A lot of you are looking at apartments online in Madrid and wondering WTF am I looking at. So I decided to make a barrio guide. Madrid is not as big as it seems on the map. To walk from Principe Pio metro to Diego de Leon metro takes a little over an hour. Everywhere is safe in Madrid but be wary of pickpockets. This is an amazing city and there’s a neighborhood for you. So I want to take into account what kind of nightlife is where, where it’s noisy and what sight are nearby.
Atoche (Atoche, Atoche Renfe Anton Martin metro stops): This is the museum district. The Prado, Reine Sofia and Thyssen are here. Retiro Park is also nearby and it’s a beautiful place to be near. One of the biggest clubs in Madrid is in this neighborhood, El Kapital. It’s a seven story building with tons of music. Be wary, the restaurants are more expensive in this area. Most of the high class hotels are here too. This is also the main train and bus station to get to other parts of Spain.
Chamberi (Chamberi, Ruben Dario, Quevedo, Ignesia metro stop): This is an upscale neighborhood with Plaza Olviade in the middle. This is the embassy district. Also, Sorolla Museum is here. You can find a variety of shops and restaurants here. It’s a fairly quiet neighborhood.
Chueca: This is the gay barrio. There’s lots of great tapas places, nice shops and of course at night there’s lots of gay bars and clubs. It’s a bit noisy.
La Latina/ Lavapies (La Latina, Puerta de Toledo, Embajadores, Acaias, Lavapies metro stops): If you smoke weed go to Lavapies Plaza and you’ll see Moroccan guys just hanging out. I know that sounds racist but there are a lot of Moroccan immigrants in this area as well as Eastern Indian. There’s also a lot of great Indian restaurants and tapas places here. Shoko is also a popular club in this neighborhood. The Rastro is all through the neighborhood on Sundays. It’s very noisy on Sunday and weekends.
Malasana (Tribunal, Bilbao, Noviciado metro stops): This is the hipster neighborhood with awesome bars and restaurants it’s a bit loud but that’s what happens in the fun neighborhoods! My favorite bars are La Via Lactea and Tupperware. There’s some great boutiques here too.
Moncloa/ Arguelles (Moncloa, Argüelles, and Ciudad Universitaria): This neighborhood has a large Cortes Ingles for all of your needed. There is Templo de Debod nearby, a great picnic place! There’s some posh bars like La Leche de Pantera.
Pacifico: This is a south neighborhood. There’s not much there.
Principe Pio (Principe Pio, Puerta de Angel, and Alta Extremadura): There’s a great mall at this metro stop and it’s a main train station. This is a quiet neighborhood with a lot of old people.
Salamanca: (Diego de Leon, Goya, Lista, and Manuel Becerra metro stops) This is the posh neighborhood of Madrid with all the designer shops and expensive restaurants. There’s some high class clubs and bars in this area like Serrano 41 and Gabana. It’s not as noisy as Malasana but there’s plenty of people hanging out at tapas bars and coming out of clubs at night.
Sol/ Gran Via: (Metro stops Opera, Callao, Sevilla, Alonso Cano, Sol, Gran Via): Santo Domingo and Plaza de Espana) This is the city center. There are a lot of stores like Cortes Ingles, H&M, Zara and more here. There’s also lots of street performers and street walkers. If you want piercings, tattoos or sex toys Gran Via is a great place to look. This is sort of the Times Square of Madrid with tons of people bustling through. There’s also tons of nightclubs here like Joy and Mundo. The best tapas restaurants are here like Le Tigre.
Tetuán (Tetuan, Estrecho, Nuevo Ministerios, Cuzco, Alvarado Metro stops): This is an okay neighborhood but there’s not much here. Nuevo Ministerios has a lot of designer stores, big businesses, a mall and a train station.