Buenos Aires is an enormous city. With 14 million inhabitants, you could spend a month here and feel like you hardly know the place. Fortunately it’s divided into neighborhoods, each one distinct from the other. We've rounded up 5 of the best...
For sheer chocolate-box charm it’s hard to beat San Telmo. Shabby-chic and redolent of the Mediterranean, it’s a favorite among both bohemians and yuppies. It’s a great place to watch tango in the streets, browse for antiques and eat traditional Argentine parillada, or mixed grill.
For the best steak (and other bits of cow) in town, look no further than La Brigada (Estados Unidos 465): you really can cut the meat with your spoon. San Telmo is also home to some of the best milongas or tango houses in town, and catching a show is an absolute must. Your guide will be able to advise on the best option as shows range from small, intimate experiences to large, Broadway-style productions.
Most of biggest sights are in the Microcentro otherwise known as downtown or the city center. You can’t miss the obelisk which towers above the Plaza de la República, and it’s only a stone’s throw from the Teatro Colon, one of the best opera houses in the world. Guided tours are fascinating (the labyrinth of change rooms and costume stores has to be seen to be believed) and it’s often possible to get tickets for a performance: consult their website for scheduling.
Another downtown must-see is the Casa Rosada, the president’s official residence and the setting for that scene in the film Evita. Afterwards why not pop in to Café Tortoni for a coffee and a medialuna (croissant)? Established in 1858, it’s a real BsAs institution which has been frequented by famous writers, politicians and musicians for a century and a half. The waiters still wear bow-ties and the décor is original.
Palermo and Recoleta
These are the so-called ‘leafy suburbs’ of Buenos Aires. Stately buildings and wide streets make for a decidedly Parisian feel, which is topped off by the Palermo park: a delightful green lung, where you can rent a pedalo.
Meanwhile the astounding Recoleta Cemetery is so enormous it even has a map with street names and numbers! But there’s no doubting it’s most famous resident: local and foreigners alike flock to the mausoleum of Evita Peron. Don’t miss the trendy enclaves of Palermo Soho (chic bohemian hood which is great for shopping and cafes) and Palermo Hollywood (very de rigeur and packed with restaurants and bars).
All glass and stainless steel, Puerto Madero is Buenos Aires’ answer to Manhattan. It’s located on the banks of the Rio de la Plata and is home to some of the city’s flashiest bars and restaurants. Perhaps the most outrageously ostentatious location of all is the Faena Hotel, which has several restaurants and bars as well the most exclusive tango show in the city.
This portside hood is the beating heart of the Argentine working classes. Home to world famous football team Boca Juniors, guided tours of their La Bombonera stadium (bombonera means 'chocolate box' - so called because of its steep sides) are great and the museum is fascinating. Even better is going to a live game, especially if Boca are playing ‘El Clasico’ against arch rivals River Plate.
La Boca isn’t only about soccer though: El Caminito is a colourfully painted street with a carnival atmosphere which makes it one of the most touristy places in the city. Safety-wise it’s not a good idea to stray from the touristy heart of La Boca.
Keen to see Buenos Aires for yourself? Check out our Buenos Aires itineraries here or speak to one of our Destination Experts about crafting the bespoke vacation of your dreams.
Credit for the cover photo of this blog goes to Nestor Galina.