The best “tapas”, cool restaurants, flea markets, specialty coffee and Sarah Jessica Parker’s favorite store. A local cool-hunter reveals 25 cool things to do in Madrid
Planning a trip and you have no idea of cool things to do in Madrid? You’re in the right place.
We convinced Cecilia Camacho, a cool-hunter based in Madrid with thousands of followers on Instagram, to share with us all her Madrid hidden gems.
Cecilia shared with us more than 304 Madrid hidden gems and in this article we reveal 25 of the 304 cool things to do in Madrid she recommended. Get ready to know where locals go when they want to …
- Plan a memorable dinner
- Sink their teeth into the best “tortilla de papatas”
- Find that perfect souvenir
- Sip specialty coffee
- Indulge theirselves with the best tapas
- Taste Michelin-star cuisine
- Listen the best DJs in town
However, if you’re eager for more you must take a look to our Madrid Guide App, featuring all her 304 Madrid hidden gems. We promise it will not disappoint you!
Get the App now on the App Store
In this article, we have split all her tips in the cool ones (15), the top ones (6) and the ones to do at night (4). Let’s discover her recommendations.
What are the best 15 cool things to do in Madrid?
Eager to know cool things to do in Madrid? Those out-of-the-ordinary experiences that locals love and won’t share with tourist? That’s what we’ll share will you right now. Left the expensive tourist traps for someone else and discover with us the authentic Madrid, for a cheaper price.
1. Find that perfect souvenir in “Casa Gonzalez & Gonzalez”, a recreation of traditional Spanish Stores
Owned by two childhood friends, their simple, timeless and functional products echo their values and passion for art, design and a slow-paced life. Wanting to recreate a traditional Spanish store, the rustic and restrained tones make you feel as if you’ve been invited into their abuela’s home.
They have carefully selected items from Spain, Portugal, Italy and United Kingdom to ensure the comfort of your home. They are best known for their classic porcelains, brushes and soaps. Breathe in the warmth and create your own memories with these reminiscent treasures.
2. Sink your teeth into the best “tortilla de papatas” in Madrid – in a bar that prepares it since 1892
Founded in 1892, Bodega de la Ardosa is a vibrant, pulsing reincarnation of 19th century Madrid. Its wood-paneled bar, old photos, barrels, and towering shelves of liquor bottles look as if they haven’t changed in 127 years. After you’ve pushed your way to a seat at a high-top table, order a slice of tortilla de patatas (some say it’s the best in the city) with a Czech pilsner or vermouth. Come the summer months, Madrileños pour onto the sidewalk with classic Spanish tapas and glasses of sherry..
3. Sip specialty coffee from Hola Coffee, who arguably serves one of the best espressos in Madrid
Hola Coffee is slowly turning Madrid into a city of coffee connoisseurs who order their coffees with words like single origin and batch brew. Born from the creative genius of Nolo Botano and Pablo Caballero, Hola Coffee arguably serves one of the best espressos in Madrid. The two founders buy their beans from small producers around the world before roasting in house. Snacks are simple, ranging from cakes to toast- always local. As for design, studio Carbajo Hermanos respected the industrial character of the space; its distressed concrete walls are accented by potted plants and simple wood benches.
4. Find hidden gems at “Lost&Found”, the vintage stuff paradise!
The Lost And Found Madrid is more than just an established market of vintage and second-hand items looking for possibility of exchange. It provides an open access market in which anyone can participate, contributing their personal items such as books, clothes, music, comics and much more. If you’re looking for treasures from eras long gone, then you might just find what you’re searching for. Held four times a year, this exclusive market is more than just a finder’s promise.
5. Taste “Taberna la Carmencita” tapas – Madrid’s second oldest tavern
Madrid’s second oldest tavern has quite the long pedigree; we’re talking over 150 years of tortilla and ham. While it’s rumored that the likes of Federico Lorca and Pablo Neruda used to sip vermouth from its bar, the tavern hasn’t always seen easy days. After a couple restaurant disasters, the Chueca neighborhood establishment was purchased by restaurateur Carlos Zamora and restored to its former glory. Among stunning ceramic tiles and long windows, diners enjoy almost entirely organic and locally sourced ingredients. The original zinc bar still serves impressive negronis complimented by biodynamic wines and vermouth.
6. Discover Javier S. Medina store, and why Sarah Jessica Parker fell in love with his animal heads
Only in the heart of Malasaña is where you’d find Javier S. Medina. Purely self-taught and handmade, Javier is a known craftsman for making mirrors and weaving natural materials into animal heads such as bamboo, straw, wicker, fibre and rattan. The ecological trophies are among his popular pieces made of esparto which are traditionally used to form baskets, shoes, furniture and rugs. Walk into what was once an old workshop and be mesmerised. Did we mention Sarah Jessica Parker and interior designer Nate Berkus are among his admirers?
