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Madrid Museums


A rainbow of greens sprout from the exterior of CaixaForum, a contemporary arts space that opened in 2007 and claims one of French botanist Patrick Blanc’s impressive vertical gardens. Inside, the early 20th-century building – a former electrical plant and one of the only examples of industrial design in the city’s old town – showcases a rotating selection of temporary exhibits, and claims a 322-person auditorium and a top floor café overlooking the Paseo del Prado.

Paseo del Prado 36, 011-34-91-330-7300
Tags: art | things to do | museum | gallery

Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Picasso's Guernica takes the spotlight at this contemporary art center, but the rest of the collection is equally impressive, with a strong selection of Dalí and Miró works and a snazzy new glass wing by trendy French architect Jean Nouvel. Free on Saturdays after 2:30pm and on Sundays. Mon-Sat 10am-9pm; Sun 10am-2:30pm.

Santa Isabel 52, 011-34-91-774-1000,
Tags: editor pick | art | things to do | culture | architecture | museum

Círculo de Bellas Artes

Once a private, members-only club that facilitated under-the-table gambling during Franco’s reign, this now more democratic building houses concerts, temporary art exhibits, and daily original-language film selections. Don’t miss the rooftop terrace, which puts on display Gran Via to the north; Madrid’s low, red brick-roofed homes all around; and the Cerro de los Angeles (Hill of the Angels), considered Spain’s geographic center, to the south.

Calle Alcalá 42, 011-34-91-360-5400,
Tags: historic | art | things to do | museum | gallery

Matadero Madrid

This turn-of-the-century slaughterhouse and meatpacking complex went through various iterations as a livestock market, food storage warehouse, and headquarters for Spain’s ballet company before the Madrid City Council converted it into a multipurpose contemporary arts space in 2003. Take time to wander throughout the 1,596,2870-square-foot property’s pavilions, which currently house temporary art exhibits, an intimate theater venue, and a design center. 

Paseo de la Chopera 14, 011-34-915-177-309,
Tags: art | things to do | museum | gallery


This venerable museum houses an 8,600-strong collection of Spanish paintings, including masterpieces like Velázquez' Las Meninas, Goya's celebrated Maja portraits, and over thirty El Grecos. Don’t miss either Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s eerie 16th-century The Garden of Earthly Delights, a Seussian triptych portraying mankind’s biblical fall from grace.

Paseo del Prado,
Tags: editor pick | art | things to do | culture | architecture | museum

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