Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens

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Heading to Barcelona with teens? Planning on seeing Barcelona with tweens? Then prepare to have a great time. The city has something for everyone at any age, and in every season, but we think that travel in Barcelona can be especially fun with pre-teens and up.Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens vending machine barcelona metro station

Visiting Barcelona with Teens or Tweens

As you’ve probably guessed, we think family travel in Spain is pretty amazing. However, lots of info on the web is centered on family travel with younger children. That’s why today I’m writing specifically about things to do in Barcelona with teens and tweens.

Believe me: much of the below list will still be considered fun things to do in Barcelona with kids of any age. Adults, too. However, I’ve kept this list more centered on what I think pre-teens and teenagers will most enjoy. Agree? Disagree? I’d love to hear what you think.

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Gaudi: Day-One in Barcelona with Teens

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens park guell girl
Any trip to Barcelona with tweens and older kids should include a full day immersed in the work of Antoni Gaudi. The earlier the better. Architect and undisputed genius, Gaudi is one of Barcelona’s many hometown heroes, and many of his most famous works are spread throughout town.

In my opinion, seeing these buildings is a must when visiting Barcelona with teens, tweens, infants, grandparents, or anyone else.

Read Our Guide to Family Hotels in Barcelona

Park Güell

This amazing park has been a UNESCO Heritage site since the 80’s, Much of Gaudi’s signature patchwork style of colors, patterns, and organic shapes are on display here, and the kids will love exploring the area, if for no other reason than for the selfies they’ll take.

Tip #1: Buy your tickets ahead of time. Like many places in Spain (Playa de las Catedrales comes to mind), Park Güell limits visitor access and you usually buy tickets in advance, and for a set entry time. We tried to go in early, and they wouldn’t let us.

Tip #2: The ticket you’re buying is for access to the main center part of the park, but most of the park is free to walk around as you please. Give yourself enough time to do that before or after you see the main section.

Tip #3: Park Güell is kind of out of town and up a large hill, so I recommend visiting first thing in the morning or near sunset. That said, we visited at sunset and therefore didn’t have time to see the rest of the park before dark, and the line for one of the small museums was too long to even consider. Therefore, I guess I’m really suggesting going in the morning. If you go for sunset, arrange your entry time about an hour earlier than sunset time. At least.

There’s an escalator that goes partially up the steep hill. Look for it, but don’t depend on it, as breaks down occasionally.

Traveling with Electronics? Read Our Travel Plug Adapter Tips

Sagrada Familia

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Barcelona Sagrada Familia interior
This is Gaudi’s masterwork. Construction started on this behemoth in 1882, and it’s still not finished. Current officials estimate completion in 2028. When I first saw this place from the outside, I wasn’t as overwhelmed like many people are. To me, it just looked like a massive sandcastle on steroids. My kids felt more or less the same way.

Then we went inside…

We’ve been in plenty of cathedrals, basilicas, mosques, synagogues, temples, shrines and other houses of worship, and few compare to the Sagrada Familia. It doesn’t look built by human hands. Rather, it makes me feel as if we’ve walked into a spaceship.

Sagrada Familia Tips: Barcelona with Teens

Tip #1: Like Park Güell above, Sagrada Familia is so popular that you really should get tickets in advance. They also have timed entry, so avoid the mistake I made the first time I went. I stood in line for an hour, and when I got my tickets, my entry time was…90 minutes later. That’s 2.5 hours wasted because I didn’t buy them online the night before.

<<Get Your Tickets in Advance via GetYourGuide>>

Tip #2: If you’re in Barcelona with teens, tweens, or anyone who would benefit from using up some energy, buy the tickets that include a visit up the tower. However, those who suffer from acrophobia or vertigo be warned: it’s a very long spiral staircase.

Tip #3: Be sure to go to below the main cathedral entrance where they exhibit how it was planned and built. You may have a different appreciation if you check it out before really entering the sanctuary. There is a small theater showing a documentary on the building and its construction. This is a must. Also, a decent place to rest, nap, or breastfeed a baby.

