Parque El Retiro
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The 30 best things to do in Madrid

From cutting-edge culture to chocolate-dipped churros: these are the very best things to do in marvellous Madrid


We could easily name you a thousand things to do in Madrid, and even that would be selling the Spanish capital short. Madrid is a magnificent city, full of fantastic museums, immersive galleries and a whole lot of great restaurants too. 

Madrid is a city that does both; if you’re a newcomer, you can hit the city’s best sites and have the time of your life. For returning visitors, it’s time to explore the spots that only locals will know. Luckily, the editorial team over at Time Out Madrid spend all of their time trying out the newest spots in town, so you’re in very good hands. Here are the best things to do in Madrid. 

🥘 The best restaurants in Madrid
🍸 The best bars in Madrid
🏘️ Where to stay in Madrid
🏨 The best hotels in Madrid
🏠 The best Airbnbs in Madrid

This article was written by the editorial team at Time Out Madrid. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

What to do in Madrid

1. Admire artefacts at the Gallery of Royal Collections

What is it? A museum space showcasing the artistic heritage of the Spanish monarchies, until now displayed in the National Heritage warehouses and the Royal Sites.

Why go? Aside from the architectural beauty of the building itself, the Gallery offers the chance to view some previously unseen works or pieces commonly found in palaces and monasteries outside of Madrid.

Don’t miss: The building is organised downwards, so start at the top. On the first level, you’ll encounter paintings, jewellery, sculptures, and other Habsburgs items. A level below you’ll find artifacts related to the Bourbons. Plus there’s a room housing a significant archaeological discovery unearthed during construction, as well as another room dedicated to temporary exhibitions.

2. Get immersive at Nomad Museo

What is it? A new museum dedicated exclusively to immersive art.

Why go? Nomad Museo is an immersive experience that brings together digital art and artificial intelligence. Lights and special effects beckon visitors to explore the unknown, to let themselves be carried away by sensations and to become part of the art.

Don’t miss: You’ll find lots of new adaptations of classic artists, and new ways of bringing them into the world. The exhibition on Hieronymus Bosch, for example, was particularly good. 


3. See iconic art at Museo Gran Vía 15

What is it? Another new museum, this time right in the heart of the city on Gran Vía, focusing on contemporary art and new movements. Okuda San Miguel is the first artist on exhibit here.

Why go? Museo Gran Vía gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the colourful universe of the Okuda, but mostly it’s part of a trend of Instagrammable museums that feel like walking into a live TikTok. And we love it. 

Don’t miss: This gallery’s giftshop is actually great, selling art, homeware and more. 

4. Sip cocktails with a view on Hotel Montera’s terrace

What is it? The terrace of the newly inaugurated Hotel Montera Madrid, the first Curio Collection by Hilton in the capital, is located in a 1924 building, where the neoclassical architecture merges with underground touches, inspired by the eclectic nature of Madrilenians.

Why go? This might seem like just another rooftop, but it has everything needed to become one of the best on Gran Vía (and there are quite a few). Cosmopolitan, design-oriented and  traditional, with Balinese beds and a panoramic rooftop that rises under the watchful eye of the most iconic clock on the street (the one on the Telefónica building), which is in your eyeline from anywhere on the terrace.

Don’t miss: ‘El cielo de Chicote’ is the hotel’s cocktail bar, which pays homage to Spain's first cocktail bar and is very close to the hotel: the Museo Chicote. From its tables (a replica of those in the legendary cocktail bar), you can see the neighbouring rooftops, the icons of Madrid’s summer terrace scene, from Picalagartos at NH Collection to the recently inaugurated The Thompson rooftop. What a view.

  • Things to do
  • Alameda de Osuna

What is it? One of the most beautiful parks in the city.

Why go? In Alameda de Osuna in the district of Barajas, you'll find El Capricho (literally, 'The Whim'), a garden that is a jewel of Romanticism and a monument to 18th-century taste. Within the 14 hectares lie an artificial river, lakes, woods, gardens, simulations of temples and other surprising nooks. The park's principal architect was Jean-Baptiste Mulot, a French gardener who had worked for Marie Antoinette, yet a large part of El Capricho is in the style of English gardens.

Don't miss: The romantic temples and statues dotted around the park.

6. Get cultured for free in the Art Triangle

What is it? In the heart of Madrid by the Paseo del Prado, the renovated building of Serrería Belga (which housed the facilities of Medialab-Prado) has reopened its doors as a free cultural space.

Why go? In the brand new space, the Espacio Cultural Serrería Belga, the focus is on showcasing Madrid’s creative dynamism in art, music, design, literature, image, and even food. 

Don’t miss: Its agenda is packed with exhibitions, talks, concerts, and activities for all ages. And all for free!

  • Museums
  • Madrid

What is it? A super fun museum dedicated to optical illusions that will make you feel like a little kid again. 

Why go? Since 2020, the Museum of Illusions has been one of the best-loved visitor attractions in Madrid. Locals and tourists adore its vast array of weird and wonderful mind-bending tricks, from the Rubin vase to the 3D stereogram and onto some lesser-known and strange new ones. If you’ve got little ones, we guarantee they will love it here.

Don’t miss: Make sure your phone is fully charged: you’ll want to take this experience home. 

8. Party at Teledisko, the world’s smallest nightclub

What is it? Teledisko originates from Germany; you’ll find Madrid’s version at the Goethe-Institut in Madrid (Zurbarán, 21).

Why go? Alone or with friends, simply select the song you want to hear and start dancing! Oh, and it’s completely free. 

Don’t miss: The booth also takes pics and videos of you, which you can get sent to your email for free. But of course, what happens in Teledisko, stays in Teledisko.


9. Try Madrid’s best cheesecake at Tatel

What is it? The Association of Chefs and Bakers of Madrid, ACYRE, has chosen the best cheesecake in the capital: served at Tatel (Paseo de la Castellana, 36).

Why go? Chef Pedro Moreno has captivated taste buds with a delicacy made using two Madrid cheeses, rulo and goat bombón. Its secret lies in gentle baking at 170ºC, for no more than half an hour. The base is crispy sablé, accompanied by honeycomb honey and a cat tongue-shaped honeycomb.

Don’t miss: If this dessert is your weakness, be sure to also try those from the second and third places: the Círculo Mercantil restaurant at Casino Gran Vía, and the Luna & Wanda bakery.

10. Step into the future at El Corte Inglés

What is it? A new mega-store that’s arrived on Gran Vía to introduce a new concept of ‘phygital’ shopping, a mix between digital and physical. El Corte Inglés has the soul of a shopping center but it’s unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Why go? Each of its floors is themed and dedicated to a type of product, from ‘gamers’ and ‘techies’ on the basement floor (there are even Arcade game machines), to the niche cosmetics area on the ground floor, escorted by giant pixelated sculptures that welcome you to the store. And from there on up: fashion and accessories, sportswear, design, decoration and more. 

Don’t miss: There are many things you can’t miss here. Try out the smart mirrors or head up to the top floor and enjoy a new culinary proposal from a recording studio or a bath.

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