Madrid is a vibrant, bustling city where on any given day you can find a new adventure to go on. Typically, most people spend their time museum hopping and trying samples of Spain's delicious mediterranean delicacies at el Mercado de San Miguel. There are plenty of unique restaurants, including a beach themed restaurant with actual sand and one where all your food is served either extremely hot or extremely cold. There is also no shortage of art in the city, as you can find plenty of street art in the barrios of Malasaña and La Latina, or at El Museo del Prado. Lastly, many tourists gather to see the sunset on the Spanish capital at el Templo de Debod. While all of these activities are well worth the time, here are a few suggestions for some hidden gems in Madrid that do not gather as many tourists as other places.
Chocolatería San Ginés.
A staple in many Spanish diets are churros with hot chocolate. This delectable treat can be found at just any place in the city; however, the churros and hot chocolate at La Chocolatería de San Ginés have been classics since the 1800s. Located not too far from Puerta del Sol, a visit to this café is a unique historical experience, as evidenced by the long lines of people waiting for a sample of its food. Be warned that the hot chocolate is actually melted chocolate, rather than the cocoa powder mixed with milk that we’re used to in our hot chocolate.
Mercado San Anton
This market is found in Madrid’s Chueca district. Apart from not being too far from the spectacular shopping on Fuencarral and Gran Via, it has a spectacular food scene. You can check out the Mercado San Anton for three levels of different food and beverage options. There is Japanese, Greek, Spanish, and a croquetas bar for you and your friends to visit if you are all craving different food specialties. Likewise, there are plenty of vegetarian options if you have special dietary needs. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Madrid during the warmer months, you can take your food to the rooftop and enjoy spectacular views of the city.
Somewhere between an eclectic art exhibit, an artisan fair, and a food truck haven is the Matadero. Matadero means slaughter house which reflects its old history where this building was once used as an animal slaughterhouse until it was renovated and transformed into a cultural arts center in 1996. After refurbishing the buildings, as well as its surrounding area, this became a place for artists of all factions to converge and create a unique experience. The buildings themselves hosts modern art, film, photography, theater, and textile design exhibits with a focus on experimental art. On any given day the entertainment outside can host either a circus, food trucks, and artisans selling their art or jewelry. It is a truly unique experience in the Arganzuela section of the city.
In short, there are lots of amazing things to do and see in Madrid that you may not find in guidebooks. I hope this helps you to take a trip off the beaten path!
Gisselle Arce is the Resource Area Manager for the Study Abroad Office. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain, when she was an undergraduate student. After she graduated, she spent 5 months teaching English in Chile and then interning in Spain before joining Team SAO!