Madrid’s the kind of city that’s akin to a person with multiple personalities. While it isn’t the most diverse city in Europe (let alone the world), its neighbourhoods are so vastly different that at times, you may end up thinking you’re in an entirely different place. Last year, I spent much of my time in two of its distinct areas – the west, near its biggest park, Casa de Campo, and the south. This year, my work placement shifted my living arrangement to the east, while my daily commute up north has opened my eyes to how great its north can be despite my previous assumptions of it being a business district. As such, my first favourite spot had to be up north, in a place I now spend as much time in as possible.
Centro Comercial “La Vaguada”
Metro: Barrio del Pilar (Line 9)
Now, don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of things I like about Spain that don’t apply to North America. I used to really like that Spain seemed less commercial on a whole, but the fact that two of my favourite places (the other being “Centro Comercial Principe Pio”) are shopping malls tells me that I haven’t really shaken that side of me. It’s true that I don’t really like shopping that much, but I do like shopping malls. Shopping streets, where the little boutiques station themselves, are quaint, but in terms of efficiency, nothing really does it like a mall does.
“La Vaguada” is one of Madrid’s biggest malls, with over 300 stores and services in its arsenal. It’s also the first mall to open in Madrid, having open its doors in 1983, which makes you wonder what took Madrid so long to finally have one made! It includes an expansive restaurant area, including some North American chains, such as KFC and Taco Bell, as well as Spain’s biggest chain, 100 Montaditos, which is great for a lunch break visit. It also has grocery stores as well as countless clothing stores. I’ve even managed to find a Mango Accessories store, which I’ve yet to find anywhere else! Coffee lovers will also love it, as there are multiple cafes with cheap breakfast deals, and even a Starbucks for those on-the-go.
Oh, and if that isn’t enough, the mall also has a movie theatre, a post office, and even a radio station hidden in it somewhere. Needless to say, it’s a great place to hang out, and is definitely the place to go if you really want to do some serious shopping.
So, should you find yourself in the area with a desire to buy things, I suggest taking a trip up to La Vaguada. Not only will you feel a sense of accomplishment simply for finding such a well-kept secret, you’ll also be able to get your shopping done in half the time it would take you on Madrid’s typical shopping streets. That’s one point for commercialism!
Have you ever found yourself finding comfort in a place that reminds you of home?