Madrid

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.

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.

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.

An ongoing exhibition of children’s artwork is displayed throughout all the airport’s terminals (the airport hosted more than 150 visits last year from schools and kids’ cultural centers).

The six million specimens at the National Museum of Natural Sciences range from dinosaurs to Mediterranean flora. Founded by Carlos III in 1771, the original collections were displayed in the Royal Cabinet of Natural History.

An eclectic crowd, including pilgrims bound for Compostela, visits this L-shaped bar for irresistible matrimonio sandwiches: roasted peppers, salted anchovy, and anchovy in vinegar on a cottony soft bun ($2.20).

Located off the typical tourist route in Salamanca, the little-known Museo Lázaro Galdiano displays more than 12,000 works of art formerly owned by the eponymous Spanish collector José Lázaro Galdiano.

A sprawling duty-free emporium, Les Boutiques stocks watches and jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari; Ferragamo purses and leather goods; and signature tartan-print totes, scarves, and umbrellas from Burberry.

Additional Locations in the Madrid Barajas International Airport: