New Yorkers can say what they like: Madrid is the true city that never sleeps. The energy in this nocturnal town, where even grandmothers jostle for taxis at 4 a.m., is infectious. It’s also decidedly European: designer names from across the continent fill boutiques; big-name chefs whip up tasting menus at see-and-be-seen restaurants; and glamorous hotels dot the skyline. Though the afternoon siesta is losing ground, tradition remains in the tapas bar and in the warmth of Madrileños, who are as proud—of their royal family, their cuisine, their art—as they are generous: they want you to love Madrid too.
Watching the world go by from one of Madrid’s famed rooftop terrazas (terraces)—the city has hundreds: on rooftops, in courtyards, even in the middle of avenues.
Gazing at Picasso’s Guernica—perhaps the world’s most celebrated antiwar painting—at the Reina Sofía.
Eating your entire meal standing up at a tapas bar in La Latina.