There are so many things to love about Barcelona that it is tough to narrow down into one favorite thing. The food has been absolutely incredible, nearly every restaurant I have gone to has exceeded my initial expectations. I have found that the average restaurant in Barcelona is of much higher quality than that of the United States, however I will give credit where credit is due; some of the best restaurants in the United States do compete with some of the best in Barcelona.
Another serious contender for my favorite thing about Barcelona is the people. In all of my travels abroad, I have found that most Europeans tend to be a bit more reserved and even at times rude/curt. (Looking at you Parisians) I have found the opposite applies for Catalans and Spaniards. People here are much more open and friendly especially when you try to attempt Catalan/Spanish.
However, my most favorite part of Barcelona has to be the fact that Barcelona feels like a small town in a big city. While Barcelona has a population of 4.8 million in the urban area, there is a sense of community and intimacy many other cities of the same size cannot achieve. Each neighborhood in Barcelona has its own distinct feel which makes it feel like a bunch of little cities making up one big city. Barcelona feels very similar to Chicago in that way, composed of multiple distinct neighborhoods with their own charm and vibe.
My neighborhood of Poble Sec for instance was an old blue collar area at the foot of a mountain. Poble Sec is Catalan for “Dry Village” as the area used to be devoid of bars and clubs. Today is a different story however as the neighborhood contains a variety of tapas bars, beautiful hills, one of the most famous clubs in Barcelona and a slightly older crowd.
Whenever I want to go out with friends, I just head to a different neighborhood where more clubs or bars are located. The incredible subway system in Barcelona allows easy travel between areas and serves as a backbone for which the city flows out from. Barcelona is an incredibly well rounded city that contains many of the best qualities of Europe. There are so many things to love that it is difficult to truly narrow down one thing that is my favorite!