First day in Madrid ideas

Sep 24th, 2012, 04:51 PM
Original Poster
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First day in Madrid ideas

We will be arriving in Madrid around 9:30 am on a Wednesday, after flying through the night from NY. I'm assuming by the time we get our luggage, etc and get to our hotel it will be noon-ish (?) and possibly even too early to check into Palacio San Martin.

I haven't really looked on a map yet but I was wondering where we could spend a bit of time, near the hotel to begin our visit to Spain. It's our first visit!

Perhaps after we check in and refresh we could use a great place near the hotel for our first dinner. It doesn't have to be fancy just would prefer to stay away from tourist traps!

Any helpful hints, advice, suggestions are welcome!
argmom is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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walk south to Calle Mayor and Plaza Mayor ( visit the tourist office in the Plaza?).
Stop at Mercado San Miguel for a small meal or a glass of Rioja.
danon is online now  
Sep 24th, 2012, 05:23 PM
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I think I would classify most of the Plaza Mayor as a tourist trap.

Dinner in Madrid is served at 9.30pm. I doubt you will be able to stay awake until the dinner hour, since you will be jet-lagged. Even if you can, do you want to eat dinner at 9.30? You might prefer tapas or a salad somewhere earlier.

I would want someplace un-abrasive after getting off a flight. It would be helpful if you looked at a map and came back and posted where your hotel is, and maybe people have some pleasant, non-touristy suggestions for you.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 06:11 PM
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I'd keep away from the Mercado San Miguel. It's nothing but tourist!

Take a look at Maribel's Guides to Madrid (sightseeing and dining), for some excellent ideas on what to do.
Robert2533 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2012, 08:10 PM
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You'll be in perfect time to have lunch at a local restaurant, the main meal of the day for most Spanish and often a real bargain. From about 1.30 pm.

Casa Marta is a lovely little restaurant a couple of hundred meters from your hotel and almost next door to the Opera/Teatro Real. Homemade and no fuzz Madrid specialities and very popular with locals. Bargain three course Menu del Dia with drinks included at lunchtime for 10,50€, but there are of course also a la carte options. And no way better to start your stay in Spain than with a plate of Jamón ibérico de bellota. The best cured ham in the world, and at Casa Marta they take their Jamón seriously:
Photos and reviews in Spanish:

After the meal, have a couple of hours sleep and then you're ready for the evning/night. Perhaps some tapas in one of the many tapas bars in and around Calle Cava Baja in the Latina district, ten min walk from your hotel? Later I would seriously consider real deal flamenco at Casa Patas or great jazz at Cafe Central, both within 15 mins walk from your hotel and close to taxi stands.

Casa Patas:
Cafe Central:
Tapas bar tips from a local, fairly close to your hotel:
kimhe is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 04:42 AM
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Caldarroste - I believe our hotel is in the Puerta del Sol area (?) Plaza San Martin, 5, 28013 Madrid, Spain

Casa Martin sounds like the type of place we would love!
Thanks for some great suggestions.
argmom is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 06:01 AM
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I have to say the sounds of even great flamenco might drive me to murder after a long flight, even after a nap. I'd do it another night.
caldarroste is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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After you check in and refresh it will be time for lunch - not dinner - since restaurants typically don't open for that until 9:30 or 10 pm.

You can easily have lunch around 2 pm and then do some exploring and rest before dinner.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 08:13 AM
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He-he, I fully agree with calderroste, and appologize for such a horrendous and unthoughtful suggestion

But on one of the following nights, Casa Patas could be a great option. In the last years they have staged some of the absolute best flamenco artists in the world on a regular basis. Some examples:
Pastora Galván, voted best female flamenco dancer by Spanish critics 2009:
Fuensanta La Moneta, voted best female flamenco dancer by Spanish critics 2010:
Olga Pericet, voted best female flamenco dancer by Spanish critics 2011:
kimhe is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 08:21 AM
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I've stayed in that hotel, it's sort of in-between the Opera and Puerta del Sol.

It depends what you feel like doing, I dont see anything wrng with walking down to Plaza Mayor to look around, you are going to have to go there sometime, even if you don't want to eat there. Or you could go north a block or two and do the same on the Gran Via. Of course, the Royal Palace is to the west, just past the Opera but that may be too much for the first day, who knows.

There is a convent which is a museum worth seeing right on the square where that hotel is, that would be an easy sightseeing visit. It has odd hours, isn't open either mornings or afternoons, I forget, but you'll find out.
Christina is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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As Christina suggests, you are staying in a very special area. You're on the edge of the old "Madrid de las Austrias" (the Austrians Madrid, that is the Madrid of the Habsburg kings) with majestic Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace etc. And you are three minutes walking to modernistic and high rise (by European standards) Gran Vía, celebrating its centennial a couple of years ago.

Madrid de las Austrias:

Modernistic Gran Vía:

Great celebrations of the Gran Vía centennial in 2010:

For a first day in Madrid after flying in from NY, I stand by my recommendation for lunch at Casa Marta for a solid and unpretencious intro to homemade, traditional fare close to your hotel (and remember a plate of the Jamón ibérico if you're into tasting the best ham on earth). After an extended nap, there are of course plenty of possibilities to begin adjusting to the time gap and the Madrid pulse without having to crash into flamenco or jazz clubs.

After second thoughts, and if I were you, at a first night travelling from NY I would preferably have sat down to talk, see the sunset and dark at tranquile - but very popular - Café de La Oriente in front of the Royal Palace with a couple of drinks of whatever and a small bite to eat/share before - and until -you call it a first night. Other and less touristy/famous places just meters away.
kimhe is offline  
Sep 25th, 2012, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
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The best thing for your jetlag after you arrive is sunlight, so you'll want to be outside.

I don't know what could possibly be more touristy, but I enjoyed the big red double decker Madrid tourist bus. Hop on, hop off. Headphones with a narrator describing what you are seeing. With the bus, you get a good efficient overview of downtown, get oriented, etc without having to walk all over the city on your first afternoon.
robertino is offline  
Sep 28th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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During your stay try to visit Cerralbo Museum. It’s a try gem.
Admission is only 3 € (also free Sat after 2 pm and Thu 5 – 8 pm)
travfirst is offline  

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