10 Best Plazas and Streets in Madrid

Get a feel for Madrid at these favorite hangouts

Skyline of Madrid with Metropolis Building and Gra
Sylvain Sonnet / Getty Images

For an authentic look at how locals live, stop at one of these plazas in Madrid for coffee, window shopping or people watching. These plazas, as featured in 100 Things to Do in Madrid, are some of the top spots in Spain's capital city. 

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Puerta del Sol

Puerta del Sol, Madrid

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

Puerta del Sol, more commonly known as just Sol, is the plaza in the heart of Madrid (and indeed, the whole of Spain). Famous features include the Royal Post Office that serves as the president of Madrid's office. It's also where locals gather every New Year's Eve to ring in the new year.

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Plaza Mayor

Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

Just a short walk from Puerta del Sol is Plaza Mayor, Madrid's grandest plaza. The food is overpriced, but it's a fine place to enjoy breakfast. The plaza is home to the Christmas market, which has been a favorite custom since 1860.

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Plaza de Oriente

People walking around Plaza de oriente

TripSavvy / Paul Galindo

This pretty plaza is in front of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Also nearby are Teatro Real, the city's opera house originally built in 1818, and the Royal Monastery of the Incarnation, a women's convent.

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Gran Via

Gran Via, Madrid

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

If you want to go shopping, head to Gran Via, Madrid's main shopping boulevard with many famous stores. Gran Via is also known for its architecture. If you're looking for some nightlife, this is the place to be.

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Calle Huertas

Calle Huertas in Madrid, Spain

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo Valle

Calle Huertas, commonly just called Huertas, dictates the character of this part of Madrid. Small bars, classy restaurants, ice cream parlors and loud music bars mean that the old, young and the tourists brush shoulders here.

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Plaza San Andres

People hanging out in Plaza San Andres

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo

At this grandiose Romanesque church, children play outside while their parents drink in the vibrant cafe around the corner. The church has undergone several reconstructions since the 1600s, and parts of the interior were destroyed during Spain's civil war in the 1930s.

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Plaza Santa Ana

The sun peaking through a statue of a man holding a bird in Plaza Santa Ana

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo

Designed in 1810, Plaza Santa Ana became a favorite of intellectuals, poets, artists and writers, including American writer Ernest Hemingway. It features many cafes and Teatro Español, Madrid's oldest theater, which opened in 1583. 

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Plaza de la Paja

A man walking through the plaza while other groups of people are sitting at cafes along the edge of the square

TripSavvy / Paula Galindo

Plaza de la Paja, which means "straw square," is said to be the oldest plaza in Madrid. You'll find two vegetarian restaurants here. At the bottom of this sloping plaza is a garden called Jardín del Príncipe Anglona.

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09 of 10

Plaza España

If you reach Plaza España from Gran Via, your first impressions of Plaza España may not be so great. However, the plaza is bigger than it first appears. You'll find some of Madrid's tallest skyscrapers here. 

10 of 10

Calle de Segovia

Paula Galindo / TripSavvy

This meandering street in the historic Palacio neighborhood passes by the best paella restaurant in Madrid. It also goes under the city's famous viaduct, which is pedestrian friendly.

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