The 10 best annual events in Madrid offer something for everybody, from art patrons to alternative music fans. The city's range of event options, from family-friendly parades to traditional Spanish fiestas, guarantee a wide range of options for visitors to the city. Since Madrid is often noted for its extensive and sometimes riotous nightlife, it comes as no surprise that the city likes a good party.
- Cavalcade of the Three Kings (January 5th and 6th). In the annual culminating event of Madrid’s holiday season, Caspar, Balthasar and Melchior travel through the streets throwing candy to the children and adults who line the way. At the end of the pageant, in Plaza Mayor, children can play games and enjoy theatrical entertainment.
- Madrid Carnaval (Week Before Lent). Vivid costumes and showcased pageantry mark the advent of Carnaval in Madrid. Don’t miss the annual performance of the “Burial of the Sardine”, a traditional Madrilean procession in which black-cloaked participants parade a coffin containing a sardine to its final resting place at the San Antonio de la Florida hermitage.
- Festimad (April to May). This annual music festival, in operation since 1995, showcases new musical talent through concerts, video screenings and debates. Prepare to enjoy a broad mix of bands from Spain and international locations, and genres, including hip-hop and hard rock. The venue is at the Parque la Cantueña, Fuenlabrada.
- Suma Flamenco (May to June). Flamenco aficionados can get their fill in this month-long celebration of flamenco singing, dancing and guitar-playing. The event takes place at numerous venues throughout the city and includes some of the biggest names in the genre.
- Fiesta de San Isidoro (May 8 to 15th). Madrid celebrates San Isidro, the saint of peasants and laborers and the city’s patron saint, in a lavish display of concerts, fairs, dances and bullfighting. Most concerts are held at Plaza Mayor with the Vistillas park near the palace transforming into dance hall where Madrid natives dress in traditional costumes to dance the evening away.
- Fiestas de la Virgen del Carmen (July). The Chamberi district, in northern Madrid, celebrates their patron saint through music, dancing and fair fun. Plaza Chamber hosts the opening ceremony and children’s shows while the fairgrounds at the corner of Calle San Francisco and Calle Pablo Iglesias organizes morning games and activities for children and live music in the evenings.
- Castizo Fiestas (August). Celebrate the feast days of San Cayetano, San Loreno and La Virgen de la Paloma with traditional fiestas in the neighborhoods of La Latia and Lavapies.
- ARCOmadrid (February). This international contemporary art fair includes artwork from over 200 galleries in more than 25 countries. Visitors to the fair can peruse paintings, installation pieces, statues and other art from over 3,000 artists. Feria de Madrid Convention Center: Apdo. de Correos 67.067 28042 Madrid, Spain.
- International Gourmet Fair (April). Food and wine lovers can sample delectable gourmet foods from around the world at this festival, which includes local, national and international products.
- Festival de Otoño (Autumn Festival) (October to November). Each October, Madrid hosts a month-long festival that consists of dance, theatrical and musical performances from artists throughout the world. Samplings of the offerings include Shakespearean plays, circus performances and ballet from companies out of the UK, France and Spain.