The site of the infamous movida (the post-Franco cultural wave that occurred in the 1980s) and home to a thriving present day alternative scene, Malasaña never ceases to surprise. Discover what to do in one of the most unique, trendy areas of Madrid below.
Being the fun, crazy neighborhood that it is, Malasaña has numerous restaurants that are worth visiting. Artificial beaches, Galician seafood, risotto croquettes, the possibilities are endless and there is no better way of getting to know an area than exploring its locales and establishments. Visiting Malasaña’s best restaurants will help visitors get a feel of this part of Madrid and they will be better prepared to explore it afterwards.
Not many neighborhoods in Madrid can claim to have such an active cultural life as Malasaña. Concerts, parties, exhibitions and vermouth tastings are just a few of the options on offer. Malasaña’s cultural calendar changes very often to deliver new and exciting events, diverging from mainstream activities to explore less well known aspects of Spanish culture. Visitors should check the calendar to keep track of the different events that are suggested, and take advantage of the many opportunities that Malasaña has to offer.
In Spain churches are a crucial part of the patrimony, and Madrid is a great example. Malasaña’s most famous church is the Iglesia de San Antonio de Los Alemanes, situated near Calle del Pez, where many of Malasaña’s best bars and restaurants are. This church is known for its baroque interior, and in 1973 it was declared a Bien de Interés Cultural (national heritage site). Initially it was called Iglesia de San Antonio de los Portugueses, but when Portugal was no longer part of the Spanish Empire, the church was given to German Catholics.
There is no shortage of theaters in this part of Madrid, and teatros Lara, Victoria and Maravillas are some of the best. Teatro Lara was inaugurated in 1880, and it has been putting on concerts and performances ever since, some brief interruptions aside. Teatro Victoria puts on children shows, musicals and standup comedy performances every week. Teatro Maravillas is also an astonishingly beautiful theater in the area.
TupperWare Club’s iconic façade was designed by the illustrator for Spanish magazine El Jueves, a satirical publication. Numerous celebrities have passed by this mural and entered the bar that has become one of the symbols of the Malasaña neighborhood. It has been open for more than 20 years and its affordable prices, good music and lively atmosphere keep reeling people in weekend after weekend. The decoration is quirky and original, with objects from all over the world making it a one-of-a-kind bar.
Visitors that walk through this buzzing street nowadays would never have guessed that a few decades ago it was one of the poorest areas of Madrid. Now this pedestrian street is lined with brands such as Levi’s, Swarovski and Calvin Klein, and is one of the most well to do areas of the Malasaña neighborhood. The Mercado de San Ildefonso, is, however, one of the most iconic places on this street. This market has been there much longer than most other shops.
A neoclassical palace on the edge of the Malasaña neighborhood, Palacio de Liria was designed by Ventura Rodriguez by order of the Duke of Liria, also known as the Duke of Berwick. It was completed in 1770 and is the property of the Casa de Alba, one of the wealthiest aristocratic families in Spain. It houses an important art and history collection, and is rumored to be the biggest private house in the capital. It is possible for tourists to visit it on Fridays.
Close to the Palacio de Liria, is the contemporary art museum. The museum’s collection is mostly made up of paintings and graphic designs, but some sculptures, photographs and drawings are also exhibited. It has two rooms dedicated to a museum within a museum, a recreation of Ramón Gómez de la Serna’s office. There is also a virtual exhibition that showcases art from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
May the 2nd 1808 is a very important date in Spanish history, and this square is dedicated to the events that took place on that day. In Spain it is known as the Levantamiento del 2 de Mayo, which translates to the Insurgence of the 2nd of May. When Madrid’s inhabitants saw that the Napoleonic troops were going to take their King’s son away, they rebelled against the French army and fought for the King they perceived to be theirs. It was a bloody date in Spanish history, but it marked a turn in Spaniards’ behavior under the French regime. After seeing this square, visitors who are interested can visit the Museo del Prado to see Goya’s famous painting of the ‘Dos de mayo’.
Malasaña is crawling with cool, alternative bars that visitors will not be able to find anywhere else. Taboo, Madklyn and Picnic are some of the best. Picnic puts on free concerts, standup comedy shows, fun activities and crazy exhibitions, and to top it all of it has an amazingly bizarre decor. Madklyn, whose name is a hybrid of Madrid and Brooklyn, is also a great nightclub in the area, run by the same family as Picnic and TupperWare. Taboo puts on great concerts and is also worth a visit.