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10 Things Los Angeles Could Learn From Madrid

Two fab cities, two very different lifestyles. Here's what LA could fix to become just as fun, flirty, and functional as its (much older and much smaller) cousin, Madrid.

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1. How to make a cheap, functional and environmentally friendly public transportation system

Consorcio Transportes Madrid / Via crtm.es

Madrid has perfected its public transportation system. You can get anywhere you need to in the city in under an hour, with minimal walking, and clean simple facilities. It certainly beats LA's unreliable metros and buses that get stuck in traffic! Plus, in Madrid, folks under 25 can buy a monthly unlimited access pass for $20!

2. How to have large, green, accessible parks

Picasa / Via static.thousandwonders.net

A drive to Griffith Park can cleanse the soul, but LA's finest need more access to green spaces for a break from all that smog and traffic! Madrid has a number of large parks, but the top two are El Retiro and Case de Campo, both of which are easily accessible by bus and metro. LA needs some more natural space to enjoy all that sunshine.

3. How to sell tons of delicious food at equally delicious prices

Restaurante Guito / Via restauranteguito.com

We all know LA has amazing food, but can you afford it? In Madrid you can. The easy accessibility and local sourcing help keep prices low, and the diverse mix of cultures keeps it varied and authentic. Of course, Madrileños don't eat dinner til 9:30 pm, but Angelinos might not be ready for that.

4. How to make street art into a widespread community movement

Adrian Cano Franco / Via citinerary.net

Sure LA has the downtown Arts District, and funky neighborhood artwork in places like Venice and Santa Monica, but nothing motivates people to jazz up their city walls more than recent liberation from a long term dictator! There are a lot more walls in Los Angeles that could use some politically motivated beautification.

5. How to have one long, glorious shopping street

Alfredo Caliz / Via zoomedition.com

Okay so LA has the Grove, but combine that with New York's Times Square and cut the tag prices by half and you would get Madrid's Gran Via. LA needs a big, beautiful street to occupy all of its big, beautiful shoppers. Fashion is the lifeblood of LA, it's time to give it the turf it deserves.

6. How to make all museums free for students, whenever

livejournal.com

LA has some spectacular museums (LACMA, The Getty, The Natural History Museum, The Broad, The Hammer, The Museum of Tolerance, oh my!!), but visiting all of them as a student can be pricey. Fortunately for studious youths in Madrid, all of the major museums are free with a student ID card whenever you can fit a trip into your busy schedule! You never know, a couple hours in a museum could teach you more than a full semester of your Thursday night Chem lab.

7. How to make one, huge, monster, flea market where you can find anything you need

Schema Mag / Via schemamag.ca

Every Sunday Madrid shuts down a full neighborhood to create El Rastro- an outdoor market created with tarps, tables, and tons of stuff! Yes, LA has rad antique shops in Venice and everyone loves bartering on the streets of the Warehouse District, but just think of the wonder of having millions of pieces of clothing, art, and trinkets all jam-packed into a walkable distance!

8. How to have a good soccer team, or maybe even two

Gilabola.com / Via gilabola.com

Sorry LA Galaxy, you cannot compare with either of Madrid's soccer teams. Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid bring so much spunk and energy to the city that it's hard to imagine life without this goal scoring superstars. A good soccer team would bring not only more city spirit, but more money! LA loves money!!

9. How to have a city-wide snack time

Pinterest / Via pinterest.com

Spaniards know how to balance the chaos of every day life with tasty snacks. Their best invention by far is tapas, which are small plates of food that come with drinks before or after dinner. They're always cheap, and they make for a great social break without the commitment of a full meal! With the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, tapas are almost a necessity.

10. How to keep the party going 'til the sun comes back up

erasmusmadrid.org / Via erasmusmadrid.org

LA can party, oh man can it party, but the bars shut down at 2 am and the all night ragers are reserved for the Hollywood Elite and their servants. In Madrid, anyone can party until 5 or 6 am (if they can keep up with the Spanish crowds), and there is always plenty to occupy those wee hours of the morning.

It took Madrid twelve centuries to become this cool. Los Angeles is already an amazing city filled with food, life, fashion, film and culture. With these tips from Madrid, maybe LA can become the center of the universe that it already thinks it is!

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