Chueca - The Madrilian Soho and the Gay area & Malasaña area


Chueca is a small but lively neighbourhood squeezed between Paseo de Recoletos to the east and Calle de Fuencarral to the west. Its epicenter is Plaza de Chueca.
Plaza de Chueca is the center of barrio activity. Cafes around the square set up tables when the weather is nice. It's the see and be seen of Gay Madrid.

Bodega Angel Sierra is a classic in the square, keepping the flavour of a traditional tapas bar.
Chueca is full of restaurants, any type of cuisine, of style, different budgets, -and with surprisingly affordable options. It's among the most lively and cosmopolitan neighbourhoods downtown, and remarkably, the gay center of Madrid and all of Spain. The "Barrio Rosa" (Pink Neighborhood) shines during Gay Pride every June with an extravagant parade and debaucherous street partying.

Chueca is the kind of neighbourhood perfect for strolling and stumbling upon attractive establishments... Taste the forward-thinking, fusion cuisine of New York-style cafes along calles Libertad and San Marcos (Cafe Diurno & Bazaar are two stand-outs).
Calle Fuencarral is a cool area for shopping , with the hippest shops: Diesel, Puma, Adidas, Hoss; and calle Augusto Figueroa for top brands ocassion shoes. In the calles Almirante and Prim, one can find some of Madrid's most chic fashion and shoe shops.
All the district is peppered with lots of bars and clubs, both for gay and non gay night life.
Chueca is also interesting in terms of architecture. In fact, it holds some of the most beautiful blocks in Madrid. Brightly-colored facades and intricate iron balconies characterize these streets.

History Museum of Madrid,
calle Fuencarral 78
Metro: Tribunal.
Google location map
The History Museum (the former Hospice of San Fernando) is one of the best examples of Madrid's Baroque style, with its superb main facade (1721-1726) by Pedro de Ribera. It offers a global vision of the arts, industries and common life of the inhabitants of the city since it was elected the capital of Spain in 1561 until nowadays. The museum holds around 60,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, porcelain, coins and postcards.

Malasaña & Conde Duque

Malasaña is the area enclosed by San Bernardo to the west, Gran Vía to the south, calle Fuencarral to the east and Calle de Carranza to the north. Cross Calle San Bernardo and you enter the area of Conde Duque with the same northern and southern boundaries but ending at Plaza de España/ Calle de la Princesa.

Two important revolutions took place in Malasaña: The first was an uprising against Napoleonic occupation in 1808 --Manuela Malasaña, who gives her name to the quarter was a 17 year old embroiderer who was shot on the 2nd May (the famous painting by Goya depicts this shootings) because she carried a pair of scissors judged to be a weapon by the French military-- The second was on the 1980´s: La Movida madrileña. It was a sociocultural movement that took place in Madrid during the first ten years after the death of Franco in 1975 and represented an attempt by the young generation to change the morals ans style of everything. Pedro Almodóvar is a good example of this hedonistic and radical cultural wave, his first films, such as Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón, reflected the freedom of the moment. "Madrid me Mata" (Madrid kills me) and "De Madrid al Cielo" (From Madrid to heaven) were war shouts of the time, and express both its intense vitality and its destructiveness.

The center of Malasaña is the Plaza del Dos de Mayo. The people who hang around this area proudly call themselves 'malasañeros' and the district keeps some flavour of the mentioned "Movida" spirit... This is a vibrant neighbourhood full of bars and cafés crowded at weekends with all sorts of people from hard rock lovers to the trendiest fashion followers, but residents tend to be more on the alternative and arty style....A lot of its streets have been renovated, making it a much more attractive quarter. The renovation seems to be attracting a growing number of good, reasonably priced restaurants and interesting shops. Calle Pez is an atractive street with good cafés, restaurants, shops and a theater. The charming squares of San Ildefonso or plaza de Juan Pujol are barrio feeling places with nice cafés and shops around.

Malasaña is one of the classic areas for partying the night away. In the clubs the age group is generally between 17 and 25, but there's space for any age group here. Most of the accommodation in this area consists of cheap hostels and pensiones, some of which are among the best value in the city.

Across San Bernardo the Conde Duque area is a quiet part of the district. It gets its name from the impressive Cuartel del Conde Duque -the huge military barracks built in 1720 for 600 guards and 400 horses- that separates the district from Plaza de España and Princesa street. The barracks, built by Pedro de Rivera -royal architect of Philip V-, have three imposing courtyards and a beautiful baroque entrance, and now house a cultural center run by the city government. Nearby plazas set up outdoor cafes to cater to Madrid's hipster arty set.

Centro cultural Cuartel del Conde Duque,
calle Conde Duque s/n
Metro: Noviciado, San Bernardo.
Google location map
Conde Duque is a cultural space that holds exhibitions, concerts, reading in room, conferences, audiovisual projections, etc.
The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, also located in its premises, with an extension of 2,000 m2, shows contemporary art pieces that Madrid's City council has been acquiring since 1980: 200 works corresponding to 177 artists of different times and artistic tendencies.

Links of interest

  • CHUECA: Chueca (L5)
  • MALASAÑA: Tribunal (L1,L10) /Bilbao (L1, L4) /Noviciado (L2)

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