Madrid wouldn't be the same in July and August without Veranos de la Villa. In the Spanish capital, summer nights are spent dancing at an outdoor concert with the Palacio Real lit up in the background, watching a film under the stars, or taking in a good play at sunset. And none of this would be possible without the programme that the Ayuntamiento (City Hall) organises along with the city's entertainment and cultural venues: the Teatro Circo Price, the Jardines de Sabatini, CentroCentro, Matadero Madrid, and the Centro Cultural Conde Duque.
The programme is aimed at all ages and tastes, so you'll get concerts from José Mercé, Chucho Valdés and Estrella Morente, but also Eels, Andrés Calamaro and Coque Malla, among many others. The Banda Sinfónica Municipal de Madrid takes over the Centro Cultural Conde Duque, and Fringe, the city's biggest festival of performing arts and music holds court at Matadero Madrid. Workshops, kids' activities, outdoor cinema... So you don't drive yourself mad trying to figure out which of all the things to do you should choose, we've selected some highlights to help you get the most of the summer fun.
The historic Palacio de Cibeles, formerly the Palacio de Telecomunicaciones and now home to the Ayuntamiento de Madrid (City Hall), also houses this multicultural space. From film screenings to various types of art exhibitions, the space hosts all types of events distributed through the areas of culture, citizenry and creative management of public spaces. Also a big draw is its lookout, from where you can take in the Madrid skyline and the Plaza de Cibeles from a bird's-eye view.
You don't have to leave Madrid to visit this magnificent olive grove (the 'olivar' part of the park's name). Just a few metres from the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu you'll find this green space and its foundation, where more than 100 century-old olive trees are conserved along with almond trees and rockrose and bloom plants, and along the border of the plot, rosemary. Various cultural activities are organised in the gardens, including the summer cinema cycle that attracts locals in July and August with the year's top films.
An open-air night-time venue in Parque de la Bombilla for catching double bills of mainstream films during the Veranos de la Villa festival, which takes place between July to September. As well as the massive screen (with wayward sound), Fescinal also offers a smaller one for kids, plus the opportunity to munch on bocadillos washed down with cerveza for that truly communal experience of movie-watching.
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.