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.
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.
Since 1964, this Madrid-based brand has offered stylish, eclectic furnishings and home accessories sourced from around the world (traditional ceramics from Italy, carved teak dressers and wrought-copper chairs from Asia, one-of-a-kind antique finds from markets in England).
Picasso’s Guernica, depicting Franco’s bombing of civilians in Guernica during the civil war, one of the most celebrated antiwar paintings of all time, makes its permanent home here.
High-end clothing shops line this pedestrian-only street. Scooter (011-34-91-576-47-49) highlights French designers of the moment Vanessa Bruno and Tara Jarmon and Brazilian shoe designer Chie Mihara.
With the no-fuss charm of a warehouse sale, Non Stop is where locals come for an unparalleled selection of limited-edition sneakers by Adidas, Onitsuka Tiger, and Nike, among others.
The designer is known for playing with volume—her clothing is like sculpture.
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.