If you’re a parent who’s traveled with kids, you probably know that going sightseeing with little ones can be a bit of a challenge. After all, kids might not understand the historical or cultural significance of many attractions, meaning they’ll get bored more easily. And the last thing any parent wants to deal with is a cranky, bored child!
Luckily, visiting Madrid with children can be stress free and fun with a little prior planning. Here are some of the best things to do in Madrid for kids. From iconic attractions made kid-friendly to spots designed especially for little ones, we’ve got you covered!
With great museums, wonderful parks and delicious food, Madrid offers fun for all ages. If you’re planning a family trip to the Spanish capital and need some ideas to fill out your itinerary, we’ve got you covered!
Ready to explore? Here are our all-time favorite things to do in Madrid for kids that the whole family will enjoy.
Visiting Madrid’s Top Sights with Kids
There are a few essential Madrid attractions that should be at the top of every visitor’s list. And though an art museum or a historic palace might not seem like the most entertaining option for little ones, it’s easier than you think to enjoy some of these things in Madrid with kids.
Here are some of the top sights you won’t want to miss on your trip—and how to make them more palatable for younger travelers.
1. Prado Museum
As home to one of the world’s foremost collections of art, the Prado is perhaps the most well-known among the three museums comprising Madrid’s “Golden Triangle of Art.” Even if you’re not much of an art aficionado, the incredible collection of masterpieces by icons such as Velázquez, Goya and Rubens will take your breath away.
The good news is that this legendary museum can be one of the best things to do in Madrid for kids—if you do it right. Here’s how to help your little ones enjoy the Prado just as much as you will.
- Book a kids’ tour: Many companies offer tours of the museum that specifically cater to kids. Across Madrid Tours has created a “treasure hunt”-style tour throughout the Prado that will teach children about the museum’s most iconic paintings in a fun, interactive way. Another excellent option is Context Travel’s Las Meninas & Little Princes Tour, which will make the artwork come alive through fun games and activities.
- Hit the playground: The area around the Prado features several fun playgrounds, including one directly on the Paseo del Prado itself. Your kids will appreciate the chance to run around and wear themselves out in the fresh air after walking around the museum!
- Combine the museum with a visit to Retiro: The most famous of Madrid’s many beautiful green spaces is located just east of the Prado! This makes it easy to couple the two into one day of family fun. After exploring the museum, let the kids run and play at the park and enjoy an ice cream from one of the stands near the lake.
2. Mercado de San Miguel (or Any Market!)
Madrid is a city full of vibrant, lively markets. The most famous is easily the Mercado de San Miguel just off of Plaza Mayor. However, there are plenty more local markets that aren’t quite as overrun with tourists that are also worth a visit!
No matter which market you choose, it’s easier than you think to get kids excited about this integral part of local culture. Visiting one can easily become one of the most enjoyable things to do in Madrid for kids!
- Find kid-friendly food: At first glance, it might seem like markets are full of unknown delicacies like exotic seafood and strange meats. However, there are plenty of kid-friendly Spanish foods out there! Order a plate of Iberian ham or Spanish cheese to share as a family, then top it all off with a treat from one of the bakeries.
- Learn some Spanish: Many traditional market stalls selling products such as fruits and vegetables will have the name of each item displayed next to it, and it just so happens that food names are a great way to ease your kids into learning Spanish. Point out the names of the different products and have them repeat. If they’re not too busy, the market vendors will also be glad to help if you’re stuck on pronunciation!
3. Royal Palace
Madrid’s stately and grandiose Royal Palace might not be the actual home of Spain’s royal family. While it’s their official residence, they actually live at Zarzuela Palace on the outskirts of town.
However, the stunning palace in central Madrid (which is still used ceremoniously) is absolutely worth a visit! You’ll wander through room after room of ornate opulence and rich history that will leave you speechless.
- Take a tour: The extravagant, luxurious rooms inside the palace will surely take kids’ breath away. However, an individual visit can seem quite crowded and rushed. A guided tour will provide more context about the kings and queens who called this palace home over the centuries, which will enchant and amaze little ones!
