Matadero Madrid#10 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
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What was once an old slaughterhouse is now a hub of art and culture in Madrid's Arganzuela neighborhood. Matadero Madrid offers travelers a chance to see many creative facets of the city all in one place, as artists can install or perform their work in the nearly 700,000-square-foot space.
Construction of the slaughterhouse began in 1908, and the finished product, with its red brick Moorish-style exterior, is something to admire. The attraction consists of many different buildings – originally used as livestock markets, administration offices and equipment storage – connected by one large outdoor area.
Just before the 21st century, the city decided to convert the space, so the livestock moved out and the artists moved in. The original architecture was preserved, but now, each of the transformed buildings houses its own type of cultural program. The Spanish National Ballet Company has been practicing and performing in Matadero since 1996 when an architect renovated the cattle stalls into the dance team's headquarters. The large outdoor space that joins the stalls is often used for concerts and shows. Every month the space also features El Mercado Central de Diseño, where vendors hawk arts and crafts, fashion pieces and more.
Many travelers said they enjoyed seeing this creative side of Madrid and felt it was a nice getaway from the city's tourist areas. They recommend researching what events are being held before going, but said even when there's nothing scheduled, it's still a nice place to explore.
Matadero is located in the Arganzuela district of Madrid's Legazpi quarter, and travelers recommend using the Legazpi metro stop to reach Matadero. There is no Matadero-specific parking lot but there are public lots many nearby. The space is wheelchair accessible, and most events are free unless otherwise stated on the website. The space is open daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., but most activities take place in the evening. Check out the Matadero website to see what events are happening during your trip to Madrid.
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#1 Plaza Mayor
This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza.
Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here.
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