Barcelona has for a long time been known as a city that celebrates the arts and embraces freedom of expression. Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona draws crowds of people for it’s exhibitions but there’s a surprising development just outside of it which is drawing crowds all on it’s own. Simply referred to as the MACBA skate spot, this congregation of skaters and spectators has become a regular feature outside the museum and is fast gaining an international reputation. Despite the relatively modest sets of steps and ledges – none of which were intentionally designed for skating – the spot has become just as renowned as any skate park, if not more so, with it having been cited as “one of the most well-known and respected places for modern skateboarding.” Hundreds of skateboard enthusiasts view this place as the beating heart of a thriving skate scene that continues throughout Barcelona, and with good reason.
MACBA has long evolved beyond its original parameters as a destination specifically for skaters to meet up into a full social scene that many people frequent just to enjoy the atmosphere, meet some new interesting people and soak up the atmosphere. Officially, skating is only allowed on Tuesdays and Sundays after 2:30pm, but in classic Catalan fashion these rules are rarely enforced. And that lack of enforcement is a beautiful reminder of how well people can self-regulate when left to their own devices, MACBA’s friendly atmosphere is proof of this.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the thoroughly well-beaten tourist track, this gem is a refreshing presence of youth culture, in a space that provides a space for it to thrive.The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and even as an outsider who hasn’t landed a kick flip in about a decade, we came pretty close to giving it a go. Thankfully for all those who were present, we resisted. The spot has long since evolved from being a destination specifically for skaters to meet up, and the general vibe now entices people from all over the city to hang out, talk, drink, and in many peoples cases, just enjoy being on holiday and away from the norm. And if you’re there actually there to skate, MACBA’s unintentional skate spot couldn’t be better suited for the job. The ground is smooth and flat, and the ledges of the steps and foundations of the building are the kind of smooth corners that are just irresistible to grind on, as well as drops and stairs that have been well-documented in a plethora of skateboarding magazines.
In a city that can sometimes feel a little overwhelmingly touristy, there’s sometimes little respite. Although MACBA is a place that’s hardly unknown, it’s genuineness is something that pulls it through the ranks above other attractions. There’s noone trying to coerce you there in order to cash in off ticket sales, you’re not interrupted by street sellers trying to flog whatever tat they’ve got on the go that day, it’s just people hanging out in a place they enjoy doing exactly what they love. Which is more often than not a rarity to find today.
Plaça dels Àngels, 1