Creative cities: 5 things to do in Madrid

Posted: 10.12.13
Tagged with: Madrid, Travel, Design, Culture

CaixaForum Madrid

At Trafiq we are lucky enough to have clients in Madrid so get the chance to travel there quite frequently. Here are 5 things that we would definitely recommend doing if you ever get a chance to spend a few days in one of our favourite cities.


Cinema within Matadero Madrid
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The Matadero is a stunning creative space housed in a former slaughterhouse. This sprawling venue has had many uses, most notably as the headquarters for the Spanish National Ballet and National Dance Company between 1990 and 1996. It is now one of the most exciting cultural centres in Madrid and hosts contemporary art and design exhibitions from around the world, music events, theatre productions and last year was the venue for Madrid’s first international film festival.

Tip: The Matadero’s exhibitions change frequently so make sure you have a look online first to see what’s on.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

La Reina Sofia gallery - Madrid

The Reina Sofia is Spain’s national museum of 20th century art and offers a mixture of national and international exhibitions in its many galleries. It primarily (but not exclusively) showcases work from Spanish artists and has a formidable collection including Picasso’s Guernica, work by Salvador Dali, Joan Miró and a huge imposing piece by Roy Lichtenstein in one of its central courtyards. Housed in a former hospital, the building has been beautifully restored and modernised with glass and steel creating an impressive creative space that is definitely worth seeing.

Tip: Visit during the evening from 7-9pm (Mon/Wed/Thurs/Fri and Sat) or on Sunday 3-7pm for free admission.

Gaudeamus Café

Gaudeamus Cafe - Madrid
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Gau Café is one of those little tucked away places that you’d only find if you knew exactly where to look. Perched on the rooftops in the Lavapiés neighbourhood this bar is found above a former church which has been restored into an university library. A great place to have a few cañas to start the night. Unfortunately the terrace is only open in summer.

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado San Miguel - Madrid
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Set in a beautiful cast iron framed building this is one of the oldest markets in Madrid. No longer a typical daytime market for the ‘locals’ (much to the annoyance of some) it has been refurbished and reopened its doors in 2009 as a bustling market where visitors could try an enormous array of artisan products (cured hams, cheeses, oysters, patisseries) whilst enjoying a glass of wine or vermouth. It has a wonderful selection of food, a great atmosphere and is the perfect place to stop by for a tapa and a glass of wine.

Tip: It gets REALLY busy, so try and avoid peak times if you can. The market opens at 10am and closes at 2am (Thurs-Sat) which provides ample opportunity to visit.


Caixa Forum - Madrid
Image credit: Flikr - Dirk Huijssoon

The CaixaForum is another wonderful creative space which is definitely worth a visit. A former electric power station, it has been redesigned by architects Herzog & de Meuron and beautifully restored to retain elements of its original structure. Adjacent to the building is a vertical ‘living’ wall designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc which holds over 15,000 plants of 250 species. The CaixaForum hosts various temporary art exhibitions and has a top floor cafe with great views of Retiro Park.

CaixaForum Madrid