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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Discover Great Wine and Design in Porto

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5. Oddball Day


The Palacio de Cristal was designed by English architect Thomas Jones Dillen and modeled after London's Crystal Palace.  

Sleep late and then spend the day walking around the Miguel Bombarda district, home to contemporary art galleries, alternative shops, and art studios. (The area doesn’t get going before 11 a.m. and stays shut most Sundays and Mondays.) Fuel up with a sandwich of smoked tofu, arugula, and sprouts ($4.30) and a shot of wheatgrass ($2.70) at Quintal Bioshop, an organic grocery store-cum-café. Then browse through the 35 shops of Centro Comercial Bombarda, an alternative shopping center where you’ll find stucco art, hemp products, organic toiletries, bonsai trees, and more. For a look at what’s hot in the art scene, head to Fernando Santos, a three-space emporium displaying work by emerging and established Portuguese artists; and ArtHobler, where up-and-coming artists show their oeuvre in video, photography, painting, sculpture, and performance. Afterward, fill up with the daily three-course menu ($13.50) or afternoon tea with scones and cakes ($5.50) at Rota do Chá, a little-known tea house where 300 varieties are sold. Next, rummage through the eclectic offerings at Artes em Partes, a funky vintage boutique with clothing, furniture, and records. Descend into its art gallery in a former underground garage that now displays paintings and installations. Move on to Muuda, a concept store featuring fashion, food, and art creations by local designers as well as a regular assortment of workshops like deejaying and sushi-making. Wind down with a stroll through the gardens of Palacio de Cristal, a verdant hideaway with roaming peacocks and dazzling views over the Douro before sitting down to a spread of petiscos (Portuguese snacks) at 110, a boho restaurant with rotating exhibits of work by local artists. Post-dinner, head to Lobby, a bar-café that features a wide spectrum of live-music performances most nights.


Published on Feb 10, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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