Buenos Aires, Argentina Travel Guide
The city of Buenos Aires – or “Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires”
(Autonomous City of Buenos Aires in English) – is the capital of Argentina. With a population of more than 3 million (13 million in the greater metropolis), it is the second largest city in South America, after São Paulo, Brazil.
A Small Selection of this Cosmopolitan City´s Highlights:
- Plaza de Mayo – Argentina’s political center, home of the Casa Rosada (headquarters of the executive branch & home of the president), the Cabildo, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Bank building. There is a lot of history here – Madonna filmed her iconic scene as “Evita” on the actual balcony of the Presidential Palace where Mrs. Peron had
- 9 de Julio Avenue – The world’s widest avenue, featuring the most well-known monument of Argentina; the Obelisco (67 meters high).
- Corrientes Avenue – Buenos Aires’ “Broadway”, it contains many prestigious theatres and cinemas. Buenos Aires has the highest concentration of theatres in the world
- Teatro Colón – Renaissance style theatre and the largest lyric theater in all of Latin America.
- Galerías Pacífico – A large and historic shopping center, it was restored in 1990.
- Puerto Madero – This modern neighborhood on the Rio de la Plata was developed over former docklands and is now an upscale area with some of the most expensive restaurants in the city.
- Palermo – The largest neighborhood in the city has several “sub-neighborhoods” (Palermo Hollywood, so called because it is home to the country’s vibrant film and television industry; Palermo Soho, featuring hip bars, restaurants and upscale stores and galleries; Palermo Viejo, with history [Jorge Luis Borges grew up here] and classic sidewalk cafes).
- La Boca – This ancient bohemian-syle district is known for its colorfully-painted houses and street fairs is a good place to find people doing the Tango in the streets.
- San Telmo – This is the oldest neighborhood in the city. On its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the city (check out my review of El Baqueano), antique stores, museums, and old churches such as San Pedro Telmo . Don’t miss the Sunday street fair, where you can get bargains on any number of authentic Argentine items, including Mate gourds, leather products and souvenirs, all while enjoying live performances by local musicians.
- The historic 1887 Palacio de Aguas Corrientes Building – Known as “the world’s most beautiful water-pumping station”, it is the headquarters of the Sanitary Works of the Nation – public tours are popular.
- The Chinese Arch – in Chinatown representing the importance of immigration in Argentina.
- Boca Jrs. and River Plate Stadiums – “La Bombonera” in La Boca is home to the Boca Juniors football team (for whom the great Maradona starred) and “El Monumental” in the wealthy Belgrano barrio, is where their great rivals, River Plate, play, and where Argentina’s national team won the 1978 World Cup. The English newspaper The Observer listed seeing a match between these two teams as one of the “50 sporting things you must do before you die”.
- National Congress – The headquarters of the legislative branch has the largest dome in Argentina.
- Malba Art Museum – “El Museo de Arte LatinoAmericano de Buenos Aires” is a stylish modern building featuring a beautiful permanent collection and rotating exhibits of the finest Latin American art.
- Recoleta – This exclusive (and expensive) neighborhood has the finest shops in the city, great cafes, and the famous Recoleta Cemetery (among numerous other national heroes and luminaries, Evita is buried there).
Want to be hip, happening and ahead of the ‘follow the guidebook’ travel crowd? Spend an evening at one of the closed door retaurants that have popped-up around the city. Casa Saltshaker is one option that is owned and run by American trained chef (previously from New York City) Dan Perlman and his partner. They have an excellent website that tells you in advance what will be on the menu as well as how to make a reservation: www.casasaltshaker.com.
Need a lower cost way to get your stomach full? Keep your eye out for a ‘Tenedor Libre’ sign on a restaurant window (or try the one listed on the page). These are all-you-can-eat buffets that are usually priced between $7-8 USD per person and have a wide assortment of dishes to stuff yourself with. Tenedor Libre in South America
If in Buenos Aires during the sweltering hot summer months of January and February you may want to do as the Argentinians do… take a bus or train to seaside resort Mar del Plata. Travel Guide to Mar del Plata
If hoardes of people and all-night partying isn’t your thing – or if traveling with children – head to low-key Miramar instead: Travel Guide to Miramar.
