Floating on a wharf in Port Vell, the Maremagnum shopping complex has a major bragging point that no other Barcelona commercial center has, that is its seaside address. In fact, you must use a pedestrian catwalk known as the Rambla de Mar to to arrive to the behemoth of a structure designed to resemble a shipping vessel. Spanning 39,000 square meters of space, Maremagnum is much more than a shopping destination (not surprising) but also a place of leisure activity for locals and tourists.
Inside the massive shopping center there are more than 35 clothing stores, not counting shoe and accessory boutiques. Common international brand name stores you’ll find are Quiksilver, H&M and Calvin Klein as well as the renowned Spanish designer brand, Adolfo Dominquez which I have become a fan of in recent years and suggest if you want to purchase something ‘’Spanish’’ yet modern then Adolfo is a great choice.
Interestingly, a couple of years ago Maremagnum launched an inventive new shopping concept catered to smaller, independent boutiques with a special platform for local emerging designers giving them access to exhibit and sell their work to a broader audience. Bravo to Maremagunum for their initiative to support up-and-coming fashion and accessory designers since there is truly a lot of talent brewing in this city. Furthermore its widely known its hard enough for new designers to get off the ground let alone make a name for themselves amongst the larger, established brands.
Nevertheless, there is more to do at Maremagnum than meets the eye. There are a large number of restaurants great for group or family dining, bars and discos. And because of its convenient location makes it a smart choice for a mid-day break or evening meal when touring the Barcelona pier. I can’t say I have spent very much time here myself. Furthermore, I doubt many locals of a certain age visit this location as their regular shopping/hangout destination since there are more ‘’hip’’ choices around town.
But with L’Aquriùm (heralded for its 35 different tanks, 11,000 sea creatures and magical underwater sea tunnel), a major Spanish cine-plex chain and the larger-than-life IMAX theatre all located under the same roof it does attract a large crowd of local families on the weekends looking for good, clean, fun. Sadly, there was a rooftop mini-golf course that was popular with big kid and little kids but it seems to have closed down
If their initiative to support independent designers is a clue that Maremagnum isn’t your average American-styled shopping mall then their annual music festival should. For the last 4 years they have hosted the Plaça Odissea Festival, filling the wharf with a stellar grouping of national and international independent music bands usually running over the course of three days. Taking place generally at the end of April or the beginning of May, the crowds have grown each year reaching a maximum capacity of 9,000 in 2010, proof that is has become a prominent music festival.
Interestingly enough, Maremagnum is one of two major shopping malls that maintain an ongoing calendar of out-of-the ordinary events like an interactive Santa Claus photo booth, a comedy festival (that’s a first) and a Tai Chi Marathon open to the public. Hard to imagine busy shoppers whizzing in and out of shops while Tai Chi gurus practice their slow motion moves.
If you happen to be meandering along Port Vell and have the sudden urge for a mall environment or wanting to get up close and personal with a shark, sail across to the harbor to visit Maremagnum and all its attractions. Who knows, you just may run into a Lindy Hop competition!