Visiting Buenos Aires: what are the best things to do and see in the capital of Argentina?
- 1. Palermo neighborhood
- 2. San Telmo neighborhood
- 3. Explore Recoleta Cemetery
- 4. La Boca district
- 5. The Colon Theater (le Théâtre Colón)
- 6. The Pink House
- 7. Plaza de Mayo
- 8. Buenos Aires nightlife
- 9. The quarter of Puerto Madero
It is said to be the most “European” city in Latin America and there is a lot of truth in that. Sexy and lively, Buenos Aires also has a touch of melancholy, which makes it unforgettable. The Porteños(residents of BA) are passionate, stubborn people but are also very friendly. It is difficult to describe this immense metropolis globally, but one can get an idea of it thanks to its history: the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are mainly descendants of colonists from southern Europe, originating from Italy or Spain at the beginning of the 20th century. This heritage is reflected in some areas of the city: the architecture of La Recoleta is reminiscent of Paris, the wide avenues of the center are reminiscent of those of Madrid and La Boca has the notorious features of Naples. The city is unique, original, lively, and sometimes very special. The kind of city that travelers fall in love with, dream of, and then decide to come and settle in. If you are going to travel to Argentina, the capital is not to be omitted. You have to give it more than 3-4 days to appreciate it at least. We have therefore listed for you thebest things to do in Buenos Aires :
1. Palermo neighborhood
The chic and sprawling district of Palermo, north of Buenos Aires is divided into three parts: Alto Palermo, Palermo Chico and Palermo Viejo (itself made up of Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood). Alto Palermo is known for its museums and urban parks, such as the Carlos Thays Botanical Garden. Palermo Chico , home to extravagant mansions tucked behind the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA), is a hidden spot often overlooked by tourists. And Palermo Viejois where you’ll encounter the most color and local flair. Palermo Soho is home to a wealth of high-end boutiques, lively cafes and bars, and cobbled streets. Its neighbor Palermo Hollywood, located just north of the Soho neighborhood, is packed with bustling tapas bars, movie studios, and festive outdoor markets. Palermo is an ideal neighborhood to stay when you visit Buenos Aires.
2. San Telmo neighborhood
You may have read or heard that San Telmo is dirty, run down and dangerous (especially at night). But don’t let that stop you because it hasn’t been the case for years. Check out San Telmo’s main thoroughfare, Calle Defensa . Here you can find antiques in the small shops located on every corner. To step back in time, visit the pretty Pasaje de la Defensa (pictured), a renovated 1880 colonial house brimming with bric-a-brac-like shops. Don’t forget to visit Zanjón de Granados , a beautifully restored residence that encapsulates three centuries of city life.
Moreover, if you visit Buenos Aires to dance, it is good to stroll in San Telmo which is the cradle of tango . In the evening, many establishments come alive with tango shows. If you visit the neighborhood on a Sunday, head to Plaza Dorrego where the Sunday market takes place.
3. Explore Recoleta Cemetery
This cemetery is arguably the number one attraction in Buenos Aires, and you will do well to visit it. You can wander for hours in this amazing city of the dead, where countless “streets” are lined with impressive statues and marble sarcophagi. Enter the crypts and discover the dusty coffins, most of which contain the bodies of the most elite members of Buenos Aires society, and try to decipher the history of its inhabitants. Former presidents, military heroes, influential politicians and the simply rich and famous rest here. You are thus in the “Père-Lachaise porteño”. In particular, track down the tomb of Evita: to find it, look for the crowd. Admission is free from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
4. La Boca district
This fashionable district located in the south of Buenos Aires is full of trendy shops and art galleries. Once the site of a shipyard bustling with European immigrants, this vibrant port is now home to local artists, soccer fans, and middle-class workers alike. The neighborhood’s name, which translates to “The Mouth”, is derived from its distinct location near the Río de la Plata (the estuary formed by the meeting of the Uruguay and Paraná rivers).
Head to the triangular Plaza Vuelta de Rocha from where you can stroll down the Caminito, a popular pedestrian street flanked by houses with colorful and shimmering murals. It is also in this historic district of Buenos Aires that you will find La Bombonera, the football stadium of the legendary Boca Juniors team. If La Boca is very touristy, the district is nonetheless unmissable. It can easily be visited on foot. Do not miss the Quinquela Martín Museum, the fine arts museum of La Boca.
