Get interactive at "Mad Improv" theater workshops and shows!


Madrid’s theater scene is brimming with activity. You’ll find live micro-theater being performed in bathrooms and lingerie stores, as well as acting classes and alternative shows scheduled daily throughout the city.

But there isn’t much available in English, which is why I want to introduce you to Mad Improv, an English-speaking improv group that’s been shaking things up in Madrid’s interactive theater scene since 2014.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Mad Improv hosts shows and workshops on a regular basis, all run by its cast members in English. Free improv workshops – called “gyms” – are held on Sundays from 5pm-7pm. Gyms are purely donation-based and absolutely everyone is welcome so you never know who might show up. People have even come in on flight layovers!

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

They also hold monthly open shows – called “jams” – where anyone can get up on stage and play improv games. Jams cost €3 with a drink (which probably comes in handy).

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Locations for gyms and jams vary from Fundación First Team in Sol to Retiro when the weather allows. And right now they have a new set of upcoming shows at La Escalera de Jacob!

So check out their Meetup, Facebook and Twitter pages to stay up to date. Once you attend an event you can also ask one of the organizers to add you to the whatsapp group.

My experience – great way to step out of your comfort zone

I had secretly always wanted to drop in on an acting class, but never got around to it until this summer when two friends, Riju (India) and Laura (Spain), enthusiastically agreed to join me at one of the Sunday gyms. This was in August so the workshop was held in Retiro behind the Palacio de Cristal.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

An international group of about 15 people showed up – the different backgrounds and languages definitely added an element of fun and spontaneity to the mix. And our organizer, Summer Banks (in the photo below), did a great job at including everyone and making sure the exercises were easy to follow.

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

What started out with simple warm-up games quickly gave way to more challenging improv activities that admittedly made me feel ridiculous. But it’s a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone, connect with people and laugh a lot. My friends and I left with the feeling that we wanted to try our hands at improv again (and hopefully do it better next time), which meant the fun far outweighed the awkwardness!

Chat with the founder, Ben

Mad Improv workshops, shows and interactive theater in English in Madrid

Just before going to the workshop, I had met up with Mad Improv’s founder Ben Nathan-Serio at the newly opened Plántate Café. After studying drama in NYC and working in the field, Ben moved to Barcelona where he first started working in children’s theater. Four years in he launched his own interactive theater production, The Barcelona Time Detectives, and was also a founding member of BIG, The Barcelona Improv Group.

When Ben came to Madrid, he quickly became involved in Madrid’s English-speaking theater scene and founded Mad Improv in 2014. Ben says, “The reason I started Mad Improv was because there was no improv community here; I wanted to reach out to the community in a bigger way, to get people involved.”

What makes improv and interactive theater so special is that it’s empowering, says Ben, as it allows for genuine human interaction and connection. Not to mention, getting out of your comfort zone is both invigorating and fun.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

In addition to Mad Improv, Ben also recently co-founded Live in Theater Madrid, a NYC-based group whose hit interactive show, The Lombardi Case, debuted here in summer. It’s a truly unique and entertaining two-hour event where the audience tries to solve a murder mystery – read our previous article about The Lombardi Case on Naked Madrid!

More to come

While Mad Improv and Live in Theater are alive and kicking in Madrid, Ben just relocated to Austin, Texas, where he’s taking part in a 9-month research lab called The Interactive Deep Dive. And he can’t wait to “come back with some very fresh, invigorating ideas for Live In Theater, Mad Improv and just the city in general.”

So stayed tuned, because we’ll make sure to fill you in on what’s in store.

Mad Improv Info:

 




Live In Theater’s "The Lombardi Case" comes to Madrid from NYC!


It’s not everyday that you get to help solve a murder case, interview a drag queen, or be transported to another era. But that’s what you’re in for with the interactive show The Lombardi Case, brought to us by the NY-based Live in Theater group. I had the chance to go the premiere in May and here’s what it was like.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

When I stepped into the theater, I was first greeted by a cop with a Brooklyn accent, played by a Scotsman; and then grabbed a seat among the 60-person international audience. We got split into small teams and an officer presented us with the case details in effortless Spanglish.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

It’s suddenly the early 1980’s and we’re in the midst of Madrid’s sex- and drug-ridden La Movida movement. The daughter of the US ambassador has just been murdered. And it’s on us to find out who did it.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Readily equipped with clues, a map and a list of suspects – from a doorman to a junky – we headed out onto the streets to conduct our interviews at nearby locations like a jazz bar, public plaza and street corner; and then came back and tried to solve the case with our findings.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

The 7-member bilingual cast relied heavily on improv to communicate with us as we interrogated them, and they impressively stayed in character the whole time.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Although none of us ended up solving the tricky case, it was a really fun and unique experience, with lots of laughter and participation between the actors and audience. I loved being able to play an active role in the show, get out there on the street, interact with new team members and in Spanglish, no less. All in all, it’s a guaranteed great time and as a benefit you’ll get to learn about the history of Madrid.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

Since the debut, Live in Theater has put on two more productions of the The Lombardi Case in the heart of Malasaña at La Industrial. While the format is identical to the NYC show, the storyline has been adapted to Madrid’s history. For example, the original takes place in 1975 which works in a time of drugs, disco and gentrification in NYC, while the Madrid show takes place in the early ‘80s during the time of La Movida, the experimental movement that broke out after the fall of the Franco regime. This is especially pertinent as audience members get to actually interview suspects in the neighborhood that was the epicenter of the movement, Malasaña. Another key difference is that here, the show is put on in Spanish and English.

