Destination guide: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America. Its main tourist attractions are the historical Plaza de Mayo, the Obelisk and the neighborhoods of San Telmo and La Boca. The latter is home to La Bombonera stadium and Caminito, a typical Argentine street that is full of handicrafts and souvenirs.

Dancers and tango groups in the majority of public spaces are also common. Purchase your tickets to Buenos Aires and discover everything Argentina has to offer.

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  • Buenos Aires - Things to do

    Sights

    El Zanjón de Granados

    One of the more unique places in Buenos Aires is this amazing architectural site. Below the remains of a mansion, a series of old tunnels, sewers and water wells going back to 1730 were discovered. They have been meticulously reconstructed brick by brick, and very attractively lit, and this ‘museum’ offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s architectural past. Choose between hour-long tours during the week or half-hour tours on Sundays. It’s best to call and reserve, especially if you need English-speaking guides.

    Latitude: -34.6167114700000 / Longitude: -58.3721216500000
    Sub-Type:
    Architecture
    Telephone Number: +54 4361 3002
    Opening Hours:tours on the hour from 11am-3pm Mon-Fri, every half hour 1-6pm Sun
    Pricing
    : 30min/1hr tour AR$25/40
    Address: Defensa 755 
    Transportation Type
    :bus

    Casa Rosada

    Standing before this rosy Renaissance-style palace, you can easily imagine Eva Perón pontificating from the lower balcony. This is the Casa Rosada (Pink House), home to Argentina’s presidential offices. Construction began in 1862 on the site of Buenos Aires’ fort, and the building was painted pink shortly after. Visitors marvel at the picturesque coral hue without realizing the gritty fact behind it – at the end of the 19th century, ox blood added color and texture to ordinary whitewash.

    Latitude:-34.6078374600000 / Longitude: -58.3702969600000
    Sub-Type:
    Architectural, Cultural
    Telephone Number: +54 4344 3802
    Opening Hours:10am-6pm Mon-Fri, 2-6pm Sun
    Pricing: admission free
    Address: Hipólito Yrigoyen 219, Microcentro
    Transportation Type:underground rail  
    Details: Línea D Catedral, Línea A Plaza de Mayo
     Website: www.museo.gov.ar

    Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

    Arguably Argentina’s top fine-arts museum is a must-see for art lovers. It showcases works by Renoir, Monet, Gauguin, Cézanne and Picasso, along with many classic Argentine artists such as Xul Solar and Edwardo Sívori. There are also temporary exhibits, a small gift shop and a cinema.

    Latitude:-34.5840304000000/ Longitude: -58.3928271600000
    Sub-Type: Gallery 
    Opening Hours:12:30-8:30pm Tue-Fri, 9:30am-8:30pm Sat & Sun
    Pricing: admission free
    Address: Av del Libertador 1473   
     Website: ww.mnba.org.ar

    Cementerio de la Recoleta

    Wander for hours in this amazing cemetery where ‘streets’ are lined with impressive statues and marble sarcophagi. Crypts hold the remains of the city’s elite: past presidents, military heroes, influential politicians and the rich and famous. Hunt down Evita’s grave, and bring your camera – there are some great photo ops here. Tours in English are available at 11am on Tuesday and Thursday (call to confirm). For a great map and information, order Robert Wright’s PDF map at www.recoletacemetery.com.

    Latitude:-34.5874145000000 / Longitude: -58.3934712400000
    Sub-Type: Cemetery
    Telephone Number: +54 4803 1594
    Opening Hours:7am-6pm
    Pricing: admission free
    Address: cnr Junín & Guido
    Transportation Type:bus /Details: 59  

    Plaza Dorrego

    This vibrant colonial square, one of the city’s oldest, is a hub of activity. Guitar-strumming artisans line the plaza with displays of silver jewelry and leather belts while cafe-dwellers kick back at plastic tables for conversation and tango performances. Pull up a chair, order a pitcher of sangria-like clericot de vino, and ward off the parade of magazine vendors with a polite but firm ‘no gracias ’ (no, thank you).

