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.
A relatively new gallery on the local art scene, Travesia Cuatro moved to its current address in the Justicia neighborhood in 2008, four years after its founding.
Behind its impressive neoclassical façade with the stone busts of playwrights, the Teatro Español stages Spanish and international dramatic works in a grand hall filled with royal-red seats and gilt trim.
Madrid is known for its children's clothing shops, like this Castellana neighborhood boutique that stocks brand-name garments for babies and children up to age six. The stone-and-brick building is located on a tree-lined street.
The shop stocks a range of dresses in amazing prints.
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.
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.
Madrid’s answer to New York’s Central Park is a warren of paths carved in green with a large, central man-made lake and plenty of space (330 acres) for lolling about. Originally conceived as a royal garden, Retiro has been a public park for 300 years.
Postmodern bar in the corner of a small casino that pours wonderfully acidic Viña Soledad 2005, a white from Bodegas Franco-Españolas ($1.95); the wine is the ideal complement to embuchados with caramelized onion ($4.30).
An impressive menu of rejuvenating treatments is offered at this full-service sanctuary (an outpost of an upscale Spanish spa chain).
The windows are filled with candy and shaded under a wide, striped awning at Caramelos Paco, which opened as a grocery shop in 1934. Two years on, owner D. Francisco Moreno Redondo started specializing in chocolates and candies.
Housed in a 19th-century palace, the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (National Museum of Decorative Arts) is located within the bank of museums northwest of the Buen Retiro Park.
Can’t bear to leave Spain’s gustatory pleasures behind? Stop in at this gleaming gourmet deli to stock up on locally made cheeses, olive oils, tinned shellfish, Salamanca and Huelva hams, and other locally produced delicacies.
The designer is known for playing with volume—her clothing is like sculpture.