By Alba Gonzalez, a Madrileña in love with her city
Edited by Matthew Wears
Madrid is known all over the world for being a city that never truly sleeps, with central areas such as Gran Vía remaining lively long into the night. Searching for things to do in Madrid at night isn’t difficult as there is a selection of things to do whatever the day or time of year. I have lived all over the world but I have never experienced the same open-mindedness and energy that the people of Madrid have, and this is true for Madrid’s nightlife too. We are all very social and we love nothing more than to spend an evening eating amazing food or going for a night out in one of the city’s endless great bars and clubs. Even if clubbing isn’t for you, I will be listing some alternative things to do in Madrid as well, so I hope this list can inspire you to get out and explore the city after dark!
Watch the sunset at Templo de Debod
If you’re looking for where to go in Madrid at night to watch the sunset then there is no better place than the Templo de Debod. Being already one of the most stunning sights in the city during sunset, the area takes on a undoubtable romanticism that will charm even the most icy of hearts. Dating all the way back to the second century BC, the temple is the only Egyptian monument in Spain and one of only small amount outside of Egypt. Located in Cuartel de la Montaña park, the temple offers views across the entire city that you can watch as the final rays of sunlight bounce off many of Madrid’s top sights such as the Royal Palace and Almudena cathedral. Because of its central location the temple is only a ten minute walk North of the Royal Palace and can also be reached by Metro via the Plaza de España station on lines two, three and ten.
Eat at the world’s oldest restaurant
There are few things more amazing in the city than spending a night in the Sobrino de Botín, officially the oldest restaurant anywhere in the world and one of the most famous Madrid night-time attractions. Founded in 1725, the building is rich in history and tradition. The original wood fired oven is still used to create many of the delicious dishes just as they were centuries ago, and even romantic painter Francisco Goya was said to have worked there as a waiter before he entered art school. Today, the restaurant serves authentic, traditional Spanish favourites such as roast suckling pig and Cocido Madrileño alongside a world-class wine selection. Be warned though, the title of oldest restaurant brings many tourists, so booking a table is definitely recommended. You can call them yourself or if you’re staying in a hotel have them arrange it for you.
Photo: Max Alexander / PromoMadrid - Wikicommons
Walk the streets of central Madrid
If you’re searching for some free things to do in Madrid at night then you can’t beat simply taking a walk through town. Central Madrid is often just as busy during the evening if not more so as Madrileño’s finish work and head out to local tapas spots and cocktail bars. There’s always a buzz in the air, and this is one of my personal favourite things to do in Madrid alone. As well as this, the central area is home to some of the most important tourist sights in all of Madrid. Plaza Major, the Royal Palace, and Gran Vía are all in this part of town and become illuminated by spotlights so that they take on a different form to the day. Plaza Major especially becomes a very romantic setting and the mixture of Baroque and Medieval architecture looks even more stunning at night. The best thing about this is you don’t need to pay anything at all to enjoy the experience.
Go for night out in Tupper Ware
Kitsch and over the top, iconic nightclub Tupper Ware is the stuff of legend amongst Madrid’s nightlife regulars. The club is located in the Malasaña district which over the past thirty years has become the hipster part of the city, so if you’re searching for where to go in Madrid at night then this is good place to start. The bar itself is both weird and wonderful, and is filled with retro decorations from the 1970’s and beyond such as Star Wars memorabilia and fake-fur rugs. It’s famous for its eclectic mix of musical genres and depending what night you go on it could be anything from Hip-Hop to electronic music, or classic rock to jazz. This means that Tupper Ware attracts a real wide range of people from student hipsters as well as an older crowd too. An experience like no other, this is definitely one of the more alternative things to do in Madrid.
Enjoy some churros at Plaza Major
I don’t think anyone who visits Madrid will leave having not eaten one of its most famous foods: churros. The best place to get the tasty deep-fried snack is up for debate, but the Plaza Major area tends to have the best selection of churrería’s in the city. Chocolatería San Ginés is perhaps the most famous, and since opening in 1894 it would be fair to say that they have perfected the delicate art of making churros. Located down a small alleyway just North of the Plaza, the churrería has retained much of its original decoration and charm. It is also open twenty-four hours a day and stopping off after visiting the clubs is an integral part of Madrid nightlife. I take mine to the nearby Plaza Major and sit and take it all in, it’s definitely one of my favourite cheap things to do in Madrid at night.
Go to the theatre
Theatre and performance is very important culturally in Madrid and there are countless shows, theatres and festivals on all year round. Perhaps the most famous area would be Gran Vía, the street that houses many of the city’s major theatres such as the world famous Lope de Vega. This is the place that shows some of the world’s biggest musicals and is currently home to one of the most celebrated of all time; The Lion King. If you want something a bit more unique to the city, then a trip to the Royal Theatre to see an opera is the best way to go. It has become one of the most important cultural institutions in all of Spain and hosts shows from all over the world as well as premiering many productions from the biggest names in the Spanish theatre. You won’t find this on any cheap things to do in Madrid at night lists though, as tickets can cost well over one hundred Euros.
Maybe not the first thing you’d think of whilst looking for things to do in Madrid at night, but many shops stay open all the way until 10pm, giving you loads of time to explore the city’s massive range of independent boutique stores, elegant fashion retailers and shopping centres. Depending on what you want to shop for determines where you want to be. If you’re looking to splash out on a new designer handbag for example the best place to go would be the ‘Golden Mile’ in the Salamanca district, a hub for all the high-end fashion flagship stores. For more everyday needs then why not visit one of the many shopping centres such as the Centro Comercial Príncipe Pío, a huge mall and cinema complex located just a five minute walk from the Royal Palace. Then after a full day of shopping, head North just a few minutes to see another one of Madrid’s night time attractions, Templo de Debod.
Go for some evening drinks
Enjoying an ice cold caña or a refreshing cocktail on of the city’s many beautiful terraza’s is a big part of Madrid culture and possibly the most popular thing to do in Madrid at night. There are so many places to choose from, but one of my personal favourites and bit of an under-appreciated gem is the Madrid Reina Victoria hotel roof terrace that overlooks the beautiful Plaza de Santa Ana. The building itself is stunning and the views across the city are even better. Another great place to go is La Latina district, an area of the city that is famous for having some of the best bars and tapas as well as many plaza’s such as it’s Plaza de La Cebada. Madrid’s nightlife in this area is authentic and many of the bars and restaurants have been in operation for many years. It is popular though, so it’s best to come down during the week or early in the day.
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