Things to Do

Essential museums, monuments, festivals, walks and tours in Madrid



This week and beyond

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Three million theatre-goers in New York, London, Sydney, Sweden, Canada, Italy and Argentina, and now the musical based in the 1994 movie of the same name arrives in Spain. It's the story of three friends who cross the Australian desert aboard a dilapidated bus that they baptize Priscilla. They're on their way to do a drag show and are also on the lookout for love and friendship. A road movie taken to the stage with 40 artists, 500 spectacular costumes, 200 fabulous wigs and one 10-tonne robotic bus. Oh, and of course, 25 of the greatest disco hits to ensure a good time is had by all. (In Spanish)

  1. Nuevo Teatro Alcalá Jorge Juan, 62, 28009
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Sat Oct 31
More info

El poder de las canciones

  • Free

Who doesn't know a song by The Rolling Stones, The Who or Neil Young? Now you can look back on 60 historic moments of 20th-century pop culture via the songs that gave them life. Commissioned by the director of 'Rockdelux' magazine, Santi Carrillo, this exhibition (The Power of Songs) will delight music lovers. Besides being able to hear each composition and read part of the lyrics, you'll also be able to see a series of films.

  1. Matadero Madrid Plaza de Legazpi, 8, 28045
  2. Thu Jan 29 - Sun Oct 4
More info

Guerrilla Girls

  • Free

'Do women have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum in New York?' This is possibly the most well-known line to come from Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous artists that emerged in the '80s on both sides of the Atlantic and that called attention to the structural nature of the difference in sexes in the institution of art. Matadero Madrid hosts this retrospective of about 70 large-format posters, a projection, books and other documents. The exhibition confronts the belief that the field of art is terrain of social vanguard and exposes its conservative nature and sexist condition. An international reference on denouncing sexism for 30 years using facts, humour and gorilla masks.

  1. Matadero Madrid Plaza de Legazpi, 8, 28045
  2. Sat Jan 31 - Sun Apr 26
More info

Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism, 1968-1989

The Prado is known as always being connected with the canonical in terms of art, and the Reina Sofía for the very latest of the latest. 'The rediscovery of the experience of working photography; the emergence of a new constellation of photographic practices and groups linked to the new social movements; the emergence of self-managed projects for photography in pursuit of different forms of articulation with public policies in expansion; the discourse of the new social movements and the "urban spin" in social struggles.' Sound familiar? No, this isn't about the present day (or is it?), but about reinterpretations of the 1930s and the new documentary movement out of the 1970s. It's the description of the first big event of the Museum of Contemporary Art and we can't help but shudder when we read it. A must (even more so in such a politically charged year).

  1. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Santa Isabel 52, 28012
  2. Tue Feb 10 - Mon Jul 13
More info

Swan Song. Academic paintings of Paris salons

  • Free

The Fundación Mapfre doesn't usually let us down. And it looks like this time is no different with this promising exhibition that includes 84 works from collections from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The idea is to show that the 'academic' shouldn't be something that keeps us away. After all, there lie Cabanel, Bouguereau, Moreau, Ingres and Sargent – names from 19th-century French academicism who feature in this show to teach their own value, far from the pejorative connotations that at risk here. Without academia, this exhibition sets out to show, many elements of modernity wouldn't be what they are. See for yourself, and be convinced.

  1. Fundación Mapfre Paseo de Recoletos, 23, 28004
  2. Sat Feb 14 - Sun May 17
More info

Raoul Dufy

His art is the exaltation of the joy of life, a hymn to the pleasure that he claimed through his paintings, wonders in manipulating light from colour. Now, part of the work of Raoul Dufy (1877-1953), an artist who played an essential role in the birth of the avant-garde, comes to the Thyssen Museum. A total of 89 pieces are added to the four works owned by the museum and honour the memory of this artist with a brilliant palette who was included in the pantheon of masters for a time and then unfairly relegated to oblivion soon after. It's a show that tells of his first steps as an Impressionist and Fauvist artist, and his next as a Cubist painter and author of works of printing, prints and ceramics.

  1. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado 8, 28014
  2. Tue Feb 17 - Sun May 17
More info

Paul Delvaux: A Walk with Love and Death

With such a suggestive title, who doesn't want to get up-close and personal with the work of the Belgian surrealist painter Paul Delvaux? His works, which form part of the permanent collection as well as that of Carmen Thyssen, are known for his dream world, his female figures and their nudity, the night of his compositions, and they dazzle on this journey that thravels through more than 50 works from public and private collections in Belgium. The reclining Venus, the fixation with the Double, classical architecture and railway stations, and the Dance of Death are the issues that obsessed Delvaux. Then back and forth between Eros and Thanatos, and you won't be left unmoved.

  1. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza Palacio de Villahermosa. Paseo del Prado 8, 28014
  2. Tue Feb 24 - Sun Jun 7
More info
More things to do

Culture in the capital

  1. Plaza de Legazpi, 8, 28045
More info

Museo del Prado

  • Critics choice
  1. Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014
More info
  1. Paseo del Prado, 36, 28014
More info
  1. Santa Isabel 52, 28012
More info

Círculo de Bellas Artes

  • Critics choice
  1. Alcalá 42, Marqués de Casa Riera 2, 28014
More info

Centro Cultural Conde Duque

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. Conde Duque, 11, 28015
More info

La Casa Encendida

  • Critics choice
  • Free
  1. Ronda de Valencia 2, 28012
More info

Teatro Compac Gran Vía

  • Price band: 3/4
  1. Gran Vía, 66, 28013
More info