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10 Reasons Madrid Is Europe's Gay Capital

10 Reasons Madrid Is Europe's Gay Capital

10 Reasons Madrid Is Europe's Gay Capital
jonmroth

Sure, Berlin is cosmopolitan and Paris is romantic, but if you’re really looking for a gay old time, Madrid is the perfect place to vacation. One of the most queer-friendly cities on earth, there’s tons to do here — whether you’re looking to take in some culture, hit the shopping circuit, or even meet an hombre of your own.

The Prado

The Prado

No culture queen hits up Madrid without making a stop at this museum. Housing over 7000 paintings, it also holds the greatest collection of Spanish art in the world, with works by Goya, Greco, and Velazquez. And while the most famous work is definitely Velazquez’ Las Meninas, we’re partial to his Triumph of Bacchus — that guy knows how to party.

Gay Pride

Gay Pride

When it comes to gay rights, Spain is one of the most progressive countries in the world, and their Pride celebrations are unbeatable. Last year almost 2 million people marched in the parade — that’s ⅔ of the Madrid’s population, so you could say the town is technically “straight-friendly” in June and July.

Tapas

Tapas

Remember a few years ago, when everyone got hip to the idea of tapas - those tasty finger foods that lie somewhere between a snack and a meal? Spaniards invented those, and Madrid has a killer selection. From chorizo to tortilla, tapas are a national pastime (and a great way to soak up those cocktails you’ll no doubt be trying…)

El Corte Ingles

El Corte Ingles

If you’re looking to get all your shopping done in one place, stop by El Corte Ingles. It’s the biggest department store chain in Europe, and their flagship location takes over several buildings in the country’s capital. You could spend a day just at the perfume counter, but you’ll also find brands like Zegna, and Burberry alongside Spanish favorites like Loewe.

Nightlife

Nightlife

Take a look at a typical Spaniard’s schedule, and you’ll see they own the night. Thanks to their afternoon siesta (aka naptime) they often don’t grab dinner until 10pm, and clubs don’t start heating up until midnight. Turns out New York isn’t the only city that never sleeps.

The Salamanca District

Salmanica

Salamanca is one of Madrid’s swankiest barrios (neighborhoods), and if you’re looking to pick up some high-end designer duds, this is the place to do it. Serrano, Ortega y Casset and Ortega streets have been called “giant catwalks,” and Armani, Gucci and Vuitton all have storefronts there (there’s also a Zara, if your allowance is a bit more limited).

Mercado de San Miguel

Mercado

Looking to taste some local flavors? Don’t miss this recently renovated favorite. Spain is full of fantastic markets, but this one is perfect if you like to graze. Stalls offer prepared snacks like cheese, ham, caviar and chocolate, and you can wash it all down with a glass of Sherry (grown and produced nearby in Jerez!)

El Teatro Real

El Teatro Real

One of Europe’s major opera houses, El Teatro Real was also a dance hall, a barracks, and a gunpowder store before it was renovated in the ‘90s. Now it’s home to the national symphony orchestra, and stages about 17 opera productions a year. This includes favorites like Rigoletto and Aida, so if divas are your thing, you’ll definitely want to stop by.

Chueca

Chueca

While all of Madrid is gay-friendly, Chueca is the epicenter of all things L, G, B, and T in the capitol. Hang out in the central plaza, grab some food at Mercado de San Anton, or hit up any of the popular bars and clubs in the area — wherever you go, you’re in good company.

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There’s a time and place for dating apps (and they work just fine in Madrid), but you can also just go where the boys are! The Chueca neighborhood is a good place to start, and there are plenty of parks and saunas too if you’re feeling extra-outgoing.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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