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Shopping Like a Local in Madrid

Gonzalez-madrid-200904-ss

Photo: Javier Salas

Throughout the 20th century, while Barcelona skimmed the cutting edge, Madrid hugged Castilian conventions tight. But over the past decade, as avant-garde restaurants rocked the culinary landscape and the immigrant population swelled, the old-fashioned capital of Spain said hola to a cosmopolitan future. Travel + Leisure went people-watching in the Plaza de Vázquez de Mella, in Chueca, the Bourbon-era barrio turned center-of-all-things-hip; today the neighborhood’s Belle Époque buildings house so many boutiques, bars, and restaurants that the narrow cobblestoned streets literally buzz 24 hours a day. There, we found a diversity of looks—eclectic but somehow classic, casual and always cool—that define 21st-century Madrid.

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Themes: Shopping · City Break

Inspired by: Madrid's Street Fashion — by Catesby Holmes, Published Mar. 2009

Restaurants (2)

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    Bar el Tigre

    At this bar in the Chueca neighborhood, waiters bring a free tapas with each caña—a term for a glass of beer, local wine, or Spanish cider. Because

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    Modern Dining Room

    The lunch spot has a real Valencian making the paella.

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Activities (11)

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    Lotta Vintage

    You can find everything from silk handkerchiefs to cotton bandannas mixed in with clothes from the 40’s to the 70’s.

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    Ensanchez

    The shop is known for its colorful leather purses, designed by one of the owners.

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    Teatro Español

    Behind its impressive neoclassical façade with the stone busts of playwrights, the Teatro Español stages Spanish and international dramatic works i

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    Muitobrigado

    Located in the Salamanca barrio, this millinery stocks wool caps, sun hats, and more.

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    Cortefiel

    Located on a traffic-heavy street that’s a main thoroughfare through central Madrid, this Cortefiel location sells women’s and men's apparel, inclu

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    Amaya Arzuaga

    The designer is known for playing with volume—her clothing is like sculpture.

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    La Vía Láctea

    This emblematic bar madrileño has old rock ’n’ roll posters on the walls. It’s been around forever.

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    La Maison de la Lanterne Rouge

    The property is a boutique, café, and theater all housed within a former brothel.

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    Picnic

    The shop stocks a range of dresses in amazing prints.

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    El Rastro

    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

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    Museo Nacional del Prado

    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-squar

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