Lisbon: Places to Explore

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Chiado and Bairro Alto

West of the Baixa is the fashionable shopping district of Chiado. A decade after the calamitous 1988 fire destroyed much of the area, an ambitious rebuilding program restored some fin de siècle facades. And a chic retail complex on the site of the old Armazéns do Chiado—once Lisbon's largest department store—has given the district a modern focus.

Uphill, the Bairro Alto dates back to the 17th century, but most of its buildings are from the 18th and 19th: an appealing mixture of old grocery stores, art galleries, and town houses with wrought-iron balconies. In the daytime, children scuffle amid drying laundry, and old men clog the doorways of bars; at night the area's restaurants, discos, and fado clubs come to life. The neighborhood has always been seen as rather rough-and-ready, and there are alleys where it would be unwise to venture after dark, but on the whole it's safe to walk around this remarkably compact but fascinating area.

Chiado and Bairro Alto at a Glance

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