Queen Sofia Arts Center (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)#13 in Best Things To Do in Madrid
The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía is Madrid's 20th-century art gallery and along with the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, makes up the city's trio of great museums. The museum contains more than 21,000 works of art, including pieces from Salvador Dalí and Joan Miró but probably the most famous work is found on the second floor. Picasso's "Guernica" is the museum's crowning jewel.
As is the case with other modern or contemporary art museums, travelers say you'll especially enjoy Queen Sofia if you appreciate modern art. If you're not a huge fan, you might want to spend your time at the Prado or Thyssen-Bornemisza.
The Queen Sofia Arts Center also has two exhibition spaces at Retiro Park. Tickets cost 8 euros ($9.30) if purchased in advance online and 10 euros ($11.60) at the box office. Note that you can skip out on the online admission price by visiting the museum during its free hours, which are Sundays from 1:30 to 7 p.m. (Only select spaces are open at that time.) The museum welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Tuesday and Sunday. On Sunday, it's open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Check the museum's website for more details. On-site facilities include a cafe and museum store. You can reach the museum from the Atocha metro stop.
More Best Things To Do in Madrid
#1 Plaza Mayor
This square, located in the heart of Madrid, is more a must-experience attraction than a must-see one. Surrounded by cafes and bars, Plaza Mayor practically begs passersby to take a seat, order a coffee or glass of wine (depending on the time of day) and people-watch. Not only do throngs of tourists pass through, but multiple street performers plant their feet here to entertain. The square starts getting busy around 2 p.m. and will grow increasingly busy as night falls. If you find yourself in Madrid during the holidays, locals recommend visiting the holiday markets held in the plaza.
Recent travelers acknowledge the touristy nature of Plaza Mayor – the souvenir shops, the less-than-gourmet yet overpriced restaurants, for instance – but for most travelers, Plaza Mayor still affords a lovely ambience. If you want to learn more about the history behind Plaza Mayor, which dates back to 1617, reviewers suggest you sign up for a walking tour. One of the city's most emblematic pieces of public art, the statue of Philip III on horseback, can also be found here.
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