Top 10 things to do in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and it’s one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South America. It blends a wide variety of manifestations to create an amazing mash-up between traditional and modern culture, which you can enjoy in every step you take!
There are a few places and sights that you definitively don’t want miss when you get here, so let me present to you your Buenos Aires Checklist:
1.- La Boca – El Caminito
El Caminito is one of the most historical places in Buenos Aires. La Boca used to be the port where most immigrants arrived to the country when escaping from World War II. Entire families that had no place to live in started to build tiny little rooms, one on top of another, and painted them with paint leftovers from the ships were they came from.
Nowadays, those houses that used to be called “conventillos”, form the El Caminito (narrow lane) attraction, that conserves its particular colorful paint and holds craft shops, restaurants, bars and cultural centers.
El Caminito is a nice walk that will take you a couple of hours, depending on how much time you spend in every place.
Quick tip: Don’t eat there! Just snack something. It’s very expensive and the food is not the best. Just make sure to take some nice pictures (Beware! The fake Maradona will want to charge you for the picture). Also, don’t go too far away from the very touristic center of La Boca, there’s not much to see and the neighborhood is not quite friendly.
2.- San Telmo
San Telmo is one of the most classic and gorgeous neigborhoods to visit, specially Sundays afternoon where you will enjoy it’s awesome open air market and Milonga (when people gather to dance Tango). If you can’t make it a Sunday you’ll miss the fair and Milonga, but don’t let that keep you away from the place!
San Telmo’s main square is called Plaza Dorrego, located in the corner of Defensa & Humberto Primo streets, and you’ll find plenty of antique shops and flea markets, were you can browse the most amazing and weird stuff, basically a little bit of everything.
It’s also the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon beer or coffee (whatever suits you) at any of the cute little bars around.
The most common walk is around Plaza Dorrego and through Defensa Street. You’ll notice when the walk is over when you suddenly don’t see any more attractive places.
3.- Casa Rosada – The Pink House
The Pink House is the Argentinean government’s house. Just in front of Plaza de Mayo, one of the most popular squares in Argentina, because many political manifestations and riots occur there. It is definitively worth to visit and it will take you no more than 15 minutes. You should then walk through “Diagonal Norte” street until…
4.- El Obelisco – The Obelisk
The Obelisk is one of the biggest emblems of the city and its inhabitants, inaugurated in 1936 to commemorate the foundation of Buenos Aires, the Obelisk is in the middle of the “9 de Julio” avenue, of the widest avenues in the world with 140 mts. A few snaps and let’s keep on moving.
5.- Corrientes Avenue
These avenue is like Broadway for us! It’s were the most recognized and amazing theatre spectacles are held. If you are into it, then you should look up for something interesting, you can try to book a ticket in this link http://guia.lanacion.com.ar/teatro
6.- Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero used to be the place were most of the food from import / export was stored. Later, when the port was moved, the whole area was left abandoned until 1989 when the government decided to urbanize it, giving birth to one of youngest and most expensive neighborhoods in Buenos Aires.
Puerto Madero an architectonical example of how traditional and modern blends. For example, on one side of the Puerto Madero docks you have the old buildings completely refurbished (kind of a Brooklynish style) and just in front you have the modern replica of them. It is really amazing how they managed to restore the area whilst conserving its spirit.
Puerto Madero is then a place that I recommend you to walk from dock to dock (1-4) and maybe grab lunch or a coffee.
Next to Puerto Madero there is also the “Artificial Ecological Natural Reserve” (weird, huh? It’s because it used to be a dumpster, but nature defeated trash and now it’s a beautiful place to walk, run or a ride a bike). It’s not a must but, if you have time (read: to exercise) go for it!
7.- Florida Street
This is a pedestrian street known because of it’s shopping. Just be aware that it might be a little pricey because it’s a really touristic place. Just buy things that you really dig and you think they are worth it, just trust you guts 😉 Personally, I see it a the Buenos Aires gift shop 😉
8.- Plaza Francia
Plaza Francia is one of my favorite parks in Buenos Aires. Every weekend there’s an artisans fair who sell their creations and many young people gather around there too. You can see them performing urban arts and sports like malabarisms and slackline. Taking advantage that you’re already there, there are a couple more places to visit:
- Buenos Aires Design: It is basically a high-end design mall.
- Centro Cultural Recoleta: It’s a cultural center were either many things can be going on or none!
- Recoleta Cementry: Even if you are super sensitive, no worries! Presidents, national heroes, writers and many other well respected personalities are buried there. The vibe is kind of awesome.
Also, if you want a splash of traditional art, near Plaza Francia there is the National Museum of Arts http://www.mnba.gob.ar . And if you wonder what is the construction behind the museum, it is the Law School of Buenos Aires University.
Quick tip: Take a bike ride from Plaza Francia to Palermo all the way through Libertador Avenue (one of my favorites). You will NOT regret it!
9.- El Rosedal
This park is like Central park for us! It is a beautiful place were you can enjoy a walk through around, enjoy a beautiful collection of roses collection and, why not, a ride on a pedaling boat over the lagoons.
Palermo is the trendiest neighborhood in Buenos Aires! It’s the perfect place to spend the day eating delicious food and buying gorgeous stuff (I know, guilty!). Just start your tour in Plaza Armenia (Armenia and Costa Rica streets) and let your soul take you wherever it leads you!
Final Thoughts & Tips:
Foreign Exchange: Maybe you knew, maybe you don’t, but for the past few years we used to have different exchange rates, that kind of forced you to sell your dollars in the black market. But that’s not like that anymore, we now have one official exchange rate and you can buy pesos in the bank or authorized places. So DON’T change your money in Florida Street or any other shady place (you will definitively be offered).
Getting places: Taxies are kind of affordable. For example: from the downtown to La Boca, it may cost you no more than $ 10 bucks. But if you want to spend even less, you can take the subway. Google Maps now allows you to search for public transportation.
From the airport to the city: A taxi may cost you around $ 500 pesos (like $ 35 bucks) but you can also hop into the Tienda León Bus (the ONLY bus I recommend you from Ezeiza airport), that will take you the downtown. If you are staying at Palermo or somewhere else, just get a cab for your own sake.
Be careful with your personal stuff: Don’t be afraid, just very careful. Always keep an eye of your surroundings.
This guide is the most basic Buenos Aires guide, I mean, the places you must not miss. I strongly recommend you to be avid and explore as much as you can! And of course follow me for more specific posts about Buenos Aires 😉