LGBT life is blooming in Madrid outside Chueca area. Before the arrival of the World Gay Pride to the city, its Gay life is larger than ever. Diversity is the norm in more and more neighborhoods along Madrid.
Chueca is still the flagship gay neighborhood in Madrid and famous worldwide, luckily its borders have been breached and other neighborhoods have received the freedom and diversity influence.
Get to know the new Gay areas: La Latina, Malasaña, Conde Duque, Letras and Lavapiés. Don’t miss them!
Chueca was the pioneer, the mother of LGBT freedom in Spain. Once a depressed area with some criminality turned into a cutting-edge neighborhood thanks to the gay community that arrived, looking for cheap housing prices in a centric location. With love, freedom and good vibe, Chueca turned into one of the most popular areas of Madrid and Europe. Always reinventing itself, Chueca creates tendencies that reach the whole country. Modernity started in Madrid thanks to this neighborhood and the LGBT community.
Narrow streets full of original shops and open minded bars and clubs. The squares Plaza Pedro Zerolo (aka Vázquez de Mella) and Plaza del Rey are where Chueca’s life gravitates. Fuencarral street is the imaginary border with the neighbor Malasaña, a must visit.
To eat there are all kind of options: mediterranean cuisine at La Cocina de San Antón, the cheap but quality menu of Vivares, the “free latino style” of La Candelita, tapas at Mercado de la Reina, gourmet burguers at Home Burguer or the traditional cañí style of El Tigre.
If you are looking for a more sophisticated atmosphere you cannot miss the terrace of the hotel Room Mate Óscar, the favorite place of gay celebrities; the renovated Ricks offers quality commercial music and opens until late night; the club Studio 54, the Sundays at Chicote, enjoying delicious coctels at theis morning top DJ sessions; or naughty after hour sessions like Why not?.
To know more about Madrid’s nightlife, click here.
While crossing Fuencarral street it looks like we are still in Chueca, but taking a closer look to details we will notice something has changed. Yes, we are now in Malasaña, the hipster capital of Madrid and cradle of the 80’s Movida Madrileña.
You will notice Malasaña is less sophisticated but is more crowded and diverse. Tattoo shops are mixed with gin bars, while a customer comes out of a gay sex toy shop to enter a traditional restaurant.
The heart of this area is plaza del Dos de Mayo, a square with a cute second hand flea market on weekends, that pumps narrow streets full of trendy shops, bars and restaurants full of imagination. The limits of this neighborhood are Gran Vía to the south, a huge street full of flagship stores, and Conde Duque area to the west.
To eat, try Casa Fidel or La Lirio, have a a coffee at Toma Café or the amazing Ojalá, with a basement decorated with beach sand and pillows on the floor. You can later drink a beer at La Bicicleta, a Gin Tonic in La Realidad, or a coctel in Picnic to finish the tour enjoying the great views ot the Gymage terrace at Plaza de la Luna.
For a long time the little brother of Malasaña, Conde Duque is gaining an own bohemian personality in the past years. Mixing boutique-like shops with underground spots, this is an area you should not skip.
Crossing San Bernardo street, Malasaña passes the baton to Conde Duque, calm streets with almost no car traffic, very narrow, and with a peaceful feeling that transmits the needed quietness to discover the hidden jewels of this area.
Thanks to Centro Conde Duque, an old XVIII century military complex converted into a huge cultural space that hosts the last tendencies in electronic music, modern art and world-class concerts, Conde Duque life has been revitalized. Its proximity to Plaza de España and Templo de Debod makes it a good stop while visiting the rest of Madrid.
Have a mexican meal at María Bonita, and order a good mezcal to drink pídete un mezcal mexicano; have brunch on a chester sofa at MÜR Café; attend any of the concerts at Café La Palma and if you still have energy left, try and visit the most underground face of Conde Duque: the Peruvian restaurant inside Mostenses market or the Chinese restaurant inside the underground parking of Plaza España (not a joke, find it in front of the ticket counter).
The most dynamic neighborhood in Madrid. A mix of people from all over the world who share their cultures to create a crazy environment of freedom.
What used to be a depressed area in the city where only inmigrants chose to live, has turned into a vibrant area thanks to the foreign cultures that hosts. Cultural and political movements have turned Lavapiés into the new Chueca, a space where anything can happen and you can breathe freedom at every corner.
The huge asian and african community that lives in Lavapiés allows you to buy any spice or food you can imagine from around the world. It also hosts the Museo Reina Sofia, the most visited museum in Spain, and La Casa Encendida, a cultural centre where you can learn anything from street dance to greek literature.
Here you can find the most innovative plays, as well as being the main character in a swinger party at the sex club The Ring.
An area where you should order a vermouth (vermú) at any of the bars with personality that you can find starting from Argumosa street: El Automático, Amor Voodoo, Tribuletxe, La Chilostra… You can also visit San Fernando Market to have some street food before going for a rum at Escalera de Jacob and start the night dancing in El Juglar or playing in the fetish gay club ATTACK.
Sundays are the day of El Rastro, the biggest flea market in Madrid and one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city. Sharing space with La Latina neighborhood, El Rastro is the perfect place to go on a hangover. Eat snails and razor clams, after buying a genuine antique hidden in the hundreds of stalls of the market.
The oldest neighborhood of Madrid, full of several centuries old buildings, monuments of the Spanish Empire, bars inside caves, delicatessen tapas, and a weird atmosphere that reminds of a TV set.
In this area the specialty is eating pintxos and tapas. Juana la Loca is famous for its pincho de tortilla (spanish omelette), but we recommend you to try Txirimiri‘s too. Another good place for pintxos is Lamiak. Check the large variety of vegan burgers of Viva Burguer; order a mojito and a carrot cake at Delic and then go on to Drag Queen show at Berlin Cabaret.
For alternative activities visit Campo de Cebada, an occupied open air meeting place where anything can happen, from pop-up concerts to neighbourhood breakfasts or a Tai Chi or Yoga class.
If you want to breathe some fresh air, you can just walk down the steep calle Segovia to reach Madrid Rio, a series of parks on the riverside which are connected to Casa Campo, where there is a hidden cruising spot you can ask about.
At a very short distance from Chueca, Las Letras neighborhood is the last gay area to consider. Usually full of tourists due to its proximity to the historic centre, Las Letras area is so close to Chueca that people started to move there when rent prices started to increase in Chueca.
Mixed with average touristic places there are really interesting spots to consider in this area.
The better example of this is The Roof, a terrace club on the top of the ME hotel, amazing views of Madrid and a great place to have a drink with electronic music.
Los Gatos is a must visit if you want to experience the real traditional Madrid with really charming touch. It is located in a privileged location, just in front of the Palace Hotel and very close to the Congress building.
Yo can have lunch at La Mucca and have a coffe at Ganz Café or a tea in Matilda, before visiting the CaixaForum museum.
At night, you can choose between a Jazz concert at Café Central or the electronic club Mondo, where you can listen to the best DJs that visit Madrid by far.
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