Things to do in Madrid

Memorable New Year’s Celebrations in Madrid

Celebrating New Year’s in Madrid? Spain’s crown jewel yields sights, sounds, and flavors you’ll never forget on this most special of nights.

The air crackles with anticipation, and the crowd’s roar pierces through the night. A countdown echoes across Madrid, bringing the excitement to its peak. When Puerta del Sol’s old clock tower begins to chime and fireworks light up the sky, you’ll feel the boundless possibilities that lie in store.

Shed off the past and welcome a bright future with us as we explore the city's New Year celebrations. Spain’s festive spirit fills the holiday season with many thrilling things to do in Madrid, promising a night filled with laughter, music, and the warmth of shared traditions.

Traditional Celebrations

From lucky grapes to a symphony of firework starbursts painting the sky with color, Madrid’s traditional celebrations never disappoint.

1. Eating Grapes at Puerta del Sol

Imagine the excitement as midnight arrives and everyone rushes to eat 12 lucky grapes to the sound of each clock chime. While the history of Spain’s lucky grape tradition is hazy, it’s thought to have come about after incredible crop yields led to a surplus of the fruit across the country. Rather than allow these grapes to go to waste, a fun new tradition swept the nation, winning Spanish hearts.

You don’t necessarily have to join the crowd at the Puerta del Sol NYE party to experience the joy of this old tradition. However, the grapes symbolize prosperity and unity for each coming month.

That community aspect prompts thousands of people to gather from all across Spain. You won’t find a spot more alive with shared energy and hope for the future.

Photographer: Alvaro Araoz

2. Royal Palace Fireworks

Sparks, flashes, and smoke create dramatic flair in some of our shows, but New Year’s fireworks take pyrotechnics to the next level.

Look up at the sky from the Royal Palace of Madrid to see breathtaking flowers of light at the Temple of Debod. Their explosive petals bloom and dissipate into the darkness of the night in a rhythmic chorus. We can definitely appreciate the skilled choreography on display.

If fireworks aren’t enough to rouse your spirit, the Royal Palace is easily still one of the dreamiest settings at all times of the year, and the holiday celebrations take this a step further.

Centuries-old stones and emerald green lawns bathed in the soft light of dusk set the stage for an unforgettable evening. The bright bursts in the sky are a fitting display over this majestic backdrop.

3. San Silvestre Vallecana Race

Stretch out those hamstrings and slip into your racing shoes. One of Madrid’s most exciting New Year traditions, the San Silvestre Vallecana Race pits runners against each other in a fierce yet lighthearted 10-kilometer race across the city. The downhill route appeals to beginners and seasoned professionals alike.

A little competition is the spice of life. Fancy yourself the next champion jogger? The event’s separate international race has strict qualifying times that limit participation. Attracting professional runners from around the world, the global race is the perfect opportunity to end the year with a glorious victory.

Gourmet Experiences

Raise a glass (and a fork) to a New Year’s feast in Madrid. From Castilian pork to churros drenched in sauce, you'll be begging for another serving.

4. New Year’s Eve Dinner at Botín Restaurant

It’s hard to pass up Botín Restaurant if you’re looking for a history-steeped gourmet experience to bring in the new year. Founded in 1725, Botín has the distinction of being the world’s oldest restaurant. The original wood-fired oven has burned for nearly three centuries to create the most succulent roast pig and lamb.

With such a storied history spanning much of Madrid’s culinary evolution, it’s no surprise the food is well-loved. Times may have changed, but bold and delicious flavors will always be a part of Spanish culture.

So, what’s on the menu? Think Grandma’s secret cheesecake recipe, grilled veal, and roast bell peppers stuffed with fatty tuna. This iconic restaurant offers everything from Iberian ham to seafood, taking your palate on a dinner journey across the rich history of Madrid’s cuisine.

5. Chocolate con Churros at San Ginés

Listen to that crisp crunch as you bite through the crunchy exterior of a churro. Inside, a soft, velvety texture melts on your tongue, layering against the smoothness of decadent chocolate fudge sauce. We’re getting hungry just thinking about it.

