If you’re planning on visiting Madrid (lucky you) but don’t want to stick just to the tourist trail, take a look at my top 10 places to get off the beaten path and eat, drink, party and be merry like a local in Madrid! I’ll show you the where to party, where the best sandwich shop in town is and where you’ll get the best of the sunsets, so go on, have a little look at my suggestions... And if you like the sounds of this, you can check out my profile here.
Sunset in Templo de Debod Park
The blue sky of Madrid is unique, but when the sun goes down the sky turns to beautiful pink and orange tones. The best place to enjoy this magical moment is Templo de Debod. This small park near Plaza España Square takes it’s name from the Egyptian temple situated in the middle of the park. Enjoying a beer with your friends in this park while you hear a musician playing the Spanish guitar is pretty special.
El Rasto Market on Sunday
There are few things more local in Madrid than El Rastro, and spending Sunday mornings in this flea market has been a tradition for over 300 years. Situated in the neighborhood of La Latina, it has more than 3.500 stands of clothes, books and furniture. The tradition of El Rastro is not complete until you drink some 'cañas' in one of the thousands of bars of La Latina, along with some tasty tapas. La Perejila in Calle Cava Baja 25 or Casa Antonio, Calle de la Cebada 12 are a couple of favourites.
Browse the second hand books in Cuesta de Moyano
Situated in one of the 20 entrances of Retiro Park, this small market has 97 years of history. You can find all types of books here, from famous novels by García Marquez or Vargas Llosa to old magazines from 1910. It’s a pleasure to have a look on the stand of books while you have a little chat with the old booksellers, some of whom have spent decades working in this market and have many stories to tell, so if you’re lucky you might get some real local anecdotes!
Have a chocolate con churros at 06.00 am at San Ginés after partying all night
Photo credit: smittenkitchen.com
There are very few people in Madrid who have not tried this experience. Here’s the situation: 05.00 am and the club has closed but the tube does not open until 06.00 am. What can we do? Churros with chocolate! There’s nothing better to warm up and recover from a night partying than a delicious cup of hot chocolate with churros and porras! Located in the passage of San Ginés, this Churreria is over 100 years old and is open 24 hours a day.
Have yayos in Casa Camacho
Photo credit: plateselector.com
In the trendy neighborhood of Malasaña there is a very special bar. But unlike many of the other spots in this area where you’ll find cupcakes and smoothies, the waiters who have worked at Casa Camacho for a lifetime serve up the same drinks as when it was built in 1929. It's a real bar with waiters who have spent a lifetime working here. This is a long established locals bar, where to get to the bathroom you have to go under the bar, past where you’ll see homemade drinks, yayos, being mixed up. This combination of vermouth, gin and soda is perfect to start a night of partying in the neighborhood!
Watch an old film in La filmoteca
La fimoteca española is a temple for those locals who love cinema. This old building has a charming Art Deco aesthetic where every month you’ll find an extensive and varied program from Spanish to classic American films through to Hungarian or Hindi cinema. When summer comes it is a real pleasure to enjoy the summer cinema at the top roof terrace while you sip a cold beer.
Have evening cañas in Argumosa Street in Lavapies
Photo credit: theblegger.com
Despite not having a beach here in Madrid, we do have promenade bursting with terraces at Argumosa Street, and many locals spend the warm summer evenings on the terraces of Argumosa bars. El Económico Bar, El Automático Bar and La Buga del Lobo are some of my picks of the best bars in the street.
Go out in Malasaña on Saturdays
If you love rock and Indie pop music Malasaña is your place. In the eighties this neighborhood was the center of 'la movida madrileña’, a cultural movement that emerged when the dictatorship of General Franco ended and democracy began in Spain. Young people express their freedom through alternative rock, extravagant hairstyles and partying. After years of depression the neighborhood now has reinvented itself as the hipster district of the city, with many places and nightclubs to spend the night until late in the morning, and some of the most famous pubs from the period of El Penta are still open today.
Have a calamari sandwich in El Diamante
Despite our lack of coast, the most typical snack of the city is the squid sandwich. Locals across the country boast that the best squid sandwich is prepared in this Madrid bar, El Diamante, next to Atocha Street. If you come to Madrid and ask where to have a typical sandwich, the squid sandwich of El Diamante is the first thing a local would recommend you without any hesitation.
Photo credit: Erika Elizalde, ¿Te gusta?-Micro obra de teatro
Madrid has always been the center of the Spanish theatrical scene. The whole city is full of theaters, but here has recently emerged a very interesting and successful new format of play popular with locals: the microteatro. A play of a maximum of 20 minutes in length, performed in a small room in which the characters share space with viewers. The proximity, creativity and low prices have made microteatro a huge success. The best places to enjoy are Microteatro for Money in Calle de Loreto Prado and Enrique Chicote nº9 or Esconditeatro in Calle de los Estudios, 2.
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