    Latitude:-34.6204155000000/ Longitude: -58.3717346200000
    Sub-Type: Square, Plaza 
    Address: cnr of Defensa and Humberto Primo, San Telmo
    Transportation Type:bus /Details: 10, 22, 29, 45, 86  

    Eat

    Cumaná

    This bright, upbeat eatery is one of the only places in town serving traditional dishes from far-flung provinces of Argentina. The hearty criollo (Spanish/Indian) cuisine baking in the adobe oven includes locro, a thick corn-based stew made with meat and vegetables. Don’t miss the humita, a creamy cheese and corn mixture wrapped up in corncob leaves.

    Latitude: -34.5954518100000/ Longitude: -58.3918941000000
    Sub-Type: South American
    Telephone Number: +54 4813 9207
    Opening Hours:noon-1am
    Pricing: mains AR$18-27
    Price Range
    : Low
    Address
    : Rodriguez Peña 1149, Recoleta
    Transportation Type: bus / Details: 10, 39, 152

    La Cabrera

    If you eat at only one steakhouse in BA, make it this one. Some of the city's best meats are grilled up and presented to you on wooden boards, and in huge portions, along with a few dainty condiments (olives, sun-dried tomatoes, goat's cheese) on the side. The ambience is elegant, and considerably less stuffy than most Palermo Viejo eateries.

    Latitude: -34.5893929900000/ Longitude: -58.4328568000000
    Sub-Type: Steakhouse
    Telephone Number: +54 11 4831 7002
    Opening Hours:12:00-16:00 & 20:00-01:00 Tue-Sun 
    Price Range
    : High
    Address
    : JA Cabrera 5099, Palermo Viejo
    Transportation Type: bus / Details: 55

    Parrilla al Carbón

    Cheap parrilla doesn’t come easier than this. Go for a quick choripan (sausage sandwich; AR$6) at the counter in front of the grill. For more comfort and a better view of the TV, snag one of the few crowded tables and order a half-portion of the vacío (a chewy but tasty flank cut).

    Latitude: -34.6020508900000/ Longitude: -58.3762458800000
    Sub-Type: Barbecue
    Telephone Number: +54 11 4328 0824
    Opening Hours:lunch & dinner
    Pricing
    :mains AR$11-32 
    Price Range
     : Low 
    Address
    : Lavalle 663  

    Entertainment

    Bar Plaza Dorrego

    Despite the constant tourist presence, Bar Plaza Dorrego remains one of BA’s most atmospheric watering holes. Take a load off to observe the tired but tuxedoed waiters making their rounds through an interior cluttered with antique bottles. Outdoors, backpackers knock back beer at rickety tables littered with peanut shells.

    Latitude: -34.6202198500000/ Longitude: -58.3709821800000
    Type: Drink
    Sub-Type: Cafe, Bar
    Telephone Number: +54 4361 0141
    Opening Hours:8am-3am
    Address
    : cnr Defensa & Humberto Primo
    Transportation Type: bus / Details: 24, 29, 130, 152

    Acabar

    This is possibly the quirkiest restaurant-bar in town, at least in terms of design. A maze of more than a half-dozen rooms and spaces are decked out in mismatched chandeliers, funky furniture, clashing pastel colors and frilly wallpaper; it’s a texture and pattern overload. It’s also famous for having whole shelves dedicated to board games. Serves food earlier on.

    Latitude: -34.5828544700000/ Longitude: -58.4377525000000
    Type: Night
    Sub-Type: Bar
    Telephone Number: +54 11 4772 0845
    Opening Hours:8pm-2am Sun-Thu, 8pm-4am Fri & Sat
    Address
    : Honduras 5733

    Único

    If you like your bars loud and crowded, you’ll love this classic corner magnet – still popular after all these years. It’s not overly large, so on weekends people tend to spill out the door and onto the sidewalk tables and even the street. Plenty of tapas, sandwiches and salads, along with the ultra cool music, could make it a long night – which is perfectly acceptable since it’s open till 6am.

