Top 5 Destinations in Madrid, Spain

Madrid, Spain: A city that never sleeps. A city filled with rich history, deeply embedded traditions, and a wide array of entertainment. Any traveler can aimlessly meander through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Madrid and stumble upon great restaurants, shops, and landmarks. That said, there are certain ‘hot spots’ that every tourist must hit to fully experience Madrid.

What are the top 5 destinations?

1. Plaza del Sol.

It’s one of the oldest, most historic plazas in Spain. Located at the very center of the city, Sol is swarmed with tourists and regulars alike. Snag a table outside, order some croquetas and sangria, and observe the street performers sport their weirdly fascinating costumes. Don’t get too close to the Mickey Mouse. I mean really…Disneyland is in Anaheim, CA. That guy’s a creep and will whisper sweet nothings (that you don’t understand) in your ear until you pay him for a photo. Also, hang on to your wallet and personal belongings. This is an ideal place for pick pocketing.

2. El Tigre.

Brace yourself for an authentic Spanish tapería experience. It’s a crowded, stand-up bar located on Calle Infantas, just a short walk from Gran Via. Order a round of mojitos or sangria (HUGE servings) and get three plates of free tapas! This place is inexpensive and fun. Watch your head as you fight your way through the bar; those dangling ham legs might bruise your face.

3. Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

One of Madrid’s pride and joys is none other than fútbol! Game days attract rowdy, loyal soccer fans that flood the metro and streets with body paint, flags, banners, and plenty of cheering in foreign tongues. The stadium itself is a site to see. If you can make it to a game, do it.

4. Buen Retiro Park.

This is a perfect place to go read or simply people watch. Retiro spans hundreds of acres and is filled with monuments, picnic areas, outdoor restaurants, fountains, and a peaceful lake. Spend a couple hours basquing in the sun, enjoying wine and Spanish tortilla, while being serenaded by a solo guitarist. Dream come true. Also, no need to rent your favorite porno in Madrid. Just venture over to Retiro and witness plenty of action in the park. Couples (much too old to be living at home, but living at home nevertheless) flock to these grassy patches to canoodle and publicly grope each other. Pure entertainment after a few minutes of shock.

5. JOY.

Madrid is known for its incredible nightlife. The younger people eat a traditional late night dinner and head to the discotecas circa 11 pm. One such discoteca became a favorite of mine: JOY. Everything you need in a nightclub: cocktails, go-go dancers, a midnight confetti drop, periodic gusts of air that interrupt songs and temporarily dry your sweat, and proximity to a metro stop. This last one becomes essential around 5:30 AM, when you realize how much you despise your high heels and how desperately you want to devour a bowl of cereal before crawling into bed.

So there you have it! Those are my five must-see places in Madrid.

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