By Lauren Aloise
Bored in Madrid? Impossible! The busy Spanish capital offers plenty of entertainment options that keep both visitors and locals going around the clock. From theater and cinemas, to flamenco bars and discotecas, Madrid is surely one of the most entertaining cities in all of Europe.
When going out in Madrid, locals almost always start the night with something to drink. If you’re out early (between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.) you should consider a traditional aperitif of vermouth and olives, it is the Madrileños’ favorite way to start their evening and I must admit, I’ve become a big fan. If you head out past 8:30 p.m., you are just in time for the opening of the city’s many tapas bars, and you can make your way around town eating if you wish. If restaurant dining is more your thing, the city offers endless choices, but make sure you make reservations on the weekends.
Among all of the shows, galleries, concerts, clubs, bars and restaurants that Madrid has to offer, it can be tough to narrow down your choices for a night on the town. Here are my personal preferences for Madrid entertainment, but rest assured that whatever you choose you’re sure to have a great time in the Spanish capital.
1. See a show
I wish I could be more specific, but the beautiful thing about Madrid is that there are always performances going on for any preference and price range. In the past year, I’ve seen flamenco-ballet at the Teatro Nuevo Apolo, a famous pianist at the Caixa Forum, and “The Lion King” at the Teatro Lope de Vega. For a full agenda of Madrid theater and dance options, check out the official Madrid website.
2. Tapas crawl in La Latina
I love eating out in restaurants, but must admit that going for tapas can be a bit more entertaining. The best street for easy tapping-hopping has got to be Calle Cava Baja, in the La Latina neighborhood where people hop in and out of the many tapas bars all night long.
3. Drink gin tonics in Malasaña
No matter what I end up doing on the weekends, I usually wind up having a gin tonic in Malasaña before heading home. This trendy Madrid neighborhood found north of Gran Vía is known for its many gin tonic bars, but my favorite is Warehouse 37 where the bartender makes impressive drinks in Madrid’s signature balloon glasses.
4. See a film in original version
For those of us who don’t consider ourselves party-till-the-sun-rises type of people, going to the movies is always a welcome option. I love the fact that Madrid is home to multiple cinemas that show films in original version (I personally can’t stand dubbed movies) and my favorite of these theaters is called Cine Idea right in the city center.
5. Enjoy a rooftop terrace
This is obviously a seasonal indulgence, but when it’s nice out there is no better way to spend an evening than on one of Madrid’s wonderful rooftop terraces. Whether it’s a casual rooftop like Casa Granada, where you can sip a beer and enjoy the laid back atmosphere, or a more impressive rooftop like La Terraza del Urban where each cocktail will set you back a pretty penny, it’s worth it to enjoy the city from above.
People also say that Madrid has its fair share of exciting discos, unfortunately I haven’t been to any to recommend. If you do decide to seek out a place to dance, remember most don’t open until around 2:00 a.m. I much prefer a night of food, friends and fun that ends before 4:00 a.m., though Spaniards often find this strange!
Originally from small-town Massachusetts, Lauren always planned on trading cold, rural winters for the buzz of a big city. Currently going on her fourth year under the Spanish sun, she lives happily in busy Madrid where she runs Madrid Food Tour and writes about travel and expat life at Spanish Sabores. She appreciates fantastic cuisine and the high quality ingredients found in any Spanish kitchen, and when not writing is surely out for a tapa and a glass of Spanish wine.