A local’s guide to Madrid
- By Almudena Ávalos
- Photos by Guillermo Gutierrez
It’s easy to feel like a local in Madrid. If you go to the same place twice here, you’ll be greeted like an old friend.
The city’s streets are alive, but it hasn’t yet been slammed by mass tourism. There are plenty of mom-and-pop stores to be found, and a new generation of artists and artisans has emerged. It’s also closely connected: In five short subway stops, you can be transported from the swankiest of districts to working-class neighborhoods.
Throughout the city, you’ll find young people enjoying a drink or a bite to eat at a sidewalk cafe, a child with her two mothers playing with her friends from around the globe, or an elderly man on his way home from the market, sitting on a bench and exchanging gossip with other locals. Rather than as a busy world capital, Madrid can better be described as a collection of villages, united by the prospect of progress, the joy of day-to-day interactions and its big, blue sky.
Meet Almudena Ávalos
Few people can say they are grandchildren of true Madrileños, but Almudena is one of them. She travels the world now as a food and culture writer, but she always returns to Madrid to discover hidden gems to share.
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Explore more of Madrid
- Madrileños like to talk to people visiting their city. Don’t be afraid to ask them a question, especially if you are at a bar. You may just make a friend that feels lifelong, even if it’s only for one night.
- You’ll find yourself wanting sunglasses. The sun is out year-round, even in winter, which is why the locals are accustomed to spending time out and about.
- Most places will offer you a tapa with every drink you order. There’s no rule about it, but it’s a welcome perk.