It’s not a secret that if you want to get to know a place 100% you should follow the local habits. If we’re talking about Madrid there is one very important thing: go outside and socialize yourself! Say what? If you want to feel like a typical madrileño, here’s a list of activities you should participate in:
Get drinks on Huertas – it’s a street in Madrid downtown with dozens of bars and taverns. The place gets crazy by night, thousands of people going from one bar to another in search of the perfect drink, shot, music or boy(girl)friend. You should visit El Hecho, where the best mojitos in Madrid are served.
Tapas in La Latina – a tapa is a tiny portion of any Spanish dish or a small snack served on a slice of baguette. When wandering around La Latina, pop into a tavern and order a beer or a glass of wine and you’ll be served a tapa. When you’re finished you pass to another bar, and repeat till all bars in La Latina are closed. A tapa and beer cost about 3-4€.
Botellón – young people in Spain have this habit of getting drunk in the fresh air. Usually before going to a club. It’s cheaper than drinking in a bar and much more sociable. If you’d like to try, just buy a bottle of your favorite alcohol (one of the cheapest. Otherwise your botellon-mate will judge you as too posh), find a comfortable lawn and get the party started!
Independent theatre – if you understand Spanish you should definitely go to see one of the no-frills play (like Off Broadway). They are performed in bars or tiny spots adapted as theatre in Madrid downtown. Usually it’s a 2-4 actor show with easy to understand and funny dialogues about everyday life in Spain, love and madness. A ticket costs between 5 and 10€ and usually include a drink. One of the best places are: La Casa de La Portera, La Transltienda and La Pension De Pulgas.
Flamenco show – it’s not a well know fact, but Madrid actually is one of the most important flamenco cities in Spain. There’s quite a few well know spots with a long history of performing flamenco for visitors. Try Carbonaras, Café the Chinitas, Villa Rosa. You can buy a ticket (tablao) that includes dinner or simply stay at a bar counter, sip a beer and enjoy the flamenco music. A madrileño would chose the latter option.