It should be noted that attending a match in the La Bombonera stadium (Estadio Alberto J Armando) is a unique and dizzying experience: the stands never cease to vibrate throughout the matches. If you want to ensure tranquility, go to the platea baja grandstand .
5. The Colon Theater (le Théâtre Colón)
This sumptuous opera house is as pleasant to admire as it is to listen to the performances performed there. In this awe-inspiring venue, you can gaze at European-style decor ranging from Italian marble staircases and Venetian mosaics to French stained glass windows and a large sparkling chandelier. And if the spectacular architecture and design of the theater doesn’t impress you, know that the establishment has hosted a large number of world-class artists, including Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky and Luciano Pavarotti. Visit between April and December to catch one of the spectacular ballet or opera performances.
6. The Pink House
Taking up the entire east side of Plaza de Mayo, the inimitable pink facade of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) houses the presidential palace which was painted this color during Domingo Sarmiento’s presidency. Built in 1594, it now occupies the site where the Fort of Buenos Aires once stood. It is therefore here that the offices of “La Presidenta” Cristina Kirchner are located, but the presidential residence is located in the quiet suburb of Olivos, north of the city.
The side of the palace that faces Plaza de Mayo is actually the back of the building. The salmon pink color of the Casa Rosada, which lights up at sunset, could be due to President Sarmiento’s desire to establish peace during his mandate from 1868 to 1874 (by mixing the red of the Federalists with the white of the Unitarians ). Another, more likely theory is that the color of the palate comes from a combination of lime paint with ox blood. This practice was very common in Argentina during the 19th century.
7. Plaza de Mayo
Tourists have flocked to this historic square since Argentina declared its independence from Spanish colonial rule on May 25, 1810. Wedged between the Casa Rosada, the Cabildo and the city’s main cathedral, the very green Plaza de Mayo is the main gathering places for the most vehement protests in Buenos Aires. In the center of the square is the Pirámide de Mayo , a white obelisk, built to mark the first anniversary of Buenos Aires’ independence from Spain. Rising up on the north side of the square is the impressive Banco de la Nación building (1939), the work of renowned architect Alejandro Bustillo.
8. Buenos Aires nightlife
No other city in the world experiences the night like Buenos Aires does. Most clubs don’t even open until 2am and play sound until the kids leave for school in the morning. What makes the nightlife truly unique here is the diversity of places to go out and the styles of music played there.
9. The quarter of Puerto Madero
When locals or tourists want to stroll along the water’s edge, Puerto Madero is where they go. The bright lights of this district illuminate the port that once served as a major destination for European trade. During the day, it’s a very quiet business district, but in the evening, it’s the trendy district where people meet to eat and have a drink.
Why not take advantage of being here to eat a good Argentinian steak? Argentina is a country renowned for the quality of its beef and the parillas swarm everywhere in the city of Buenos Aires. 3 addresses with solid reputations include Don Julio (in Palermo Soho), Cabaña Las Lilas (in Puerto Madero), and Gran Parrilla del Plata (in San Telmo).
10. The Slaughterhouse Fair
This excellent folk market is located in the popular district of Mataderos . Merchants offer handicrafts and regional specialties like locro (a stew of corn and meat) and humita (a mixture of corn and salty cheese wrapped in leaves). There are singers, dancers and gauchos , so it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet locals in their traditional clothes. There’s even a gaucho museum nearby (on Avenida de los Corrales). From the city center, take the 155 bus (also marked 180) or the 126. The Fería de Mataderos is an hour’s drive away, but well worth it. You can also take a taxi to and from Mataderos if you get caught up in the weather.
11. Other ideas for visits to Buenos Aires and its surroundings
You may be spending more than 4 or 5 days in the capital and you would like to have more ideas for activities and visits here in Buenos Aires. Here are a few :
- Avenida Corrientes and its “Broadway ” atmosphere with its theaters and tango dancers
- The Parque 3 de Febrero (or “Bosques de Palermo”) in the Palermo district
- The El Ateneo Bookstore , located in an old theater, and which is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world
- The Proa Foundation (Musée d’art contemporain)
- As previously explained, football fans have an interest in attending a Boca match
- The National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA) in Recoleta
- Visit an Argentinian ranch with the gauchos from Buenos Aires
- Take the Tren de la Costa to the Tigre Delta
- The historical village of San Antonio de Areco
- Take a trip to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, which faces Buenos Aires