What to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina

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Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires  is the capital of Argentina, located on the western shore of Río de la Plata. The almost 3 million people living there are commonly named Porteños. 

This multicultural city is famous for its well preserved European-style architecture, rich cultural scene and vibrant nightlife.

Origins of the majority of Porteños leads to Europe, mostly to Italy and Spain but also to Germany, Scotland Norway, Poland, France and Sweden, when huge waves of European immigrants started to flock into the capital of Argentina in the mid-19th century. That’s why it’s very common to meet pale-skinned and blond hair native citizens, so unusual in other Latino-american cities.

When to go?

It depends what type of weather do you prefer and if you want to combine your trip with Patagonia, where is not recommend to go during the winter months.

Buenos Aires benefits from a humid subtropical climate. The summers (December, January, February) are hot and humid with  a daily average of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) in the hottest January. Heat waves from Brazil often rise temperatures above 35 °C. Winters are mild.

What to do in Buenos Aires?

There are never-ending amount of things to do in the capital of Argentina!

I had a chance to live in Buenos Aires for two months, in the end of my Latin-american trip and I often nostalgically remind myself of that place.

The very first week I spent in a big hostel near Avenida de Mayo, exploring the vibrant night of BA as a tourist who simply crave to squeeze some fun out of a big city. It was great, but also pricey.

Later the duty of life came.  I started my traineeship  in the Embassy of Poland, located in a pleasant neighborhood – Belgrano.  To keep my budget in balance I rented a room in a shared flat in San Telmo, which soon also became my favorite district.

map of districts of Buenos aires

Depends on you time, I would suggest spending at least one day in each of the main districts to get some feeling of their unique style.

CENTRO

center of buenos aires

The center of Buenos Aires represents a vibrant mix of nineteenth-century building,  old-fashioned cafés and quisques, office skyscrypers. It’s boosting with energy and European elegance. The spacious, palm-dotted Plaza de Mayo with the pink government house –  Casa Rosada is a good place to start walking around.

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Porteña sunbathing in front of the building of Avenida de Mayo

While strolling in the center of Buenos Aires, a recommend stopping for a coffee in Cafe Tortoni (Avenida de Mayo 825), which was multiply times selected as one of the ‘most beautiful cafes in the world’.  The café was founded by Parisian immigrant, inspired by french Fin de siècle coffee houses.

Despite the fact that café Tortoni is quite big and became touristy, the place kept the ‘decadent spirit’ from the times when Carlos Gardel or Albert Einstein used to drink their coffee. Nowadays, in the basement of the café there are frequent jazz and tango performances as well as book presentations and poetry events.

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Cafe Tortoni

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RECOLETA

Recoleta is one of the most affluent residential neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. When for the citizens it is known as one of the most expensive real estate in the city, for visitors it is well known due to the Recoleta Cemetery.

The old cemetery, valuable from architectural and historical reasons, is considered as one of the most beautiful ‘necropolis’ in the world. Set in 5.5 hectares cemetery contains multiple marble mausoleums and statues which represent a wide variety of architectural styles such as neo gothic, art deco, art nouveau and baroque.

 

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Recoleta cementary

OMJ Recoleta cementary

By night Recoleta definitely not a dead district. Lively neighborhood is worth visiting for several cabarets and  locales with tango music ( for example Pabellón de las Rosas,  Libertador Avenue )  as well as chic bars. In one of them, named  Milion,  on warm evenings, young professionals meet for cocktails  at a bar located in an early 20th-century mansion with a gorgeous backyard garden. TIP: It’s better to arrive earlier (around 7 PM) to get a spot on a balcony.

SAN TELMO

San Telmo is the oldest neighborhood (barrio) of Buenos Aires, where you can still feel the spirit of the city. Characterized by cobblestoned streets, colonial buildings, cafes, bars, antique shops attracts street artists and all the people who want to enjoy city life at its most charming version. It’s not as polished as Palermo, nor as fancy as Recolata, but for me it was the best.

I had luck to live at Calle de Chile, where in XX century used to live Witold Gombrowicz, great polish writer.

On Sunday there is famous San Telmo market (Mercado De San Telmo) where you can buy local craft, street food, see tango and listen to street music.

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Dancers of El Indio, from whom I had a pleasure to learn tango in La Catedral dance school

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OMJ san telmo market

San telmo street art

PALERMO

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Palermo is the largest neighborhood of Buenos Aires, attracting expats, tourists and porteños (you can sometimes get the impression that everyone lives in Palermo).

Palermo Viejo, the oldest part of the district located in the southeastern corner  of the barrio is full of café,  restaurants, b nightclubs, parks, artisanal market, vintage stores and galleries. The area incorporates Palermo Soho (shopper’s paradise with Buenos Aire’s finest boutiques) with and Palermo Hollywood (famous for its nightlife).

Start enjoying your visit in Palermo by taking a cortado (a typical beverage made from espresso and a small amount of warm milk) at Plaza Serrano and enjoy a pleasant square filled with hype people enjoying cafes, bars and vintage stores.

 

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Happy citizens of Palermo district

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Dog walkers in Buenos Aires are an urban tradition

LA BOCA

La boca means ‘the mouth’ in English. The neighborhood is so named because it is located at the mouth of the river along the southern border of Buenos Aires.

With its colorful houses, cobblestones, pedestrian street a,d Boba Junior stadium attract tourist from around the world. At a traditional alley Caminito you can watch frequent tango artists performances. Colorful and one in a kind Caminito is the work of the local La Boca artist Benito Quinquela Martín, who in 1960painted the walls of what was then an abandoned street. La Boca quickly became a haven for artists, but unfortunately nowadays it is rather a tourist trap. The neigbourhood of La Boca remains a rough, working class  neighborhood. After dark it’s advisable to take taxis to and from your destinations.

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la boca argentina buenos aires

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PUERTO MADERO

Puerto Madero is a very unique place. On one hand the barrio represents the latest architectural trends in Buenos Aires and gives you the feeling that you are in a big metropolis, on the other there is the biggest amount of nature I’ve seen in BA. Located near the Río de la Plata riverbank , Puerto Madero a great place to go for running, have pick nick or to cycle around.

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OMJ rio de la plata

OMJ Puerto Madero

 

BELGRANO

It is a pleasant neighborhood for strolling and admiring the residential homes. Despite of working in the polish Embassy which was located there I had a chance to meet a local girl Lolo, who introduced me to her family. The Argentinan family relations reminded me a lot of a style of traditional French families – people gathering in the beautiful interiors reminding of European style bourgeoisie, to cherish intergenerational family connections while eating delicious diners and drinking malbec.

The main street, Avenida Cabildo despite the heavy automobile traffic can be visited for some nice corner cafés, grocery stores,movie theaters and clothing boutiques.

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My beautiful Argentinian friend drinking mate, a national drink.



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