Tip #4: If you’re visiting Barcelona during the winter, make sure to check out the Christmas market right next to Sagrada Familia. Christmastime in Barcelona is pretty special.
Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Barcelona Sagrada Familia museum basement

Other Gaudi projects

Gaudi has his fingerprints all over town, but most teens and tweens will have had their fill after these two. If you or your kids are ready for more amazing architecture, then La Pedrera & Casa Milà are an easy 15-20 minute walk from Sagrada Familia, with plenty of cafes and restaurants along the way. Casa Batlló, another Gaudi masterpiece, is less than a 10-minute walk further.

Museums in Barcelona for Teens

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens vending machine barcelona MACBA
Out of the many things to do in Barcelona with teens, a spot of high culture in its museums comes recommended. However, I have a confession to make: I really wanted to spend hours in the Picasso Museum, but my kids hated it. They were miserable. Therefore, as much as I’d like to recommend the place for families, I just can’t. Instead, let me tell you about some museums in Barcelona that may be more popular with your teen or tween.

Read Our Guide to Family Hotels in Barcelona

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

My daughter and I love contemporary art. Indeed, we used to visit galleries in Tokyo all the time, and I once directed a small (and inevitably doomed) contemporary art fair in Tokyo. If you and your brood have similar interests, MACBA is the best place to see internationally-known contemporary art exhibits in Barcelona.

Tip: This is also where the local skater community hangs out. If you have a teen into the scene, he/she can see local kids practicing in front of the museum.

Museu de la Xocolata

Oh, did I say “Barcelona with teens?” Chocolate Museums are for everyone! However, I should mention the caveats. This place is less about learning the history and production of chocolate and more about seeing statues of Yoda and Lionel Messi made entirely of the sweet stuff. Fun, but leverage your expectations.

Tip: The Chocolate museum often has some really interesting-looking workshops and classes, but they must be booked well in advance.

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Barcelona Invention & Ideas Museum (MIBA)

The Inventions Museum (MIBA)

Also known as Museu d’idees i invents de Barcelona (The Museum of Ideas and Inventions), MIBA is a great spot for curious kids. My daughter loved that they were playing her favorite Ok Go video on the screen as part of the exhibition. She and Keiko proceeded to spend close to two hours there, taking pictures and getting engrossed in the exhibits.

Tip: One of the exhibits didn’t work when we were there. It was supposed to offer a treat after you burned up a specific amount of calories on a stationary bike. When Keiko and our girl did it, the treat got stuck in the machine. If you go to the front, they’ll remedy the problem for you.

Other Museums for Teens in Barcelona

Barcelona has so many great museums. It just depends on what you and your kids like. If you like science museums, then Cosmo Caixa is worth a look. If you prefer art, then the Fundació Joan Miro is dedicated to another of the city’s favorite sons. Barcelona also has a great Salvador Dali museum, but if you’re only going to see one Dali exhibit, you must head north and visit Salvador Dali’s mausoleum.

Check out all of our SPAIN WITH KIDS tips.

Sports, Parks & Open Spaces

14 Reasons to Visit Barcelona in Winter Camp Nou trophies
If you’re in Barcelona with teens during the summertime, then spending time on the city’s beaches are a no-brainer. However, visit Barcelona in winter and you may be looking for different activities. Here are a few that are worth your time year round.

The Camp Nou Experience

Home to the world-famous Barcelona Football Club, this is an amazing sports area with an equally impressive museum. This place deserves a post all its own.

Car, Bike & Segway Tours

Barcelona is a huge city. To see as much as you can, get your own set of wheels. Bikes and Segways are great, but have you seen these vehicles in the Go Car Tours?

Montjuic Castle, Funicular Railway & Cable Cars

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens montejuc cablecars
The mountain the overlooks Barcelona is easily accessible by cable cars and a funicular railway that connects with the metro station. Oh, and did I mention there’s a castle up there?

Tip: There have been reports of robberies at the mountaintop after dark. These events may be rare or bad info, but we chose not to visit after sundown.

Food, Shopping & Hanging Out in Barcelona with Teens

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Barcelona kids eating gelato in barrio gothic quarter Barcelona
After all the culture you’re consuming, the kids may want a little chill time away from mom & dad, or just want to take a break for a snack or for some clothes/souvenir shopping. I’ve already mentioned the front of MACBAS as a place for teens in Barcelona to hang out. Here are a few more recommendations.