- Don’t miss the armory: Your palace visit includes an entrance to the Royal Armory, located off of the same square in front of the palace’s main entrance. Kids will love seeing the incredible suits of armor, swords, shields and more!
- Head out for churros: Some of Madrid’s best churrerías, including San Ginés and Valor, are just a short walk away from the palace! This classic treat is the perfect way to cap off your visit.
4. Plaza Mayor & Puerta del Sol
Madrid’s most iconic plazas are must-visit sights for good reason. Busy and vibrant Puerta del Sol marks the geographic center of Spain, while Plaza Mayor’s stunning historic buildings will take your breath away with their grand beauty. Their proximity to each other makes visiting both a breeze.
- Start a scavenger hunt: Kids will love seeing the famous statue of the bear and the madroño tree in Puerta del Sol, but they might not know that this is the official symbol of the city of Madrid! Tell them to keep their eyes peeled and look out for the bear in more places as you make your way through town. They’ll have so much fun counting all the bears they can see!
- Enjoy a treat at a historic bakery: Perfectly located right in between the two plazas, Confitería El Riojano offers so much more than just sweet treats. Founded in 1855 by the queen’s personal baker, its beautiful old decor hasn’t changed much over the decades. Kids and parents alike will certainly appreciate some time spent here to relax and enjoy a treat.
5. Kid-Friendly Walking Tour
A walking tour is a great way to get to know a new place, especially shortly after you arrive. You’ll get the lay of the land and be able to start planning which sights you want to spend more time seeing later.
However, while many tours are great for adults, it’s hard to find one that’s kid-friendly. Lots of walking can tire the little ones out and make them want to go back to the hotel—and that’s probably not how you want to spend your vacation!
- Madrid for Kids Walking Tour with Activities & Snacks: We created this exclusive, private experience especially for families with kids ages 4–12. The light walking tour includes stops at some of Madrid’s most iconic sights that will amaze your whole family. You’ll be led by an expert guide who will enchant and amaze your kids with the stories and legends of Madrid, with the chance to enjoy a few simple snacks that Spanish kids love along the way.
Best Madrid Parks for Kids
One of the best things to do in Madrid for kids is simply to go to the park! Luckily, Madrid has plenty of green spaces to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites that are especially perfect for little ones.
Madrid’s most famous park will almost certainly be the highlight among activities in Madrid for kids! Although it’s not the biggest park in the city, Retiro is still massive. Its central location makes it easily accessible if you’re looking to take a break during your day of sightseeing.
The park itself is full of beautiful walking paths, dozens of bike trails, unrivaled green spaces, a small lake perfect for boating, an awe-inspiring crystal palace, and dozens of playgrounds! If you visit on a sunny weekend, you’ll often catch street performances of kid-friendly entertainment. When the kids (or you!) get hungry, you can take your pick from the numerous cafes and snack carts dotted throughout the park.
7. Madrid Rio
Completed in 2011, this modern park is one of Madrid’s newest treasures. In just over a decade, Madrid Rio has become a favorite spot among locals and travelers of all ages.
Located south of the city center along the banks of the Manzanares River, the park has green spaces complemented by sleek metal bridges and numerous playgrounds. You can rent bikes to explore the park to its fullest, or just stroll around and see what you discover. (You may be surprised at what this unique park has to offer—including a makeshift beach!)
When the kids have used up all their energy, spend some time relaxing in one of the lovely cafes. You could easily spend a full day enjoying all that Madrid Rio has to offer—and many families do!
8. Casa de Campo
As you can see by now, Madrid has no shortage of green spaces. The largest of them has enough activities to fill a whole day—or even a whole weekend!
Located west of the city center, Casa de Campo features plenty of fun for the whole family. Formerly a royal hunting estate, the site later became the site of several battles during the Spanish Civil War. Luckily, today the park is much more peaceful!
