Things to Do in Madrid: Malasaña and Chueca

  • 01 of 10

    Conde Duque Madrid

    Conde Duque Madrid
    ••• Conde Duque Madrid.

    What is Conde Duque Madrid?

    An exhibition center and former military barracks. Its main attraction is Madrid's Contemporary Art Museum.

    Where is Conde Duque Madrid?

    On C/ Conde Duque (at no.9), a little to the north of Plaza España. Its metro stop is Ventura Rodriguez or Noviciado. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Anything Else I Need To Know? 

    The Contemporary Art Museum is closed on Mondays, however there are other institutions of interest at Conde Duque, including Madrid's city archive, libraries of history, music and newspapers, and an artisan printing press.

    You can also check out our list of 100 Things to Do in Madrid if you're looking for even more to do!

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  • 02 of 10

    Calle Espiritu Santu

    Calle Espiritu Santu
    ••• Calle Espiritu Santu.

    Get Your Coffee Fix in Malasaña

    Calle Espiritu Santu is a great street in Malasaña to go out for coffee. You'll find my favorite cafe in Madrid, La Lolina, as well as J&J's, a second-hand English bookstore and coffee shop.

    How Do You Get to Calle Espiritu Santu?

    Espiritu Santu runs from east to west, from Calle Corrida Alta de San Pablo to Calle San Bernardo. Take the metro to the Noviciado or Tribunal stations. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance

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  • 03 of 10

    Cafe Commercial

    Cafe Commercial
    ••• Cafe Commercial.

    Would You Like Some History With Your Coffee?

    Cafe Commercial is a fantastic hundred-year-old cafe and former home to the anti-Franco army during the Spanish Civil War. How's that for a slice of history?

    Where is Cafe Commercial?

    At Glorieta de Bilbao, at the top of Malasaña. The closest metro stop is Bilbao. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Cafe Commercial is definitely best when busy (quite frankly, it's pretty dreary when it's not), which is for breakfast and merienda

    You can also find 100 Things to Do in Madrid

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  • 04 of 10

    Wine Tasting at Planeta Vino

    Wine Tasting
    ••• Wine Tasting.

    What is Wine Tasting at Planeta Vino?

    Learn about Spanish wine and general wine tasting techniques at this wine tasting school.

    When I visited Planeta Vino for an evening of wine tasting, my group and I sampled five red wines and one white (Spain makes far more red than white), of various prices. We talked about how to taste wine properly (ignoring some of the myths about swilling it around in your mouth and precariously waving the glass around in the air for more practical alternatives), the difference between Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva, airing the wine, the types of food that go well with different types of wine and more.

    Read more about my experience at Planeta in my review. Our wine expert Mary at Planeta Vino was kind enough to help me with this Spanish Wine FAQ.

    Where Can I Partake in This Wine Tasting Magic?

    In a private building near Alonso Martinez Metro station. For more info, visit their website here. The closest metro stations are Alonso Martinez or Colon. Read more about...MORE the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

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  • 05 of 10

    Mercado Fuencarral

    Mercado Fuencarral
    ••• Mercado Fuencarral.

    A Must-Visit for the Fashion-Forward

    Mercado Fuencarral boasts funky fashion by independent designers in a four-storey market. Locals will complain that it's not as cheap as it used to be, but it's still a special spot to score some new garb.

    Where is Mercado Fuencarral?

    At Calle Fuencarral 35. Fuencarral is perpendicular to Gran Via. Its metro stations are either Gran Via or Tribunal. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Cool Happenings

    A little word to the wise: the noticeboard upstairs is a great place to find out about current events in Madrid. Check out our guide to shopping in Madrid if you're down to spend a little cash and discover some unique finds!

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  • 06 of 10

    Stop Madrid

    Stop Madrid
    ••• Stop Madrid.

    Save Room for Tapas

    Obviously, Madrid is all about the tapas. Stop Madrid As classic a tapas bar as you'll get in Madrid. Choose from the finest cheese, ham, and chorizo and wash it down with some of the best Spanish red wines.

    Madrid is host to tons of tapas bars—if you'd like to check out a few, we recommend booking a walking tour to really get your fill.

    Where is Stop Madrid?

    On Calle Hortaleza (no. 11), just a short walk up from Gran Via.​ Its metro stop is Gran Via. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

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  • 07 of 10

    El Tigre

    El Tigre
    ••• El Tigre.

    What is El Tigre?

    It's a crazy bargain, that's what. The cheapest, most chaotic example of free tapas in Madrid. Buy a round of drinks and you'll get three plates of food to go with it.

    Where is El Tigre?

    On Calle de las Infantas (no. 30) in Chueca (parallel to Gran Via). You can  get there via the metro at Gran Via or Chueca stations. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Leave Your Inhibitions at the Door

    After seeing the chaos that goes on in El Tigre, many suspect the place to be unhygienic. I beg to differ. The food is served up and eaten so fast that there isn't time for bacteria to grow. I'd trust the food here far more than I'd trust a bar that has a plate of meatballs that has been festering on the counter for heaven knows how long.

    You can also book a gourmet tapas tour of Madrid if you want a more, shall we say, controlled environment—we prefer El Tigre though! 

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  • 08 of 10

    Via Lactea

    Back to the '80s

    Via Lactea was a central hub the of the Movida Madrileña, Madrid's '80s youth revival. The bar has stayed hip ever since (though I have to admit, the crowd seems to have aged with me, since I used to drink here in my early 20s).

    Where is Via Lactea?

    On Calle Velarde, a popular street for young alternative types on a night out. Nearby is Nueva Vision, a retro punk bar and the official Ramones Fan Club of Spain.  You can reach all this via the metro at Tribunal. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Read more about Malasaña Nightlife, if you're planning a night out in one of the hipper parts of town.

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  • 09 of 10

    Diplodocus

    Diplodocus
    ••• Diplodocus.

    Diplodocus Will Fill Your Stomach and Your Ears

    Diplodocus is a niche bar, but its gimmicks are both really cool. One is that they serve their drinks in huge glasses. We're talking 15 liters (three gallons) here. The other is that they play straight-up heavy metal, right out of the '70s and '80s, and aren't ashamed to admit it.  It's definitely a unique experience, even if you find the music a bit too cheesy.

    Where is Diplodocus?

    On Calle Manuela Malasaña. You can reach it on the metro via Bilbao or Tribunal stations. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    Here's the Deal with the Drink Sizes

    Behind the bar is a menu with the various drink sizes on offer, but the actual volume of liquid isn't listed. They range from a one-liter "mini" to the fear-inducing "teapasao" (drunken Spanish for "you've gone too far"). Thankfully, these drinks are meant to be shared, so get the biggest one your finances can stretch to and...MORE enough straws to go round. The super-big glasses can be ordered for beer, calimocho (red wine and coke) or the intriguingly titled "brontosaurus milk".

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  • 10 of 10

    Con Dos Fogones Restaurant

    Con Dos Fogones
    ••• Con Dos Fogones.

    What is Con Dos Fogones?

    Put simply: my favorite restaurant in Madrid. For 10 euros, you can get their sumptuous lunchtime menu. If you can eat this well at a similar price anywhere else in western Europe, I'll be impressed.

    I'm Sold. How Do I Get There?

    Con Dos Fogones is located on Calle San Bernadino. This street has a number of other restaurants, mainly Asian.  Its metro stations are Plaza de España or Noviciado. Read more about the Madrid Metro, or buy tickets in advance.

    See also our list of the Best Restaurants in Madrid.