‘Avant-garde’ could well be Fuencarral’s second name. The district draws the latest fashion trends and remarkable young designers, plus lovely restaurants and shops specialising in tattoos, comics, art books or home décor.
The area between Plaza de Chueca and Calles Fuencarral and Hortaleza is cut across by quiet streets that are surprisingly clustered with shops. The heart of the gay scene, Chueca is open to all kinds of ideas and visitors, locals and out-of-towners alike.
In this shopping district there’s room for well-established brand names in the world of sports like Adidas, Puma, Foot Locker and Quiksilver, and for most jean labels as well: Levi’s, Diesel, Calvin Klein, Gas and Pepe Jeans, to name but a few.
In addition to well-known casual clothing brands, you can get gear for any urban tribe or subculture you might think of. Want to buy hippie, gothic or grunge streetwear? Head for Fuencarral Market, a shopping centre where you can do more than just buy a couple of outfits. If you feel you deserve a piece of art on your body, choose a nice tattoo design and book a session at one of its body piercing and tattooing shops.
The gay and lesbian community feels at home in Hortaleza street, brimming with colourful shop windows that exhibit the sexiest and tightest of clothes. This street is also lined with gyms, sex shops and LGBT bookstores.
Small shops abound in this district. They offer from original craftwork to accessories to designer silverware and jewellery. Your daily food needs will be easily fulfilled at traditional grocer’s stores and, to satisfy your sweet tooth, there’s Horno de San Onofre, famous for selling roscón de Reyes, the traditional cake served on Epiphany.
Typical of this neighbourhood are the good number of shoe outlets in and around Calle Augusto Figueroa, where you’ll find fine footwear from previous seasons at sale or clearance prices.
No-one can resist the temptation of walking into one of the cosy coffee houses in this area. Actually, there’s a wide variety of styles, from modern ones with a predominantly young clientele to traditional to alternative establishments. Whatever your preference, you can sit down to have breakfast, read a good book over a cup of coffee or meet your friends for a chat. Can you think of a better plan than a day out shopping and a break in a nice café? For a real meal, try one of the many take-outs and international food restaurants serving Italian, Indian, Arabic and, of course, traditional Madrileño food.
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