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Madrid with Mom

We began planning 5 months before leaving. We would meet at a local restaurant, order drinks and dinner and plan our Madrid with mom adventure. We both talk about those dinners together. It brought the trip to life.

Our tickets were based out of LA so we had to get to LA . We left early so we could spend the day walking up and down Venice Beach because the flight was overnight. We ate here a couple times. The tacos were delicious and the sweet treats were divine. I highly suggest flying across the pond overnight and take the day to walk and stretch for the long flight.

Our top spots:

Palacio de Cibeles

Visit the Palacio de Cibeles.

This Gothic-style building was once Madrid’s main post office, but since 2007 it’s served as the city’s town hall. Plaza de Cibeles, the square outside, is an iconic backdrop for many events throughout the year. The bright white stone against the blue sky offers a picture-perfect shot for many tourists, but few go inside to enjoy its beautiful interior. It’s partly run by the cultural organization CentroCentro, which regularly offers free art exhibitions and events.

The week we visited, it was an immersive Van Gogh exhibit

Get into the local rhythm at El Rastro.

On Sundays, locals head to the historic neighborhood of La Latina for one specific event: El Rastro. It’s the biggest open-air flea market in Madrid and one of the largest in Spain, with thousands of stalls crowding the streets. Here, you’ll find myriad accessories, home goods, and locally-made items, and there are food vendors serving tapas and beer.

El Rastro

Chill out with locals at Parque del Retiro.

Skaters, cyclists, dog walkers, street artists, and musicians can be seen and heard along the paths of Parque del Retiro, Madrid’s most popular park. Locals flock to the 350-acre space year round to exercise, relax, or visit free exhibition spaces such as Palacio de Cristal. There’s also a huge boating lake and plenty of cafés.

Retiro Parque

Visit Mercado de San Miguel.

If you’re not already hungry, you definitely will be after taking in the atmosphere at Mercado de San Miguel, one of the city’s oldest food markets. It first opened in 1916, and after an extensive renovation in 2009, its building near Plaza Mayor became incredibly popular with tourists. You can find all kinds of comestibles here, including fresh fruits and vegetables, chocolates, and dishes meant to be consumed on breaks between shopping.

Olive Bar

Admire impressive architecture along Gran Vía.

A stroll along Gran Vía in central Madrid is highly entertaining, day or night. The thoroughfare is lined with hundreds of shops, cafés, and restaurants, so it’s always buzzing with people; but what makes it truly unique is its many historical theaters and cinemas. It’s akin to New York City’s Broadway, with beautiful architecture that’s worth the walk alone. Stretching from Plaza de España to the iconic Beaux-Arts Metropolis building, it offers plenty of fabulous photo opportunities.

Crystal Palace (Palacio de Cristal)

It was once built as a greenhouse to exhibit flora and fauna from the Philippines. Currently, it is used for art exhibitions (which are free). It’s also one of the most instagramable places in the city.

SAN GINÉS CHOCOLATE SHOP

CHOCOLATE WITH CHURROS SINCE 1894

San Gines

We visited several museums, but that’s a blog for another day.

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