Spain is known for being home to paella, afternoon siestas, Spanish football and bullfighting; but did you know that Spain is also admired for its music history, serving as the birthplace for noted classical music composers like Isaac Albéniz and Enrique Granados? The country is famous for flamenco, a musical genre that encourages dancing, finger snapping and singing. At the heart of this musical country is the capital, Madrid, a city revered for its arts and cultural offerings. On these Spanish streets, music fans can find any number of musical genres being performed day and night. From cafés packed with locals and travelers enjoying smooth jazz tunes to a giant stadium that hosts international stars like Elton John, there’s always music to be discovered. Slip on your best dancing shoes as you check out Madrid’s top music venues.
The Barclaycard Center
As your favorite music superstar takes to the stage of the Barclaycard Center, close your eyes and imagine that decades before, Madrid locals were gathering for a spectacle of another sort — bullfighting. Nowadays, The Barclaycard Center, formerly known as “Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid,” is one of Madrid’s top music venues, bringing in some of the biggest acts in music, including Mariah Carey, Shakira and Miley Cyrus. Today’s visitors won’t see any bulls, but with the arena holding frequent basketball and handball matches, they may catch a traditional sport of another kind. You won’t miss the venue, located in the heart of the city. It’s adorned in brightly colored stars, welcoming visitors to a place where larger-than-life arts and entertainment events take place.
Established in 1960, this music venue has hosted many internationally recognized festivals like the Jazz World Music Festival as well as music tours, including Nirvana, Green Day and KISS. More recently, colorful pop star Katy Perry and heavy metal rockers Iron Maiden and Muse have played at the Barclaycard Center. Visitors in September and November will have the chance to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Selena Gomez and the Cure. Before you head to Madrid to explore and enjoy the show, pump yourself up with the sounds of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium.” You can bring the music with you, stowing the lightweight and portable NWZ-A Series Walkman® in your travel bag. It’s the perfect gadget for enjoying the band’s best tracks in High-Resolution Audio when you’re ready to jam.
If you wish your night of music never had to end, then Joy Eslava is the place for you. Open 365 days a year, this top Madrid music venue offers live concerts, musical events and nightlife, with events lasting into the wee hours of the morning. Opening in the 1980s as a center for Madrid nightlife, the venue has welcomed artists such as Stevie Wonder and Roger Moore. Located in the center of Madrid’s historical district, Joy Eslava gives music fans a dose of Spain’s heritage along with the sounds of their favorite bands. Take in the show from the viewing balcony or rush to the dance floor and spend the night packed tight with fellow music lovers.
Recently, performers of all genres have captured the hearts of Spanish fans, including Hinds, a local Spanish indie rock band; Animal Collective, an American experimental pop band; and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, an American alternative rock trio. If you want to really immerse yourself in the culture of Madrid, watch local acts like Marwan and ANATU take to the stage, along with occasional daytime performances and events. If you find you’re waiting in line to enter the venue, make the wait a little more entertaining by bringing along some tunes. Listen to your favorite High-Resolution Audio tracks on your NW-A20 Series Walkman®, and you’re sure to be ready to bust out your best dance moves by the time you make your way inside.
The Palacio Vistalegre Arena
The thousands of music fans who frequent Palacio Vistalegre have proclaimed this historic multipurpose arena to be one of Madrid’s top music venues. Built on the site of a former bullring in the Carabanchel neighborhood, this 14,000-capacity pavilion is sectioned into three spaces: The Arena, The Center and the Sala San Miguel (formerly known as “The Box”). Some of the foremost names in music, including Kings of Leon, the Pet Shop Boys and Coldplay, have all performed here. During warmer months, concert-goers may see a few extra stars when the dome atop the arena is opened to reveal a view of the nighttime sky above.
Only a metro ride away from the center of the city, Palacio Vistalegre is surrounded by restaurants and bars — perfect if you’re looking for a pre-concert activity. Upcoming performances include the beloved a cappella group Pentatonix, Australian rock band 5 Seconds of Summer and an orchestral performance of “The Legend of Zelda” soundtrack.
Café Central Madrid
A visit to Madrid wouldn’t be complete without a trip to one of the city’s top music venues for local Spanish acts. When you need a break from arena-sized performances and the roar of screaming music fans, the eclectic and intimate Café Central boasts an acclaimed art deco style restaurant and stage that serves up some amazing jazz music. The café has been open for more than 30 years and has hosted over 10,000 performances, earning the title of one of the world’s best jazz venues by DownBeat magazine.
Located in one of the most popular and historic parts of the city, the café features top-notch performances and Spanish cuisine. Enjoy plates made for sharing with your concert-going friends like croquettes, sandwiches piled high with grilled veggies and open-faced sandwiches covered in cheeses and meats called tostas. Open for lunch and dinner, the café sets the mood for music fans to surround themselves with the sights and sounds of Madrid during their visit. Find a cozy table and listen to performances from some of the biggest names in jazz, including Wynton Marsalis and Randy Weston.
Say “Sí” to Madrid’s Top Music Venues
From former bullfighting rings to an art deco café with Spanish flair to a restored theater turned night club, Madrid’s top music venues are sure to be a hit, no matter what type of music genre you prefer. With many of the venues located in central and historic parts of the city, the sounds and sights of Madrid will remain a lasting memory long after your plane has touched down back at home.