Museo Guggenheim Bilbao's first exhibit included a collection of over 250 examples of cubist, futurist, constructivist and other 20th-century art movements. The museum features a permanent collection of late 20th-century art spotlighting more of the century's best creative talents including young Basque and Spanish artists. Famous works include those by renowned artists like Richard Serra, Willem de Kooning, and Clyfford Still. Frank O. Gehry designed this complex with spectacular curtains of glass, stone curves, titanium and glass walls, walkways hanging from the ceiling, transparent elevators and immense open spaces that offer a mesmerizing foil for the avant-garde art it houses.
One of the largest parks in Bilbao since the 1980's, Parque Extebarria is located right in the city's old town, the Casco Viejo. This large green space is a favorite among the locals and visitors to Bilbao to relax and spend some time outdoors in nice weather. The park is especially popular among joggers and cyclists. Visitors can see the remnants of Bilbao's industrial past at the massive chimney that stands to this day. With beautiful views over the city, the park is a popular spot for evening strolls.
Great plays have been performed by some of the country's best actors in this much-loved theater over the years. Joaquin Ruboca designed the building using the Paris Opera House as a model to which he added some Renaissance touches. Outstanding architectural features of the Teatro Arriaga Antzokia include the two polygonal towers, the grand foyer, the mezzanine, the huge windows and the rooftop terrace with views of the river, Arenal and Campo Volantín. The elegantly furnished and sumptuously decorated interiors of this theater have a magnificent imperial staircase designed by Francisco Hurtado de Saracho. The theater opened in 1890 and was later named after a young local musician. Check website for exact schedule.
Gran Vía Don Diego Lopez de Haro, better known as simply Gran Vía, is one of Bilbao's main drags. The street begins at the famed Plaza Circular and runs northeast all the way to the Plaza del Sagrado Corazon. Gran Vía runs by many of the city's most famous attractions like the Plaza Moyua and the Palacio Chavarrí. A visit to the Gran Vía is almost impossible to miss during a trip to Bilbao.
Bilbao Arena is a world-class basketball arena and is renowned for its unique architecture as well. Perched on a hilly side, the stadium's facade is inspired by a tree on a rock. Its metal form is covered with decorative panels that is reminiscent of leaves in varying seasons. This state-of-the-art stadium opened its doors to fans in 2010 and also houses a gymnasium and swimming pool. Besides regular matches and competitions, it is used for concerts and other cultural events. Even if you aren't a basketball fan, a visit to this place will surely pique your interest due to its architectural beauty.
When it comes to a music haunt, Sonora is one humdinger of a live music venue that offers not just one, but three separate spaces, each catering to people with distinctive musical leanings. So whether you are in mood to listen to the classic tunes by established rock bands, or want to hop to the beats of electronic music, or are ready to open up to revolutionary sounds in music like funk, soul and dubstep, this eclectic space has everything covered inside its Room 808, Room 909 and the Bar. A unique party house that is bound to impress one and all. Call ahead or visit their website to know more.
Bilbao has only recently come to the attention of tourists, a characterful Basque city that was for so long hidden behind the guise of an industrial hub. The foundation of the Guggenheim Museum changed all that. The silvered, sinuous facade of the museum shelters an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art, ranging from the mind-boggling to the subtly enticing work of master artists from across the globe. The Guggenheim may be Bilbao's most iconic, but it is only one of its many charms. Stroll along the riverside in Casco Viejo and you'll encounter a beguiling array of pastel-hued facades. This is the Medieval town of Bilbao where stand some of its oldest architectural gems. Of these, the Santiago Cathedral is believed to be the most aged; built in the 15th Century, it still retains much of its original design. Here, also stands the bustling Mercado de la Ribera, a treasure trove of local specialties like fresh seafood, cured meats, cheese, sausages and a variety of produce. Along the way are Michelin-starred restaurants and chic designer boutiques. Nearby, are some fine day trip destinations, including the secluded San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a rocky outcrop off the coast, topped by a 10th-century church with spectacular views of the hills and sea. All this and more mark Bilbo as a well of delight just waiting to be discovered.
This young park, opened in 1988, within a large expanse of land is considered the second biggest in Bilbao, after the Parque de Doña Casilda. It has various sculptures that represent the spirit of the union between different European peoples, an example of which is the Piedra de la Amistad (the Friendship Stone), a gift from the Count of Hampshire. There is a roller skating track and a frontón. Also, near one of the park's entrances, is the Txurdinaga Multi sports Complex.
The Tavira gallery has been open since 1975, and it has more than 100 square meters available for the ten annual exhibits it organises. They tend to favour figurative work, although there's always room for debate between the abstract and the figurative, post-impressionism, realism and expressionism. Some of the artists featured in these exhibits have included García Barrena, Luzuriaga, Cristóbal Toral, Baquero Turcios, Baquero Palacios, Estrada, Ubeda, Guijarro or Sol Gorbea. At the back, there's also a good collection of 19th and early 20th century Basque paintings.
Ederti opened in 1974 with an exhibition dedicated to Rodin. It marches to the rhythm of its own drum, and is open to any quality art, whether it be international or Spanish. Generally speaking, the exhibits favour paintings over sculptures. They have exhibited work by Chillida, Gordillo or Urrutikoetxea, as well as other prestigious artists. Besides the temporary exhibits, there is a permanent collection on display of artists who at one time or another exhibited their work here.
Established in 1971, Galería Bay-Sala is the brainchild of Spanish artist, Juan Bay Sala's son, Juan Bayón. This reputed gallery is known for its solo as well as group exhibitions featuring a wide range of regional artists. Primarily focusing on figurative art, this compact gallery showcases quality watercolor artworks that will surely impress you.
The only permanent auction room in Bilbao, the Sala Moyúa Brancas is often used for jewelry, watches, pearl and other ornament exhibits. With modern facilities and a well equipped staff, this room first held an auction in 1910. The Sala Moyúa Brancas also houses a workshop room, offices and a well crafted multipurpose room within its premises. For more information and for bookings, please call ahead or check their website.