Things to do in Madrid
In a city as culturally rich and undeniably exciting as Madrid, there is no shortage of fascinating things to do. If you’re interested in history and art, the Golden Triangle of Art is not to be missed. Located in roughly the same area, the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museums are the core of Spanish art. The Prado specializes in pre-20th century art (think Goya and El Greco) while the Reina Sofia features a wonderful collection of modern art from the 20th century and later (see: Picasso, Dali and Miró). Meanwhile, the Thyssen-Bornemisza displays a mixture of classical and modern artwork from classical artists like Van Eyck and Rubens as well as famed Impressionists like Van Gogh, Degas and Renoir. Outside these three museums, those looking for things to do in Madrid will also find that the city has a naval museum, a museum of natural history, a museum of the Americas and other fantastic galleries.
Another great way to experience the city and find things to do in Madrid is to simply walk around. The city is filled to the brim with wonderful classical architecture and well-manicured parks and plazas. On a Sunday, be sure to stroll through the neighborhood of Embajadores, home to El Rastro, a massive flea market featuring all kinds of goods. By night, head to Chueca, Madrid’s LGBT-friendly district, or the Malasaña neighborhood to experience Madrid’s raucous nightlife. And don’t leave Madrid without climbing to the top of the Circulo de Bellas Artes for an unrivaled view of Madrid’s skyline.
Located on the site of a ninth-century Moorish fortress, the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is the official residence of the Spanish royal family. Completely rebuilt after a 1734 fire, the present-day palace is a granite-and-stone Baroque structure with large Tuscan pillars.
Native painter Joaquín Sorolla was a contemporary and friend of John Singer Sargent, and the parallels in their paintings are immediately apparent. (They are so clear, in fact, that two years ago the Thyssen-Bornemisza mounted an entire show around their commonalities).
In her compact shop, German expat Marie Jennings offers bold and breezy Margit Brandt silk dresses and vintage classics like 1980’s Givenchy, sourced from stylists across Europe.
A favorite of fashion designer Carolina Herrera, the Casa Florida flower shop is located in a two-story space within a 19th-century apartment building a block off Paseo de la Castellana.
The property is a boutique, café, and theater all housed within a former brothel.
Since her first collection in 1981, designer Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada has developed a colorful niche for her bright, pop-art-style clothing, house wares, and accessories. This Madrid store, decorated with pink walls and jellybean hues, is the flagship.
After more than a decade of planning and construction, and an outlay of $210 million, Spain's most revered cultural icon unveiled its 237,000-square-foot expansion in 2007, designed by Rafael Moneo.
Lafiore’s artisanal handblown glass pieces—including vases, tumblers, candleholders, bowls, and glass-bead jewelry—are created by a family-owned business based in Majorca.
Regarded by critics as the missing link between other Spanish art collections, the Thyssen’s pieces, purchased by the Spanish state from a private collector in 1992, represent a tremendous breadth of European painters from the 14th to 21st centuries. Temporary exhibitions are frequently conducte
The Festival Internacional de Madrid en Danza (011-34-91-720-83-45), in April, brings dancers from all mediums and a myriad of countries to city theaters.
Counting DJ’s and bartenders among its owners, this casual corner bar is open all day, helping Madrileños ease the transition from coffee to caipirinha.
Opened in 1897 and still featuring its original wooden counter and zinc roof, Calzados Lobo sells simple, inexpensive espadrilles, high-heeled shoes originally worn in the Pyrenees, in a mass of colors.
This emblematic bar madrileño has old rock ’n’ roll posters on the walls. It’s been around forever.
First founded in 1868 by Englishman and acrobat Thomas Price, the Teatro Circo Price is now Madrid’s permanent circus with clowning, tight-rope-walking, and juggling acts. The circus closed in 1970, but the city reopened the spectacle in 2007 under the direction of Tato Cabal.
What makes Madrid one of the strangest and most incredible nightlife towns in the world—the mix of ages that go out together—is summed up at Chicote, where grandmothers sip cocktails alongside hipsters in skinny jeans or a table of glammed-up drag queens.