The World's coolest neighbourhood is in Lisbon: Arroios

Tue 17 Sep 2019

Time Out Magazine experts elected ArroiosLisbon's eclectic neighbourhood, the coolest in the World.

A neighbourhood of contrasts, Arroios stands out from the other parishes of Lisbon for the multiculturalism of its people and places. Cradle of Amália, the greatest Portuguese fado singer of all time, and home to almost a hundred nationalities, Arroios is the largest parish in central Lisbon, though you can walk across it in half an hour.

More than a neighbourhood, it’s a world in itself, and its many impressive kilometres of streets are packed with open-air galleries, restaurants from all corners of the world, public services, cultural and sporting venues… New businesses sprout like mushrooms, living side by side with traditional commerce – if you can’t find it in Arroios, it’s probably coming soon.

No wonder a global poll of local experts from Time Out Magazine named it the coolest neighbourhood in the world right now. Here’s where to begin.

In Lisbon’s multicultural parish of Arroios, the new coexists with the classic and diversity is everywhere.

Along Avenida Almirante Reis and its arteries, you can be dazzled by open-air galleries, such as urban artist Akacorleone’s recent reinvention of the Campo Mártires da Pátria basketball court.

You can taste flavours from the four corners of the world, from the best dim sum in the city at Grande Palácio Hong-Kong to top-drawer Mexican at El Taco Chingón. You can get cultivated at the neighbourhood’s many cultural centres, and discover historical treasures such as the neoclassical São Lázaro Municipal Library, the Portuguese capital’s oldest.

The temporary closure of Arroios metro station hasn’t taken the wind out of the area’s sails: hop off at another stop such as Anjos, or rent a scooter in Praça do Chile and discover the neighbourhood on two wheels.

EAT The longest queue on Almirante Reis speaks for itself: the venerable Ramiro remains one of the best seafood restaurants in town. Shovel down clams, peel some prawns, share a plate of ham, clean out a stuffed crab, split a traditional prego sandwich and empty some beers.

DRINK Occupying a nineteenth-century palace, Casa Independente was the place that put Arroios back on Lisbon’s nightlife map. It’s an artistic project of the Ironia Tropical cultural association, so it’s not just a good place for a drink but also a restaurant and live music venue.

DO From exhibitions and fairs to plays and live gigs, anything can happen at the Mercado de Culturas: a multipurpose space in the old nave of the Mercado do Forno do Tijolo. By 2021 it will have a new neighbour: the House of Diversity, housing Lisbon’s official support centres for LGBTQ+ people and minorities.

STAY Neya Lisboa Hotel keeps racking up awards thanks to its eco-credentials. It’s energy-efficient, recycles as much as possible, has bicycles for guests and its Viva Lisboa restaurant serves a Mediterranean menu made from seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. 

LOCALS SAY ‘There are lots of independent things happening, young people, artists and people from all over the world. A neighbourhood that people used to be afraid of is now Lisbon’s dynamic, intercultural hub.’

Read the original articles here and here

Photograph: Zof / Creative Film Production

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