7. Enjoy visual arts, music, theatre and dance creative projects at Matadero
Known popularly as a slaughterhouse and livestock market from long ago, Matadero Madrid has since evolved and developed into a fierce cultural center featuring innovative contemporary art, serving excellent food and drinks as you sink yourself into the thought-provoking exhibits. Relishing the chance to grab a sight of the unique collection of exhibits? You’ll find all of that and more. Explorers with a keen eye on creative spaces should definitely put a pin on their maps.
8. Support local creatives with revolutionary ideas, and discover the next generation of art work at Do Design
Do Design is like a beehive for emerging artists and designers filled with honeycomb aesthetics. Taste the liquid gold wonder of art, fashion and design merging and dwelling under one roof. Gaze at the artworks encompassing the store, discover new quirky products and if you need a pick-me-up, head to their cafe for a coffee break. This clean rustic store is the kind of getaway spot where you can spend hours in. Let your creative soul run wild here at Do Design.
9. Taste a trendy mix of the best Spanish cuisine in one place at Mercado de San Miguel
Be prepared to have your tastebuds lit with the diverse Spanish cuisine located in a historic ironwork building. Perfect for foodies, Mercado de San Miguel is a paradise for anyone that is searching for a little spice in their lives. Not just another tourist mecca, the restaurant’s dozen over excellent food stalls will leave you drooling from stall to stall as you allow yourself to experience Spain’s most famous and familiar right at your delicious fingertips.
10. Take a break at «Real Fabrica Española», a store with every single cute thing in Spain
Real Fábrica brings you across the country as owner, Rocío Muñoz, travelled from north to south, east to west, showing you the traditions and treasures that were long forgotten. Take a trip down memory lane with their antique products from something you’d find in a Spanish grandmother’s kitchen to home accessories you’d notice in an old village. With their new store in Barrio de las Letras, take home a piece of history with a story behind it or a secret yet untold where you can’t find anywhere else.11. Taste “La Tasquita de Enfrente” dishes mixed with the best ingredients Spain hast to offer
11. Taste “La Tasquita de Enfrente” dishes mixed with the best ingredients Spain hast to offer
The buzz around La Tasquita de Enfrente isn’t new; locals have been vying for reservations here for years. The remarkable part is that the Spanish restaurant still manages to create buzz, long after its opening. Chef and owner Juanjo López crafts a constantly evolving, seasonal menu that pairs with a well curated wine list. All ingredients are of 100% Spanish origin. More than just its food, the restaurant also draws hype from its warm Spanish interior, with bold orange walls, tiled floors, and Surrealist-style paintings.
12. Plan a memorable dinner at Diverxo a 3 star Michelin restaurant that appears an art gallery
Not all Michelin star restaurants are white table cloths and formal service. Case in point: DiverXo appears more amateur art gallery than three-star Michelin restaurant. Sinister decor, including black swarms of butterflies on the walls, plus head chef David Muñoz’s spiked mohawk are enough to tip you off that this is no ordinary operation. Muñoz describes his food as a “gunshot to your head”, which food critics interpret as a shock to the senses (in the best way possible). A four-hour meal of high-wire presentations and weird pairings has made DiverXO an obligatory stop for the culinarily curious.
13. Discover the prettiest ceramics in Madrid at La Oficial Cerámica
After a summer road trip to Portugal, founders José Barrio and Toni Torrecillas brought back the concept and ceramics to Madrid and thus, La Oficial Cerámica was birthed. Nestled between el Rastro and La Latina, you’d find crockery, jars, vases and other household items arranged on their shelves. Paying respect to the tradition and artistry from Portugal, each piece is bought by weight giving you a different shopping experience. Whether it’s something colourful or neutral, plain or filled with patters, you’d be sure to find something that complements your house.
14. Take a break at Real Jardín Botánico, and admire its florals and lush greenery
A mesmerizing garden that has to be seen up close to be believed, Real Jardín Botánico provides all of the essentials for a refreshing walk around its florals and lush greenery, all of which with a varied history behind them. The true beauty of the garden is largely present for visitors arriving in the summer, where the lively concerts and exhibitions taking place in La Fabricia is set to wow and excite. Be sure to mark your calendar next summer for a feel-good summer time.
15. Walk around Museo La Neomudejar and admire powerful artwork that will leave you stunned
Embark on a breathtaking journey through seven centuries of art, taking in works by the likes of El Greco, Canaletto and more at Museo La Neomudejar. Previously an industrial site in ruins, the museum has since evolved into a wondrous collection of modern art installation from the newest in the scene. Comprising of upcoming artists in the graffiti and politically-conscious art scenes, be prepared for powerful artwork that will leave you stunned and dazed.
16. Discover the best of Madrid’s alternative culture like street art, music and food at La Tabacalera
Rebuilt from an old tobacco factory, La Tabacalera has since become a thriving cultural space, providing innovative and modern installations, street art, shows and programmes waiting to experience. For alternative cultures in Madrid, La Tabacalera brings together different nationalities to the main centres for street art, music and food in Madrid. Featuring a combination of all of Madrid’s diverse communities, visitors are free to enter and wander to their heart’s content.
