(And no, that’s not a bad thing!)
Part of the fun of living in a big city is watching trends come and go. In Barcelona, different neighbourhoods cycle in and out of style and cycle. From when I got here just four years ago, the vibe of the districts has changed a bit. Each district has its own distinct feel – which is part of what I love about the city – and they often reflect the trends happening all across town.
So where do Barna’s hip young things choose to live?
You’ve got hipster classic Gràcia, which used to be its own separate village from Barcelona but now mixes tradition and trendiness together like nobody’s business.
Then there’s the Raval, a district known for its huge immigrant population and slightly edgier feel. Friends who live there still get asked how they do it – even though it’s not really that dangerous anymore.
You’ll also find them in the Born, which has all the old-world charm of the Gothic quarter but way fewer of the tourist traps.
But now, there’s a newer neighbourhood on the scene – Sant Antoni.
Sant Antoni is tiny triangle-shaped slice of a district arranged around the market with the same name. It slots in between the Raval, the newer Eixample district, and Poble Sec, the neighbourhood pushed up against the hillside of Montjuïc.
It’s got the tall, wide buildings of the Eixample but is right next door to the tiny winding streets of the oldest parts of the city centre, so if you live here, you get the benefits of a much more modern apartment while still being right next to all of the interesting old stuff in the centre.
And that’s just part of the reason it’s Barcelona’s “yuccie” hotspot.
You might be wondering – what even IS a yuccie? It stands for Young Urban Creative, and it was invented by David Infante in a hugely popular Mashable post titled “The hipster is dead, and you might not like who comes next”.
Yuccies are the new version of the hipster, but with a few differences. Here’s how Infante describes the yuccie:
“I’m a 26-year-old writer who lives in a gentrifying neighbourhood in Brooklyn. I’m a straight white man with a single-speed bike and a mustache. I studied liberal arts in college, and I have ideas about stuff, you guys.”
Basically, yuccies are hipsters, but more techy and more open about wanting to make money off of their “passion projects” – a cross between a creative hipster and a successful yuppie who’s big on what Infante calls “creative entitlement.”
You can take their quiz to find out of if you might be a yuccie. For the record, it said I am “quite a bit of a yuccie.”
I’m not surprised – I do online freelance work in a creative field, live in a hipster neighbourhood in a big city, and love my regular yoga sessions. And all my friends seem to be doing the same thing. (Sorry).
So, what’s a Young Urban Creative to do? Get thyself to Sant Antoni as soon a possible!
If you walked through Sant Antoni on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you might be forgiven for thinking that it looked like quite a boring place. All the shop windows are tightly pulled shut – and the ones you can see tend to be mixture of sketchy shops, outlet joints, and really old-fashioned clothing stores.
There aren’t very many people in the street, and it looks more residential and sleepy than anything else.
But then suddenly, you might come across a street that changes your mind entirely. Spoiler alert: this will probably be the achingly hip Carrer Parlament.
There are artistic centres selling all kinds of artwork that’s been almost clinically studied to be as stylish as possible. You can shop for eco-friendly tea or buy a selection of organic groceries.
Street art pieces are subtle and understated, and would look just as cool on a slouchy white t-shirt as they do on the walls. Shop windows are covered in pretty white hand-painted slogans declaring things like “Hello, summer!” or announcements for upcoming art shows.
You’ll see airy cafés decorated in angular pastel artwork. You’ll see a slew of bright, neat restaurants offering brunch specials written on chalkboards. Or maybe you’ll see dirty old bars that have been rehabbed and converted into cool new vermouth spots.
And then there are huge garage-style spaces whose brick walls have been cleaned up and strung up with minimalist white lights, and where instead of cars, there are now tidy tables and chairs in pop-art colours.
Even on one of Barcelona’s stickiest summer afternoons, the people sitting on the outside terraces have carefully planned out their outfits to make a clear style statement.
Red lipstick, skinny jeans neatly cuffed just above the ankle, vintage-style sunglasses (that probably cost more than your rent), and intentionally ugly button-down shirts are common sights on locals.
They’ll occasionally pull out a fancy device (that definitely cost more than your rent) to check their e-mail or share their latest purposefully-filtered Instagram snaps.
Hipsters? Not quite. This is Barcelona’s yuccie haven.
And, in fitting yuccie form, I’ll be working with Skyscanner on a live Periscope stream from Sant Antoni this Friday from 5-6 p.m. Barcelona time! Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for specific information on my Facebook page.
20 cities for Yuccies around the world (Skyscanner)
I love that you have featured all of the most interesting neighborhoods in Barcelona so far, Jessica! Sant Antoni looks like a fresh, comfortable place to live.
Thanks, Trevor! I very nearly rented a room in Sant Antoni instead of Gràcia – it’s such a fun bit of the city.
I love Sant Antoni! Especially Carrer Parlament and all the amazing cafes there. Except the daycare where I worked was in Sant Antoni so that brings it down about ten points XD
Hahaha oh no, the daycare! Repress, repress…apart from that Sant Antoni is really cool. 🙂
OMG that article. My sister sent it to me after she got tired of me of accusing her of being a hipster (she lives in Brooklyn in a neighborhood quickly gentrifying and works in the arts, enough said). I rolled my eyes so high when I saw the term Yuccie in that article and started laughing hysterically because apparently my sister thinks I’m a Yuccie too. I’m not a fan of the term–it sounds so pompous like “I’m an ARTIST and so serious about my ART.”
But this neighborhood sounds pretty cool! Sometimes the smallest places have the most to offer.
Haha I rolled my eyes when I saw the term too…and then realized I definitely have a bit of a Yuccie in me (although I’m definitely not serious about any kind of art).
It’s so nice to find out more about the different neighbourhoods of a city, rather than just the tourist hotspots. Thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you liked it! 🙂 This is definitely not a touristy neighborhood, but it’s a lot of fun to explore.
I only explored Sant Antoni myself for the first time last year and thought then that it had a bit of an “up-and-coming” vibe, so it’s interesting to read this.
They’re still working on redoing the Mercat too I see?
Yup, the market is supposed to open up next year – we’ll see if that actually happens!
I was in Sant Antoni for the fiestas in January – definitely seemed like a tight-knit sort of community! I hadn’t been there previously and was surprised because it’s so close to the big tourist draws.