Catalonia has an extensive network of cultural and civic facilities in which people and organisations carry out activities. There is a wide variety of such facilities, including civic centres (centres cívics) libraries, museums, conservatories, arts centres, cultural centres and athenaeums (ateneus), run by the authorities and by private organisations alike.

Those public facilities are freely accessible to everybody, at the times and under the conditions (registration or respect for the activities of other associations and people, for example) established by each centre. Taking part in the activities that these centres organise is a good way to get to know Catalonia and to establish relationships and settle here.

Civic centres, athenaeums and cultural centres for youngsters and women are citizen initiatives. They are run by the town or city council in some areas, and jointly run by organisations and the town or city council in others.

There are often a lot of associations based in such centres, which offer a great deal of information on the town or city in which they are located, along with a wide range of activities, workshops, courses, exhibitions, talks, concerts, conferences, etc. One of the most notable aspects of such centres is that they organise their activities on the basis of suggestions made by organisations and citizens. There is bound to be a civic centre or an arts centre near your home where you can satisfy your cultural curiosity and pursue your interests as a citizen.

In Catalonia, there are establishments called hotels d'entitats, which could be described as institution service centres in English. They are facilities that support non-profit associations and organisations through different forms of cooperation, including making the services and resources necessary for the development of such bodies available to them, aiding relationships between associations and supporting the creation of federations. These facilities offer their services to organisations that have civic or social aims and which have been legally established in the corresponding register.