Seeing Madrid As a Local

By Sienna Brown


While Madrid is full of plenty of tourist attractions, there are endless opportunities to have an authentic experience during your stay. Having lived there for six months, I found myself slowly emerging from the touristy areas to indulge in the many other activities and places the city had to offer. Here are five of my favorite places in the city worth visiting when you’re in Madrid.

Biblioteca Escuela Pias and Gau Café

This library, in the neighborhood of Lavapiés, is one of the most enchanting spaces that I’ve ever encountered. It’s filled with books, gorgeous work spaces and all of the natural light you’ll need. More often than not you’ll find it filled with students and scholars using the space to write, research and read. I guarantee that spending time here will inspire you to create.

Another highlight of the space is it’s rooftop; on the roof of the building is one of my favorite restaurants in all of Madrid. Gau&Café is the perfect place for delicious cuisine and a nice glass of wine while enjoying the Madrileño sun and a stunning rooftop view of the city.

El Matadero

El Matadero was once a large slaughterhouse, but now it’s a space redesigned for “contemporary creation.” The programs they host are endless (theater productions, movie screenings, art installations, etc). You’ll have an amazing time wandering around the expansive venue.

Madrid Rio

As beautiful as Parque del Retiro is, I really recommend exploring the expansive park of Madrio Rio that runs for about 10k miles along the banks of the Manzanares River. From it’s green spaces to the make-shift beaches, the excitement of what you’ll find keeps you yearning for more. There’s something for everyone in this park and it’s a great way to explore a different side of Madrid.

Art Galleries by Calle De Monte Esquiza

Madrid is known for it’s museums and art spaces like El Prado and La Reina Sofia. Although these museums are wonderfully historic, there are so many other things happening with the Madrileño art scene. Unknown to many art lovers is the slew of independent galleries by Calle De Monte Esquiza. The streets are filled with many different art spaces, each one it’s own world, quaint yet filled with expression.


One of the greatest things about Madrid is it’s nightlife. With the endless clubs and bars in the city, it’s easy to be overwhelmed if you only have one night out on the town. If you want a dance space filled with freedom, you should go to Mondo Disko. Mondo has the kind of music that will have your heart bumping along with the techni-colored floor. 

I’m such a fan that I spent my last night in Madrid at Mondo until 6 in the morning and found myself walking home and greeting the sunrise before I had to catch my flight later that day. A perfect goodbye to a beautiful city.

There’s a multitude of things to see in Madrid. I’m sure your time there will leave you longing for more. What better reason do you need to start scheduling your next trip? ¡Disfrutalo!

Travel Noire

Sienna Brown

Sienna is constantly on a journey to inspire and be inspired while engaging in different methods of creation. She's the founder of Las Morenas de España, a groundbreaking website for women of color in Spain. She's also a photographer, writer and adventurer. Sienna is based in Spain, continuing to create a life she loves. Follow her adventures on twitter and instagram | @siempregirando

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