Live in Theater Spain the Lombardi Case

The Lombardi Case has been brought to Madrid by three partners: Carlo D’Amore, the founder (and guru) of the NYC-based theater group, Live in Theater; Leslie Freschet, who’s been living in Madrid for 25 years; and Benjamin Nathan-Serio, who’s been an active member of Barcelona and Madrid’s English-speaking theater circuit for nearly a decade. He’s also one of the Madrid organizers and co-founders of Mad Improv.

A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with Ben and talk about the Lombardi Case and what makes interactive theater so special. He said:

The show offers a truly unique experience for the audience because interactive is empowering. It’s a real niche for actual human, genuine interaction. There’s something magical about this show. It’s not just conversation in a bar or speed dating, or meet-ups; it’s super empowering because you become a cop. You have a mission. You become a detective. There’s a murder, and you need to solve it! And there’s a time limit… urgency.

See a show!

Stay tuned for upcoming productions by following their Facebook page or put in a request by emailing them at liveintheaterproduction@gmail.com.

You can also book them for private events such as company team-building exercises. The show has a very versatile format – you can hire them to go into your apartment as long as it has 2 rooms, with 3 actors playing 6 characters; and it can also be presented to up to 200 people.

And if you feel like getting more involved in Madrid’s interactive theater scene, definitely check out Mad Improv which holds free improv workshops on Sundays and monthly performances.




Museo Cerralbo, an art lover's dream house


If you’re looking to explore Madrid’s museum scene beyond the famous Prado and Reina Sofia, I recommend starting with Los Cinco Museos, five former mansions that are all perfectly restored and house outstanding art collections: Cerralbo, Lázaro Galdiano, Artes Decorativas, Sorolla and Romanticismo.

These five museums take you on a journey to a different era, allowing you to see and feel what life might have been like when they were occupied. While each one is worth visiting, Museo Cerralbo is my personal favorite. I’ve been here twice – first on my own and then on a guided tour – and both times I was blown away by the museum’s special charm.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Tucked away on a side street near Plaza de España and Templo Dubod, this museum is one of the former residences of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who lived here with his family in the 19th century. Today, everything remains exactly in tact, from the furniture and art pieces to the wall colors and lighting.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you walk through its many rooms and corridors, let your imagination run wild, picturing what life was like when this house was actually a home.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The Marquis was a well known archeologist and passionate art lover. He amassed a collection of art, furniture and objects from Spain and around the world that you can see in every nook and cranny. You’ll see beautiful paintings, mirrors, chandeliers and clocks dispersed throughout, and so much more.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The house has two floors. The first floor was where the family actually lived their normal lives, while the second floor is where you’ll find the extravagant ballroom and dining room, for example, that were meant to be shown off to guests.

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Each particular room had a different purpose and decor, acting as a unique exhibition space. Here are a few examples.

The armor collection

After going up the gorgeous stairway (the house was actually designed to accommodate for a unique wooden banister), guests would step into the hallway displaying the Marquis’s armor collection. This is my favorite exhibit.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The ballroom

To the right of the armor collection you’ll find the stunning ballroom. I would certainly like to dance here one day…

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

As you can see, the Marquis was particularly fond of playing with lighting and mirrors to add as much depth to each room as possible. And not an inch of the house was left unadorned.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The library

The library features British-style decor and houses an impressive collection of books in several different languages, some dating back as far as the 15th century. Here you’ll also find one of the largest coin collections in Spain.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The billiard room

Right off the dining room you’ll find the billiard room. In that time, women weren’t expected to join in on the game, so there was a seating area designed just for them to watch as the men played.

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Snapshots of more rooms and objects

There are so many little rooms and corridors to check out, each one providing a window into another era and giving your eyes plenty to marvel at. I don’t want to give away too much, so here are just a few more images to give you a glimpse of the Cerralbo Museum’s collection. But please don’t pass up the chance to see it in person!

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art
Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Photography by Jose Luis Magaña from A Second Art (Facebook & Instagram)

Info

  • WebsiteFacebook & Instagram
  • I highly recommend booking a guided tour in English, Spanish or French
  • Address: Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17
  • Hours: Tues–Sat 9:30am-3pm; Thursday also from 5-8pm; Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm
  • Metro: Plaza de España
  • Los Cinco Museos pass: if you want to visit all five of these former mansions turned museums, you can purchase a €12 pass called Los Cinco Museos at any of their ticket offices. The pass gives you unlimited access to all five museums for 10 days, and after that you can enter on Saturdays with a plus one for the rest of the year.

