Nightlife in Madrid comes in many different forms, and you certainly don't have to wait until the weekend to get the good times rolling. On any given night, the numerous Madrid bars can be fun places to hang out, with neighborhood bars being the favorites of many locals. Madrid night clubs are at their busiest Thursday through Saturday, and if you show up before 1 a.m., you might be too early. Most of the clubs in the Spanish capital only start to heat up at around 1 a.m. Depending on which club you have in mind, showing up closer to 3 a.m. might be the way to go.
Heading to a bar and dancing the night away at a club are just two of the options when it comes to nightlife in Madrid. For those who enjoy the performing arts, there will be numerous opportunities to catch a play, a movie, a concert, or other live performance. Various venues around the city, such as the Las Ventas Bullring, host live music performances, and any and all visitors should consider taking in a Flamenco performance, especially if they can't make it down to southern Spain to enjoy Flamenco at its best in destinations such as Granada and Seville.
Madrid at night is a verifiable wonderland in terms of things to do, and as you move about from restaurant to bar to club, the illuminated buildings of this grand city set a most dynamic setting. On any given night, Madrid locals can be seen drinking and dining on tapas, and there are any number of bars and eateries that can accommodate such pursuits. Making the rounds at the tapas bars that are located in and around the Plaza Mayor and the Puerta del Sol is arguably Spanish nightlife at its best. When the mood for a more electric atmosphere sets in, you can hit any number of lively bars and clubs in the area where the music will be pumping and the focus will be more on drinking than dining. The Plaza Mayor/Puerta del Sol is generally regarded as being the area of choice when it comes to the best nightlife in Madrid, and there are bars to suit all kinds of tastes and preferences.
When looking for Madrid night clubs and bars, you might head north of the Puerta del Sol to areas such as Fuencarral and Malasana. Some of the trendiest bars and clubs in town can be found in these areas, not to mention some of the best shops, and there are plenty of good restaurants to choose from if you get hungry. The Plaza de Isabel II/Plaza de Oriente area is also a good place to find some bars and restaurants when you are up for food and drinks. As far as college students are concerned, the Arguelles/Moncloa area might be the area of choice for nightlife in Madrid, as this is where Madrid's university students tend to hang out. A number of Madrid night clubs are based in the Arguelles/Moncloa area and the overall atmosphere is quite liberal. Madrid is liberal in general, which helps to make it such an ideal destination for those who like to go out and have a good time.
No other city in Europe offers as many options as Madrid does when it comes to nightlife. Depending on how social you are, for example, you might get invited to a private party at a flat while exploring Madrid at night. When the weather is nice on the weekends, partying in a plaza full of other partiers is often possible. It's customary for the plaza parties to be very friendly affairs where swapping beverages and other party snacks is the norm.
If you need some help coming up with ideas for things to do in Madrid at night, you can always pick up a Guia del Ocio to get the scoop on what's going on around town. These guides can be found at city newsstands, and they keep tabs on what's going on in town, with tips for things to do both day and night.