This spectacular renovation of a mid-20th-century power station is one of the most-visited museums of modern art in the world. Its great permanent collection, which starts in 1900 and ranges from modernist masters like Matisse to the most cutting-edge contemporary artists, is arranged thematically—Energy and Process, Making Traces, Pop Art and Modern Art, Structure and Clarity. Its blockbuster temporary exhibitions showcase the work of individual artists like Gaugin, Rauschenberg, and O'Keeffe.
The vast Turbine Hall is a dramatic entrance point used to showcase big, audacious installations that tend to generate a lot of publicity. Past highlights include Olafur Eliasson's massive glowing sun, Ai Weiwei's porcelain "sunflower seeds," and Carsten Holler's huge metal slides.
A new 10-story addition is opening in the summer of 2016. On the ground floor, The Tanks is a gallery devoted to performance, moving image, soundscapes, and installations, while at the top is a roof
terrace offering spectacular views of the London skyline. In between are spaces offering more room for large-scale installations, for art from outside Europe and North America, and for digital and interactive projects.
Not to be missed in the original building is the collection of Rothko murals, originally created for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, and displays devoted to Gerhard Richter (both on Level 2) and works by the video pioneer Nam June Paik (Level 4). Levels 2 and 3 include temporary exhibitions, for which there's a charge, and ever-changing video installations are scattered throughout the building
Head to the Restaurant on Level 6 or the Espresso Bar on Level 3 for stunning vistas of the Thames. The view of St. Paul's from the Espresso Bar's balcony is one of the best in London.
You can join free 45-minute guided tours, each covering a different gallery: Pop Art and Modern Art at 11, Making Traces at noon, Structure and Clarity at 2, and Energy and Process at 3. Private "Tate Tours for Two" can be booked online (£120–£140) with afternoon tea for an additional £25 or a champagne dinner or lunch for an additional £100. If you plan to visit Tate Britain, too, take advantage of the Tate to Tate Boat, which takes visitors back and forth between the two Tates every 40 minutes.