My family (wife and kids 15 and 13) will be flying out of Madrid in April at the end of a trip. We arrive in Madrid by train around 10AM on a Friday and fly out 24 hours later. We won't be able to see much so I'd like suggestions on how to spend our time. What "sights" would you prioritize and where are the best neighborhoods to stay to really soak in our last 24 hours in Spain?
The main question, I think, is whether you're interested in art museums (Prado, Reina Sofia, Thyssen). The second is how you feel about palaces (Palacio Real). There are other possibilities, but those are the most often mentioned.
Where will you already have been in Spain?
The Rick Steves guidebook has a suggested walk to see some of Madrid in a couple of hours. For outstanding art the Prado is immense, a great art museum in every sense of the word. Reina Sofia has modern art, and features Picasso’s Guernica masterpiece. Thyssen-Bornemisza is much smaller than the Prado, but has a surprisingly fabulous collection of paintings.
For a uniquely Madrid experience, if there’s a performance on your last night, consider the Zarzuela Spanish light opera. Info at http://teatrodelazarzuela.mcu.es/en .
Our last stay in Madrid was just southeast of the Royal Palace, conveniently close to the Opera metro station, and not far from the Plaza Mayor, which is one of the sights to be seen.