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‘Time Out’ chooses Madrid neighborhood as “coolest in the world”

More than 15,000 people took part in a survey to create the ranking, which has placed Embajadores in the number-one spot

One of the murals in Lavapiés (Madrid) that the top-50 list made reference to.
One of the murals in Lavapiés (Madrid) that the top-50 list made reference to.

“We’re looking for the 50 coolest neighborhoods in the world.” To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the magazine Time Out came up with the idea of finding the best areas in the most vibrant cities around the globe. And they have a winner: Embajadores, in Madrid.

The area, located just to the south of the central Puerta del Sol, took the prize thanks to its “bustling cultural life,” its multi-cultural nature (focused in Lavapiés), the murals on its walls, the effervescence of squares such as Tirso de Molina, and its major cultural centers, such as the Tabacalera and La Casa Encendida, which, the magazine says, stand “like transatlantic vessels run ashore in the middle of the city.”

“Embajadores is living proof of how this city is transforming, marching toward the future without renouncing its past,” they say at the magazine, which is a global benchmark when it comes to urban leisure.

In order to put together its ranking, Time Out turned to the opinion of its magazine editors via a “City Life Index” survey, in which more than 15,000 people took part.

Embajadores has, for some time now, been attracting tourists, new residents and migrants. The neighborhood is currently fashionable, but that is not always a positive thing for the citizens who live there. Lavapiés, for example, is one of the areas in the capital that has seen the sharpest rises in rents, driven in many cases by online accommodation sites such as AirBnB. There have also been disturbances there in recent months over the treatment that many of its residents are subject to by the authorities.

Embajadores is not the only Spanish neighborhood to appear in the Time Out list. In the number 22 spot is Sant Antoni, Barcelona. It’s a “a rarity worth cherishing,” the magazine says.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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