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.
Situated across the Plaza de Oriente from the Palacio Real, the Teatro Real Madrid is a center for opera and ballet performances. Antonio López Aguado designed the theater for Queen Isabel II in 1818, but construction on the hexagonal building was postponed.
Knock on the unsigned door and the bouncer will look you over.
These three sculptural bronze busts, created by internationally known Valencian artist Manolo Valdés, manage to seem both stately and playful.
Displayed in architect Jaime López de Asiaín's award-winning building on the Complutense University of Madrid campus, the Museo del Traje collection includes garments and clothing from the 16th century on.
His redesign of the classic oxford shirt—pulling off the collar, hiding the buttons, and playing with cuff links, shapes, and sizes—has quickly brought Baruc Corazón fashion-industry fame, and his boutique, opened in spring 2008, is already a hub. But Corazón isn’t just about shirts.
Owners Cecilia Rius and Chavela Herrero lead a design team specializing in one-of-a-kind hats, tiaras, and other accent pieces, such as floral fabric brooches, all arrayed in colorful displays along the walls.
Housed in a 1926 Art Deco building, the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Circle of Fine Arts) is a cultural center that hosts a wide variety of lectures, film screenings, dance and theater performances, classical and contemporary concerts, and art exhibitions showcasing the work of both well-known and em
Located on a traffic-heavy street that’s a main thoroughfare through central Madrid, this Cortefiel location sells women’s and men's apparel, including classically tailored suits.
From Spanish monarchs and popes to sports stars and bullfighters, the Wax Museum displays more than 450 life-sized figures. Many are dressed in original clothing, including the likenesses of Cuba's Fidel Castro and Spanish dictator General Franco.
This storefront-size bar has a formidable list of wines on a chalkboard. The hearty semi-spicy pepper stuffed with beef and béchamel ($1.50) is a standout.
Created in 1981 by Quito-born painter Oswaldo Guayasamín—famous in South America for his politically charged work—these two coordinating murals juxtapose the historical (Mayan-style figures in deep ocher colors) with the modern (bold typography reminiscent of propagandist posters).
Helena Rohner’s aesthetically organic jewelry has caught the eye of companies from Paul Smith (which commissioned a special collection) to Copenhagen’s Georg Jensen (for which Rohner created a stainless-steel tea set).
Housed in a 1916 Beaux-Arts building, San Miguel market stood abandoned for years—until a renovation in 2009 gave it a new lease on life. Now it's a lively neighborhood food destination with 33 shopping and dining stalls, plus a buzzing central café area.
Established by Spanish financier and philanthropist Juan March in 1955, this namesake foundation organizes free classical concerts in a multistory cultural center in the Salamanca neighborhood. Held in a 300-seat theater, the concerts feature chamber orchestras, choirs, and soloists.