Everyone knows Madrid locals are passionate about soccer and the beloved Santiago de Bernabeu stadium, home to Real Madrid, is no exception. Although the stadium will soon be undergoing a 400 million euro renovation, this spot is already loved by many locals, and apparently just as many tourists: according to TripAdvisor, visiting the stadium is one of the top five tourist attractions and activities in Madrid.
Plaza de Cibeles
A roundabout with the focal point being the magnificent Cibeles Palace, the Plaza de Cibeles is a sight to see. The circle is complete with Spain’s national bank, Banco de España and a stunning fountain opening up to one of Madrid’s most beloved boulevards, Paseo del Prado.
Parque del Buen Retiro
Once private gardens for royalty only, the Retiro Park is now central Madrid’s most famous park, a favorite of locals and tourists alike. You can spot the locals walking their dogs, jogging and strolling – this park is a special place to all Madrileños. The lake and the Palacio de Cristal, a palace made out of glass, are some of the most popular sights in the park.
Slowly becoming more popular with tourists, this street has always been a favorite for the locals to bar hop and chow down on tapas. If you want to get a taste of what Spanish bars are really like, head down to this street on a Thursday or Friday evening.
Madrid locals are extremely proud of the new Madrid Río space that’s turned the riverside area into a budding destination. Once an area where highways converged, a recent project fixed all that, taking the traffic underground and building a green, beautiful new area along the river including bridges, trees, plants, flowers, play areas for children, quiet spaces for reflection and even a beach area.
The “Fifth Avenue” of Madrid, locals love to take visitors along this busy street that some say even remind them of New York City’s flashing lights and theaters. Shop, eat or see a musical on this bustling street, emblematic of Madrid’s vibrant energy.
Not many cities can boast a vertical garden, but Madrid can. The vertical wall of grass just outside Madrid’s gallery space and cultural center The Caixa Forum was created to integrate along with the nearby botanical gardens. In any case, it’s a really beautiful space to check out and take some photos, and visiting the inside of the Caixa Forum is fun and educational.
What started off as a few vendors selling goods has turned into one of Europe’s largest flea markets. Open for business every Sunday in the La Latina neighborhood, El Rastro is visited by thousands of locals and tourists, and has expanded to the point of reaching other neighborhoods. Stop there to buy, well, pretty much anything!