House' has been implemented around the world: New York, Dublin, Galway, Tel Aviv and, since 2010, Barcelona, have their own week dedicated to local architecture. 'Open House' offers the opportunity to understand and experience architecture in a unique way, through an architectonic experience.
The program invites everyone to explore and understand the value of a well-constructed and designed space. In the last few years, this event in Barcelona has expanded to include cities and villages from the metropolitan area and the Maresme Coast, and on the roster of buildings to visit we will come across churches, schools, sports centers, apartment blocks, libraries and restaurants.
The Gastronomy Festival par excellence is celebrating this year a new edition. A major festival of food products and gastronomy, which takes place on the Avenida de la Catedral, is a unique event for enjoying talks, presentations, cooking shows and tastings by professionals and journalists in the world of gastronomy. These are three days in which to discover and enjoy local tapas and dishes prepared by chefs from some of the best restaurants in Catalonia.
Feel the asphalt beneath your feet and relish the sense of achievement of crossing the finishing line and maybe even beating your personal best by taking part in one of Barcelona's most prestigious sporting challenges.
With 97 editions under its belt, the Jean Bouin (named after the eponymous French long-distance runner who took part in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics and beat various world records; he was killed in the First World War) has earned the honour of becoming the oldest running race in Barcelona.
The event, which is deeply rooted in the city's sporting culture, attracts all kinds of top-level runners every year, with over 11,000 people taking part in the two Open events (5km and 10km) and 2,000 entrants in the youth categories. The Jean Bouin is organised by Mundo Deportivo, Spain's oldest sports newspaper and one that belongs to the Grupo Godó, Catalonia's leading communications group.
The Christmas season in Barcelona is special for many reasons. Firstly there are the traditional elements, like the Christmas markets, particularly the Santa Llúcia one by the cathedral, which has been held since 1786 and is where local families go to buy figures for their cribs. Talking of which, pessebres (which is what cribs are called in Catalan) can be seen in places around the city including Plaça Sant Jaume, Frederic Marès Museum and the Reial Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes. And pessebres vivents ('living nativity scenes') feature real people (and animals) acting out the Christmas story – if the chance comes up to see one, for example at Poble Espanyol, don't miss it.
On a more modern note, Barcelona is conscious of the need to be environmentally aware at this time of year, and Plaça Catalunya hosts a fair promoting responsible consumption, as well as fun and games for all ages. As the glittering lights brighten the streets at night, why not feast on some roasted chestnuts from one of the stalls around town before enjoying a concert of Christmas music?
Visit the Casa Amatller from June and September, in a very different way. Modernist evenings give you the opportunity to enjoy a dramatized visit, to learn about this gem of Puig i Cadafalch, by those who actually lived in the house. You will be able to see the rooms and hear about their everyday life, the chocolate factory, their travels all around the world, their friends, etc.
A visit to learn about the curiosities and the best kept secrets, which will end with a glass of of wine tasting in the exterior patio of the house.
Palau Güell is celebrating the new edition of Evenings at Palau Güell. This has become a very special and unique event of summer evenings in Barcelona. The evenings will take place on the magical, incomparable terrace. This was where for the first time the architect Antoni Gaudí conceived chimneys as architectural sculptures. A band will be perform every evening with a special, unique style. Depending on the evening, music will range from the most classical jazz to later musical styles like the doo wop, new tango or RnB.
The festival of the Gràcia district is one of the most celebrated festivals during August in Barcelona. It is a popular festival that lasts for several days, with a wide range of activities, such as concerts, workshops and shows. The highlight of the festival is the traditional competition when streets are decorated and compete to achieve first place.
Besides the decorated streets, at the squares you have the option to hear live music, dance and taste typical gastronomy of the city.
The best in current electronic music and EDM (Electronic Dance Music) is showcased, once more at the Platja del Fòrum and the Parc de la Pau in Barcelona, at this year's Barcelona Beach Festival 2021. Each year, this festival gains in reputation as the greatest contemporary dance music extravaganza, with line-ups that bring together the very best Spanish and international DJs. In an incomparable setting with the beach as a backdrop, and nearly 14 hours of uninterrupted music, the BBF has established itself as the best one-day electronic music festival in Spain.
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