Things to Do in Madrid

Richard Phibbs

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... Read More

On Sunday, as the hordes weave their way through the Rastro Flea Market, the savviest of shoppers flock instead to Alonso Ojeda for the collection of... Read More

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

Handmade espadrilles are stacked floor to ceiling by size in this simple shop, a Madrid mainstay since 1863. The rainbow of colors, materials, and... Read More

This storefront-size bar has a formidable list of wines on a chalkboard. The hearty semi-spicy pepper stuffed with beef and béchamel ($1.50) is a... Read More

Madrid’s Barajas Airport’s 2006 Terminal 4, by Richard Rogers of Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, is like an extra-long cathedral, an... Read More

Since 1964, this Madrid-based brand has offered stylish, eclectic furnishings and home accessories sourced from around the world (traditional ceramics... Read More

An eclectic crowd, including pilgrims bound for Compostela, visits this L-shaped bar for irresistible matrimonio sandwiches: roasted peppers, salted... Read More

Workaholics want for nothing at this comprehensive business hub—which offers private meeting rooms, computer stations, copy and fax services, and... Read More

Opened in February 2008, the long-awaited Caixa Forum cultural center is an architectural tour de force, created by Swiss Pritzker Prize–winning... Read More

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... Read More

Opened in 1897 and still featuring its original wooden counter and zinc roof, Calzados Lobo sells simple, inexpensive espadrilles, high-heeled... Read More

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... Read More

A favorite of fashion designer Carolina Herrera, the Casa Florida flower shop is located in a two-story space within a 19th-century apartment building a... Read More

Based in Madrid, Cellar Tours takes private groups on luxury food and wine tasting trips throughout Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Italy, France,... Read More

Occasionally, an urban renewal project gets things right. Such is the case with this 18th-century military barracks turned cultural center, now the... Read More

With its smart red awnings, the CH Carolina Herrera boutique is located in a seven-story stone building in the Recoletos neighborhood. The shop, a dark,... Read More

Madrid is known for its children's clothing shops, like this Castellana neighborhood boutique that stocks brand-name garments for babies and children up... Read More

An ongoing exhibition of children’s artwork is displayed throughout all the airport’s terminals (the airport hosted more than 150 visits... Read More

In 1798 Francisco José de Goya painted the frescos in the Church of San Antonio de la Florida. The painter was later buried here, his remains... Read More

Housed in a 1926 Art Deco building, the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Circle of Fine Arts) is a cultural center that hosts a wide variety of lectures,... Read More

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

Spanish pop, rock, and jazz performers, from the truly local to national favorites, take the stage every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night at this... Read More

At Madrid’s best cocktail bar, tuxedoed bartenders wield wooden batons to crack the ice that chills your martini glass, and the devilishly sweet vodka... Read 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... Read More

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... Read More

Postmodern bar in the corner of a small casino that pours wonderfully acidic Viña Soledad 2005, a white from Bodegas Franco-Españolas ($1... Read More

An impressive menu of rejuvenating treatments is offered at this full-service sanctuary (an outpost of an upscale Spanish spa chain). Massages (from the... Read More

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

Created in 1981 by Quito-born painter Oswaldo Guayasamín—famous in South America for his politically charged work—these two... Read More

Established by Spanish financier and philanthropist Juan March in 1955, this namesake foundation  organizes free classical concerts in a multistory... Read More

Opened in 2009 on Picasso’s 128th birthday, this contemporary art gallery presents temporary exhibitions of work by masters like Pablo Picasso and... Read More

Just a two-minute walk from the Museo Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia Museum), this three-room art gallery stages contemporary photography, video, and... Read More

Helena Rohner’s aesthetically organic jewelry has caught the eye of companies from Paul Smith (which commissioned a special collection) to... Read More

In her compact shop, German expat Marie Jennings offers bold and breezy Margit Brandt silk dresses and vintage classics like 1980’s Givenchy,... Read More

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

Owners Cecilia Rius and Chavela Herrero lead a design team specializing in one-of-a-kind hats, tiaras, and other accent pieces, such as floral fabric... Read More

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

Lafiore’s artisanal handblown glass pieces—including vases, tumblers, candleholders, bowls, and glass-bead jewelry—are created by a... Read More

These three sculptural bronze busts, created by internationally known Valencian artist Manolo Valdés, manage to seem both stately and playful.... Read More