La Boqueria

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens vending machine barcelona boqueria market

This is Barcelona’s biggest and liveliest market. It’s not as beautiful as our beloved Mercado Central in Valencia, but I must admit that the stalls, restaurants and nighttime atmosphere at La Boqueria can be more enticing (most markets in Valencia are closed at night, as well). Kids of every age will enjoy walking the aisles of La Boqueria.

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La Rambla

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens la rambla performers
Yeah, this place is probably already on your radar, and to be honest, it’s hard to avoid (La Boqueria is on this street as well), but this is an easy place to let kids wander off on their own or have a little time away from maw & paw. Many of the restaurants here have large-screen TVs, so if you’re in town for a game but don’t have tickets (like we were), you should be able to find seats to watch it around here.

Placa de Catalunya

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Placa de Catalunya
At the north end of La Rambla, Placa de Catalunya is where you’ll often find buskers and street performers. Indeed, we stumbled onto a performance by a breakdance crew that we had just watched perform six months earlier in San Sebastian. The very same guys.

The Gothic Quarter

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Gothic quarter
Another old and picturesque part of the city. The Gothic Quarter also happens to have lots of pizza shops, gelato stalls, and hipster clothing outlets. If you and the kiddos want some time to explore on your own, this might be The Picasso Museum is nearby, as well.

Things to Do in Barcelona with Teens and Tweens Barcelona kids taking pics in sagrada familia

<< More Ways to Enjoy Barcelona >>

Have You Been to Barcelona with Teens?

Where did your kids enjoy What advice could you give?

Let us know in the comments, or contact me directly.

If you need an itinerary, check out a 3-day itinerary for Barcelona Divergent Travel created.

** If you’re in Barcelona, then you should visit Valencia, too! **

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Image credits: #9, #12, #13, #14

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This costs you nothing. However, when you use our links, we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a room. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best things to do in Barcelona with teens.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the ideas! My wife traveled to Barcelona more than twenty years ago and enjoyed many of these places. What a great city! We are traveling back there next year with our daughters and love the ideas you provided. I’ll try and remember to post back after our travels if I find any other fun things they particularly enjoyed.

  2. Emlyn Williams says:

    I am a teenager and for some reason only adults post on here! These do not seem like fun/enjoyable things for us teenagers to do! We want excitement and exploring not this Gaudi guy that stuff will bore us in an instant! Add more appropriate things these are all things that adults want to do and teens get pulled along with not the other way around which I feel it should be like that every now and then! We enjoy food, parks and fun events not old buildings! Just thought I would share the point of view of a teenager not just the adults.

    • Hi Emlyn,

      Thank you for your frank and honest view of this post, and my apologies if you couldn’t find something in there that you could enjoy. I will reassess this and other posts to see what else I can add. These are far from the only things possible in Barcelona, but I tried to choose ones that MY kids enjoyed, as well as a few that we drug the kids to but they ended up enjoying as well. I would consider the Gaudi stuff to be in the latter category: both kids thought they’d be bored, but since they both like photography (both shooting pictures and regular ol’ selfies) they both discovered plenty of subject matter. I’ll put this on my list to add some more to this post. Thanks Emlyn! Have you been to Barcelona? Or are you going? What are your interests? That helps when looking for things to do. My son loves football/soccer and my daughter loves art.

  3. Michelle says:

    I just came across your article, awesome work!
    So many museums where I would like to go with my son! Thank you for that!
    I was in Barcelona 2 years ago with my husband. We booked free walking tour Barcelona because we wanted to see all sights of the city but didn’t know where to go. Now we can return in beautiful Barcelona with our son and your tips are very useful. Really appreciate that, thanks a lot!

  4. Claire McGregor says:

    Thankyou for this information, really useful. About to spend a long weekend in Barcelona with our 14yr old son so will definately be visiting some of the places mentioned

  5. Thank you for sharing such great ideas here. Last time we were in Barcelona our boys were 4 and 6. Now they are 11 and 13 and you’ve given us some ideas for a future trip. The tween and teen years are a unique time and make family travel interesting in a new way.

  6. Nice post, Jason. Maybe by the time we make it to Barcelona our daughter will be close enough to your kids’ ages to make it perfect for us to refer back to.

  7. Thanks for all the tips! We will be spending the month of March in Barcelona!

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