Madrid's Soho, the gay district, the nightlife area: Chueca it is this and more, but in summary it can be said that Chueca is the Madrid of Madrid. They say that Chueca is transgressive and excessive, but what best defines it is freedom and tolerance: Chueca is the place to be yourself without being judged.
Known as the the most lively and trendy district of Madrid, frequented by people from Madrid and tourists who want to feel like a local, Chueca is yet another example of an infamous Cinderella who turns into a trendy princess.
It was mainly the gay community of Madrid that brought the area out of the state of decay in which it had been abandoned after the end of Francoism and transformed it into a nerve center of Madrid life (especially at night).
With the opening of the former gay bars and the organization of a colorful Carnival citizen began a process of urban redevelopment, with more and more people eager to move to live here. Today Chueca is the main residential and cultural area of Madrid LGTB and it is no coincidence that the World Gay Pride, celebration of homosexual rights.
Beloved by Pedro Almodovar, who took the first steps of his career as a director right here, Chueca is a place to live rather than visit.
The name of the neighborhood comes from Federico Chueca, a famous composer of “zarzuelas”, a typically Spanish lyric-dramatic genre. Originally from Madrid, he lived between 1846 and 1908.
What to see in Chueca
Don't expect to find Madrid's most famous museums and attractions in Chueca: people come here more to breathe an atmosphere than to visit monuments.
That said, it is not uncommon to come across elegant buildings that survived the years of decay while walking through the bohemian streets of Chueca.
City History Museum
One of the elegant buildings of Chueca is the Royal Hospice General for the Poor, an eighteenth-century building on Fuencarral street that will catch your attention with its splendid Spanish Baroque style facade.
The building is currently home to the City History Museum, recommended for those who want to know the history of the city of Madrid: the museum collection, which includes paintings, photographs, prints and illustrations, sculptures, furniture, weapons, fans, jewels, coins and medals, traces a historical and urban evolution of the capital Spanish.
Here you can admire Madrid as it was painted by Goya in his famous work Allegory of the Villa of Madrid, built in the years of the French occupation; also interesting is the porcelain collection of the Real Fábrica del Buen Retiro.
Another gorgeous building to admire in the Chueca district is Longoria Palace, one of the few modernist buildings in the city of Madrid. It will not be difficult for you to recognize it: the external facade is characterized by wavy lines and very rich floral-themed decorations and will vaguely remind you of the eccentric houses of Guadì in Barcelona.
Currently the building is the seat of the SGAE, the Spanish SIAE and there are no guided tours: if you manage to enter, take a look at the splendid staircase in the atrium and the art nouveau stained glass windows.
Museum of Romanticism
Third noteworthy building is the palace of the Marquis of Matallana, where today one of the most original museums in Madrid is located: the Museum of Romanticism, which exhibits Empire-style furniture, costumes, porcelain dolls, XNUMXth century pianos.
Who said that Chueca is only clubs and nightlife?
Chueca for children
For a carefree afternoon visit Chueca's family-friendly attraction, the Wax Museum - Madrid Wax Museum and enjoy walking a few inches away from celebrities of yesterday and today, such as Cleopatra, Miley Cirus, the Catholic kings and George Clooney.
There are more than 400 wax statues on display: keep your camera close at hand, as a paparazzo would do!
Shopping a Chueca
Most of the tourists who visit Chueca by day come here for shopping. In fact, the neighborhood is a true shopping paradise!
The commercial development of Chueca has given new vitality to a neighborhood that has been snubbed by the people of Madrid for years. Alongside the traditional shops, a myriad of shops were born, immediately grabbed by emerging stylists, designers and artists.
Today in Chueca you can shop in the stores of the big chains, famous designers, new brands that set trends; you can buy clothes, books, records ...
Women with a passion for shoes - why not? men too - they will love Chueca madly: here you can find everything, extravagant, elegant, very expensive and super cheap shoes. There are many outlet stores that sell branded shoes from previous years at discounted prices.
LGBT tourists wishing to take home a spicy souvenir can browse the area's sex shops.
Markets of Chueca
In such a lively commercial area, markets could not be missing. There are two most famous markets of Chueca:
- San Antón market: this traditional market dating back to the nineteenth century has been the subject of a long renovation that lasted 10 years which transformed it into a modern and eco-sustainable building, with maximum exploitation of energy resources. Arranged over three floors, it is the specialty food market where you can buy or taste delicacies of Spanish and international cuisine or admire a splendid view of the Chueca district from the terrace of the restaurant on the top floor.
- Fuencarral market: more a shopping arcade than a market, the Mercado de Fuencarral is an alternative to the shopping centers of the big brands. To the rhythm of techno music you can get yourself a bizarre haircut, a piercing, a tattoo or buy trendy jewelry and accessories.
Nightlife in Chueca
When the sun goes down and the shops close, Chueca explodes with energy and vitality. Night is the time when the streets and local of the neighborhood are filled with people who want to drink in company or dance until morning.
The choice of clubs is vast and is by no means limited to gay clubs: you can find modern New York-style restaurants, a historic bar serving excellent vermouth, trendy lounges, traditional taverns, live music venues and DJ sets, clubs , pub ...