Buenos Aires is South America’s famous European city: vibrant, glamorous, and romantic, it is among the most visited places in South America. The capital city of Argentina lies in the south-eastern coast of the country, on the shore of the Rio de la Plata. Buenos Aires, along with Mexico City and Sao Paulo, is considered an Alpha city in Latin America. Including its metropolitan area, there are about 17 million people in Buenos Aires. The city is no longer apart of the Buenos Aires Province and is now a district itself. Quality of life in Buenos Aires is one of the best in the world: it is ranks inside the top one hundred cities worldwide.
Home to people of different ethnic backgrounds, and with several different languages spoken here other than Spanish, Buenos Aires is considered a multicultural city. Over the past 150 years, Buenos Aires has accepted immigrants from all parts of the world, and has become one of the most diverse cities in Latin America. The city of Buenos Aires and its surrounding metropolitan has grown substantially over the past years, and the city continues to remain one of the best places to visit in South America. Here, you can see a strong European influence in the architecture and culture. Below is our Buenos Aires travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
CENTRO CULTURAL KIRCHNER – This is one of the most beautiful structures in all of Argentina, and possibly one of Nestor Kirchner’s best works. This building encompasses an entire block of the city and stands eight stories tall. There are tons of rooms filled with art galleries, exhibits, theatres and event halls. One of the best parts of the fantastic cultural centre is the La Bellana Azul, which is the concert hall that is home to Argentina’s national symphony orchestra. Seating 1800 people, this is one of the must-see places in Buenos Aires.
CEMENTERIO DE LA RECOLETA – One of the most famous things to do in Buenos Aires is to visit this grand cemetery. You can walk through here for hours and see the many streets and rows of grand statues and marble mausoleums. You can even get a look at the crypts and see the old coffins. Contained here are former presidents, military heroes, influential people and politicians - as well as the rich people of the city - are all buried here in this cemetery.
PLAZA DE MAYO – This beautiful, grassed main plaza of the city has been the site of many protests throughout history in Buenos Aires. In the centre is an obelisk that was built to mark the first anniversary of Argentina’s independence from Spain. If you are here at the right time, you can witness groups of people gathering in protest for social justice causes. The main group you will see is the Madres de Plaza who frequently come here to stage protests. This is one of the more influential and beautiful places to see in the city.
MUSEO NACIONAL DE BELLAS ARTES – Contained here are some of the most important and famous works of art in Argentina. There are key works by Benito Quinquela Martin, Xul Solar, and Edwardo Sivori among others. Found here are also some famous international works from the likes of Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. The display of art here is fantastic.
MUSEO DE BELLAS ARTE DE LA BOCA BENITO QUINQUELA MARTIN – This was once the home and studio of the famous artist Benito Quinquela Martin and now displays some of his finest works, as well as works of other famous painters and artists from Argentina.
PLAZA DORREGO – This plaza can be dated back to the 18th century, and was originally an important spot where caravans would have arrived bringing supplies to Buenos Aires from all over Argentina. At the turn of the 19th century it became a main city square, and to this day is still surrounded by Colonial buildings. Some of the local cafes in the area take you back to the colonial times.
MUSEO DE ARTE LATINOAMERICANO DE BUENOS AIRES – This beautiful glass wall building is one of the more fancy and modern buildings in the city. Millionaire Eduardo Constantini has a fine collection of Latin American Art on display here, displaying famous works from well-known Argentinean artists like Xul Solar and Antonio Berni, and some of Mexico’s finest painters, including Diego River and Frida Kahlo.
MANZANA DE LAS LUCES – From colonial times up until present day, this remains one of the more important cultural areas in the entire city. The first people to occupy the Manzana de las Luces were the Jesuits. They had built several buildings, including an administrative headquarters that was constructed in 1730, and still has parts standing today. However, the Jesuits were eventually expelled from the area and from Argentina by the Spanish, who felt threatened by the power that the Jesuits were gaining. Later on, these buildings housed schools, offices and administrative headquarters, as well as museums. There was also a church built by the Jesuit people which has been remodeled since, with only a small part retaining its original structure. Next to the church is one of the most famous schools for the rich people of Buenos Aires, built in 1863.
There is a huge variety of great places to eat in Buenos Aires, you can find just about every type of food you can think of. The main local dishes in Argentina are very big on the meats, and there are many places that serve great meats in the city. There is also a big presence of Italian, sushi and vegetarian bistros, and quite a few good places that serve the gourmet ice cream. In Buenos Aires, you can find your typical fast food places, but you can also enjoy the nicer restaurants in the city. Puerto Madero and Palermo are where you are going to find the city’s fancy restaurants.
One place not to be missed is The Argentine Experience (Fitz Roy 2110) – this is more than just a delicious dinner. Here you will learn all about Argentinean culture from your dinner host, understand the typical Argentinean food and drink customs, and even try your hand at some cooking some typical food. This is also a social event where you bond with your fellow attendees, participate in competitions, and dine together on long tables. Discover the secret of a perfect Argentinean steak, and enjoy a different kind of dining experience!
