Why You Should Visit the Palo Alto Market in Barcelona

By Megan Doyle —  May 20, 2015 — 

Before arriving in Barcelona, I already had my bucket list of things to do: La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and a Barca soccer game.  In my mind, these activities were a must.

But what else?  After realizing my bucket list could be completed in about two weeks, I wanted to find some local festivities to try out. That’s when I came across this outdoor market called The Palo Alto Market. The event occurs on the first weekend of every month, so we had to make a spur-of-the-moment decision.

My roommates and I debated for a long time whether or not to go. The website contains little information and was not particularly inviting. We truly had no clear idea of what we were about to see. We thought it was going to be a market where we were flipping through paintings,  and it sounded like there was going to be food. To be honest, we were hungry at the time, and the food angle is what really sold us.

In hindsight, going to the Palo Alto Market was the BEST decision we made in Barcelona.

The market is located about 3 minutes from the Selva de Mar metro stop in Poblenou.  We managed to find it without a map or wifi.  The key is to follow the crowds.

Posing for a group shot at the market

Posing for a group shot at the market

Upon arrival, there was a small line (but it moved quickly), and after paying the admission price of two euros we were inside. The market is adorable.  In fact, it reminded me a bit of home.  I come from a city that is full of food trucks, homemade artsy items, cute clothes, and music. That is exactly what the Palo Alto Market offers. We ran into two friends there whose only advice was to “walk around and get lost,” which is exactly what we did. At every corner, there was something new, including food trucks, a hairstylist, homemade scarfs, wine, music, and a bar.  The market has something for everyone.

Browsing one of the stalls

Browsing one of the stalls

I would advise everyone who is in Barcelona on the first weekend of the month to plan a visit.  The market is quite undiscovered by tourists — mostly, only the locals know about it.  In this respect, going to the market is a good way to escape the tourist crowd, get some authentic Barcelona food, and perhaps buy a handmade souvenir. 

When I say authentic Barcelona food, I mean the food trucks aren’t chains. What they have on offer ranges from seafood ceviche to hamburgers and sausage to crepes to cupcakes. I had a hamburger (the first one since leaving The United States) and it far exceeded my expectations.

The food trucks offer some pretty tasty grub

The food trucks offer some pretty tasty grub

I also purchased a homemade knitted ear warmer headband and I’m regretting not buying gifts there for everyone in my family.  Giving a painting, piece of clothing, or accessory is much more meaningful than a shot glass that says Barcelona on it or an article of clothing from a department store located in the city center. So when you are at the market, take advantage of the items available for sale. 

These items are very reasonably priced, too!  Altogether, including food, alcohol, and accessories, I probably spent only 20-25 dollars. So don’t worry about having to spend a lot of money to have a great time.  In fact, aside from the entrance fee, you can enjoy the market for free.  Just walk around and appreciate the environment.  When you get tired, pull up a chair and listen to a live band.  The Palo Alto Market in Barcelona is one art market that you should definitely check out.  If I were in the city during another first weekend of the month, I would go back in a heartbeat.

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