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Best Things To Do in Madrid

This big European city has its fair share of hustle and bustle, but that doesn't mean it skimps on providing visitors with an authentic Spanish experience. The Prado Museum features works by some of Spain's most famed artists, including Velazquez and Goya. The Palacio Real (Royal Palace) is open to the public and the El Rastro market or the upscale shops in Salamanca provide hours of shopping. But if you're drained from a long day of sightseeing, you might want to rest at an open-air café, especially the ones that skirt Plaza Mayor. Once your energy is restored, enjoy sampling some choice specialties at a tapas bar, such as El Tigre near Chueca, before hitting the club.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
Mercado San Miguel Free attraction
Shopping | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 5.0

Why go: This cast iron market right outside of Plaza Mayor is a favorite among travelers and locals alike. Visitors can purchase ... read more»

#2
Plaza de Cibeles Free attraction
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Plaza de Cibeles is considered to be the most famous plaza in Madrid. Located along the central Calle de Alcalá ... read more»

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#3
Retiro Park (Parque del Retiro) Free attraction
Parks and Gardens | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: To the east of central Madrid, Parque del Buen Retiro (Retiro Park) can be translated as "The Retreat," and that ... read more»

#4
Plaza Mayor Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes ... read more»

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#5
Gateway of the Sun (Puerta del Sol) Free attraction
Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The true center of Madrid — kilometer zero — Puerta del Sol fills with spurting fountains, shops, restaurants and lots of people ... read more»

#6
Royal Palace of Madrid (Palacio Real)
Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: This royal palace housed the kings of Spain from the mid-1700s to 1900s. Although the royal family does not currently ... read more»

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#7
Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: The Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, named for the family from which the collection was bought, is housed in the intimate Villahermosa Palace ... read more»

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#8
Prado Museum (Museo Nacional del Prado)
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Of Madrid's three famous museums, the elegant Museo Nacional del Prado is the most celebrated. Opened in 1819 with ... read more»

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#9
Bernabéu Stadium (Estadio Santiago Bernabéu)
Sports | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: The Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, located north of central Madrid, is the city's main fútbol (or soccer) stadium and the ... read more»

#10
El Rastro Market Free attraction
Shopping | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Exit the La Latina metro station and wander down Calle de las Maldonadas to one of Spain's most popular ... read more»

#11
Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
Museums | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 3.5

Why go: The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Madrid's modern art gallery and along with the Prado and ... read more»

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