    Latitude: -34.5848738300000/ Longitude: -58.4357227300000
    Sub-Type: Bar
    Telephone Number: +54 11 4775 6693
    Opening Hours:8:30am-6am Sun-Thu, 8:30pm-6am Fri & Sat
    Address
    : Honduras 5604

    Shop

    Feria de Mataderos

    Located way out in the western suburbs, the lighthearted folk festival Feria de Mataderos will take almost an hour to reach by bus 155 or 126 – but the journey’s worth it. Brilliantly costumed teenagers perform folkloric dances on stage while gauchos on horseback compete in traditional contests and local ladies dish out hearty country-style food and sweet patero wine. Over 100 craft stalls sell affordable handmade treasures from horse-hoof ashtrays to leather and metalwork; indulge yourself along the strip of gourmet food stalls where vendors offer free samples of dulce de leche liqueur, cheeses, and homemade liquors. For details on upcoming festivals, check their website. The long bus ride to Mataderos is a cultural experience in itself – but travelers on a strict schedule can also arrive by taxi.

    Latitude:-34.6660308600000/ Longitude: -58.4952275200000
    Sub-Type: Market
    Telephone Number: +54 4687 5602
    Opening Hours:11am-8pm Sun & holidays Apr-Dec, 6pm-midnight Sat Jan-Mar
    Address: cnr Avs Lisandro de la Torre & de los Corrales 
     Website:www.feriademataderos.com.ar

    Feria de Anticuarios

    This cute antiques market, in the northern suburb of Acassuso, has goods cheaper than the Feria de San Telmo and it's also smaller and less crowded. Dig through old silverwork, records, books, small collectibles, lighting fixtures and antique hardware. The best way here is on the Tren de la Costa, which begins in Olivos at Estación Maipú; get to this train station from downtown via buses 59, 60 and 152 (or take the regular Mitre train line to Tren de la Costa).

    Latitude:-34.4725260000000/ Longitude: -58.4920710000000
    Sub-Type: Market
    Telephone Number: +54 11 4743 8371
    Opening Hours:9:30am-8pm Sat, Sun & holidays
    Extras: Estación Las Barrancas

    Guido Mocasines

    Men have been coming to Guido's for over 50 years, buying some of the highest-quality hand-made shoes in the country. Styles are a bit conservative, but they'll make your feet the best-dressed at the office. There are a few women's shoes, as well as some bags and belts

    Sub-Type: Shoes
    Address: Av Quintana 333

    Events Overview

    There’s always something happening in Buenos Aires. The only time the streets are calm, in fact, is during major fútbol (soccer) matches, when locals huddle around their TV sets, and during the sweltering Christmas holidays when half the population decamps to the beach. The cultural calendar has long revolved around traditional pastimes like tango and horses, but the continued growth of the dynamic fine arts scene has brought a host of fashion, music and art events to Buenos Aires’ annual schedule. Check out the all-inclusive agenda at www.bue.gov.ar to find out what’s on while you’re in town.

    Month by Month

    January & February

    Carnaval

    OK, OK, it’s a far cry from Rio. But Buenos Aires’ Carnaval is fun and lighthearted (though perhaps not for locals stuck in traffic jams as colorful parades shut down a different street every day). Expect to be sprayed with canned foam as ebullient murga (dance) troupes dance and drum around Plaza de Mayo.

    Chinese New Year

    Buenos Aires’ bite-sized Chinatown only spans a few blocks in Belgrano, but what it lacks in floor space it makes up for with enthusiasm on the first day of the Chinese New Year. Exact dates depend on the lunar calendar.

    March

    Nuestros Caballos

    Argentine horse-lovers gather at Palermo’s La Rural in late March for this all-things-equine exhibition. Expect horse events, produce stalls, and ponchos and gauchos galore.

    www.nuestroscaballos.com.ar

    April

    Feria del Libro

    Latin American literature is as strong as ever, with over one million book lovers converging on its most important book fair featuring book reading and signing sessions by famous authors from around the world.

    www.el.libro.org.ar

    Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente

    Mid- to late April’s excellent independent film festival highlights Argentine, Latin American and international independent films. The main screening venue is at Abasto mall.

    www.bafici.gov.ar

    May

    arteBA

    Held over five days in mid-May at Palermo’s La Rural, this event features exhibitions from hundreds of art galleries and organizations in Buenos Aires, with both national and international contemporary art on display, as well as presentations and discussions.

    www.arteba.com

    June

    Día de la Muerte de Carlos Gardel

    June 24 marks the anniversary of this iconic tango singer’s death. Numerous tango events during the week conclude with a pilgrimage to the Cementerio de la Chacarita, where thousands of fans, some of whom weren’t even born when he died, crowd the streets and leave flowers at his tomb.

