The center of Valencia, just south of the old town, combines old town charm with more modern buildings and lots of shopping. It is a busy hub of the city where locals and tourists combine to browse, eat and shop. It also has a lot of hotels and places to stay. Bordering the old town, the park and the Russafa/Eixample, it is a great base for exploring the city. It even has a Five Guys!
The main plaza, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, almost always has something going on. This is also where the very grand and architecturally controversial city hall is located. Another architectural marvel is the Estación del Norte [North Train Station]. The small lobby area is an incredible display of Art Nouveau wood and tile work. If you need a break, you can grab a drink or something to eat at another splendid Art Nouveau building, Mercado de Colón. In the evening it can be packed with locals chatting over a cigarette and a beer or glass of wine.