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Photo Contest – "Faces of the Rastro"


We at Naked Madrid launched a photo contest together with the Madrid-based art platform, A Second Art, and Boconó coffee shop from April 20-27, under the theme “Faces of the Rastro.”

The aim was to promote art in Madrid and get people even more excited about getting their cameras out, sharing their photos, and looking to capture the beauty of the Rastro flea market. It’s that simple.

And the result?

Photo contest Bocono Art Wall Naked Madrid A Second Art

Check out the six winning photos below along with a story behind each one. These photos are also featured on A Second Art in Spanish, as well as Boconó Art Wall (calle Embajadores, 3), a family-run specialty coffee shop in the heart of Madrid.

A warm congrats to the winners and a big thank you to all those who participated. We’ll be announcing new art projects soon, so stay tuned!

1) Mark Makepeace, US

Instagram: @marotta_make

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“Card Hawkers”

2) Chiara Giacobbe, Italy

Instagram: @chiaragiacobbe / Website: chiaragiacobbe.myportfolio.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

This photo was taken on a sunny Sunday morning at the Rastro flea market. After a while walking in the market, this talented guy drew my attention in a second, so I decided to focus on him for my project. I have been attracted by his collection of various engines, all handmade with aluminum. Really interesting stuff, especially because many people was buying from him!

3) Marcos García, Spain (two photos)

Instagram: @mis_fotos_de_madrid / Email: marcos@casalderrey.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Wisdom acquired over the years changes the contents of your shopping cart.

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

They had splendid pasts apart. Now they’re friends and live together wrapped up like babies in the shelter of the Rastro.

4) Leah Pattem, UK

Instagram: @rastrolife / Website: www.madridnofrills.com

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

“I feel so lucky to live in the heart of El Rastro and witness a 400-year-old community of quirky characters going about their everyday lives. Sometimes it feels as though nothing has changed in all this time, especially when the local girls bust out their best moves to the flamenco blasting from the bar downstairs. El Rastro is a truly inspiring place, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world.”

5) Jose Enrique Arias Valverde, Spain

Instagram: @e.arisval / Facebook: enrique.arisval

Photo contest Madrid Rastro Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The story behind this photo… the truth is that “it’s you.” I mean, I’ve never participated in a contest or anything. Nor the idea of going out to capture people on the street with my camera. I’m more used to studios and using models to take headshots. But since I discovered Boconó, I don’t know how to explain it… the air you breathe in your café and the good vibes you bring, is what motivated me to take a few walks around the Rastro this Sunday with my camera, and here’s the result.

 

If you want to see the Spanish-language version of the article, visit A Second Art!




Boconó Art Wall, Madrid-based photography by "A Second"


About three weeks ago I went into a new specialty coffee shop in La Latina, Boconó, and ordered a cortado to go. The next time I stopped in, I had the chance to sit down with the owner, Carlos, and my friend, José Luis, who happens to be a regular Boconó customer. Our conversation gave me plenty to write about for a first post on Naked Madrid, but there’s so much more to the story!

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid by Naked Madrid

What do you do with a big white wall?

As we were talking, we couldn’t help but notice the blank wall in need of attention. José Luis, who’s a photographer, took out his phone and started snapping photos of coffee cups located around the café, adding filters and creating unique images. One thing led to another, and we all agreed we should transform that floor-to-ceiling canvas into a photo gallery.

Then…

Bocono Coffee Shop Madrid

Now

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The process

It took José Luis, Andrea (another friend) and I over a week to get it all set up. I couldn’t possibly count how many hours we’ve spent in Boconó’s basement cutting paper, fitting photos and tinkering with random bits of material. Nor how many trips we’ve taken to the print shop and hardware store. Not to mention how many picture frames we bought, and how many we broke…

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

And today, as I look at the wall, I see so much more than beautiful artwork on display. I see the entire creative process that went on behind it, from the first day we sat down with Carlos at his café and pitched the idea, to the way the photos catch your eye even as you walk down the street and peer through Boconó’s window.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

It’s thrilling to see how that seemingly random idea is now something real.

Boconó Art Wall

No longer a big white wall, Bocono Art Wall has become a showcase for local Madrid artists. Come and enjoy your coffee and take a look at the featured exhibits which will change monthly. If you’re an artist and want your work to be showcased, get in touch with A Second on Facebook.

Boconó Art Wall by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

Current exhibit – A Second / Art

The first installation features the images shot at Boconó itself – photos that capture the essence of its coffee, ambience and the neighborhood. All photos are by José Luis Magaña, creator of A Second, a Madrid-based platform meant to create, inspire and share art projects in the city (show some support by liking the Facebook and Instagram pages, please!).

A Second Art by José Luis Magña photography Madrid

More to come

Thank you, Carlos, for your generosity and openness to create a space that supports artists in your café. We look forward to collaborating with you on the Boconó Art Wall and other art-related projects that are currently in the works.

Stay with us as we announce upcoming exhibits, as well as other venues in the near future!

