Cozy up to Madrid this November
by alison.chou on Thursday, November 10, 2016
If you’re studying Spanish in Madrid with don Quijote this fall, you’re in for a real treat. With the cooling autumn temperatures, the city undergoes a lovely transformation: there’s a refreshingly crisp nip in the air, casual T-shirts and sandals are swapped out for sophisticated coats and boots, hot “comfort food” dishes re-appear on restaurant menus, and the urban foliage comes alive with radiant bursts of reds, oranges and yellows. Apart from the typical seasonal changes, Madrid also offers fun cultural events this season. So take your Spanish learning experience out of the classroom this November with our guide of the best things to do this November in Madrid!
Let the weather guide your stomach
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic: food. Spanish cuisine is famously weather-oriented, with a deep tradition of enjoying seasonal dishes, tapas and drinks (just try to find one person drinking gazpacho in the wintertime, we dare you!). The cooling weather means it’s the perfect time to comer de cuchara—or eat dishes that require a spoon like soups and stews – and Spaniards love a good hearty stew. Most famous in Madrid is the cocido madrileño, a traditional stew featuring garbanzos (chickpeas) with various vegetables and meat. Other popular hot local dishes include callos a la madrileña (yes, they are cow intestines, but trust us they’re delicious!) and sopa de ajo.
Another must-try is the famous cochinillo (roast suckling pig) of Segovia. Just a little over an hour away from Madrid, the city of Segovia will astound you with its medieval beauty and then lull you into a deep food coma with its decadent local specialty. And if you want your gastronomical tour of Madrid to be even more superlative, why not make a reservation at Casa Botín? Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest restaurant, Casa Botín was founded in 1725 and still specializes in traditional madrileño and castellano dishes.
And don’t forget to get some churros con chocolate, which is considered a breakfast food in Spain… Because what better way to start a chilly November day than with fried dough dipped in a mug of rich hot chocolate?
Enjoy unique cultural events and festivals
November is a month of exciting cultural events and festivals in Madrid, designed to satiate a variety of taste palates. If you’re a lover of jazz for example, you’ll love the Madrid International Jazz Festival taking place all month long. Not only does the festival offer about 100 musical performances, but you can also attend jazz-related debates, film screens and exhibitions. The Madrid en Danza Festival kicks off November 18th and highlights the innovative new aesthetics of both the domestic and international dance scene.
For the foodies, there’s MadrEAT, an outdoor food market featuring more than 20 gourmet food and artisanal beer trucks. MadrEAT takes place in the Azca Gardens during the third weekend of November. Finally, for those with the quirkiest of interests, November also hosts Madrid Science Week (Nov. 7-20) and Madrid Horse Week (Nov. 24-27). Never been to a horse show? Why not make this your month!
Get out in nature
Just because the temperatures have dropped doesn’t mean outdoor activities have to come to an end. With the changing foliage, Madrid’s green zones like Retiro Park transform into spectacular auburn-golden paradises. So why not bundle up, hop on a city bike or the metro and take in all of Madrid’s beauty? Along with Parque Retiro, some other great parks include the Parque del Oeste, the Jardines de Sabatini and Dehesa de la Villa (formerly King Alfonso VII’s hunting grounds). Casa de Campo is another gem: not only is it Madrid’s largest park, it even houses a theme park and a zoo! The park also organizes special autumn guided walks and hikes, check out the schedule here.
So there you have it. If you’re studying Spanish in Madrid this November, don’t let this lovely month pass you by without discovering all the beauty, culture and fun the city has to offer you!