    July

    La Rural

    Livestock lovers and gaucho groupies will go crazy at this event in July and August, where prize cows (of course), sheep, goats and horses are on display, along with wild gaucho shows and just about everything agricultural. It takes place at Palermo’s La Rural. Gaucho bombachas (pants) optional.

    www.ruralarg.org.ar

    August

    Fashion Buenos Aires

    Rose-colored champagne flows freely, fashionistas chat on iPhones and coltish teenagers take to the runway – it must be Buenos Aires’ biannual fashion week (BAFWeek). For five action-packed days, the finest local designers strut their stuff at Palermo’s La Rural.

    www.bafweek.com.ar

    Tango Buenos Aires

    This tango festival has legs wrapping all over the city. The performances offer a great way to see some of the country’s best tanguistas (female tango dancers) do their thing. Venues include the Centro Cultural Recoleta.

    www.festivaldetango.gob.ar

    September

    La Semana del Arte en Buenos Aires

    For one week in mid-September, nearly every art gallery and cultural institution in the city opens its doors for a mega-event that highlights some of the best contemporary artists in the country. All forms of media – from photography to video installations and performance art – are represented.

    www.lasemanadelarte.com.ar

    Feria de Vinos y Bodegas

    This sprawling wine fair sees representatives from 250 bodegas decanting wines and talking shop – heaven for lovers of fine Cabernet.

    www.argentinewines.com

    Fiesta del Inmigrante

    Practically everyone in Buenos Aires is an immigrant – even if once or twice removed. This joyful weeklong festival honors the locals’ ambitious ancestors and features ethnic food, music and dance at the Museo de la Inmigración in Puerto Madero.

    www.fiestadelinmigrante.com.ar

    October

    Casa FOA

    This innovative design fair serves two purposes: first, to preserve and renovate a landmark structure, and second, to display the cutting-edge work of local architects, designers and landscapers. The venue changes each year; the festival usually runs from October to December.

    www.casafoa.com

    November

    Marcha del Orgullo Gay

    Over 20,000 of BA’s gay, lesbian, transgender and bi community march from Plaza de Mayo to the Congreso on the first Saturday in November, and the colorful party gets bigger each year.

    www.marchadelorgullo.org.ar

    Creamfields Buenos Aires

    Over 60,000 excited dance music fans dance for 16 hours straight (how do they manage that, we wonder?) at one of the world’s biggest electronic music festivals.

    www.creamfieldsba.com

    December

    Campeonato Abierto Argentino de Polo

    Palermo’s dedicated polo arena, Campo Argentino de Polo, is the venue for this, the highlight of the spring polo and people-watching season.

    www.aapolo.com

    Christmas & New Year

    These holidays are definitely a family affair in Buenos Aires – but ‘family-oriented’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘wholesome’ in this case.

    Activity Overviews

    Buenos Aires is a big concrete city, so you’ll have to seek out the outdoor spots in which to work out. Extensive greenery in Palermo provides good areas for recreation, especially on weekends when the ring road around the rose garden is closed to motor vehicles. Recoleta also has grassy parks, but try to avoid the dog piles. Best of all is the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, an ecological paradise just east of Puerto Madero that might just make you forget you’re in a big city; it’s excellent for walks, runs, leisurely bike rides and even a bit of wildlife viewing.

    An interesting sports complex for those seeking outdoor activities is Perú Beach (<tel/>4793-5986; www.peru-beach.com.ar; Elcano 794; <hrs/>9am-10pm). Short soccer fields, a covered roller rink, a freestanding climbing wall and water sports such as kite-surfing bring in the crowds. There’s also a grassy lawn and outdoor tables for refreshments – great on a sunny day. It’s more of a social scene than anything else, and families are welcome. Perú Beach is located in Acassuso, a suburb way north of Buenos Aires’ center, just across from the Tren de la Costa’s Barrancas station.