Info

  • #boconoartwall
  • Where: Boconó Specialty Coffee Shop (calle Embajadores, 3)
  • Who: @bocono.coffee @asecond.art @nakedmadrid
  • When: February 17, ’17 (ongoing)

Also read our full article on Boconó, a Specialty Coffee Shop in Plaza de Cascorro

 

 

 




Café Barbieri: A 114-year-old Art Noveau café in Lavapiés


Café Barbieri first brought modernist charm to Madrid’s working class district, Lavapiés, in 1902, and although the barrio has evolved dramatically over the last 114 years, the interior of this elegant bar hasn’t changed one bit.

Some things have changed though – Café Barbieri is owned by a charismatic chap from New Delhi and staffed with bilingual youngthings. It also now has a small terrace, but this is not why you’d come here – its appeal is truly the interior.

The whole place is lined with mirrors which back then were a symbol of wealth. These mirrors are now aging well, stained a smoky bronze colour with dots of grey rust creeping in from the edges. The ceiling is framed with grids of ornate girders that are connected to decorative cast-iron beams, typical of older buildings in Lavapiés. Although never on, there are ceiling fans too – something increasingly rare in Madrid.

At the back of the bar is a grand piano on a small raised stage. Almost every evening there’s a live music session often featuring the piano, and this place does food too – typical Spanish stuff but with an edge.

The worn white marble table tops and red velvet seating lining the dining area mark this place out as opulent, but that’s really not the vibe – it’s chilled and cosy and attracts a spectrum of people, from the intrepid tourist who’s braved it down the hill, to the unassuming local who fancies a read of one of the papers on offer.

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri by day

Café Barbieri's beautiful ornate cieling

Café Barbieri’s beautiful ornate ceiling

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

The grand piano taking centre stage, and look at all those beautiful mirrors

Look at that original tiled floor!

Look at that original tiled floor!

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

The bar has a great selection of spirits & vermouth on tap

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri by night

Café Barbieri is also on the same street as the Greek foodie place, Egeo, so there you have it, your night is planned!

Info




Manzana Mahou: Gourmet Art Experience


Manzana Mahou is the concept sponsored by Madrid’s most iconic beer, Mahou. It’s located in Malasaña (between metro stops Tribunal and Alonso Martinez) at Palacio de Santa Bárbara, a beautiful palace built in 1866. For the third consecutive year, the outdoor space has been turned into a popular terrace designed to provide an oasis during Madrid’s warmest months.
Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

The idea behind Manzana Mahou is to bring together art, gourmet food and beer, to create a unique experience. It is open until October 8th, after which it will be temporarily closed until next summer. This year, the stars of the show will be chefs María Marte from Allard Experience, Javier Goya, Javier Mayor and David Alfonso, from Triciclo and Roberto Ruiz from Cascabel by Punto MX.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

These top chefs will be in charge of creating exclusive dinners inspired by the four resident artists at Manzana Mahou. In addition to this, two restaurants, La Cabra and Tandem will offer a more casual dining experience. La Cabra is a Michelin Star restaurant that will also offer brunch on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm for only 25€, led by renowned chef Javier Aranda, who at just 29 is one of the most acclaimed chefs in Spain. Tandem, on the other hand, is Triciclo’s little brother which has also become a leader in Madrid’s restaurant scene.

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

This year, the outdoor space has expanded, enhancing the experience. Four artists will be exhibiting, Julia Llerena, María Platero, Françoise Vanneraud and PLAYdramaturgia. The latter are a group of artists that create a mix between visual and performing arts, while the first three are focused mainly on visual arts. 

Manzana Mahou by Naked Madrid

Entrance on Calle Hortaleza

Open Monday to Sunday, from 11am to 1am, Manzana Mahou is a great opportunity to try some of Madrid’s greatest restaurants at a more affordable price while enjoying art and a few beers.

Info

Facebook & Website

Address: Calle Hortaleza, 47

Metro: Alonso Martínez & Tribunal




Forasteros, a Madrid-based swing, gypsy-jazz and folk band


As a hub for artists and creative are types from all over the world, Madrid’s local live-music scene is energetic and diverse. As always, your friends at Naked Madrid are here to provide you with the best options as how to maximize the potential of your nights out. The first local musicians to be featured in this series are the swing, gypsy-jazz, folk group Forasteros.

Forasteros image 2

They have an interesting backstory because their members had all met by chance. The band was formed when its founder, lyricist and guitarist, Tom Buzz Cox from London, crossed paths with Tara during a Vaughan System teacher training course. Swing instructor Julia Hampson, also from London, was brought onboard as the violinist after an encounter busking the streets in Lavapies.

Tom recruited Hinata Myojin, a bassist from Japan, through another band in the community. Clarinettist Ricardo Vasquez from Texas/Mexico was discovered upon his response to an advertisement. They are unclear on how drummer Fernando Iglesias from Madrid entered the fold, strongly implying that he materialized out of thin air.

tortuga frizzy hair

They write in Spanish, English, French and even Japanese. Ricardo and Julia have a classical background and are well-versed in swing and Jazz. Overall the group combines aspects of gypsy-jazz, folk and swing while also being open to anything that takes their fancy: twisted Latin rhythms, funk, DnB hints.