There’s probably no Spanish treat that evokes the same nostalgia as churros. However, you may be surprised that churros weren’t always paired with chocolate or made sweet. The combination came about thanks to the rise of chocolaterías, such as San Ginés.

Nowadays, chocolate-covered churros are a match made in heaven, and San Ginés is still dishing them up at all hours of the day. If you find yourself faltering in the long wait for that midnight countdown, just follow your nose.

Let the warm scent of fried dough guide you toward churros and a mug of hot chocolate. These tasty treats will give you a final nudge of energy to see the night through.

6. Gastronomic Feast at Mercado de San Miguel

Walking through Mercado de San Miguel, you might think you’ve taken a time machine to an old, bustling marketplace. That’s intentional. Everything, from the beautiful ironwork scaffolding to the large glass panels, has been painstakingly preserved to maintain the market’s twentieth-century industrial aesthetic.

Mercado de San Miguel isn’t afraid of experimentation. While many of the foods are served as small bites or tapas, the artisanal creations easily match the fare available at some of the best restaurants in Madrid.

You'll be impressed by the variety. Whether you’re looking for sizzling garlic shrimp or a melt-in-your-mouth croquette, you can fulfill all your cravings. But don’t just stick to old favorites. If you’re open to exploring new experiences, an adventure awaits your palate. Ultimately, isn’t that what New Year’s embodies?

Photographer: Valeria Volosciuc

Cultural Experiences

Immerse yourself in the elegance of Spanish culture as the curtain closes on the current year and a new one is welcomed to the stage.

7. See a Flamenco Show

As the guitar rings out into the audience, heels pound upon the dance floor in a passionate staccato rhythm. This enthralling sight and sound is flamenco—a dance that depicts a whirlwind of emotions.

Their arm movements can be graceful and flowing or sharp and angular. Their foot-tapping can be so intense that the performance almost seems angry and domineering. Or, the movements can carry an unmistakable sense of joy.

While we’re most fond of acrobatic dance, flamenco will always have a special place in our hearts. Given that it’s also one of the most well-known and memorable aspects of Spanish culture, why not celebrate those last few days of the year by seeing a flamenco show?

8. Classical Concerts at Auditorio Nacional de Música

Auditorio Nacional de Música is the home of the Spanish National Orchestra and Choir. It attracts performers from around the world, thanks to the eclectic mix of musical styles it embraces.

One day, you might find a baroque masterpiece by Bach. Next, you might jump forward in time to find yourself struck by Lisztomania while listening to the Hungarian Rhapsody.

Classical music carries a unique grandeur. Combining it with the auditorium’s impressive acoustics allows you to celebrate the New Year rather majestically. However, New Year’s Eve concerts at Auditorio Nacional are much more approachable than your average symphony.

You’ll often find a few contemporary pieces among the curated ensembles at the auditorium. If classical music isn’t quite your thing, the venue occasionally hosts jazz performances in Madrid, Spain.

9. Opera Night at Teatro Real

When we think of opera, we can’t help but draw comparisons to our shows. With its elaborate costumes, elegant sets, and dramatic musical scores, opera is like our well-behaved cousin. You won’t catch the performers at Teatro Real somersaulting mid-song, but you’re still in for a treat!

Operas have a theatrical element that matches the grand occasion of New Year’s Eve. In many ways, they feel almost otherworldly. Of course, it probably helps that most of them are sung in Italian or German.

Opera Night at Teatro Real is all about the spectacle and the experience. There’s a reason it’s one of Europe’s top opera houses, and the spectacular production quality ensures you’ll never forget the heart-pounding performances held here at the end of the year.

10. Christmas Lights at Madrid Río

The city’s largest park, Madrid Río, traces a path along the Manzanares River to create one of the most beautiful green spaces in Madrid. The holidays bring a magnificent transformation to the park that you don't want to miss.

Warm lights hang from strings along walkways, and giant Christmas trees cast a soft glow over the surrounding area. Decorative displays illuminate the riverbank and bridges, bathing the entire park in an enchanting festive ambiance.