Within its whopping 4,257 acres (five times the size of New York’s Central Park!), Casa de Campo offers an entire amusement park (more on that later), a zoo and aquarium, two outdoor pools, a lake with rental boats and even a cable car! It’s easy to see why this fun and exciting park is a favorite among Madrid families.
9. Parque de Atracciones
A park within a park—only in Madrid!
Madrid’s city amusement park is located within Casa de Campo. With dozens of rides ranging from the relaxing to the thrilling, there’s something for everyone at the Parque de Atracciones. There are also live shows featuring beloved characters such as SpongeBob and the Paw Patrol crew—perfect for an entertaining break!
10. Parque Warner
A bit further outside town is the Warner Bros Park, where kids will be delighted to run into some of their favorite cartoon characters! The park is full of fun rides, games and attractions that make it the perfect day of fun for the whole family. It’s the perfect family outing and one of the best things to do in Madrid for kids.
Best Museums in Madrid for Kids
Madrid has no shortage of excellent museums, but a few stand out above the rest when it comes to family fun. Here are the best kid-friendly museums in Madrid that are perfect for all ages!
11. Museo del Ferrocarril
The Railway Museum takes the cake as one of our favorite activities in Madrid for kids! Located in a gorgeous old train station, the museum features hands-on, kid-friendly activities. History comes alive in an engaging, approachable manner that everyone is sure to appreciate.
Marvel at the elaborate model railways put together with painstakingly accurate attention to detail, then climb aboard a real train car from the past! You and your kids will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time as you walk through one of their many vintage train cars. You can even enjoy a bite to eat in a retired dining car dating back to the 1930s!
12. Ratón Perez Museum
Step aside, Tooth Fairy—in Spain, we have a tooth mouse!
El ratoncito Pérez, as the character is known here, visits Spanish children after they have lost a tooth, giving them a small amount of money in exchange for it. In Madrid, children can visit his very own “house-museum” just around the corner from Puerta del Sol.
The museum is full of whimsical drawings and stories that bring the fabled mouse to life. It’s a wonderful way to experience a familiar yet unique aspect of Spanish culture, and one of the best things to do in Madrid for kids!
13. National Museum of Natural Sciences
For a fun and fascinating experience sure to delight travelers of all ages, the National Museum of Natural Sciences is definitely a favorite. The museum focuses on hands-on and interactive exhibits to keep young minds entertained. There is a rock garden with fossils, a giant dinosaur skeleton, and a great exhibit about Mediterranean plants and animals to learn a bit about the local environment.
14. Robot Museum
Opened in 2013, Madrid’s Robot Museum is one of the city’s newest, but it’s quickly become a favorite among kids from across the world.
You’ll find all kinds of cyborgs at this unique interactive museum: retro robots from decades past, friendly robot dogs, reproductions of famous robots from your favorite movies, and even two intelligent androids that interact with visitors! In addition to the fascinating exhibitions, there are also fun live events that are sure to teach kids something new in a way they’ll actually enjoy.
Things to Do in Madrid for Kids FAQS
Madrid is incredibly family friendly, as is Spain in general. Children are welcome anytime at any place, and babies and young kids usually go wherever their parents go.
A few great options for older kids or teens visiting Madrid are a tour of the Real Madrid stadium (Santiago Bernabéu), a flamenco show, a ride on the teleférico cable car, and shopping at an outdoor market like El Rastro.
The Prado and Reina Sofía art museums both offer free admission to children under 18. The Royal Palace is free for children under 5, with reduced price tickets available for kids aged 5–16. At the Railway Museum and the Science Museum, kids under 4 get in for free, and older kids are eligible for reduced entry. And of course, all Madrid parks and plazas are absolutely free to enjoy!
Madrid is incredibly safe, with a low violent crime rate. Petty crime such as pickpocketing is something to be wary of in major tourist areas, so always be sure to keep an eye on your belongings. However, the city is overall very safe for families.
Update Notice: This post was originally published on May 23, 2018 and was republished with new text and photos on June 18, 2021.