Their ambition is to make people laugh, dance and feel while also “talking about difficult shit.” says Tara Lowe, their singer and lyricist, who I have known for the greater part of the year as two of my close friends were her flatmates. Lowe, a long-term expat from Cardiff enjoys writing songs about everyday life that are “cheeky, honest and indulgent.”

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Forasteros’ songs have addressed some of the more relatable aspects of living in Madrid with their songs “Landlord from Hell, title self-explanatory, as well as “Banks of June” which focuses on lust and broken hearts. Their track “Springtime Shuffle” centers on opportune new beginnings while “Cuando” is just about dancing.

Forasteros performs a lot in Lavapies in the venues of Gato Verde, Taberna Alabanda, La Tortuga, La Tabacalera and Centro de Creacion y Investigation. Their First EP, “Hello you!” was recorded at The Treehouse Madrid Studios on the label of Vestizo Azul Records. It is available free on Bandcamp. Check out their video of Devil in the Trees” from their new EP.

Forasteros 4

Info

Follow them on Facebook & their Bandcamp page and be sure to see them perform live! Their EP Hello You launches on the 12th November at Intruso Bar – with supporting artist Taiacore. Tickets can be purchased at GiglonThe first 50 people to arrive will get a free EP and poster.




Where to enjoy good film in Madrid


Madrid has cinemas all over the city, yet this article aims to mention the city’s real gems when it comes to film–Madrid’s most beloved movie theaters, where films are shown in original version, and in some cases, where tickets cost less than 5€ and the theater alone is worth a visit.

Here’s a list of all Madrid’s cinemas for listings and buying tickets online. Tickets normally cost 9€, although you can find promotions depending on the day of the week. Most cinemas have a “día del espectador” (usually on Mondays although it varies) when tickets cost around 6-7€, and if you have a “carnet joven” or one of many types of discount cards, you can also get a few euros knocked off.

If you’re looking to see good film in Madrid, whether that means independent, foreign, blockbuster or simply in original version (versión original, i.e. V.O.), here are Madrid’s best cinemas for you: 

1. Plaza de los Cubos, (metro Plaza de España)

Right by Plaza de España, you’ll find two cinemas–Cines Renoir (c/ Princesa, 3 & Martín de los Heros, 12) and  Golem (c/ Martín de los Heros, 14)–showcasing films from around the world in original version, with subtitles in Spanish. Prices are standard (Monday tickets cost 6€, other days of the week, 9€).

*Cines Renoir has another location near Retiro, on calle Narváez, 42 (metros Goya & Ibiza).

2. Yelmo Cines Ideal, Plaza de Jacinto Benavente (metros Sol & Tirso de Molina)

Cine Ideal is perhaps the most popular movie theater in Madrid showing films in original version. I highly recommend this cinema because they feature great blockbuster movies as well as independent films, from Spain and around the world, and they are never dubbed. Normal adult tickets cost 9,20€, however, if you get a discount (i.e. Yelmo theater member or carnet joven) it costs 7.90€.  On Mondays, it’s  “día del espectador“, so tickets cost 7,30€ for everyone.

3. La Filmoteca Española (Cine Doré), c/ Santa Isabel, 3 (metro Antón Martín)

One of Madrid’s most special places, Cine Doré sits in a very old theater and revives all types of films from different eras and corners of the world. Here you can see movies from the 50’s from Korea, to the 90’s from France, and even more recent films from the US–you never know! Nevertheless, if you go, you’ll be happy to find yourself in a charming atmosphere and tickets are extremely cheap, just 2,50€! (and only 2€ if you have a student ID or carnet joven)

4. La Cineteca, Plaza de Legazpi, 8 (metro Legazpi)

Inside El Matadero, a former slaughterhouse turned cultural hub, La Cineteca is an awesome theater showcasing all types of films, from documentaries to independent foreign film festivals, at an unbeatable price: 3,50€. Some are even free. Plus you get to walk around El Matadero, which, if you haven’t been, is an absolute must.

5. Sala Berlanga, c/ Andrés Mellado 53 (metros Islas Filipinas & Argüelles)

If you’re looking to see Spanish films, this is the place. Sala Berlanga showcases Spanish-language films for 3€, and it is a hallmark of Spanish cinema culture in Madrid.

6. Cultural Centers

You can also see screenings at some of Madrid’s most welcoming cultural centers and embassies (usually for free), such as the French Institute, Korean Cultural Center and Russian Cultural Center.

7.  Outdoor Summer Cinema 

Madrid’s cultural centers, museums and municipal buildings are also great at putting on films outside, either on their terraces or rooftops, helping to fight the heat and making the most of the city’s cool Summer nights. Since Summer is now coming to an end, it’s a bit late to post an article on where to see films outside, however, here’s one you might like: Madrid Summer Cinema Guide by Espacio Madrid.

Find out more…

Lastly, a good website to use to find out about cheaper and independent cinema in Madrid is Madridfree.com, which tends to post about showings such as at the above mentioned cultural centers and independent theaters. For a go-to guide to all cinemas in Madrid, you can use esMADRID.com’s list of 11 original version theaters in Madrid, Guía del Ocio’s constantly updated movie listings and the most used, entradas.com.

