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Madrid: Summer 2021

Madrid was the second stop on my post-Covid whirlwind summer travels. I only had four nights, but I made the most of it and enjoyed every minute... honestly, I was just so happy to be traveling again! The city was humming, but it still felt like people were being respectful and cautious and nothing was over crowded. Maybe we just hit the sweet spot of early, post-covid summer travel, but it felt like the perfect time to be in the city. 

Things we did:


  • Reina Sofia - seeing Picasso's Guernica in real life was certainly a highlight

  • Thyssen-Bornemisza National Gallery, which had a beautiful Georgia O'Keefe exhibit on display

  • La Tabacalera de Embajadores for a little taste of the local contemporary art scene


  • Vintage shopping in Malasaña

  • Antique shopping in El Rastro

  • Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid for a relaxing place to stroll and sit with your thoughts

  • El Retiro Park... catch a glimpse of the beautiful Glass Palace and spend a little time rowing on the lake


  • The amusement park at Casa de Campo park, Parque de Atracciones, is super fun. There are rides for all ages and fear levels!



  • El Perro de Pavlov was a great little breakfast spot in Malasana. The kids liked the colorful lattes and toasts. 

  • Our other favorite breakfast place was Plenti, right by El Retiro Park in Atocha. 


  • Azotea del Círculo. One of the concerns of choosing a place like this, with it's amazing rooftop views of the city, is you don't quite know if it's just a tourist spot... ie: have terrible and overpriced food. I was so relieved to find that the views don't disappoint and neither does the food. 


  • Ten Con Ten. This was our most upscale night out. The interiors were so glamorous, yet comfortable, and our waiter could not have been more delightful. Everything we ate was Spanish perfection. 

  • Mo De Movimiento. Embarrassing confession... I don't speak spanish. I can get by with some rudimentary phrases and words, but certainly not enough to order dinner and carry on a normal conversation with a waitress. So... things were off to a shaky start here because our waitress did not speak english either and she didn't seem all that excited to try to help us out. I never want to be the American who thinks everyone should speak english- I was in Spain, for heavens sake, so I went to work. I not only ordered us dinner, but I think I won her over a little bit too. And this space is absolutely beautiful and cool and the food (think super fresh vegetables and pizza) was excellent. 

  • La Barraca. Delicious vegetable paella (since I don't eat meat, I appreciated the option; however, it's probably even better made with more traditional meat ingredients.) Ask for a table in the front room. 

  • Celso Y Manolo. This was probably my very favorite dinner place of the trip. It was super laid back and all the tapas were exceptional. There was one woman running the show- tending bar, waiting tables, and not judging me for picking through my basic spanish to order dinner... again. 


  • ​Turns out we are a house divided in the great churros con chocolat debate of 2021. My son and I are team Chocolat and my daughter is team Chocolatería San Ginés, the classic. Certainly San Gines wins for history, but I think Chocolat wins hand down for having the cleanest (read: not greasy) churros and perfect dark chocolate. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either. 

  • Mistura. There are outposts scattered around Madrid and there is nothing better than this fresh, homemade ice cream on a hot day. 


  • We rented an Airbnb in Atochawhich was the most perfect location. It's close to all the museums (the Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen-Bornemisza, etc.) It's right across from El Retiro park and a close walk to Plaza de Mayor. The main train station is also in Atocha, so it's really convenient if you are coming or going by train. Our apartment (check Airbnb: Stunning & Stylish 4bd 3bth - City Center (Atocha) was right by a Metro stop and getting around Madrid by metro is incredibly safe and easy. 

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