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Districts of Madrid

Madrid’s Most Urban Districts

madrid buildings with park in front
Written by Daniella

Madrid is a very complete and diverse city, full of nuances. The city’s neighbourhoods are a true reflection of the history of a society that has changed throughout its entire existence. And there were times that a single street separated two very different social worlds.

Madrid can be defined in many ways, and one of them is that it is an urban, modern and cosmopolitan city. And that is why today, this article by ShMadrid will focus on the most urban districts in the Spanish capital.

Related article: Madrid’s Best Neighbourhoods to Rent

Discover urban Madrid

Chueca, Malasaña and Fuencarral

gran via in madrid in dark with lights from traffic

Photo via Pixabay

Chueca, Malasaña and Fuencarral are some of Madrid’s most urban and sophisticated zones. You can find contemporary fashion brands and even some new designers in this commercial part of Madrid, as well as tattoo shops, decoration and comic book stores, art bookstores, second-hand shops and retro stores.

There is an extensive area of small and quiet streets between Plaza de Chueca, Calle de Fuencarral and Calle de Hortaleza, and the shops here may actually surprise you.

This is the gay community’s epicenter, but the district is really open to anyone, which has now made it one of the most visited areas, both by locals and by visitors who come from outside of the city.

If you are an LGTBI member, then surely Calle Hortaleza is your place to be, as you will find a good number of shops with tight garments here, as you will be able to see clearly in shop windows.

There are also a couple of gyms, sex-shops and bookshops. There is the Berkana bookshop, that specialises in gay and lesbian books, but also Panta Rhei with illustrated and comic books, or A Punto Librería that focuses on gastronomy and cooking workshops.

Madrid Centro

Madrid Centro is one of the most interesting zones in the city. The Gran Vía is a 1.3 kilometre long road that is centrally located within the city, and it is also known as the “Spanish Broadway”. You will discover many theatres, cinemas, restaurants and international brands (like H&M, Zara and Lacoste) here, but also accommodation.

Calle de Preciados is south of the Gran Vía, and with a length of 500 metres, this pedestrian shopping street is one of the busiest streets in Madrid’s city centre.

Related article: Best Family-Friendly Neighbourhoods in Madrid


Calle de Serrano is a three-kilometre-long road north of the city centre, in Madrid’s Salamanca district. Shopping areas are limited to the southern part of the street, and this is where you will find shopping centers, watch and jewellery stores, designer shops and major international brands, like for example Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

AZCA and Castellana

madrid skyline at night

Photo via Pixabay

AZCA is known as Madrid’s financial centre, and this is where you will see some of most important buildings and skyscrapers in Madrid. This area is a great combination of professional opportunities and business activities.

Restaurants and cafeterias, fashion stores, accessory shops, and shopping centres; you will find it all in this zone.

The AZCA Complex, which is located north of the city, is a commercial zone and therefore a financial and economic business hub. It is in between Paseo de la Castellana and Calle de Orense, Calle de Raimundo Fernández Villaverde and Calle General Perón.

Inspired by the Rockefeller Center in New York, architect Antonio Perpiñá developed this whole area in Madrid In 1957, and his designs were approved in 1964.

When constructions began, AZCA was actually on the outskirts of the city. Some of the skyscrapers that really stand out now are the Torre Picasso, Torre Europa and the current headquarters of the BBVA.

Is there another urban neighbourhood in Madrid you can recommend?

About the author


Daniella loves to write and translate. Her bucket list is filled with beautiful places she still needs to visit.

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