Lavapiés is an area of Madrid outside of the old city walls that was once the Jewish and Moorish neighborhood. In 1492, the residents of the neighborhood were forced to either convert or leave. The neighborhood then became a working class area for hundreds of years and eventually fell into decay. This all changed in the 1980s and 1990s when immigrants and artists started moving into the abandoned buildings. It now has a bohemian and multicultural feel and is filled with galleries, bars, ethnic restaurants, and cafes.
Popular activities in this district include going to an independent cinema to see an international film, enjoying flamenco, and wandering through the flea market on Sundays. El Rastro is supposedly the largest flea market in the world. Another way to soak up the atmosphere is to find a cafe with outdoor seating and relax with a coffee or a beer. You'll experience a less touristy side of Madrid in Lavapiés.
Lavapiés is bound by Calle Atocha to the east, Ronda de Valencia to the south, Calle de Embajadores to the west, and Calle de la Magdalena to the north.