Chueca Madrid LGBT movement
“Whoever you love, Madrid loves you”, was the city’s official slogan when it hosted 2017 World Pride. That summer, Madrid welcomed thousands of LBGT visitors from around the globe with open arms. The tolerance and acceptance that Spain, and especially the city of Madrid, shows towards the LGBT community is evident in day to day life. In fact, Spain was the third country in the world to grant full marriage rights to all its citizens in 2004.
Madrid is a city that fully embraces the LGBT community every day of the year. Below is a guide for enjoying the LGBT experience in Madrid.
A small barrio (neighborhood) nestled in central Madrid, Chueca is the undisputed hub of Madrid’s LGBT community. Outrageously fun and unapologetically gay-friendly, there is always a party or event going down in Chueca. This neighboorhood is not exclusively gay and welcomes everyone but it does have the highest concentration of gay bars in the city.
The first thing you will see when you walk out of the rainbow painted metro stop is the beautiful Plaza de Chueca. This cozy and lively square is the center of the neighborhood.
During sunny days, the colorful umbrella-topped tables of the bars and restaurants will look irresistible. Sit down, relax, and enjoy a tinto de verano, a popular Spanish summer wine drink, while listening to a performer playing Spanish guitar in the square.
The Mercado de San Antón is a three-story food market and popular spot in Madrid. Every type of cuisine can be found with as well as a bar or two with different beers, wines, and cocktails.
Most bars in Spain close their kitchens between 3 and 8 which can be a disappointing surprise for a hungry American tourist. Markets, however, will have something big and delicious available the entire day and evening. If you are lucky enough to get a seat, the rooftop terrace at Mercado de San Antón is a wonderful place to relax and boasts an amazing view of Chueca Madrid.
Lavapies & La Latina
Although Chueca has the most LGBT bars, the neighborhoods of Lavapies and La Latina have some that shouldn’t be skipped. This area is a bit older and attracts a diverse crowd. You will find more avant-garde options here, like arthouse theatres and performance art. The rowdy street, Cava Baja, in La Latina is a great place to nibble on some chorizo and enjoy a cold copa (mixed drink).
If you need a rainbow unicorn pillow or pair of suspenders, you should be able to find it in one of the many quirky gift shops in and around Chueca. The neighborhood is known for its many shoe shops, bookshops that specialize in gay literature, and trendy clothing stores. If you wander the streets of Chueca, you will be able to find anything you can imagine.
In some of the city’s wildest clubs, there are weekly drag queen hosting competitions or simply having a good time. The majority of the performers will speak strictly in Spanish but since many of their acts will feature classic songs sung in English you won’t miss any of the fun! Stop by for a late night performance and stay for a drink or two while dancing to that nights DJ.
Nightlife in Madrid is notorious for being loud and outrageous. Bars in Madrid don’t usually get busy until midnight so expect to stay out late if you want an authentic LGBT nightlife experience.
In Madrid, most of the dance clubs will charge a cover for entrance, usually between 10-20 euros. Luckily, this entrance fee usually comes with one free drink, generally a simple mixed drink.
Reggaeton is popular in dance clubs but you can find a club playing every type of music, from EDM to hip-hop. Madrid and its bars are open to everyone, gay and non-gay alike, so everyone is welcome in Chueca’s many gay nightclubs.
If you come to Madrid in the summer, you might catch its famous Gay Pride festivities. From the last few days of June and the entire first week of July, Madrid goes all out for Pride. The streets and balconies of Madrid are filled with bright colors, including the beautiful Palacio de Cibeles, which is brightly lit with rainbows during the night.
Join the floats and costumed performers in a parade with more than 2,000 participants that passes through the main streets of Madrid. It is the largest gay celebration in Spain and one of the largest in the world. Races, films, music, shows, and other activities will be happening throughout the city this week and a half. You won’t want to miss it!
Raise your flag high and see why Madrid is the top LGBT destination in the world!
Bianka Rose Cramblit