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Things to Do

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

50 things to do when you’re stuck at home
Things to do

50 things to do when you’re stuck at home

Time Out may have changed its name to Time In for now, but our mission to bring you the best culture, entertainment, food and fun from around the world hasn’t changed. So naturally, we wanted to create the ultimate list of things to do indoors.

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Admire street art and graffiti in Madrid

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Take virtual tours of museums around the world

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Things to do

56 incredible things to do in Madrid

Have your plans ready for when it's travelling time once again 

Time In: great things to do at home

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Live stream the Northern Lights from your couch tonight

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Culture in the capital

Matadero Madrid
Art

Matadero Madrid

Located in the city’s former municipal slaughterhouse, this complex of 48 buildings is now a multifunctional space dedicated to art and contemporary culture. Although some of the buildings remain abandoned, the rest have been restored and now serve as an exhibition hall and theatre. Among the most important buildings at Matadero Madrid are the Music block with recording studios, rehearsal rooms and a small stage; the Spanish block, for the performing arts; the Reader's House, for literature; the Design Centre, where exhibitions and markets are held; the Cinematheque, which is the only one in the country dedicated almost exclusively to non-fiction films. The complex’s large square hosts concerts and festivals and there are also a couple of cafés with terrace seating and a bicycle rental shop.  

Museo del Prado

Museo del Prado

Housed in a gigantic neo-classical building begun by Juan de Villanueva for King Charles III in 1785, the Prado is Madrid's best-known attraction. Charles originally wanted to establish a museum of natural sciences, reflecting one of his chief interests, but by the time it opened, in 1819, this plan had changed: the Prado was a public art museum - one of the world's first - displaying the royal art collection. Spain's 'non-king', Joseph Bonaparte, had first proposed the idea and it was taken up by the restored King Fernando VII (grandson of Charles III), who took on board the demands of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes and those of his second wife, María Isabel de Braganza, considered the museum's true founder. During the last few years the Prado has undergone a highly ambitious expansion programme, including the remodelling of the Casón del Buen Retiro, an annexe opposite the Retiro park. Behind the main museum, on the site of the San Jerónimo cloisters, the new and highly controversial cube-shaped edifice designed by Rafael Moneo, which hosts temporary exhibitions,was also unveiled. As for the collection itself, the core is still the royal holdings, so it reflects royal tastes and political alliances from the 15th to the 17th centuries: court painters Diego de Velázquez and Francisco de Goya are well represented. Political ties with France, Italy and the southern, Catholic Netherlands also assure the presence of works by Titian, Rubens and Hieronymous Bosch, among others

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CaixaForum
Art

CaixaForum

This cultural centre managed by La Caixa savings bank is located in Madrid’s Art Triangle, very near to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Museo del Prado. It stands in the former Mediodía power station, has a surface area of 10,000 square metres, and was designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. Its schedule of events is aimed at the general public and it boasts an extensive cultural and educational programme featuring exhibitions, workshops, conferences, courses and concerts. One of its attractions is the impressive vertical garden at the entrance. This 24-metre-high green space measuring 460 square metres has 15,000 plants of 250 different species that survive without soil, consuming only water and nutrients.

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

This is a must for art fans and an essential part of Madrid's Art Triangle, together with the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza museums. Occupying an immense, slab-sided building, the Reina Sofía boasts an impressive façade with glass and steel lift-shafts, designed by British architect Ian Ritchie. Now, though, the museum has just as impressive a rear, in the form of three buildings, principally built of glass and steel, arranged around a courtyard and all covered by a triangular, zinc-and-aluminium roof, the work of French architect Jean Nouvel. This ambitious extension project adds almost 30,000 sq m to the already vast art space in the patio to the south-west of the main edifice. It includes temporary exhibition spaces. The Reina Sofía's great jewel is unquestionably Guernica, Picasso's impassioned denunciation of war and fascism, a painting that commemorates the destruction in 1937 of the Basque town of Guernica by German bombers that flew in support of the Francoist forces in the Spanish Civil War. Certain art historians, sometimes encouraged by Picasso himself, have seen it more in formal terms, as a reflection on the history of western painting using elements from the work of the Old Masters. Picasso refused to allow the painting to be exhibited in Spain under the Franco regime, and it was only in 1981 that it was finally brought to Spain from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Guernica has been in the Reina Sofía since 1992, when it was transferred from the Casón del

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Círculo de Bellas Artes
Attractions

Círculo de Bellas Artes

The Círculo de Bellas Artes occupies a superb building, designed by Antonio Palacios and completed in 1926. Despite its persistent funding problems, it is a key player in every aspect of the Madrid arts scene. The Círculo offers a plethora of classes, exhibitions, lectures and concerts in its theatre and concert hall, as well as an annual masked ball for carnival. Its café is well worth visiting, whether to see the marvellous El Salto de Léucade by Moisés de Huerta or for its wonderful views, though it has received a lot of criticism recently alleging a decline in quality. Its terrace is usually packed and is a good option for summer evenings.

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Centro Cultural Conde Duque
Attractions

Centro Cultural Conde Duque

Located in the former Real Cuartel de Guardias de Corps (the headquarters of the elite Royal Guard) of King Philip V, the magnificently restored Conde Duque is nowadays one of Madrid's most important cultural centres. It hosts shows, exhibitions, talks, book days and a varied programme of workshops. Don't miss its open air concerts and theatrical representations in summer, which are part of the Veranos de la Villa programme and feature top artists and shows every season. Institutions like the Archivo de la Villa, the Hemeroteca Municipal, the Biblioteca Histórica Municipal, the Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporáneo, the Biblioteca Musical Víctor Espinós and the Biblioteca Digital Memoriademadrid also have their headquarters here.

Tours & Attractions

Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours

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Cultural & Theme Tours

Cultural & Theme Tours

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Day Trips & Excursions

Day Trips & Excursions

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Food, Wine & Nightlife

Food, Wine & Nightlife

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