I mentioned in my last blog not going to Maremagnum on a Sunday, it was the first mall that I visited in Barcelona and all in all a failed mission due to the crowds; not one to give up on shopping I did some research online and discovered La Maquinista Mall, a ways outside of the city, and decided to check it out on a Thursday. I had no idea La Maquinista Mall was open-air and on the day that I went it was freezing outside. It actually turned out to be a good thing because I discovered all the stores and cafes were heated (the ones outside had heat lamps) and the cold deterred the crowds to the point that I practically had the entire place to myself.
La Maquinista Mall is three stories high, four if you count the lower parking level. It has over 230 stores that offer everything from specialty goods (Iberian ham) to electronics to the latest fashions. On the top floor there is a cinema that plays movies in 3D and stays open later than the rest of the mall. There are also several themed restaurants, two of which offer American style barbecue. Haha. I was by myself so I didn’t bother eating at either one but I’d love to go back and see how authentic it really is! There are so many variations on BBQ that it is difficult to do it “wrong.” But not to get sidetracked, La Maquinista Mall was quite the experience and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves shopping as much as I do.
The mall seems to be designed with Spanish shoppers in mind as there is a big free parking lot on the lower level. If you don’t have a car, you can take the green line to Torras y Bajes station and when you get off you will be able to spot La Maquinista and just walk towards it. It’s huge and impossible to miss. The stores are all on two main levels, sandwiched between parking and the cinema at the top. I had no idea how big it was when I embarked on the first level. My assumption was that it followed a straight line so I could walk to the end, turn around, go up an escalator, tour the second level, and exit at the same point I came in. But no, there is an entire wing to La Maquinista that veers off on both levels and has even more stores.
I was looking for shoes and warm clothes so some of the highlights for me were definitely Blanco, H&M, Desigual, Bershka, and Pull & Bear. There are several American stores at La Maquinista Mall that I imagine are worth a look for Spanish shoppers but for me were not of interest. These include Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, and Guess. I also noticed The Body Shop, which I’m not sure is an American store, but is a wonderful place if you’re looking for fragrant body washes and lotions or all natural cosmetics. For the guys, there’s a massive electronic store on the first level and several “Gamer” stores. There is a grocery store, and specialty food shops that sell the aforementioned Iberian ham, coffee, candy, chocolate specifically, and other gourmet stuff.
There’s really not much else I can say about this mall, other than, for an American shopper it can be kind of overwhelming (in a good way). Let’s face it, the European aesthetic in fashion is something that hipsters in the United States are copying and also willing to pay top dollar for. Look through any Urban Outfitters catalog and you’ll notice a striking similarity between what the people here in Spain are wearing and the clothes on the pages. Does that mean Europeans are more fashionable? I don’t have the authority to say but it is nice that copycat versions of the same stuff are available all over La Maquinista Mall for much cheaper. I bought a puffer coat and a knitted scarf for 20 euros.
Some of the stores are located in other parts of the city, but if you go on a weekday to La Maquinista Mall you’ll probably find the stores are much less crowded and will have a better selection. Just make sure you leave for the metro before it gets dark, I’ve heard the area around the mall gets a little sketchy at night.
Here is a map to get there:
What malls have you been to in Barcelona? What do you think about the American/European fashion dynamic?