Top choice arts centre in El Raval

Designed by Richard Meier and opened in 1995, MACBA has become the city's foremost contemporary art centre, with captivating exhibitions for the serious art lover. The permanent collection is on the ground floor and dedicates itself to Spanish and Catalan art from the second half of the 20th century, with works by Antoni Tàpies, Joan Brossa and Miquel Barceló, among others; international artists, such as Paul Klee, Bruce Nauman and John Cage, are also represented.

The rest of the gallery, across two floors, is dedicated to temporary visiting exhibitions that are almost always challenging and intriguing. MACBA's 'philosophy' is to do away with the old model of a museum where an artwork is a spectacle and to create a space where art can be viewed critically, so the exhibitions are usually tied in with talks and events. If you're after some serious brain candy, MACBA is your place.

Outside, the spectacle is as intriguing as inside. While skateboarders dominate the space south of the museum (considered one of Europe’s great skateboard locations), you may well find Pakistani kids enjoying a game of cricket in Plaça de Joan Coromines.

The library and auditorium stage regular concerts, talks and events, all of which are either reasonably priced or free. The extensive art bookshop is fantastic for both stocking up on art and art theory books, as well as quirky gifts and small design objects.