Madrid Travel Guide
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.
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.
Workaholics want for nothing at this comprehensive business hub—which offers private meeting rooms, computer stations, copy and fax services, and even A/V equipment for rehearsing presentations. A $42 fee buys you full use of the facility for up to four hours.
Though there's not yet a tourism infrastructure for hiking with the transhumancia herds in Spain, you can respectfully explore on your own the country's 77,500 miles of transhumance trails through the often-remote Iberian countryside.
Opened in February 2008, the long-awaited Caixa Forum cultural center is an architectural tour de force, created by Swiss Pritzker Prize–winning firm Herzog & de Meuron.
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.
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.
Located in the Salamanca barrio, this millinery stocks wool caps, sun hats, and more.
Having started in the Middle Ages, El Rastro is a rambling 3,500-vendor market in the old streets of Madrid. The market begins at 9 a.m. on Sundays and holidays, but gets busiest by 11 a.m.
Spanish pop, rock, and jazz performers, from the truly local to national favorites, take the stage every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at this two-level bar-lounge and concert venue, possibly the coolest thing downtown.
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.