Barcelona is a city best known for its bizarre Gaudi architecture, Gothic churches, cosmopolitan beach culture and delicious tapas but, when it comes to traveling with the family, is Barcelona a good place to take the kids?  When my husband and I took our two kiddos (ages 1 and 3 years old) to the Barcelona is a thriving tourist hub in Southern Spain a few months ago, we learned that Barcelona is a particularly family-friendly city that  has much to offer the European bound traveler. There are a ton of playgrounds across the city, with many child-friendly tourist attractions. Parents here have cleverly created play spaces in the middle of restaurant lined squares, so mom can have a sangria while watching junior play. For those who are considering a visit to this beautiful city, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best things to do in Barcelona with kids.

Playground Sagrada Família

A visit to Gaudí’s iconic Roman Church is #1 on most travelers’ hit lists. After you’ve walked the circumference of this awe-inspiring basilica, marveled at the schizophrenic architecture and breadth of the on-going construction, check out the playground across the street from the Sagrada Família. Nestled in the Park Plaça de la Sagrada Família, this playground gives the kiddos a chance to run around, rope climb, slide and bounce out their energy. As the kiddos frolick around on the jungle gym, parents can have lunch and take in the spectacular Sagrada Família backdrop. If you decide to go into the Sagrada, be sure to book your tickets online in advance from their official website. This will save you hours of waiting in line. Children under 10 are free and audio guides are available to children 12 years old and older.

Park Ciutadella

Park Ciutadella park kids

Steps away from the Arc de Triomf and the Zoo, you’ll find Park Ciutadella. The Central Park of Barcelona, it’s largest and oldest green space in the heart of the city, dating al the way back to the late 1800s. Here kids can run around the manicured grounds, feed ducks in the lake, rent rowboats and watch wild green parrots called Monk Parakeets fly from palm trees. The big draw is the ornate and impressive Cascada waterfall and fountain, created between 1875 and 1881 by Josep Fontserè with the help of a young Gaudí. Kids will love to chase after and pop the ginormous bubbles made by local street performers directly in front of the fountain. There are also several fantastic playgrounds for younger children, including the Ludoteca, an interactive outdoor playspace for families with children ages 0-5. Open daily throughout the year, Ludoteca also has free environmentally themed workshops for kids. My kiddos loved the outdoor play space. I loved the fact that it was completely enclosed (so they can’t escape) and that I could meet local Spanish mamas for a parental themed cultural encounter. While in this area, you’ll also find the Barcelona Zoo. It has your basic zoo animal requirements, lions, tigers, giraffes and elephants, but there are also zip lines for older kids, dolphin shows and a petting zoo where kids can participate in farm tasks, like feeding and brushing the animals.

Park Güell

mosaics of Park Guell

Young kids will love the multicolored mosaic lizard water fountain, the Hansel-and-Gretel fairy tale gatehouses, the imaginary forest of 88 stone columns (perfect for running around and screaming at the top of your lungs), and the sweeping views overlooking all of Barcelona. Park Güell is truly a magical spot. The park is extremely popular and access is limited to a certain number of people every half-hour, so be sure to book ahead online to reserve a time. For early risers, if you arrive before 8 a.m., you can access the park for free. This is the perfect time to capture that beautiful morning light and avoid a mob of tourists photo-bombing your shot.

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