It’s the type of experience your little ones will never forget. Imagine the whole family walking through the park with hot chocolate as you marvel at the twinkling lights. Make a few pit stops at Madrid Río’s playgrounds or sit by the river for a picnic dinner.

11. Ice Skating at Palacio de Cibeles

See the joy on your kids’ faces as they pretend they’re gliding across a fantastical crystal palace. While it’s a courtyard throughout most of the year, Palacio de Cibeles’ Glass Gallery becomes one of the best places to ice-skate in December and January.

Those opulent surroundings decked out in Christmas decorations remind us of The Party Scene in The Nutcracker. Children will adore letting their imaginations go wild as they stare up at the impressive glass ceiling. Is it a celestial globe, or are they inside a giant kaleidoscope?

The ice rink at Palacio de Cibeles is one of Madrid’s most popular holiday destinations, so we recommend buying tickets in advance to avoid missing out.

Photographer: Quique Olivar

12. Teatro Circo Price

One of Madrid’s most beloved Christmas traditions, the Teatro Circo Price holiday production has been enthralling families for nearly two decades. The performance draws inspiration from one of Madrid’s oldest circuses—the original Circus Price.

The theater itself is steeped in history, dating back to Circus Price's founding in 1868. The stunning circular auditorium creates an enchanting stage for the dazzling stunts and acrobatic acts that await your visit.

A trip to the circus is a childhood classic, and your kids may love the Christmas production even more than you. Who knows, it might even inspire them to lead the next generation in acrobatics or dance!

13. Sunrise Walk in Retiro Park

Welcome the New Year with a stroll through El Retiro Park. As the sun peaks over the horizon, those first few rays of light paint the park in the most gorgeous golden glow. Shadows creep out from trees and sculptures, and gentle illumination filters through the gaps in tree canopies.

While New Year’s Eve is all about excitement and a chance to bring revelry to the year’s end, New Year’s Day is a time for quiet reflection and optimism. There’s no better way to make a healthy start to the year than taking the whole family on a brisk walk through the park before it gets crowded.

Photographer: Lazar Krstić

New Year’s Parties

Dance the night away as you ring in the New Year. From clubs pounding with fresh DJ music to pubs slinging fluorescent cocktails across the bar, the holidays bring the ultimate parties to Madrid.

14. We Party Festival

As the New Year approaches, thumping bass and rich electronica resonate across Madrid, signaling the return of the city’s biggest party. While the entire world has come to know and love the annual We Party festival, it was born in Madrid. Naturally, its home is also where it shines brightest.

With the party’s penchant for neon lights, smoke effects, and self-expression, there’s no better place to let loose. Feel yourself unleash into a whirlwind of dance movements under the pulse of strobe lights, guided by the crowd’s energy.

Don’t worry if you find yourself wanting to stay longer. The party repeats over several nights during the holidays.

15. New Year’s Eve Madrid Pub Crawl

Madrid’s beating heart is its nightlife, and it’s most alive when the holidays arrive. So, what’s the loudest and most energetic way to blitz through the city’s cultural nooks and crannies? We think the answer is a pub crawl!

Pinballing around the city on a pub crawl is like becoming a social chameleon because the atmosphere and people change with each venue. It’s a lively celebration that truly welcomes the raucous chaos and delightful festive spirit running through Madrid.

Unsure how to plot your journey to make the most of the night? Join a hosted crawl and let the locals guide your night. From iconic hole-in-the-walls to secretive haunts, a night of mischief awaits!

Embracing the Joy of Madrid’s New Year’s Eve Festivities

As the clock strikes midnight, raise a toast to the year gone by. The echoes of laughter and cheers may fade into the night, but new memories are just around the horizon.

While New Year’s Eve comes once a year, our performers celebrate nearly every night. The party begins with a triple somersault and ends with dance choreography that will leave you breathless. Come see our shows in Madrid to immerse yourself in a world of fantastical artistry before the year draws to a close.

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