What’s your favorite cinema in Madrid? Have we missed something? Let us know!

 




Madrid's Obvious and Not-so-obvious Museums (and how to get in for free)


Let’s skip the intro on Madrid having a world-renowned arts scene, and go straight into what you should see while you’re here. To make things easier, we’re breaking down this list of Madrid’s best art institutions into two parts: the obvious and the not-so-obvious. (If you’ve already read up on the famous Madrid museums, then scroll down.) And we’ll also tell you how to get into them all for free!

The Obvious:

All of these Madrid museums are classified as “obvious” because they’re situated along the two great boulevards – Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos – where you’ll find the city’s finest arts institutions, including the Golden Triangle of Art which refers to the first three institutions on this list. Only one place is not situated here – the Royal Palace.

1. Prado Museum

Spain’s national art museum houses a wide collection of European art from the 12th to the early 19th Centuries, and its most notable works are by Spanish painters, Diego Velázquez, Francisco de Goya and El Greco. Considered one of the best museums in the world, the Prado’s most famous piece is Las Meninas by Velazquez. Do give yourself a few hours to walk around – the Prado is gigantic!

Website
When is it free? Always for under-18-year-olds and students ages 18-25 (with valid ID); Sundays and holidays from 5pm-7pm; and Mon-Sat from 6pm-8pm.
Prices & HoursGeneral admission 14€. Open Mon-Sat from 10am–8pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am-7pm.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado (s/n)

2. Reina Sofia Museum

Reina Sofia Museum by Naked Madrid

Spain’s national museum of 20th Century art is located at the bottom of El Paseo del Prado, near Atocha train station. The Reina Sofia’s permanent collection consists of art by Spanish painters such as Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, and its most famous piece is Picasso’s Guernica. Temporary exhibits feature works by international artists, plus the building’s impressive architecture and free-access art library are alone worth a visit!

Website
When is it free?
Sundays from 1:30pm-7pm; weekdays from 7-9pm (except Tuesdays).

Prices & Hours: Mon-Sat from 10am-9pm and Sundays from 10am-7pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
Metro: Atocha
Where: c/ Santa Isabel, 52

Additionally, you can visit a glass palace situated in the middle of Retiro Park featuring works from the museum.

Palacio de Cristal in Retiro by Naked Madrid

3. Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

This is my brother’s favorite. In fact, he loved the Thyssen so much that he actually visited it two days in a row (during a five-day visit). The Thyssen is named after its founder and houses one of the largest private collections in the world. You’ll find an amazing permanent collection of more than 1,600 masterpiece paintings spanning seven centuries of art and representing a myriad of genres, as well as must-see temporary exhibits showcasing Van Gogh to Pop Art.

Website
When is it free?
Mondays 12-4pm.

Hours Mondays 12pm-4pm; Tues-Sun 10am-7pm. 
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado, 8

4. Caixa Forum

Caixa Forum Facade by Naked MadridCreated by the Catalonian bank, La Caixa, the first thing that stands out about Caixaforum is its impressive exterior design, including an urban garden wall. As you step inside, you’ll notice that the building’s interior design follows suit. Architecture aside, here you’ll see outstanding temporary exhibits on everything from up-and-coming photographers to Pixar!

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When is it free? Always free for La Caixa clients and under-16-year-olds.
Prices & Hours: General Admission €4. Open Sun-Mon from 10am-8pm
Metro: Atocha
Where: Paseo del Prado, 36

5. The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace is one of the most beautiful spots in the city, situated in Plaza de Oriente, facing the Royal Opera House and overlooking the Gardens of Sabatini. It’s the official residence of the King of Spain, although he doesn’t actually live there. Used today for national ceremonies and as a popular museum, Madrid’s Palacio Real is the largest royal palace in all of Western Europe, boasting 3,418 rooms which are ornately decorated with fine paintings, sculptures and tapestries. One last thing – if you go here, you absolutely must pay a visit to its gardens, called “El Campo del Moro”, located just behind the palace (always free and open to the public at the same hours as the palace).

Website
When is it free? For anyone with an EU or Iberoamerican passport/residency card/work permit from Mon-Thurs from 4pm-6pm during April-Sept; and from 6pm-8pm during Oct-Mar.
Prices & Hours: Normal entrance fee is 10€. Students with valid ID get a discount (5€). In Winter (Oct-Mar) open daily from 10am-6pm and in Summer (Apr-Sep) open daily from 10am-8pm.
Metro: Ópera (line 5 & 2) and Principe Pio (line 10)
Where: c/ Bailén (s/n)

6. Palacio de Cibeles

Palacio de Cibeles by Naked Madrid

Madrid’s most emblematic building, Palacio de Cibeles is situated in the famous Plaza de Cibeles which joins Madrid’s two boulevards – Paseo del Prado and Paseo de Recoletos. One wouldn’t imagine that this ornately decorated palace was once Madrid’s post office, but it was indeed! It was turned into a cultural center in 2013, and now holds free exhibits throughout its first four floors. It also boasts a café, restaurant, and a rooftop terrace on the 6th floor that offers breathtakingly beautiful views of the city. You can also visit the lookout point at the top of the building for just 2€, where you’ll surely get one of your best pics of Madrid.

