Things to Do In Madrid
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Madrid Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in Madrid
Where to Stay
Whether big or small, historic or modern, Madrid’s best hotels can be found in areas like Santa Ana, Chueca and Salamanca (or along Madrid’s main avenue Gran Vía) – all bustling neighborhoods with fascinating personalities. Another key advantage is that there are many restaurants and nightlife options nearby, and you’re within easy walking distance of Madrid’s best attractions.
Caution: Inquire about soundproofed rooms or ask for an interior room if you're a light sleeper; the city can be noisy.
What to Eat
Madrid is one of the finest places to eat in Spain with its myriad Spanish and international restaurants. Good options include heading to the Spanish tapas bars and restaurants in La Latina, trying fun and creative cuisines in Chueca or enjoying some upscale places in Madrid’s financial district. Otherwise, the world’s oldest restaurant, Botín, is a unique experience.
Be Sure to Sample: Spanish tapas, including hams and cheeses, washed down with red wine.
Things to See
Though Madrid is known as a relatively “young” Western European capital, its centuries-old architecture is breathtaking and its arts and culture presence amazing. Here you’ll find beautiful palaces, homes, churches, parks and gardens. The city’s history and architecture is best appreciated in neighborhoods like La Latina and Retiro. Or in Madrid’s museums, which are second to none, like the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemizsa.
Take It or Leave It: Look up to discover many of the city's interesting architectural details.
Places to Party
Madrid’s numerous bars, dance clubs, cafes and, on hot summer nights, its plazas are where you’ll see the city truly come alive. Popular areas at night are Sol, Atocha, Santa Ana, Chueca and La Latina. For an extra dose of fun, visit Madrid during one of the city’s special events. Madrid’s calendar is full of parties and fiestas like Carnival, Holy Week and Gay Pride, as well as major performing arts festivals like Villas de Verano and Festival de Otoño.
Hot Tips: Madrid gets going later than most cities.
Where to Shop
Madrid is a fun shopping capital with lots of options, including pedestrian shopping streets like Fuencarral, Serrano, Preciados and Princesa as well as large malls like ABC Serrano, Príncipe Pío, Fuencarral, Moda Shopping and La Gavia for fashions, furniture and everything in between. Madrid’s renovated markets – San Miguel, San Antón and Isabela – are a mouth-watering must for food lovers.
Caution: Eat all the ham you want in Spain, but don't bring it back to the US. It will probably be confiscated.
Best Local Souvenir: Spanish clothes and shoes. A bottle of Spanish olive oil or red wine.
Madrid Is Known for...
Five of Madrid's most unique features and characteristics.Art Museums
Brimming with quality art museums, the city of Madrid is known as one of the best places – if not simply the best place – in the world to see European art or even art period. This recognition is in large part thanks to what is known as the Golden Triangle of Art. The privileged downtown slice of Madrid includes the Prado Museum, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofia Museum. The Prado’s collections include European art from the 12th to 19th centuries while the Reina Sofia focuses on contemporary Spanish art and the Thyssen on Spanish and European art collections that complement the other two museums.Nightlife
Despite all the talk about the aging of the Spanish population and the memory of the wild Madrid Movida movement, the party in the Spanish capital has not ended. Not even close! Madrid is still known for its vibrant nightlife, myriad bars and nightclubs, partying in the streets and the number of seemingly constant parties. Visitors are often pleasantly surprised that the city’s bars and nightclubs have their own timetables – closing as early as 2 am or as late as 7 am.Cafes
Café culture, while a delicious legacy of the past, is still a strong, modern feature in Madrid. Beautiful cafes are...
Read the full list of five »