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José Roda — 5 places to be inspired by Barcelona’s cultural diversity

Inclusivity and acceptance — we could do with a bit more of it in the world, right? Well, Barcelona-born illustrator, José Roda has got it covered. He’s known for a vibrant brand of optimism and his work makes us so happy, we even asked him to create a mural in our new Barça store in his signature style of simplistic, colourful portraits.  

To celebrate the opening of our Barcelona store and ‘cause we know the Catalan metropolis is a melting pot of cultures, José’s told us the best places to be inspired by the city’s diversity. From people-watching and eco-friendly activities to enjoying a drink on the terraza, get these places on your must-see list. Take it away, José.

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This park complex — the newest of all places on my list — perfectly defines the future-thinking attitude of the city nowadays. It has a great big solar panel and the diversity of people you can find taking walks, practising sports and enjoying the surrounding views make it clear that Barcelona is an open, modern city of healthy habits and places to enjoy responsible and sustainable entertainment. 

Carrer de la Pau, 12, 08930 Sant Adrià de Besòs, Barcelona

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One of my favourite bars in the city. Entering through its doors is like stepping directly into another period in time — a relaxed, authentic, old-school and coastal Barcelona. It’s essential to enjoy a vermouth with some tapas and spend time with your friends there. Also, it’s very interesting for its un-snobbishness — you’ll find tables crowded by a variety of families, young and hip clients, as well as a more mature and neighbourly clientele.

Carrer de Sant Carles, 15, 08003 Barcelona

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This is the perfect representation of Barcelona. A magical place, also conveniently located very near the Ace & Tate store. In spite of being right in the middle of the city — in the borough of Eixample — it will transport you back to nature. Its chimneys look like great trees or mountains and all its lines and curves carry you inevitably to the waves of the sea. Through it all, people walk and observe — it’s a mini-Barcelona on a terrace. Mountains, sea and people of all varieties. As much as I try to describe it in these few lines, my writing can’t compare to such an incredible place.

Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008, Barcelona

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This small and elongated plaza in the borough of El Borne has one of the most beautiful and photographed façades in the city. Being there, you are transported back in time and it’s much easier to imagine how life must’ve been years ago amongst those walls and plants. I also love this place because it’s close to some of my favourite sweet shops, and diversity among people — as well as among sweets and desserts — is very important. Yummy, yummy.

Carrer de l'Allada-Vermell, 08003, Barcelona

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This is one of the most eccentric and authentic places in the city, as well as a notable example of cultural richness. The scenery is perfect to walk around, sit and read a book, or have a drink on one of its terrazas. I studied very close by and when describing it, I find it hard to be objective, as it also contains one of my favourite places: the Film Archive. It’s also very close to Sant Antoni and Poble Sec — areas I enjoy very much and are authentically Barcelonian, with quite important social and cultural baggage.

Rambla del Raval, 08001, Barcelona

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Portrait of José Roda

Illustrations by José Roda