After having heard a lot about the capital of Argentina, we decided to drop by for a few days. Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city, somewhere between between tradition and modernity, and it carries away you in his quarters all so different from each other. There are very typical neighborhoods such as La Boca, or very modern as Microcentro. Among tango and football, meat and wine, large avenues and green parks, Buenos Aires will surprise you and make you want to visit the rest of the country.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
The capital of Argentina is not especially expensive for us Europeans, but it’s still one of the most expensive countries in South America. We found a good place to stay in the Retiro district, next to Plaza San Martin: Loi suites Arenal. There are many nice places around the city, but we felt that this neighborhood was full of restaurants and entertainment at night.
It’s one of our favorite neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It is the largest quarter of the capital, and it’s divided into two neighborhoods that are Palermo Soho (NYC reference) and Palermo Hollywood because there are all studios, TV channels and radio stations there. This district deserves a good walk, so take your time there. We found trendy restaurants, designer boutiques, etc. It is a tourist destination. We arrived by Avenida del Libertador and we went through the whole neighborhood and ate at Plaza Serrano, where there is a small market with local products. Then we went to the Tres de Febrero Park to finish our walk. Not far from this lovely park, and just on the “mouth” of the great Rio de la Plata, you’ll find Jorge Newbery Airport , and you will surely see the planes take off and land just some meters from you!
This is “the” modern neighborhood in Buenos Aires, there are many glass skyscrapers, restaurants and clubs. We did not want to stop in this area at first, but at the end we were seduced. We stopped to see the “Puente de la Mujer”, which is known for being a contemporary piece of art and has a particular history for its inhabitants (the bridge would represent a woman dancing tango). We went close to the river for a very nice walk (about 1 hour), it’s very pleasant especially when it’s really hot in the city, it’s good to escape from the city center and from tourists, or just to take some fresh air in near the modern harbor.
For us it is the most famous district of BA worldwide. This area is synonymous with soccer and tango. We could not come to BA without visiting this special place. We started our visit with the Boca Juniors stadium called “la Bombonera”, you cannot miss it with its yellow and blue colors! Around it you will find many small shops selling T-shirts of Maradona, Messi and even the Pope! Oh yes, the Argentinians have their hearts split between religion and football… Then we continued to the “Caminito”, the main site for tango, where there are dancers making shows (beware of tourist traps! The photos they offer are paying!), lots of typical restaurants and also and above all the famous cobbled streets with pretty houses in warm colors. We recommend you to go away from the tourists, and get lost in the tiny streets; you will take very nice pictures even though it is a very touristy area. In general, if you walk into a restaurant there is often tango shows and musicians playing.
It is the oldest district of BA and the one with the richest history. We spent a whole morning visiting this neighborhood. It’s nice but we were a little disappointed because there was not so much to see … It’s a special atmosphere that we found in this area, somewhat “bohemian” with beautiful museums, antique shops and old churches. We went on Sunday because there is Plaza Dorrego market, where artisans and antique dealers meet. It is nice to get in the mood . There is also the famous Mercado de San Telmo, a former indoor market that can get very “active”.
This is the business district so there is a high concentration of companies, banks etc … it’s nice to go for a walk there but you may prefer Florida Street, as it is a pedestrian street where there many stores and malls. By continuing on this road you will come across Avenida de Mayo and eventually Plaza Congreso, which is the oldest avenue where there are historical treasures such as the famous cafe Tortoni (we didn’t go in) and other tourist attractions. Then you may continue along the 9 de Julio Avenue to see the obelisk, but also because it is the widest avenue in the world. There are many sights and monuments along the avenue (like the Colon Theater and the easily recognizable Ministerio de Obras Publicas with his giant portrait of Eva Peron, among others).
Plaza de Mayo
Large square surrounded by monuments, presenting a statue in the middle and lots of green areas, and facing the Casa Rosada, seat of the Argentine government. This place is notorious for being the meeting point of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an important association of mothers who saw their children disappear during the military dictatorship. It’s a pretty nice place for a quick visit.
This is a fairly upscale residential area of French style. It is known by tourists for its cemetery that we did not visit because it is not really our thing. It’s nice to walk around this stylish neighborhood. You can go to Plaza Francia which is quite lively to drink a coffee or eat at a restaurant. Go see the Church Nuestra Señorq del Pilar, which is very nice.
This is the area where we find the Palacio Congreso, a rather impressive building. The square just in front is lovely and there are several sculptures and monuments around. From this square you can reach shopping areas like Corriente Avenue and 9 de Julio. In front there is a nice little park to walk around and admire the Congreso.
This is a nice residential area, the streets are green and there are lots of shops, bars and cafes. If you go on the weekend there are artists who sell their works. It’s also in this district that we find “Chinatown”, but if you already know those in NYC or SF you will surely be disappointed.
Edificio del Ministerio de Obras Públicas
Located in the middle of the 9 de Julio Avenue, this huge building is easily recognisable thanks to the giant portrait of Eva Peron, former first lady of Argentina and symbol of struggle and ideology for many Argentinians. It’s about her life that Madonna sang Don’t Cry for Me Argentina! The building in itself is quite large and serves as a reference point for confused tourists.
We visited the station and Plaza San Martin. The station is quite nice but as usual in major cities it’s a place where you’d better look after your things nad not stay too long. On the sides of the station there are small local shops where you can buy everything you may need.
Yep although it’s hard to believe we have no food section for Buenos Aires. We prefer not to write things that we do not believe, as we haven’t eaten very well in this city (usually too salty for our taste). We must also admit that we wanted to eat at good prices so we did not try great restaurants or anything… If you know any good places in BA do not hesitate to share with us!
If you decide to drop by Buenos Aires for a couple of days, we highly recommend taking the tourist bus. It’s not generally our stlye of travelling and exploring a city, but Buenos Aires is so big that this bus will take you to all the main tourist attractions and the most interesting corners in the city, and even with explanations. Here you have the link bus BA You can also book it on site.
If you’re looking for a tango show, you may prefer to look for one away from the tourists. Indeed, you’ll find many shows on the web, but the prices are just overrated. There are many cheap – even free – shows closer to the locals.
La Boca quarter is one of the most touristy and prices go with it. You’ll surely find good restaurants in other parts of the city, at the same price and for the same quality.
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