En Barcelona, es factible visitar el centro y evitar el bullicio de las compras navideñas.

It may seem like an oxymoron, but enjoying the center of Barcelona without Christmas shopping is possible. One will have to navigate department store bags and selfies under Christmas lights, but when passing through Plaza Catalunya or Universitat, one will find theater, musical shows, and dance at all times. The central Hotel Cotton House will also serve as a refuge to try the confectionery or bikinis from the famous Rocambolesc in Girona, and just a few blocks away (Cinemes Aribau), the world premiere of the new immersive show from the Tomorrowland festival, “The Great Library of Tomorrow,” created in conjunction with the IDEAL team, will take place.

With free admission until December 29th, there will be a program that offers workshops and family shows in the mornings (such as “Reggae per Xics” every day at 1 pm). In the afternoon, street art, theater, and music take the stage, starting at 4:30 pm. DJ Miki Puig will be the first to perform, followed by the soul and jazz of The Gramophone All Stars Big Band. In addition, each day will feature different contemporary dance or parkour performances followed by concerts such as Mazoni (tomorrow at 7 pm) or Saphie Wells (Monday and Tuesday at 7 pm). Around the stage, one can search for the perfect gift without having to buy from large stores. There will be around fifty stalls where small traders and organizations sell sustainable clothing, cosmetics, toys, or economics books.

Starting tomorrow, a spectacular column of light will be visible from many points in the city. The origin is Plaza Universitat, where the creative studio Glasswork has installed “Analema”: a setup (commissioned by Sónar) of 12 robotized beams that represent the winter solstice’s journey and, during the day, record the movements of everyone passing by. When night falls, the movements become a light show combined with the sound of the 12 compositions created by the Catalan duo Tarta Relena. There are two opportunities to see them performed live: tomorrow at 9 pm and next Thursday at 8 pm.

On a luxurious terrace in the city center, the highly sought-after sandwiches from the Roca brothers can be tasted for the first time outside of Girona this weekend. Rocambolesc will set up its “bikinery,” ice cream shop, and confectionery at Algodonera Gastromarket, a gastronomic market located in the courtyard of the Cotton House, a five-star hotel situated in the former headquarters of the Textile Algodonera Foundation (Gran Via, 670). Tomorrow and Sunday, from 12 pm to 7:30 pm, visitors can also try Atelier pastries, the food from Batuar (the hotel’s restaurant), or the traditional Christmas broth from the charitable stand of the Mary’s Meal Foundation. All with free admission, although reservations can be made to complement the experience with a gin tasting with mixologist Alberto Melis or a Christmas cookie workshop for children.

Tomorrowland is Europe’s most sought-after festival, where every DJ aspires to perform and every electronic music lover wants to be. Every summer, it constructs an authentic electronic music theme park in a small village in Belgium, set in a fantastical world topped by its enormous main stage, which becomes more impressive every year. Now, in collaboration with IDEAL, its organizers have chosen Barcelona to create a virtual reality experience that immerses us in this universe: a thousand square meters that, from today until March, have been located (literally) above the seats of Cinemes Aribau (Calle Aribau, 5). One puts on the glasses and finds themselves in a great library where each book tells a different episode. But they will also venture into a fantastic forest where every flower or mushroom touched brings surprises.

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