Fear not trendy hipsters, Madrid has a barrio for you. Malasaña, located north of Madrid’s city center is arguably Madrid’s trendiest neighborhood. While the city itself has a historic past, now it is filled with coffee shops, bookstores, and specialty stores of which are independently owned. Every experience is unique and each time you go to Malsaña, you will discover something new. This is a guide on places to visit in Malasaña.
1. For a Bookstore with a mascot: LIBROS
If books are your thing make sure to go to LIBROS, an independently owned bookstore. Not only are there books at this store, but there is a black cat who sleeps on a rug on the second level of the store. The books here range in topic from romance poetry to modern day novels that are enjoyed by millennials. Once you go down the stairs you will find yourself in a room that is set up for board games or just some quiet reading time. This store also features little trinkets such as keychains, cards, mugs, and aprons. Some of these trinkets feature the black cat that inhabits the store. Other decorations in the bookstore include framed quotes, plants hanging alongside the wall, as well canvas bags. The owner of this bookstore has owned his cat for years and likes to incorporate him with his passion for books.
2. For a blast to the past: Lolina Vintage Café
If you feel like you need a coffee and a little pick me up, then head over to Lolina Vintage Café. The inside of this café takes you back to a 1950s style diner where you can relax and enjoy the different drink and food options while feeling like you’re going back in time.
3. For a one of a kind pair of shoes: Ioli
If you are in search for a new pair of shoes Ioli is where you can find a one of a kind pair. The owner of the store, Cynthia Ioli makes each pair of shoes herself. She states, “All of my materials are sourced in Spain including the leather and fabric.” Each pair of shoes takes about 15 days to make. Her shoes are an environmentally friendly because all of her materials are available locally. While she did not actually attend a university, she always had a passion for fashion and creating things. She opened her store in 2005 and has been successful since then. You can find people regularly going into her shop to shop her handmade shoes. Cynthia even has a section in her shop where the shoes have a matching clutch to go with it.
4. To be back in the 80s: Flamingo’s Vintage Kilo
To go with your new pair of shoes, stop by Flamingo’s Vintage Kilo, one of the many vintage stores Malasaña has to offer. This vintage store is set apart from others because the clothing is not individually priced but rather the price is determined by the weight of the clothes. There are different sections in the store that are priced differently per kilo. There is a wide variety of different types of clothing to suit anyone’s style. Barvie, an American tourist from Houston, Texas explains why she enjoys this particular vintage store, “I really thought the concept of paying for clothes by the weight rather than individual was so new and innovative. I have not seen anything like this vintage store back in America.”
5. To cool down: Lolo Polos Artesanos
On a warm Madrid day, you can keep cool with a homemade popsicle from Lolo Polos Artesanos. They offer a wide variety of fresh flavors that keep you cool. Some of the popsicles are yogurt based while others are juice based. They all included different fruits and juices that gave each popsicle a unique flavor.
6. To experience the beach in Madrid: Ojalá
For dinner, stop by Ojalá, where the beach comes to Madrid. The two-level restaurant features big windows in order to let the natural light in. Downstairs, you are transported to a beach where the floor is covered in sand and features a beach themed baR. Downstairs also features music that gets the crowd excited and helps them relax. The music they play is a mix of both Spanish and English music.
7. For a combo of books and coffee: J & J Books and Coffee
For a late-night stop, J&J Books and Coffee not only offers coffee but offers second hand books that you can enjoy while you are there or can choose to purchase. They offer special events during the week such as language exchanges and quiz nights. Over the weekend they also offer bagel brunches and special deals on their drinks. They feature books in both Spanish and English and also have a basement where they hold their quiz nights.
Libros; Calle del Espíritu Santo, 13; +34 915 934 674; Monday-Friday 11:00am-2:00pm, 4:00pm-9:00pm; Saturday 11:00am-8:00pm; Sunday 12:00pm-2:00pm.
Lolina Vintage Café; Calle de Espíritu Santo, 9; +34 915 235 859; Monday-Thursday 10:10am-12:00am; Friday 10:10am-2:30am; Saturday 10:10am-2:30; Sunday 10:10am-12:00am.
Ioli; Calle de Espíritu Santo, 1; +34 915 210 022; Monday-Friday 11:30am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-9:00pm; Satuday-Sunday Closed.
Flamingo’s Vintage Kilo; Calle de Espíritu Santo, 1; +34 649 877 198; Monday-Saturday 11:00am-9:00pm; Sunday Closed.
Lolo Polos Artesanos; Calle de Espíritu Santo, 16; +34 910 219 408; Monday-Sunday 12:00pm-1:00am.
Ojalá; Calle de San Andrés, 1; +34 915 232 747; Monday-Tuesday: 10:00am-1:00am; Wednesday 10:00am-1:30am; Thursday-Friday 10:00am-2:00am; Saturday-Sunday 10:00am-1:00am.
J & J Books and Coffee; Calle de Espíritu Santo, 47; +34 915 218 576; Monday-Thursday 4:00pm-11:30pm; Friday 4:00pm-12:00am; Saturday 12:00am-11:30pm; Sunday Closed.