If you’re strapped for cash in Buenos Aires don’t panic, you can still enjoy good food on a budget: Santos Manjares (Calle Paraguay 938) is a hidden gem which serves a variety of delicious steaks at affordable prices, and the service is great. Be aware that it’s open in the daytime only. Another place to check out is The Burger Joint (Calle Jorge Luis Borges 1776). Here you’ll find good quality burgers, and with you’ll be spoilt for choice with the different options - from Mexican, to Blue Cheese, to Classic - all equally tasty! If you’re after pizza, don’t miss La Mezzetta (Avenida Alvarez Thomas 1321) for the best pizza you’ll have ever tasted - the Fugazzetta is famous here! For some authentic Argentinean grilled meat, head to Nuestra Parrilla (Carlos Calvo 471) – it’s a small place, but you’ll spot it by the long line of locals – a sure sign of a good food joint!
Buenos Aires is alive 24/7: this is the perfect city for party people and night owls! Remember to pace yourself and don’t start early – it’s perfectly normal here to go for dinner at 11pm, and don’t even think about turning up to a nightclub any earlier than 2am! The popular place to go for nightlife is Puerto Madero, which is near the Casa Rosada and is safe both day and night. The Recoleta, found close to the cemetery, is another great place to try. There are plenty of places, from energetic clubs to more calm and relaxed bars, pubs and cafes, the last of which Buenos Aires is famous for.
Whilst in Buenos Aires, you can’t miss the opportunity to experience tango – you’re in the city where this famous dance originated from! Senor Tango (Barracas Calle Hipolito Vieytes 1655) is where you can see one of the best tango shows: stunning, extravagant, and highly professional, you’re guaranteed an evening of first-class entertainment. You can choose to reserve with dinner if you wish.
Electronic music is big in Buenos Aires: one place not to miss is Pacha (Avenida Costanera R. Obligado). This venue attracts big-name DJs, and has a river-side location and a rooftop terrace. Be aware that it’s a little far-flung from the central area. If techno isn’t your thing, why not try Terrazas del Este (Av. Costanera Norte Rafael Obligado 2221) – here you can find anything from hip hop to Cumbia. This place has several floors, bars, and different dance areas, with it’s main selling point being the terrace – here you can dance the night away and enjoy the river-side view. For drinks and cocktails, go to Floreria Atlantico (Arroyo 872) – you’ll be surprised to know it functions as a flower shop by day, and an underground bar by night!
Buenos Aires - during the summer months - of December through to March - averages about 25 degrees Celsius during the day. At night it is more refreshing, normally between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius. In the winter months the temperature averages around 15 – 18 degrees Celsius, but can drop to about 10 degrees Celsius and rise to 20 degrees Celsius. The rainy time of the year is over the summer months, beginning in October and lasting until March.
Buenos Aires has an international airport that serves to almost every main city in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, as well as all the main cities in Argentina. It is located 35km from the city centre, and travelling between these two points can be done by coach (Manuel Tienda Leon company) or bus (number 8 bus).
Another option is by bus – the Retiro terminal is located north of the city. Tickets can be bought online (plataforma10.com), but you’re sure to get a better deal by going directly to the terminal and asking around a few different companies. Buenos Aires also has an outstanding bus service that provides transport to all of Argentina, as well as Chile. To get to Buenos Aires from Mendoza, it will take 12-14 hours, from Cordoba it’s 9 hours, from Bariloche it’s 22 hours, and from Santiago de Chile it’s 20 hours.
There is also the option of arriving in Buenos Aires by boat from Urguay (Colonia and Montevideo). As Buenos Aires lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, it is accessible to cruise ships and freighters alike. The ticket costs around $10 (there is also the option to upgrade your boat for a more enjoyable trip). Companies operating this journey include Colonia Express, Buquebus, and Ferrytour. There are plenty of options for arriving into Buenos Aires, and it is one of the most accessible cities in South America.
Buenos Aires has plenty of lodging options all over the city. In the San Telmo district you can find many of the hostels and cheaper hotels. In parts of the city like Palermo and Puerto Madero, you can find the higher end and fancier hotels of the city. There are also many apartments available to rent in the city. The city of Buenos Aires has no shortage of places to stay and it offers all types of lodging.
One place is Pop Hotel (Juan Ramírez de Velasco 793), which is modern, comfortable, and well located with a metro station close by. The décor is pop art style, and breakfast is typical Argentinean-style, with juice and croissants. America del Sur Hostel (Chacabuco 718) offers small dorms and privates, has informative staff, and a common area with a kitchen (no bar – but you can bring your own drinks!). If you’re after something fancy, go to Home Hotel (Honduras 5860) – a beautiful, boutique hotel with a pool, located in the chic Palermo neighbourhood.
Buenos Aires is one of biggest cities in South America, and like any large city has its bad parts. Try to avoid the less touristy areas of the city, and at night-time stay within the main plazas. Always be cautious and do not wander around the city alone, especially after dark. When taking public transport, make sure to watch your belongings, and be sure to travel in licensed taxis.