Lisbon See And Do
This western waterfront neighborhood beckons with its many examples of the exclusively Portuguese Manueline style of late Gothic architecture. Museums abound, and the planetarium is a kid-favorite, but the star of the neighborhood is the Manueline church and cloisters, the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (1400 Praça do Império; 351-21-362-0034; www.mosteirojeronimos.pt).
The melancholic (well, tragic), soulful acoustic songs belted out late at night in smoky clubs are welded to the culture of Portugal, but the real deal can be hard for mere visitors to access. The Bairro Alto and Alfama are the best neighborhoods for fado venues. There's no shortage of places to hear the music, but the very best clubs are hidden away in dives and after-hours restaurants—in fact, the whole culture is after-hours, and you'll have to stay out till dawn to catch the true spirit. One to try is the longstanding Parreirinha de Alfama (1 Beco do Espìrito Santo; 351-21-886-8209). If you're lucky, you'll happen on one of the new-wave fadistas who are bringing the gypsy-Afro-European genre to a new, younger audience; the 30-year-old Mariza, with her dramatic formfitting black gowns and platinum-blond cornrows, is the best-known of them all.
24 Rua Augusta
Portugal 1100 053
Tel: 351 21 888 6117
Lisbon's Design and Fashion Museum caused quite a splash when it moved from the Belém Cultural Center to its new premises in a former bank headquarters on the pedestrian Rua Augusta in Baixa in 2009. The raw space, known by its acronym MUDE (which means "change" in Portuguese), is an effective backdrop for the 1,000 design objects, including work by iconic figures such as Philippe Starck, Charles Eames, and Arne Jacobsen. Over 1,200 items of haute couture include the Jean Dessès gown Renée Zellweger wore to the 2001 Oscars, as well as work by fashion heavyweights Jean Paul Gaultier, Balenciaga, Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent. You'll find the permanent exhibit downstairs and temporary shows on the second floor, such as the Signed by Tenente, a creative curation of the space by Portugal's famed fashion designer José António Tenente. And to top it off, museum entry is free of charge.—Anja Mutić
Open Tuesdays through Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 10 am to 10 pm, and Sundays 10 am to 8 pm.
45A Avenida de Berna
Tel: 351 21 782 3000
Guggenheim-level collector Gulbenkian amassed treasures dating from 2000 B.C. to the early 20th century: See an Egyptian scarab as well as other examples of Egyptian art; Islamic art from 17th-century Persia; medieval illuminated manuscripts; Italian majolica; Rubens, Rembrandts, Gainsboroughs, and Manetsand a fabulous collection of Lalique jewelry.
Open Tuesdays through Sundays 10 am to 5:45 pm.