The lookout point (mirador):

When is it free? Free entrance every first Wednesday of the month.
Price & Hours: 2€ for adults and 0,50€ for children under 12 years of age. Visits are held every thirty minutes from Tues-Sun from 10:30am-1:30pm and from 4pm-7pm. Closed on Mondays. You must reserve tickets at the CentroCentro office situated near the main door of the building.

The exhibition spaces:

Website
When is it free?
Always.

Hours: Mon-Sun from 10am-8pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Plaza Cibeles, 1

The Not-So-Obvious

Madrid has some wonderful art havens scattered about the city which are less spoken of, although still much deserving of a visit. Here are some of our favorites:

1. La Casa Encendida

Created by the bank, Caja Madrid, you’ll find “The Burning House” located just a five-minute walk from the Reina Sofia Museum. This arts and cultural center showcases modern and contemporary art exhibits, and also hosts many cultural events, screenings, workshops concerts, and more. Entrance is always free, and the café is very nice too.

Website
When is it free?
Always.

Hours: 10am-10pm everyday
Metro: Embajadores
Where: Ronda de Valencia, 2

2. El Matadero

Matadero Madrid by Naked Madrid

This is one of our absolute favorite spots in Madrid. A former pig slaughterhouse, El Matadero was turned into an arts and cultural center in 2006. It has many warehouses (naves) showcasing film, theater performances and art galleries, as well as events and a great café called “La Cantina” where you can taste local food products from Madrid. We highly recommend going here, and taking a stroll along Madrid’s river (Madrid Río) afterwards which is just across the street. Here’s a more in-depth article we wrote about El Matadero.

Website
When is it free?
Always

Hours: Tues-Fri from 4pm to 10pm; Sat-Sun from 11am to 9pm
Metro: Legazpi (line 3, yellow)
Where: Paseo de la Chopera, 14

3. Museo Naval

Although Spain’s maritime museum is situated on the Paseo del Prado, we don’t consider it as obvious as the ones listed above. Many people are surprised when they go here, precisely because it’s not talked about enough. The exhibits take you through Spain’s maritime history in chronological order, showcasing artefacts such as old coins, maps, books, weapons, and more.

Website
When is it free?
Always (recommended donation of 3€)

HoursTues-Sun from 10am-7pm. (During August it closes at 3pm). Closed on Monday.
Metro: Banco de España
Where: Paseo del Prado, 5

4. Museo del Romanticismo

Located in the heart of Madrid’s trendiest neighborhoods – Malasaña and Chueca – you should definitely stop by this museum if you’re in the area. El Museo del Romanticismo gives you insight into the history, art and daily life in Spain during the Romantic Era (European intellectual movement during the 19th C). And I must admit that my favorite thing about this museum is its quaint and hidden garden café. If you’re not into museums, at least pop in for a coffee or tea.

Website
When is it free?
Saturdays from 2pm onwards and Sundays

Prices & Hours General admission 4€. Closed on Mondays. Sundays from 10am-3pm. In Summer (May 1-Oct 31) Tues-Sat from 9:30am-8:30pm. In Winter, (Nov 1-Apr 30) from 9:30am-6:30pm.
Metro: Tribunal or Alonso Martínez
Where: Calle San Mateo, 13

5. Museo Sorolla

This charming museum is my mother-in-law’s favorite, not only for its beautiful art pieces but also for the old architecture of the building itself, which was the former private residence of Spanish painter, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863 – 1923), who is especially famous for his portraits and landscapes. Another note – my mother fell in love with this museum too.

Website
When is it free?
Saturdays from 2pm onwards, and Sundays.

Prices & Hours: General admission 3€. Tues-Sat from 9:30am-8pm. Sundays from 10am-3pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Iglesia and Rubén Darío
Where: Paseo del General Martínez Campos, 37

6. Museo Cerralbo

Museo Cerralbo by Naked Madrid and A Second Art

The Cerralbo Museum is by far one of my favorite places in Madrid. Tucked away on a side street near Plaza de España and Templo Dubod, this stunning little museum was a former residence of the Marquis of Cerralbo, who lived here with his family in the 19th century. As you walk through the mansion’s corridors and up the elegant stairwell to the ballroom, you’ll find everything remains exactly in tact, from the furniture and art pieces to the wall colors and lighting. Read our full post: Museo Cerralbo, an art lover’s dream house.

