If you are a tourist and do not want to miss one of the biggest attractions in Lisbon, you have to keep a morning or an afternoon to visit the old but charming, Bairro Alto. If you are young (at least in spirit), you like to go out drinking or just being with friends, surrounded by people and joy, you have to make time to visit it!
Bairro Alto is full of history and vestiges of other times. The streets are narrow and winding. It reminds us of a Lisbon from past centuries. The old buildings are decorated with tiles. Almost all of them have balconies, where people still hang clothes to dry. At every corner you’ll find a tavern, a grocery store or a drugstore.
Young people brought something new to Bairro Alto: vintage clothing shops, fashion boutiques, and original items stores. They also brought in new colors to the neighborhood, painting the walls, making graffiti, putting stickers here and there.
If you visit Bairro Alto in the morning or afternoon, you’ll find all the shops open. You’ll also get to see the details of the streets and buildings, as well as the manifestations of urban art that I mentioned.
At night, all the bars and taverns are open. There are dozens and dozens of them, side by side along the streets. There are modern bars, there are old taverns, there are fado houses, there are restaurants. Here, the night begins at dinnertime and ends around 3am. People do not stay too long inside the bars. They buy drinks, served in plastic cups, and go to the street. They go from bar to bar while enjoying the company of friends.
The best nights are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All students, young people, tourists, famous people go out to Bairro Alto. I’ve already seen Ben Harper there! For real!
It’s easy to get there, if you are visiting downtown and the Chiado. You can also just ask some taxi driver or someone on the street!