Where to stay
We stayed at an Airbnb in L’Eixample near shopping, public transportation, a bunch of good restaurants and Las Ramblas. The apartment was a 2-bedroom on the third floor (with elevator); Perfect for a family with 2 kids. The floor plan was a little wonky, but was well-appointed with a cute outdoor patio and (even better) AC. Find some others in the same area here, here and here.
Things to do
Fat Tire Bike Tour
Price: 26 Euro/person
We took a page out of our Paris trip and booked a Fat Tire Bicycle Tour for our first whole day in Barcelona. We biked by Plaza del Rey, Ciutadella Park, Segrada Familia. We meandered through cool/interesting neighborhoods until we reached a beach cafe for lunch. Along the way we heard stories about dictators, teenage martyrs and other tidbits that added life and color to the city. The route takes you down public streets, which can be stressful at times, especially with little ones. If that sounds like more adventure than you’d like to bite off — the double-decker bus tour probably gives a similar feel and a larger scope.
Price: 8-24 Euro/person
If you’re going to see one site in Barcelona, this is it. The architecture, artistic vision, story and size are all awe-inspiring. Book tickets ahead through the official site (above) if you want to take the elevators to see the higher floors (Trust me, you do!)
Price: 7 Euro for adults. Kids under 12 are free
The park is free, but if you want to see some of Gaudi’s most famous design pieces, like the mosaic dragons, then you have to buy tickets. Tickets are given for specific times, so get them before you go or you’ll be waiting for hours. Note: The food options at Park Guell are pretty slim. Pack a lunch or eat before you go.
1.2 km of bustling street connecting Catalunya Plaza to the Christopher Columbus monument at the port. Vendors, street performers, a — indoor food market and even a street mosaic by Miro. We brought along this scavenger hunt book which turned searching for some of the more interesting pieces of notable history into a game.
Price: Entrance is free, but each activity requires a ticket, which starts at 6 Euro
A short walk from the end of Ramblas is the pier with a shopping mall and the Bubble Parc which has ad bungee dome, bubble pod, aqua boats watch in amusement as your kid tries (and fails) to run inside a plastic ball. Inside the mall are small cars which kids can rent and — something you’d never find in a mall in the US.
Cosmocaixa Science Museum
Price: 4 Euro/adult, Free for kids under 16
Descend a giant spiral walkways into a five-floor space filled with hands-on science exhibits, an indoor rainforest, planetarium, kids’ activity center and more. It’s a little out of the way, tucked in a neighborhood about a 15-minute walk (uphill) from the metro, but the museum is really quite impressive. On our visit, a lot of the exhibits (like the planetarium) were closed, but even so, there’s was more than enough stuff to keep us engaged for 2+ hours. I could have easily spent an hour (and a whole lot of Euro) in the gift shop alone.