Alternative Madrid

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Malasaña is Madrid’s coolest district, with charming bike-friendly cafés, retro and youth fashion stores, bookstores offering ancient and second-hand books, and flower shops. At its heart is Plaza del Dos de Mayo, a meeting place for Madrileños and tourists alike.

While in Malasaña, pay a visit to La Intrusa, a local store specialising in clothing and accessories by young talents from Spain, and to García Madrid (Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo 26), a fine space dedicated to fashion and art.

Calle Espíritu Santo, halfway from Tribunal to Noviciado tube stations, features restaurants serving food from around the world. La Rue offers crêpes; sushi is the star of menu at Banzai Sushi; and the cupcakes from Happy Day Bakery are simply irresistible. The second-hand clothing store El templo de Susu and the Lolina Vintage coffee house are not to be missed.

In the Conde Duque neighbourhood, the arts & crafts at Peseta and Taller Puntera mingle with the artworks on display at the Conde Duque Cultural Centre, the ABC Museum, focusing on drawings and illustrations, and the Blanca Berlín photography gallery.

Alternative culture

If you’re interested in cultural phenomena on the fringes of mainstream culture, you should make sure to stop by Medialab-Prado, whose programme focuses on the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects. It runs seminars and discussions, working group meetings, exhibitions, conferences, concerts and performance art.

The performing arts reign supreme in the many theatres located in Lavapiés and Embajadores. In the first neighbourhood you´ll find La Casa Encendida, and to the south, in the district of Chopera, a space focusing on alternative culture: Matadero Madrid. This small town at the service of the arts housed in a former slaughterhouse, is made up of Casa del Lector (a cultural space dedicated to reading); Central de diseño (a design centre), Cineteca (a cinematheque), Naves del Español (a theatre) and Nave de Música (an auditorium), which received a special mention at the “European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Awards” in 2013.

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