We flew from New York City to Madrid overnight. Stayed in an AirBnb near Plaza Mayor, central historic district. It was a cozy little apartment on a cobblestone street filled with restaurants. Though we were exhausted, we didn't let that hold us back from exploring the city.
We started off our day with Museo Nacional del Prado, the popular Spanish national art museum. Please note their opening hours as they have a window where you get free admission. If you enter between 10am - 8pm, it will cost you 15 euros and between 6-8pm it was free. Check their website for the latest updates. After exploring the best of Spanish art, we headed off to Puerta del Sol, one of the best known public squares and busiest places in Madrid. We grabbed some food and did a bit of window shopping.
Madrid is a pretty big city, with a business, classy vibe to it. It has great architecture, and a lot of popular plazas to hang out. We walked around quite a bit, but I recommend taking the metro as it is very efficient. Check out Gran Vía and Catedral de la Almudena if you have time.
A must visit in Madrid is the unique San Miguel Market, a 1916 covered market offering local food in an elegant ambiance. We enjoyed Spain's specialty -- Jamon with olives, delicious!
We saw quite a bit of plazas -- Plaza Espana, Plaza de Oriente, Plaza de Cibeles and then decided to spend some quality time at the Royal palace of Madrid. It is the official residence of the Spanish royal family though it is now used only for state ceremonies.
After enjoying the royalty, we decided to go back to our peasant lives and hang out in Malasaña :) It is a hip, young neighborhood filled with cafes, bars and clubs. We finished our day with a visit to Bernabeu Stadium tour, a must if you are an avid soccer fan! We did a guided tour and thoroughly enjoyed the stadium in all its glory.