A sprawling duty-free emporium, Les Boutiques stocks watches and jewelry from Cartier and Bulgari; Ferragamo purses and leather goods; and signature... Read More

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

Located a 20-minute drive east of the city, Madrid Barajas International Airport is the busiest in Spain. There is free wireless Internet throughout the... Read More

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... Read More

Once cut off from the city by a major highway, Madrid’s little trickle of a river, the Manzanares, has been reborn as the centerpiece of a massive four... Read More

After sitting derelict for decades on the edge of town, the city’s slaughterhouses, with their stunning early-20th-century neo-Moorish architecture,... Read More

This collection of fantastic, if occasionally brutally themed, religious art, including pieces by Peter Paul Rubens, is in an appropriately creaky and... Read More

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

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... Read More

For centuries, Spanish monarchs were among the most acquisitive art patrons in Europe, and the legacy of their prescient collecting hangs on the walls... Read More

Displayed in architect Jaime López de Asiaín's award-winning building on the Complutense University of Madrid campus, the Museo del Traje... Read More

Located off the typical tourist route in Salamanca, the little-known Museo Lázaro Galdiano displays more than 12,000 works of art formerly owned... Read More

Housed in a 19th-century palace, the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativas (National Museum of Decorative Arts) is located within the bank of museums... Read More

Don't be put off by the building's hideous brown metal facade. Once inside, kids will especially enjoy sailing back in history amid the naval museum's... Read More

Set in a massive 18th-century hospital building dramatically expanded by architect Jean Nouvel a decade ago, Spain’s official modern and contemporary... Read More

The former home and studio of painter Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923)—known as the Spanish Sargent for his virtuoso brushwork and shimmering light effects... Read More

Generally known as the Thyssen, the museum houses two astonishing private collections—those of Baron and Baroness Thyssen-Bornemisza—that provide a... Read More

The six million specimens at the National Museum of Natural Sciences range from dinosaurs to Mediterranean flora. Founded by Carlos III in 1771, the... Read More

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... Read More

Designed by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, the Palacio de Cristal (Crystal Palace) was built in the Buen Retiro Park in 1887 to house an exotic plant... Read More

Retiro Park, often referred to as the city's "green lung," is certainly a vital organ for Madrid. Thousands of locals jog its perimeter every day, while... Read More

For a glimpse of the pomp and grandeur of the Spanish monarchy, stroll through the State Rooms of this monumental palace opposite the Royal Opera on the... Read More

This capacious corner bar is named for Spain’s famous black-hoofed pigs, so don’t miss a crunchy, salty, and delicious toasted sandwich of... Read More

Begun under the reign of King Felipe II after he established Madrid as the capital of his empire, the Plaza Mayor evolved over the next few centuries to... Read More

The city's famous Sunday flea market is also open on all holidays, when other shops are closed. Located along the main drag of Calle Ribera de... Read More

In what was essentially the official academy for Spanish painters and sculptors, these galleries provide a rapid run-through of the history of Spanish... Read More

For many centuries, the Spanish kings were a mobile crew who floated between more than a dozen palaces they had built in the region around Madrid. Some... Read More

Though somewhat removed from the city's major tourism stops, this diminutive chapel is beloved by Madrileños and worth seeking out. Built in the 1790s,... Read More

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... Read More

First founded in 1868 by Englishman and acrobat Thomas Price, the Teatro Circo Price is now Madrid’s permanent circus with clowning, tight-rope... Read More

Behind its impressive neoclassical façade with the stone busts of playwrights, the Teatro Español stages Spanish and international... Read More

Situated across the Plaza de Oriente from the Palacio Real, the Teatro Real Madrid is a center for opera and ballet performances. Antonio López... Read More

At The Showroom, interior architect Isabel López-Quesada designs sophisticated rooms using neutral tones, bold patterns, and metallic accents.... Read More

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... Read More

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... Read More

The biggest of the airport’s nine VIP lounges (it sprawls over 21,000 square feet) is also the biggest in Spain. Here, business-class Iberia... Read More

From Spanish monarchs and popes to sports stars and bullfighters, the Wax Museum displays more than 450 life-sized figures. Many are dressed in original... Read More

Counting DJ’s and bartenders among its owners, this casual corner bar is open all day, helping Madrileños ease the transition from coffee... Read More

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