The best way to improve your Spanish in Madrid is to get out there and practicar en la calle. As well as exercising your Spanish skills in restaurants, shops and markets, broaden your horizons and engage in some other fun activities around the city that will force you to listen and speak the language. Here are some suggestions for different things to do in Madrid.
Escape Games have been popping up in cities all over the world and have garnered a huge following, calling upon your creativity and teamwork to get yourself and your fellow teammates out of a sticky situation, room or building. The current rage in Spain is The X-Door so get together a group of your best Spanish-speaking friends (up to 6 of you) and book yourself in for the challenge. You’ll be shown into a strange room and given one hour to get out, faced with various puzzles to solve and objects that you can use to your advantage. No mathematics or high intelligence is required, just your communication skills, imagination and acute observation skills. If you make it out in time, the game promises extreme highs. The price is 50 euros per team (no matter how many of you are in the group).
Calle Gran Vía, 16
If you love to sing your heart out in public and fancy your chances on The X Factor, this is a great way to practice your performance skills and hitting those high notes, while improving your Spanish at the same time. Sing Along screens your favorite musical movies from around the world and encourages you to sing along to all the songs, as if you were in a karaoke bar. All the screenings are subtitled with the lyrics (since the purpose of this exercise is to practice your Spanish, we suggest you chose a Spanish movie such as La Llamda, although some of the English-language musicals are also dubbed in Spanish). There are also several live performers on stage in front of the big screen to teach you the choreography and lyrics along the way. The price is a little more than a cinema ticket at around 15 euros per person. To check the upcoming schedule and locations, click here.
If you don’t like being in the limelight and prefer to bury your head in a book then head down to concept book store Desperate Literature. As well as a great range of Spanish books (and English-language books), the space hosts a full calendar of readings, meetings, lectures and more so you can go listen to some Spanish and engage fellow bookworms in intellectual discussions about literature in Spanish. The idea of the space is to promote culture, linguistic and social exchange between madrileños, extranjeros and travelers. If you like cats, look out for the resident cat called Wednesday.
Calle de Campomanes, 13
This hip, alternative theater space resides in a former brothel and focuses on the art of ‘micro theater’ which is great for those wanting to listen to some Spanish but don’t have the patience or brain capacity to sit through a full-length play in a foreign language. Five 15-minute long plays are held simultaneously in rooms of only 15 square meters and for audiences of 15 people only. They are presented on repeat throughout the evening so you can move from room to room and view more than one or even all five if you want. The five plays are always united under specific themes that change monthly. This is also the kind of theater that demands audience participation, encouraging you to interact in Spanish with the actors. Entrance to each show usually costs 4.50 euros but if you go on a Wednesday, they have special deals on tickets. The place gets packed on the weekend so get there early. There’s also a bar and restaurant in the venue for pre- or post-theater drinks.
Loreto y Chicoto, 9
They say that one of the best ways to improve your Spanish fast is to find yourself a Spanish boyfriend or girlfriend so why not sign yourself up for some speed dating? Even if you don’t meet the love of your life, you might make some new friends along the way and it’s a fun way to exercise your Spanish conversational skills and practice your chat up lines. Each event lasts around one hour and 45 minutes and you’ll get to chat to between 5 and 12 people in seven-minute slots. At the end, you’ll be asked to vote for your favorite(s) and if you match with anyone, you’ll be put in touch via email to further pursue your courtship. There are different events for different age groups in various locations around Madrid and entry costs 25 euros per person (including a free drink).
Got any other suggestions for fun activities outside of the classroom to improve your Spanish in Madrid? Tell us about them in the comments section below.