A comprehensive guide to the top things to do in Madrid with kids from must-see sites to parks and kid-friendly attractions.
So far, however, I haven’t covered one of the main aspects that make me go back over and over again: how family-friendly Madrid is and how easy it is to visit Madrid with kids.
There are many attractions in Madrid for kids but what I think makes it suited for a family vacation is that it is so rich of sights and easy to navigate that you don’t have to sacrifice sightseeing to make your little ones happy.
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Practical tips for visiting Madrid with kids
Getting around. The easiest way to enjoy Madrid is by public transport.
Buses and an excellent metro system serve the whole city and while not all stations are accessible to buggies, many are. Info panels are on the trains and in the stations: check before boarding to avoid bad surprises.
Tickets are sold in all metro stations and you have several options including single journey and the tourist card, handy for multiple journeys.
Children under 11 pay half price.
If you prefer, excellent hop-on hop-off bus tours are also available and are a good option especially for visitors with only a short time in the city. You can book your tickets in advance here
Where to stay in Madrid with kids. Madrid has several family friendly areas. You can find our guide to Madrid accommodation for families here.
Eating out in Madrid as a family: find top family friendly restaurants in Madrid here
Top things to do in Madrid with kids
This is our guide to the best things to do in Madrid with kids.
Take a stroll in its charming city center streets
One of the best things to do in Madrid with kids is to take a stroll in its beautiful city center.
Madrid city gets very busy and must-see squares such as Puerta del Sol or even beautiful Plaza Mayor can be a challenge if visiting Madrid with a toddler and a buggy or stroller.
However, as soon as you leave these major landmarks you find many small streets with limited traffic but loads of charm
Restaurants and cafes are everywhere and many have areas that are specifically designed for kids with books, toys and coloring supplies.
Get a coffee and play in Plaza Santa Ana
This is a city center square buzzing with activity day and night.
It is a large, beautiful space full of restaurants and cafes and it has a small playground with climbing frames for little kids. Perfect for a coffee + play break!
Run around Plaza Mayor
This is an imposing square entirely enclosed by beautiful buildings.
It can get busy but kids will love the fact that is close to traffic and may even get street performers to keep them entertained for a while!
Have a family friendly meal in Mercado De San Miguel
Mercado de San Miguel is a great spot for lunch as it offers great variety and the informal atmosphere of the market.
Try to avoid the busiest lunch and evening meal times, especially if you have a buggy with you, as there is very little elbow room: the place gets packed!
See indoor trees in Atocha station
Atocha is Madrid’s biggest train station and it is always a hit with kids for two main characteristics: the speed trains that depart from here and the fact that the station is built like a greenhouse and hosts high palm trees!
Be Royalty for a day in Madrid’s Royal Palace
A beautiful building surrounded by stunning gardens, the royal palace sits on a large square with street performers, cafes and a public, manicured green space.
Running in the large esplanade in front of the castle, with live music as a companion, is one of the most pleasant things to do in Madrid for kids.
Visit one of Madrid’s world class museums
Madrid is full of beautiful museums and some of them can be easily visited with children.
Another museum older kids might enjoy is the Naval Museum that hosts, among other memorabilia, a world map dating back to the 1500s
Admire Madrid’s imaginative street performers
While walking through Madrid’s city centre, my mind lost in wanderlust-filled thought, I was suddenly brought back down to reality by a goat screaming at me ‘MEEEEEEEEEHHHHH’!
It wasn’t, of course, a real goat, but rather a street performer who sits quietly in the street with a goat costume and makes its presence known giving a fright to distracted tourists!
He/she was only one of the many street performers we encountered (and surely the funniest one).
Explore and Egyptian temple
Madrid is a city with a long history and this is reflected in its varied architecture.
Baroque churches sit side by side with flashy skyscrapers, creating an architectural continuum that spans over the course of many centuries.
Some buildings stretch your sense of time and space: did you know that Madrid has a true ancient Egyptian temple right in the city centre?
And that from it you can reach the XVI century Royal palace with a short walk?
The temple of Debod is surrounded by a lovely park.
This, as well as its peculiar architecture, makes it one of the best things to do in Madrid with kids.
Eat churros and chocolate
Churros are a sweet treat made of deep fried dough sprinkled with sugar: they are served piping hot and with a cup of hot chocolate and you have to dunk the in it before taking a bit.
The establishment of choice to taste them is the legendary Chocolateria San Gines, in Madrid city centre.
Go to the park
Madrid is a very green city.
Its wide boulevards are often lined by tall trees and manicured lawns and parks such as Casa de Campo or El Retiro are great for picnics and a for letting the kids run around.
They are the perfect oasis to take a break while visiting Madrid with children and one of the best things to do in Madrid with kids in spring and summer.
One of the most popular spots for families visiting Madrid with kids is the park El Retiro, located just beside the Prado museum and within easy reach from many of Madrid’s landmarks.
The park was originally the property of the Royal family and its beautiful architecture bears witness of the experienced hands of architects and landscapers that shaped it, but it is now a public space and one families love.
Top tip for families visiting Madrid with kids: as well as the big parks, I have found many smaller spaces that are equipped for kids. Many larger plazas have either green patches or full on play equipment for little ones and often have street performers to keep adults and kids entertained. This makes for easy frequent stops without bringing you away from your sightseeing itinerary
Parque de attractiones
Located in Casa de Campo, the large green space at the back of the Royal palace, el Parque de Attractiones is an amusement park with rollercoasters and rides for all ages.
Little children will meet characters like tv heroes Dora and Diego and can have lunch at the Nickelodeon cafe, while older kids (8+) are likely to get excited by the many rides.
The park is very popular especially in summer when many attractions include splashing about in the water.
Located outside Madrid city centre, Parque Warner, like the name suggests is a theme park devoted to the Looney Toons and the super heroes of the Warner Bros family.
This park competes with main European attractions such as Disneyland Paris and covers over 150 acres of land.
Plan ahead to make sure the kids have the time to meet the characters of their dreams!
Visit the home of Real Madrid
Kids who love soccer cannot miss a visit to the legendary Real Madrid Stadium, the Santiago Bernabeu.
With a tour of the stadium you can see the pitch and even the dressing rooms and the players tunnel!
This is a great family friendly attraction in Madrid for sporty kids!
I hope you found the answer to the question: what are the best things to do with kids in Madrid. Safe Travels!
This post was originally published in 2016 and has now been fully updated – October 2019