Plaza Santa Ana

Near the Puerta del Sol
Madrid, Spain

Submitted by: Ethan Kent

A neighborhood square, a civic square and a night time destination.

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Why It Works

A destination for locals as well as tourists, this square is a comfortable place to spend a few hours during daytime or night. Have a drink and eat some delicious olives at one of the many cafes that surrounds it, while watching children run through the plaza playing pick-up soccer games.

What Makes Plaza Santa Ana a Great Place?

It is near the center of the city and a place many tourists or walkers are likely to happen upon. The streets have been aggressively downsized with only narrow channels traffic to move slowly through the space, allowing cars and people to coexist comfortably. Parking has been added beneath the square.

Comfortable to walk into from surrounding traffic calmed streets, the square is probably the best oasis downtown between Parque Retiro and the Prado. Copious amenities and trees surround a promenade that invites pedestrian in to the center. It is the active and accessible edges though that most contribute to the image of the square and the high level of ambience. The only downside is a lack of comfortable seating that doesn't require buying food or drink.

A theater, hotel and many great restaurants surround and spill out onto the square. Two playgrounds for kids of different ages blend seamlessly into the square (the fences have recently been removed), allowing parents to sit at the cafes while kids play in the playgrounds. If you're lucky, you'll happen upon a pick-up kids' soccer game taking place in the middle of the square.

While the restaurants here may draw a strong tourist contingent, there are still plenty of users from the neighborhood and downtown business community. Parents with children, local business people, young people, and tourists can all be found here.

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