Madrid is one of the world’s celebrated capitals, packed full of lively squares, award-winning restaurants, and museums housing prized artworks. It’s a city to visit at any time of the year, with each season delivering unique delights. But it’s in the fall that it seems to take on a totally unique feel. The typically hot Madrid weather from the summer has started to abate and the number of tourists in the city begins to dwindle. But the fun and festivities have anything but slowed - there are dozens of popular things to do in Madrid in fall, and plenty of locals will tell you it’s the best time to visit Madrid. So if you’re wondering what to do in Madrid this September, October, and November, or you’re looking for some inspiration for a fall getaway, here’s why you should visit Madrid in the fall.
Outdoor living isn’t only for summer
Madrid is known as one of the food capitals of the world, and during summer most restaurants and bars open up their terraces to allow for sublime outdoor drinking and dining. But given Madrid’s balmy fall weather, it’s a tradition that overflows well into September and October. If you’re looking for things to do in Madrid this fall, even if you’re only around for a fleeting 48 hours, then start by tracking down a vibrant terrace or rooftop bar - it’s the ideal way to set the pace for your trip to Spain, and one of the most popular things to do in Madrid at night.
Changing leaves in Madrid’s parks
Madrid is a city famous for its parks, and soaking up the autumn rays is one of the most popular things to do in Madrid in fall. The temperatures aren’t as searing as summer’s, and the changing colors of the leaves totally transform the parks as winter approaches. Pack a picnic, rent a bicycle, or simply lace up your running shoes and head to one of the city’s green spaces. The most popular of these throughout the year are Casa de Campo and Retiro Park, both of which are among the top free things to do in Madrid.
Fans of architecture are in for a treat in Madrid in September and early October. That’s because the city’s Architecture Week takes place on the last few days of September and into early October. The event aims to showcase the importance of architecture, both in Madrid and around the world. Each year Madrid invites a new city to participate, and with lectures, routes and other related events they aim to highlight some of the city’s best buildings. Most of the activities take place at the Official Architects’ Association, but there are events planned for throughout the city.
Madrid Otra Mirada
Madrid in October is a great time to visit for fans of culture and heritage, thanks to Madrid Otra Mirada. This event, which runs from the 19th to the 21st of October each year, intends to highlight Madrid’s remarkable heritage through a range of cultural events, activities and guided tours. Over the course of Madrid Otra Mirada you’ll be able to gain entrance into some of the city’s most impressive buildings, usually off limits to the public, as well as visit notable tourist hotspots like museums, churches and parks. And the best part - it’s free, making this the perfect time for anyone traveling on a budget or looking for free things to do in Madrid in fall.
With the summer crowds happily starting to trickle away and the pace of life slowing down, that means one thing for anyone hoping to visit the best restaurants in Madrid - you’ll find it easier to get a table, and once you’ve got it, be able to relax into a long evening of eating and drinking without being rushed out of the door! Many of the tourist trap restaurants also slink off the radar, and it’s possible to find an authentic madrileño meal to remember. There’s no right or wrong way to experience the capital’s foodie scene, but those in the know recommend tracking down a centuries-old tavern, or checking out one of the newer gastropubs that have sprung up across the city. There’s something for everyone in Madrid’s dining scene, and there’s no better time to experience this from late September to November.
Weekend City Madrid
Fall is a great time to take in the best of the city’s music scene, with a range of both local and international concerts taking place between September and November. Weekend City Madrid is one of the newest music events in the city, and the 2019 festival is taking place between Friday 20th and Saturday 21st of September. The event focuses primarily on urban music, and of the artists already confirmed are Fyahbwoy, Mala Rodríguez, Macaco, Nach and Miguel Campello. As one of the first Madrid fall concerts for 2019, it’s a fantastic way to celebrate the end of summer, and get fall off to the best possible start!
Madrid Salvaje is another new musical event in Madrid, this one aiming to bring the best of reggae, rap, and trap to the capital. It’s taking place on October 4th and 5th this year, and there are a number of acts already confirmed for the schedule. These include Rayden, Natos y Wator, ToteKing, Talco, Dubioza Kolektiv, Beret, and Sista Habesha. More acts are being confirmed, but organizers promise an action-packed festival with a good mix of local and international artists.
Head to the market
Fall in Madrid brings with it a range of seasonal delicacies, and if you’re wondering what to do in Madrid over this time that showcases the best of these, you simply need to visit a local market. One of the best ways to spend a morning in Madrid is to casually wander the aisles of the city’s fresh produce markets and pick up a selection of goods that appeals to your senses. Most vendors will shower you with free samples, and even if you’re not particularly hungry it’s an ideal spot to engage in some people watching. You could head to Mercado San Miguel, but for a more local experience, stop by Mercado San Fernando in the trendy Lavapiés neighborhood. This is one of Madrid’s secret markets, and as a result, the vendors cater to local clients and speak little English. But the quality of the produce speaks for itself, so even if your Spanish isn’t up to scratch, the delicious local eats and regional fresh produce will cry out to you regardless.
Madrid’s museums are world famous, and they house everything from priceless Picassos to rare Van Goghs. During the peak tourist months the museums can be overrun by tourists, but Madrid in November is blissfully quiet, and perhaps the perfect time to pay a visit to famous artworks like Guernica. Each museum in Madrid offers something special, but the two that are particularly worth visiting are the Prado Museum and Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The former is free for a few hours every day (from 6pm until 8pm Monday to Saturday, and 5pm until 8pm Sunday), while the latter is free every weekend, making it literally priceless to see the works of Salvador Dali and other incredible artists. A little research goes a long way if you’re looking for free things to do in Madrid though, as most of the city’s museums have at least one free day every month, if not every week.
Watch a football game
As if Madrid didn’t already have enough going for it, it’s also home to one of the world’s best football teams - Real Madrid. Even if you’re not a fan of the game, a visit to the iconic Santiago Bernabéu Stadium is well worth the time. If you can arrange your visit to Madrid to coincide with a home game then that’s first prize, but even if Real aren’t around you can still book a tour of the stadium during select times. As one of the homes of Spanish football, it’s a pilgrimage for sporting fans from around the world.
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