The earthquake of 1755, the massive tidal wave, and subsequent fires killed thousands of people and reduced 18th-century Lisbon to rubble. But within a decade, frantic rebuilding under the direction of the king's minister, the Marquês de Pombal, had given the Baixa, or downtown, a neoclassical look. Full of shops, restaurants, and other commercial enterprises, it today stretches from the riverfront Praça do Comércio to the square known as the Rossio. Pombal intended the various streets to house workshops for certain trades and crafts, something that's still reflected in street names such as Rua dos Sapateiros (Cobblers' Street) and Rua da Prata (Silversmiths' Street).

Near the neoclassical arch at the bottom of Rua Augusta you'll find street vendors selling jewelry. Northeast of Rossio, the Rua das Portas de Santo Antão has seafood restaurants, while the area also has three surviving ginjinha bars—cubbyholes where local characters throw down shots of cherry brandy. One is in Largo de São Domingos itself, another a few doors up Rua das Portas de Santo Antão, and the third (66 feet east along Rua Barros Queiroz.