This centre of the LGBT community in Madrid has something for everyone who brings a party spirit and an open mind.
Just a stone’s throw from the Gran Via, to the north of the city centre, Chueca is undoubtedly one of the best places to go out in Madrid. Its vibrant gay culture and thriving streets of bars, boutiques and eateries make a district that’s impossible not to fall in love with.
Plaza de Chueca
You can catch the Metro from Gran Via but it’s often as quick to walk. Head for the Plaza de Chueca, the small square named after a long-forgotten composer of Zarzuelas – Spanish Operettas – that gives its name to the area. Grab an ice-cream or a coffee to chil out for a while and then take a wander towards the Calle de Augusto Figueroa.
Mercado de San Antón
On the Calle de Augusto Figueroa you’ll soon find the San Anton Market, a three-storey gourmet food market offering something for everyone. From street food, to gourmet dining and even still the fresh-meat, veg and fish that made the market famous, this is a place that’s not to be missed. Just don’t forget to pay a visit to the fabulous rooftop bar when you’ve had your fill of culinary delights.
Hortaleza and Fuencarral
Heading North-West along the Calle de Augusto Figueroa, past more discount shoe shops than you might think a city needs, you’ll soon arrive at the Calle de Hortaleza, the main street in Chueca. Here you’ll find a long and busy street bustling with great restaurants and cafes by day and great bars and clubs by night. A lot of the bars are geared towards the LGBT community but everyone is welcome.
One street over, you’ll find the Calle Fuencarral. This pedestrianised street, the border between Chueca and Malasaña, is a shoppers’ paradise with boutiques and designer stores. It’s not just for people with money to burn though as you’ll also find independent shops and chain fashion stores such as Mango and Zara meaning no matter what your budget is, you’ll be able to find something for you.
Chueca is important not just for shopping, eating and drinking, but also as a focus for the gay pride movement. Since the area hosted the largest ever Europride event in 2007, with 2.5 million LGBT visitors from around the world, Chueca has become one of the biggest and best known gay quarters in the world. You’ll see a lot of gay-themed or gay-produced art displayed in the areas streets and galleries.
In late-June/early-July It’s the centre of Madrid Pride celebrations so if you don’t like crowds then stay away because the already-busy streets become full almost to bursting point!
If you’re looking for the quiet life then Chueca is best avoided as it’s pretty much a 24hr neighbourhood but if you want to be close to the action in a vibrant part of the city then Chueca has plenty of choices of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.