The Best of Buenos Aires: Something for Everyone
April 25, 2019
by Cassandra Mitchell
Buenos Aires: ‘the Paris of South America’. It’s an exciting, elegant, and laid-back city. For many travelers, Buenos Aires is just a pit stop on the way to Patagonia and Antarctica, but the wise ones know that the city has a lot to offer. There’s something for everyone in this dynamic and vibrant city.
For the Foodie:
For the days when you feel like spoiling yourself, Buenos Aires offers a wide array of wine bars and gourmet restaurants to choose from.
Napoles, on Avenida Caseros
This is a personal favorite. Napoles is an Italian restaurant in a beautiful corner of Barrio San Telmo, just down the street from the National History Museum. It is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after an afternoon spent wandering the neighborhood’s quaint shopping streets. The restaurant is worth a visit not just for its delicious pasta and long wine list, but most especially for its décor. The large dining room is jam-packed with antique art, sculptures, books, and more. You can even find a collection of vintage clothing on sale against one wall of the restaurant. Napoles is busy for lunch and dinner, especially on weekends so it would be worth reserving a table to be cautious.
The Cheap Eats:
There are plenty of options for those traveling on a shoestring too!
They may be small but they can fill you up quick. Bursting with cheese, meats, and veggies, empanadas are the classic Porteño afternoon snack. They can be found on just about every street corner, but my personal go to is the Fabrica de Empanadas on Calle Ecuador near where it crosses with Avenida Santa Fe. Not only is it one of the cheapest empanada shops in the city, but see your order being made in front of you. Careful not to burn your fingers as the empanadas go right from the oven into your hands. As your empanada bakes, sit down on their bench on the sidewalk and take a minute to get to know some locals. I would personally recommend their empanadas de Carne Picante or Espinaca.
On your way out of the Fábrica de Empanadas, be sure to take a couple of medialunas for dessert. Theirs are delicious, but just like empanadas, they’re a dime a dozen. A medialuna is the croissant’s stickier, sweeter little cousin and the perfect companion to a hot coffee or tea. The phrase ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ didn’t exactly make it down to Argentina. The first meal of the day tends to consist of just a small pastry and mate, tea, or coffee, and the medialuna is often the star of the show at breakfast time.
For the Night Owl:
Jobs Bar, on Calle Arenales
Want to release your inner child? Jobs Bar is the place to go. Take your pick from their library of board games, or try your hand at pool, ping-pong, or foosball. On the weekends, the bar is packed full of young people looking to have a great time.
Tango at La Catedral, Calle Sarmiento
Looking for a more traditionally Argentine night out? La Catedral is Bueno Aires’ most beautiful tango floor. Go to sip a drink and watch Argentine couples get sultry on the dancefloor, or if you’re feeling especially courageous, you might even want to give it a try yourself.
For the Culture Snob:
Maybe you go to see the ballet or Philharmonic, or maybe you go just to tour its beautiful architecture. The Colón Theatre is a beautiful example of the European influence in Buenos Aires Culture.
Recoleta Cultural Center
If you’re looking for a more upbeat and engaging cultural experience, the Recoleta Cultural Center is a great spot to hit. The building was once the monastery of a group of French Franciscan monks in the 1700s, but today the cultural center is a lively hub with bars, restaurants, and art gallery as well as terraces that are nearly always full of exciting events. Their Instagram account (@elrecoleta) is always buzzing with news of the next dance competition, lecture series, public workshop, and art exhibition.
For the History Buff:
La Casa Rosada
As the seat of government of Argentina, la Casa Rosada makes nearly every ‘must see’ list of Bueno Aires. But while you’re there I recommend you take a look at what you find around the building. Porteños are very politically active and la Casa Rosada is the target of nearly every major political protest in Buenos Aires. Evidence of this can be seen in the graffiti on the walls as well as every Thursday when Argentina’s most famous activist group, Las Madres de La Plaza de Mayo, circle the plaza in memory of their sons and daughters lost during the country’s most recent dictatorship.
The Recoleta Cemetery
Named by some as the most beautiful cemetery in the world, the Recoleta Cemetery is full of ornate mausoleums honoring Buenos Aires’ most rich and powerful. This is also the place where you can see the final resting place of one of the world’s most famous Argentines, Sra. Evita Perón.
For the Naturalist:
The Botanical Gardens
Many nature enthusiasts traveling to Argentina get in and out of Buenos Aires as quickly as they can on their way to the spectacular and rugged landscapes of Patagonia and Antarctica. I would argue that this is a tragic mistake. In the summer, Buenos Aires is green and lush with much to see for the nature lover. Despite being right in the center of downtown, the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden is one of the most peaceful spots in the city. Escape the bustle of the city and wander through a lush garden full of unique plant species. It is a great spot to bring a camera, a book, or nothing at all.
The Ecological Reserve
Right on the banks of the Río de la Plata, the Ecological Reserve is a true escape from the city. The park is full of winding paths that lead to beautiful views of the river and is also known for being a good sport for birding. While the park has not always been a wildlife area, it is a beautiful spot today. For the Shopaholic:
San Telmo Antiques Market
Every Sunday, the neighborhood of San Telmo turns into a bustling street market. Antique collectors and artisans set up their tables and tents all along the neighborhood’s streets and thousands flock to pick through their treasures. It is the perfect place to find a very special souvenir to take home.
This maybe Buenos Aires’ most photogenic neighborhood. Walk along cobblestone between colorfully painted buildings. Situated right on the river in the Barrio Boca, El Caminito is full of shops and restaurants as well as street performers and stalls of artisans. It is a beautifully lively spot and the perfect place to find something truly unique!