What are the 6 top things to do in Madrid?
If you’re visiting Madrid there are some things you must do. Here you’ll find the Madrid landmarks and cool museums. Let’s discover now what are for us the top things to do in Madrid.
17. Get fascinated with Museo del Prado, the Madrid landmark, and one of Spain’s leading art museums
At Museo del Prado, get ready to experience Europe’s greatest features in art at one of Spain’s leading art museums, with an acclaimed European art collection that dates back to the late 1900s. Impressive masterpieces from many of Spain and Europe’s greats are all on immersive, quality display, ensuring that art lovers and casuals will be able to marvel at Museo del Prado’s delightful cultural pieces that more than meets the eye.
18. Enjoy the stunning Parque del Retiro, and discover one of Madrid most famous ventures
Parque del Retiro isn’t just elegant and gorgeous. For a park with a wonderful and enchanting lake that you can rent a boat and row around in, it has one of the best experiences you could ever find in the city. Truly an oasis that dazzles and brims with excitement and joy, the park’s biggest draw has to be the park’s pearl: the Crystal Palace, where you’ll find contemporary art exhibits that entrances and enchants within the beautiful oriental building.
19. Admire the sunset at Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple with a lovely park by the side
Dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid, the Templo de Debod is an ancient Egyptian temple with a lovely park by the side for visitors to gather and engage in. The highlights of the historic structure will no doubt be the beautiful sunset that viewers will be able to indulge in should they choose to stay. Begin your discovery about Spain’s established relationship with Egypt, the landscape pictures of Madrid, and of course, for the brilliant photos of the sunset all at Templo de Debod.
20. Admire the rich history of the artworks on display at Museo Reina Sofia (Guernica, Picasso ..)
One of Madrid’s highly-praised museums, the Museo Reina Sofia delivers on excellent modern art and more, with a huge collection set to satisfy your distinguished art tastes. As stunning as it is beautiful, the museum’s biggest strengths stem from the rich history of the artworks on display, particularly the Guernica, Picasso’s most famous painting which you can revel with your very eyes. Prepare to spend a couple of wonderful hours as you get lost in the landmark museum.
21. Find hidden gems at “El Rastro”, the most popular Flea market in Madrid
The El Rastro Market is quite possibly one of the most popular open air flea markets in Spain. Located along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores, there are two sides to El Rastro: the commercial part consisting of European flair markets, and the unique side streets with beautiful amazing vintage clothes and furniture. A wonderful, colourful bustling bazaar awaits your attendance in El Rastro, truly a smorgasbord of lovely sights and sounds.
22. Listen to the heartbeat of the undercurrents, trends, and ideas running through Madrid at Urvanity Art
Are you interested in searching for powerful urban art that transcends, that motivates and inspires, by young and original creators from all over the world? Check out Urvanity, a special art fair that brings a new wave of artistic talent into the arts scene, breathing fresh air into innovative contemporary art, fostering newfound dialogue and encouraging reflection on modernity and our place in the contemporary urban life. Let the bold and engaging work capture your imagination.
What are the 3 cool things to do in Madrid at night?
There is no better way to finish your days in Madrid than discovering some of its amazing nightlife. Let’s us show you now what are the things to do in Madrid at night.
23. Listen the best DJs in town at Medias Puri, an original club masked as a haberdashery
Masked as a haberdashery, you’d surely be in for thrill as you go deeper into the basement of Teatro Nuevo Apolo. You’d have three floors to choose from, the Central Hall where live shows would happen with the essence of Cabaret and Cirque du Soleil, the Black Room with Soul, Funk and R&B, and the Apotheke room where their signature cocktails reign whiledisco tunes from the 80s play in the background. Let their magic and mystery seduce you as you’d experience a whimsical night.
24. Sip a cocktail at Bule Bule, a beautiful union of classic bar, pub and restaurant
The Bule Bule is a beautiful union of a classic bar, pub and restaurant, the perfect three-in-one combo. From the founders of Barbara Ann, they offer you an extraordinary dining experience where gastronomy and entertainment collide. Their menu makes you travel across five continents with their innovative dishes such as the Tom Yam-style shrimp Gyozas and Taco de Oreja. Crazy Mama, their dinner-show on the lower floor, offers a vibrant space while playing with all your senses. You’d have to be there to uncover this spectacle.
25. Attend a concert at Sala Equis, an historic adult cinema, revamped into a creative hub
Sala Equis is the gathering place for the unconventional. Housed in a historic adult film cinema, it has revamped into a creative hub for cultural and social discussions. Explore this buffet of entertainment where it’s a restaurant, bar, event space and cinema all in one. Whether it’s catching up with friends, exchanging artistic views, enjoying a gig or watching an art-house film, you’d be able to experience them all either at a cosy indoor area or outdoors decked with creeping vines and plenty of natural sunlight.