Alternative culture hubs in Madrid

Chrisa Lepida | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Madrid is one of the most open cities on earth and it doesn’t matter where you’re from for the oft-heard phrase to ring true: ‘If you’re in Madrid, you’re from Madrid’. Madrid nights are the stuff of legend, and the perfect complement to the more sedate charms of fine arts and fine dining. Any trip to Madrid would not be complete without enjoying a caña (a small beer) and some tapas on one of the many terrace bars at the end of a long day sightseeing. However, if you are visiting Madrid for the second time or if you just fancy an alternative look at the city, then you may want to consider adding some of the following sites and activities to your next visit to Madrid. Madrid offers a variety of cultural centers that you can actually join and take a glimpse of the local’s lives and the city’s artsy perspective!

Picture © Credits to FOTOGALERÍA Lavapiés

La Tabacalera 

As mentioned, Lavapies, has the largest number of neighbourhood associations and self-managed centres in Madrid; the most well-known is La Tabacalera de Lavapiés. Located in an old tobacco factory, it’s a collective cultural space where anyone can submit a proposal to set up an exhibit, organise a debate or show a documentary they've made! This barrio represents the fusion of people and cultures that Madrid has experimented within recent years. If you’ love experiencing alternative ways of living, if you love drinking & meeting with your friends in squares, if you love shopping from local mercados (flea & food markets) , if you love arts, or if you’re one of those people staring at graffitis for hours, then Lavapies is not to be missed!

Picture © Credits to FOTOGALERÍA Lavapiés

El Matadero 

How can I find “culture” in one place? Well, you can’t really find culture, after all it’s not a concept to be found, but you can certainly experience it! El Matadero is a center of contemporary creation promoted by the ministry of sports, arts, and tourism located in Madrid since 2007. It’s the house of multiple forms of artistic expression, while its fundamental objective is to promote the citizen’s dialogue and exchange of ideas. El Matadero is a living and changing space at the service of creative processes, participatory artistic training and dialogue between the arts. It was born with the will to contribute to the reflection on the contemporary sociocultural environment and with the vocation to support the processes of construction of the culture of the present and the future.


La Neomudéjar is a Center of Arts, experimentation and creativity that is committed to rescuing disused spaces to manage them with cultural uses of quality. It first opened its doors as a self-managed, free and artistic resistance center in July 2013. Its commitment to give voice to New Media Arts and avant-garde creators is focused on promoting disciplines such as Urban Art, Video Art, Performance, Parkour, Sound Art and bring them closer to the general public with a constant of differential didactics. It defends a museum line inspired by Latin American trends that open its doors to the social reality of the environment and is committed to initiatives of dignity and visibility to vulnerable groups.

Picture © Credits to Flickr/Javier1949

If you’re looking to thrive into Madrid’s counterculture and experience its artsy perspective then a visit to the above should be definitely paid! Ready to visit them all?! 

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