Website
When is it free? 
After 2pm on Saturdays; Thursdays from 5pm-8pm; Sundays.
Prices & hours: General admission €3. Open Tues–Sat 9:30am-3pm; Thursday also from 5-8pm; Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm. I highly recommend booking a guided tour in English, Spanish or French
Metro: Plaza de España
Where: Calle Ventura Rodríguez, 17

7. Casa Museo Lope de Vega

This 16th-century house was the former home of Spanish writer, Lope de Vega, who was famous during the “Golden Age” of Spanish literature. His house is located in Madrid’s “Barrio de las Letras”, a central neighborhood whose streets are named after the several famous Golden Age writers who also lived there, such as Miguel de Cervantes, Quevedo and Góngora. Lope de Vega resided in this house during the last 25 years of his life, from 1610-35. His home was turned into a national monument and museum in 1935. Here you can see his private collection of art, furniture, books and more. To visit, you must make a reservation in advance for a free, guided tour (see details below).

Website
When is it free?
Always.

Hours: Tues-Sun from 10am-6pm. Guided tours begin every half hour and are available in Spanish, English and French. Make a Reservation by telephone (91 429 92 16) or email (casamuseolopedevega@madrid.org).
Metro: Antón Martín and Sol
Where: Calle de Cervantes, 11

8. Espacio Fundación Telefónica

espacio teleféonica. Free museum in center of Madrid by Naked Madrid

This arts and cultural exhibition space was created by the telecommunications company, Telefónica, and is always free and conveniently located on the Gran Vía. We highly recommend paying a visit, not only because it’s free and has good air conditioning, but also because you’ll find surprisingly current and interactive art exhibits. Plus, one of our Naked Madrid writers, Alex, recommends this place as a great first date idea!

Website
When is it free?
Always.

Hours: every day from 10am-8pm.
Metro: Gran Vía (line 1 & 5)
Where: c/ Fuencarral, 3

9. Museo de América

This national museum houses 25,000 pieces of art and historical artifacts from the American continent. My friend, Ryan, wanted to make sure that I mentioned the shrunken heads on display here (apparently, native Americans used to shrink dead humans’ heads and use them as talismans).

Website
When is it free?
For under-18-year-olds, over-65, university students and unemployed (with valid ID), holders of carné joven.

Prices & Hours: General Admission 3€. Tues-Sat from 9:30am-3pm; Thurs from 9:30am-3pm; Sundays from 10am-3pm; Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Moncloa
Where: Avenida de los Reyes Católicos, 6

10. Fundación Mapfre

This foundation was created by the insurance company, Mapfre, and exhibits art mostly from the last third of the 19th century to after World War II. It also showcases a lot of photography. The foundation has two rooms, both located next to each other.

Website
When is it free?
Always.

Hours: Mon from 2pm-8pm. Tues-Sat from 10am-8pm. Sun/holidays from 11am-7pm.
Metro: Colón
Where: Paseo de Recoletos, 23

11. Conde Duque

Conde Duque cultural center by Naked Madrid

I have particularly fond memories of this cultural center because I used to go here often during university. Located in one of my favorite neighborhoods – Conde Duque – this building served as the former barracks of the Royal Guard Corps and was turned into a cultural center in 1983. Ever since, it has used its enormous space wisely. Here you can see free exhibits including large scale art projects, photography and documentaries. Its space is also used for concerts, performances, dance rehearsals, book archives, and even outdoor cinema which runs from July through September.

Website
When is it free? 
Always.

Hours: Tues-Sat from 10.30am-2pm and 5.30pm-9pm. Sundays/Holidays from 10.30am-2pm.
Metro: Noviciado, Plaza de España, San Bernardo and Ventura Rodríguez.
Where: Calle Conde Duque 11

12. Museo del Traje

Madrid’s fashion museum showcases different modes throughout the centuries. Although its current name is rather recent, the museum first opened in 1925 as “Exposición del Traje Regional e Histórico”, meaning the exhibit on regional and historic attire. Today it showcases a wide range of collections as well as cool activities and events which you can see here.

Website
When is it free? 
Saturdays from 2:30pm on; Sundays. If you’re under 18, over 65, a student between 18-28 years old.
Prices & Hours: General admission is 3€. Open Tues-Sat from 9:30am-7pm. Sundays and holidays from 10am-3pm.
Metro: Moncloa
Where: Avenida de Juan de Herrera, 2. 

13. La Tabacalera Promoción del Arte

La Tabacalera is a very unique community center in Madrid that occupies an abandoned factory and holds free activities on a daily basis, from salsa and capoeira classes to concerts and markets. Adjacent to the community area is an exhibition space that is free and open to the public, and mainly showcases photography and contemporary art works. Warning: it’s a large and almost spooky space.

Website
When is it free? 
Always

Hours: Mon-Fri from 12pm-8pm. Saturday, Sunday and holidays from 11am-8pm. Closed on Mondays.
Metro: Embajadores
Where: Calle Embajadores 51 (the community center is number 53)

General Information: 

*Most museums allow free entrance to under-18-year-olds and over-65-year-olds, as well as free entrance or a considerable discount to university students with valid ID and groups of over 5 people.

**All of Madrid’s museums allow free entrance on the following holidays: April 18th (World Heritage Day), May 18th (International Museum Day), October 12th (National Spanish Holiday) and December 6th (Day of the Spanish Constitution).

As always, if we’ve left out any of your favorite art institutions or museums, please let us know! We intend on expanding this list.