Want to live in Buenos Aires for an extended time and need to know how and where to rent an apartment? Read: Renting an Apartment or House in Argentina. Aparthotels – very common in Argentina – are a good option for an extended stay also.
Buenos Aires is popular year-round and has a moderate climate yet summer and winter variations do apply. During the summer (verano in Spanish) months December through March temperatures can reach up to 37 degrees C (100 F) with unpleasantly high humidity.
During winter (invierno in Spanish) – June through August – it can get a bit chilly with temperatures as low as 7 degrees C (45 F) yet there are less crowds and lower prices.
Spring and Fall are lovely – and popular – with average temperatures hovering around 25 degrees C (78 F). Regardless of your intended dates to visit, it is highly unlikely you will not have an enjoyable time in Buenos Aires.
- Name: Hotel Madero Book Now
Area: Plaza de Mayo & Microcenter
Address: Rosario Vera Peñalosa 360, Dique 2, Madero Este
Website: www.hotelmadero.com Enjoy a spa bath in your room, aftewards sipping wine or a cold drink from the minibar on your private balcony or head to the rooftop bar with panoramic views for a more social happy hour!
- Name: Alvear Palace Hotel Book Now
Address: Avenida Alvear 1891
Website: www.alvearpalace.com Steps away from the Fine Art Museum with plenty of fine art decorating the walls inside as well. Spa, fitness center, two restaurants as well as a personal shopping assistant at your beck and call.
- Name: Esplendor de Buenos Aires Book Now
Area: Plaza de Mayo & Microcenter
Address: San Martin 780
Website: www.esplendorbuenosaires.com Be sure to request a jacuzzi tub equipped room, airport transfers, WiFi, cable T.V. and gourmet restaurant but you may want to venture to Puerto Madero and one of its lovely restaurants for your dinner – only three blocks away.
- Name: 248 Finisterra Book Now
Area: Palermo & Belgrano, Las Cañitas area
Address: Baez 248
Website: www.248finisterra.com Small, boutique hotel with free afternoon tea in addition to breakfast. Near the Equestrian German Club (can ride horses) and Palermo Lake.
- Name: Ostinatto Hostel Book Now
Area: San Telmo
Address: Chile 680
Website: www.ostinatto.com Free Tango and Yoga lessons, small rooftop patio with pool. Dorm beds plus private rooms with balconies, apartments available.
- Name: Puerto Limon Hostal
Area: San Telmo
Address: Chacabuco 1080
Website: www.puertolimonhostel.com/ Relaxed environment, T.V. area, kitchen and buffet breakfast.
- Name: Oviedo (Spanish cuisine)
Address: Antonio Beruti 2602
Website: www.oviedoresto.com.ar/ Shellfish, meats, fresh fish and large selection of wine served in an intimate setting in Barrio Norte.
- Name: Sucre (Argentinian cuisine)
Area: Palermo & Belgrano
Address: Sucre 676
Website www.sucrerestaurant.com.ar/sucre/default.htm Upscale, hip atmosphere
- Name: Comedor Nikkai (Japanese)
Area: San Telmo
Address: Avenida Independencia 732, cnr Piedras
Website: None. Mixed reviews with sushi, yakitori (skewered chicken) and sashimin dishes rated consistently high. Also serves tempura, breaded shrimp, miso and noodle dishes.
- Name: Gran Bar Danzon
Address: Libertad 1161
Website: www.granbardanzon.com.ar Wine bar and restaurant in romantic setting.
- Name: Green Bamboo (Vietnamese)
Area: Palermo & Belgrano
Address: Costa Rica 5802
Website: www.green-bamboo.com.ar/ Much more than yummy noodle dishes, try gilled veal marinated in mint & lime or pink salmon with horseradish and spinach; many delicacte delicacies sure to impress the palate.
- Name: El Cuartito (Pizzeria)
Address: Talcahuano 937
Website: None. If you like gobs of mozarella cheese on thick slices of homemade dough plus maybe some sauce and carmelized onions if you choose… you will love this Argentine-style pizzeria. Empanadas and salads also.
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Photographs by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.