Best Things to do in Madrid on a Weekend

October 3, 2022

What can you do in Madrid on a weekend? There are a million things to do, and the cultural and leisure offer in the Spanish capital is enormous. But what are the things you MUST try? Here are the best plans to make the most of your stay in Madrid. 

What to see in Madrid: discover the city’s streets

The best way to begin to know Madrid is by starting from its center, which is well connected by public transportation. From the center of Madrid, you’ll start to see all the life the city has to offer: the mix of people, big and small shops, monuments, and aesthetic neighborhoods.

You can’t leave Madrid without passing by: Gran Vía, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Did you know that Sol is also the kilometer zero of Spain?

kilometer zero at Puerta del Sol in Madrid
Km.0 the origin of Spain’s roads

To give you an idea, Gran Vía is like Madrid’s Broadway. As well as being the main shopping street and having emblematic buildings, you’ll find the most famous musicals on it. Plus, from Gran Vía you can access two of Madrid’s most famous neighborhoods: Chueca and Malasaña. 

Must try the local food

To feel like a real madileño, go latineo! The latineo is the custom of going out in the neighborhood of La Latina, usually having some tapas, moving from one place to another to try different ones. 

Want to try the best tapas? Avoid the tourist traps and eat in the places most frequented by locals! Casa Labra, La Campana, El Museo del Jamón… Many of these places are in the center, right next to other restaurants that look identical. The key is to pay attention to the price. Pro tip: eating in the restaurant’s terrace usually has a surcharge!

Have you ever eaten in a market? You have several markets in the center of Madrid to choose from. The most beautiful (and also the most expensive as it is the most touristy) is the Mercado de San Miguel. If you want something more authentic (and also more affordable), don’t miss the Mercado de Antón Martín or the Mercado de San Fernando in Lavapiés.

Experience the Spanish culture

If you like museums, the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen are the most important museums in Madrid. Even if you only visit one of them, you will be surprised with details of the city’s rich history.

On Sundays you can visit the Rastro, Madrid’s street market where you can buy practically anything. The streets occupied by the stalls of the flea market are full of bars and shops, ideal for getting fully integrated into Madrid’s culture!

Another plan for the weekend is to stroll around Madrid Río or the Retiro Park. Although if you like action, you’re sure to love watching a Real Madrid football match to feel the energy of the club’s die-hard fans.

Try a traditional Spanish dance

The 15th of May (San Isidro) is the best opportunity to discover the typical dance of Madrid, the chotis. Many madrileños wear the typical costume to dance in the verbena that takes place in the Pradera de San Isidro. This traditional dance was so popular that it still reflects the character of the people from Madrid today. 

The chotis is a typical dance style from Madrid
The difference with other folk dances is that in the chotis the woman leads the man.

If you visit Madrid on other dates, you have nothing to worry about! There are many areas in Madrid where you can have a good time dancing to more familiar styles.

Huertas, Moncloa, Tribunal…The nightlife areas in Madrid are known by the nearest metro stops. If you like to dance to pachanga (a variety of commercial music), you’ll be in your element in Huertas. If you prefer to listen to Latin music, you can check out this directory for a listing of some of the best clubs and dance lessons.

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