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Madrid see + do

Madrid's long-standing conservative image has finally slipped, and there's no going back now. Despite the ultimate failure of Madrid's 2012 Olympic bid, the attempt put a spring in the city's step. Major new wings in each of the big-three art museums—the Prado, the Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza—did the most to install a permanent new sense of pride. There have been other successful architectural events, including the outrageous Hotel Puerta América, created by 20 world-famous designers, and the new airport terminal designed by Sir Richard Rogers. The Barcelona-Madrid axis is to be officially inaugurated by the end of 2007, when one of the world's fastest railways (220 mph) is due to link the two cities. Barcelona-ish energy has been spreading through the restaurant and art scenes of Madrid for years now. But don't overlook Madrid as a city just for walking, from the grand, leafy avenues that still evoke the city's good old stodgy elitism to the gentrifying neighborhoods like Chueca, where real estate seems to change hands and double in value by the week.

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Bullfights, Madrid

Even as modern Madrileño culture continues toward yuppiedom, the proud old tradition of the corrida de toros has not died. Yes, young people now make fun...more

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Museo del Traje, Madrid

The new fashion and costume museum was, until 2004, the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Now there's an incredible range: from crinoline frames, doublets,...more

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Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid

A spectacular triangular-roofed addition by French star architect Jean Nouvel has boosted what was already Spain's most important modern-art museum into the...more

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Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

One of the world's greatest art museums—in Europe's top three, with Paris's Louvre and the Uffizi in Florence—El Prado is now bigger and better thanks...more

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Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

The collection of old masters and major 19th- and 20th-century works amassed by the late Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza has graced Madrid since 1992. In...more

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Neighborhoods, Madrid

Madrid is a wonderful walking city. You'll doubtless find yourself, sooner or later, along the Paseo del Prado, in Plaza Mayor, and in Puerta del Sol. Stop for...more

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Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid

The go-to gallery for Goyas; including two of the artist's self portraits, as well as paintings by Ribera and Velázquez. But it's not only the...more

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Real Football, Madrid

Anyone who even nominally follows soccer is in awe of Real Madrid, and if you're lucky enough to be in town for a game (half the weekends from September to May,...more

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Royal Palace, Madrid

The official residence of Spain's royal family (now only used to host official ceremonies) was commissioned in 1738 by King Felipe V and was first used by...more

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