What I did and saw:
Playa de Bogatell-
Although I prefer beaches in surrounding areas like Castelldefels or Vilanova i la Geltru, the Boatel beach is much more convenient to get to. It's tough to find a major city anywhere in the world that features a beach within walking distance. Also, Boatel beach offers nice views of some of Barcelona's skyline and iconic W Hotel.
While it's not a particularly spectacular theater, Yelmo Cines is relatively cheap and it shows movies in their original language.
Poblenou Open Day-
The Poblenou neighborhood has an annual "Open Day," which features all kinds of free activities. Also, many area restaurants and businesses have various deals during that time. It's a great time to explore the area.
Palo Alto Market-
The Palo Alto Market Fest is a cool market with great food options and many different interesting products for sale. While there is a fee to enter, there are free samples at many of the booths (although some booths can play the guilt card to try to get you to buy the sampled product). Also, the entry fee helps to keep pickpockets away (something the Barcelona area is notorious for).
Nova Icària Fitness Natural-
If you are looking for a place to get a free workout in in Barcelona, Nova Icaria is one of there best places I've found. While it can get cold in the winter and packed in the summer, Barcelona's climate allows for outdoor workouts for much of the year. Being able to workout next to there Mediterranean is really nice, and being able to do it for free is even better.
I was able to visit both the Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival (IBCF) as well as the Catalonian Aeropress Championships while in Barcelona. Both of them were fun events to check out for a coffee nerd, and both events had lots of free goodies to offer.
Where I ate and drank:
SKYE Coffee Co.-
Serving their coffee out of a van parked inside a warehouse space, Skye Coffee serves quality brews. Although they have filter coffee on their menu, many times when I went they were only offering espresso based drinks (which were still good). Also, the setup is designed to be a meeting/event space, and it played host to the above-mentioned IBCF I checked out.
Nomad Roaster's Home-
While Nomad has a few locations in Barcelona, they roast their beans at their Poblenou location. Their beans are used at many of the craft coffee shops in the Barcelona area.
The Catalan translation of Espai Joliu is "pretty space," and the plants set up in the cafe help Espai Joliu live up to its name. The plants (and some of the art) are actually for sale, and the coffee is great. They also offer a handful of tasty food options.
One of the best smoothie place I've found in Barcelona is Juice Dudes. They have some quality, healthy, tasty options.
Edge Brewing is an excellent brewery started by American ex-pats. Although their brewery is rarely open, you can find their beers at many craft beer spots in the city. They do open their own doors about once a month, and if you sign up for their mailing list they will let you know when.
Carrot Cafe serves great sandwiches and burgers, tasty desserts, and craft beers.
The "Menu del dia" is a popular concept in Spain, and it is a lunchtime fixed price meal that usually includes 2-3 courses and a drink for 10-15 Euros. One of the best I've had in Barcelona is at Granja Mabel, and I would highly recommend it.
Com a Itàlia-
If you are looking for inexpensive but quality Italian street food in Barcelona, Com a Italia is a great option. Their pizza and arancini are both very tasty.
Located just outside the Parc de la Ciutadella, Cafe Menssana offers some excellent, healthy food and drink options. Some of their offerings include kombucha, teas, wraps, and a variety of "bowls" with quality tasty ingredients.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing about the Sant Marti area is the ability to workout for free on the beach. I also really enjoy some of the cafes in the area, and some of the things produced in the area (Nomad coffee and Edge beer) are found in cafes and craft beer spots throughout the city.
My least favorite thing:
There is not much to dislike about the Sant Marti area. However, I was unfortunately pickpocketed on the metro in the Sant Marti area (although that can happen in many areas of Barcelona).
For next time:
There are a number of cafes in Sant Marti that I would like to get to such as Little Fern, and there are a handful of restaurants and craft beer spots like Cerveseria L'alternativa that I would like to check out.
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