Ever since moving to Madrid in 2011, I've been telling people that this is the true "city that never sleeps". There is truly something for everyone here, and at all hours. Today Lindsey shares some of the best things to do in Madrid at night-- but rest assured that there are endless options if you keep looking!
After the sun goes down, the Spanish capital truly comes alive. Madrileños take to the streets, packing bars and restaurants both inside and out, before moving on to the city's iconic nightlife scene.
With such a lively atmosphere everywhere you look, you'll definitely want to get in on the fun. Here are some of the best things to do in Madrid at night to get you started. Whether you want to have a relaxed, easy night out or stay out dancing till dawn, some of these suggestions are sure to come in handy!
Top 12 Things to Do in Madrid at Night
1. Visit a world-class museum for free
Why not start your evening out in Madrid with some culture?
The Reina Sofía Museum is many things: modern art wonderland, architectural marvel, and home to Picasso's "Guernica" just to name a few. The best part is that it's completely free to visit from 7–9 p.m. Get there before 7 (otherwise the line will be quite long) and enjoy two perfect hours exploring this artistic treasure.
2. See the sunset from a rooftop bar
There's something so inherently glamorous about enjoying the sunset with the city at your feet, cocktail or glass of wine in hand. Luckily, there are plenty of fabulous rooftop bars in Madrid where you can do just that. A select few, such as the Círculo de Bellas Artes terrace overlooking Gran Vía, cost a small fee to get in, but the vast majority are free to enter.
3. Catch a flamenco show...
Flamenco is one of the images most popularly associated with Spain, and for good reason. The passion, elegance and intensity make for the performance of a lifetime when done well.
It can be hard to find good quality flamenco in Madrid, but it does exist. Check out these tips for how to spot an authentic flamenco show in Spain, and these picks for where to find excellent flamenco in Madrid.
4. ...or another live music performance
Madrid is a music lover's dream come true, with venues across the city showcasing rock, pop, jazz, soul and more just about every night of the week. Enjoy some tunes while relaxing on Marula Café's trendy terrace, or rock out into the early hours of the next morning at the Wurlitzer.
See Also: Where to See Live Music in Madrid
5. Go sightseeing
Some of Madrid's most iconic sights look their most beautiful after sunset. As you make your way across the city center, be sure to stop and admire the way Plaza Mayor looks all lit up at night, or marvel at the legendary Tio Pepe sign towering over Puerta del Sol.
As a bonus, fewer tourists tend to be out and about at night than during the day, so you likely won't have to deal with as many crowds.
6. Sip on craft cocktails
Madrid isn't all beer and wine! Spain is famous for its excellent gin tonics, but that's far from the end-all-be-all of Madrid's exciting cocktail scene. Head to 1862 Dry Bar (Calle del Pez, 27) for exquisite handcrafted cocktails in a cozy, intimate setting. Museo Chicote is another fabulous option, serving beautifully made drinks in a glamorous historic bar that was one of Hemingway's favorite Madrid haunts.
7. Dance until dawn
It would almost be a crime to talk about things to do in Madrid at night without mentioning the city's legendary nightclub scene. From big names on the party scene like Kapital and Joy Eslava to smaller clubs like laid-back jazz venue Cafe Central, nightlife in Madrid offers something for everyone.
8. Check out the theatre scene
Anyone who's walked down Gran Vía has likely seen the large yellow billboard advertising the Lion King musical at Teatro Lope de Vega. While presented entirely in Spanish, there's something magical about watching the beloved story come to life right before your eyes, and it's familiar enough to many people that you'll likely be able to follow what's going on even if you don't speak the language. Another fabulous pick for live entertainment is the Teatro Español right on Plaza Santa Ana, where you can catch everything from traditional Spanish performances to cutting-edge modern works.
9. Enjoy a comedy show
Believe it or not, Madrid boasts a rich and varied comedy scene with plenty of groups offering performances in English. These standup and improv shows often draw a varied international crowd, providing a fun atmosphere in which to meet fellow travelers and expats. A few comedy groups even offer their own improv classes if you're looking for a unique new activity to try.
10. Snack on late-night churros and chocolate
There's really no wrong time of day to eat churros. You can have them for breakfast, as a midday snack, or even late at night as you're coming home from drinking and dancing. Located right in the city center just off of Plaza Mayor, the iconic Chocolatería San Ginés is open 24 hours a day, providing sweet pick-me-ups to dozens of revelers every night.
11. Take a solo tapas crawl...
With dinners often starting well past 10 p.m., Spain's dining scene is a major player in its vibrant late-night atmosphere. Bars and restaurants throughout the capital often close hours after their counterparts in other countries.
Join the locals (yes, it's late, but hopefully your mid-afternoon merienda can hold you over) for one of Spain's most beloved foodie traditions: the almighty tapas crawl. Remember that the concept of tapas in Spain doesn't necessarily refer to the size of the plates—it's a full social experience made better by sharing food with good company.
See Also: When Are Spanish Mealtimes?
12. ...or do it with an expert!
For the uninitiated, braving a crowded tapas bar solo can be intimidating. That's where Devour Madrid comes in.
Join a small group of fellow foodies and a passionate local guide for an evening of gastronomic delights as you sip and snack your way across the Spanish capital. The Tapas, Taverns & History Tour will whisk you back in time at the places that have helped shaped Madrid's cuisine throughout the decades (or even centuries, in some cases!). And if you can't imagine a night out without plenty of wine, the Evening Tapas & Wine Tasting Tour will be right up your alley. Both experiences will give you all the confidence you need to handle even the most happening Madrid tapas bar like a seasoned pro.
What's your best tip for enjoying Madrid at night? Any favorite bars, restaurants, or clubs? Share below!