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AU Madrid | Entertainment

Spanish nightlife begins at 11:00 or 11:30pm at night. It begins at a local bar until it closes, then the discos, the dance clubs, or glorified bars with dance floors. These discos stay open until about 5 or 6 am, and people tend to hop from disco to disco. There are a few big name (and pricy) discos in Madrid, like Joy Esclava. You needn't necessarily go to these places, and as a matter of fact, usually only tourists frequent them. Often the best places look like they are no place at all and do not charge at the door. Some good areas to try are Calle Huertas off of Plaza Santa Ana, and Bilbao, Alonso Martínez, Chueca, and Argüelles metro areas (near the Universidad Complutense). If you have any contacts in Madrid don't be afraid to use them. The Spanish love to meet and talk with American students, and they can tell you good places to go out.

After a long night of dancing and socializing, when the clock strikes about 6 am, cafeterias will re- open and serve another long-standing Spanish culinary tradition, chocolate con churros. Churros are a fried-dough pastry, and chocolate is a rich hot chocolate, almost pudding thick. It is a delicious combination, and not too damaging to your waistline if you order it only once in a while.

Going to the cinema is also a lot of fun and there are a lot of cinemas in Madrid where you can see movies. Most movies coming from Hollywood are dubbed with voiceovers in Spanish, although you will find movies with subtitles also. Look for the ¨día del espectador¨ for discounted days or student days (vary by theater).

You can find the cinema listings by looking in the daily newspaper. You can visit Guia del Ocio for a weekly listing of all nightlife, movies, discos, restaurants, and cultural events in Madrid, as well as other cities in Spain. All the information needed to plan a trip to a flamenco show, una zarzuela (Spanish opera), cultural festival or movie theater can be found on this website. In addition to short descriptions of each listed movie, Guía gives the address and nearest metro stop for each theater. It is an invaluable source of information. You can also visit InMadrid.

Another great way to spend your time is at the central park in Madrid, known as El Retiro. El Retiro is a gigantic park in the center of Madrid. You can spend hours wandering through its many paths, tree lined avenues, and sitting in one of the several cafés located within it. Please use common sense, however, and don’t wander around at night or by yourself.

As you have probably guessed, Madrid is a huge fútbol (soccer) city given that it is home to three world class teams: Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, and Rayo Vallecano. If you are interested in attending a game, you can look for tickets. Madrid also offers a variety of other sports games including Basketball, Tennis, and Bullfighting. In fact, Madrid has the largest plaza de toros in all of Spain.