Written By: Marinella Yule
Heading to Buenos Aires, the capitol of Argentina? Not sure what to do? On a tight schedule? Or are you just looking to learn more about this European-like South American country?
I originally went to Argentina for 6 weeks on my gap year between high school and university. I fell in love with it so much I went back for a study abroad experience during university and stayed for 6 months. If you are unsure of traveling solo like I have done, be sure to read my own insights into solo traveling! However, Buenos Aires would be a lovely spot for a group trip or a buddy trip as there are so many sights and experiences to share (like tango dancing!).
I have compiled this list of things to do in Buenos Aires for Your Life Travel blog in order to give some insights on the top highlights as I understand, not everyone can go for 6 months!
This is the more posh area of the city. The buildings have more of a European charm and it even holds one of the most beautiful cemeteries, at least that I have seen. Eva Peron, the famous first lady who Madonna played in the movie Evita, is buried in this cemetery. Every Sunday, there is an artisan market. This is not to be missed!
2. La Boca
This is considered “the other side of the tracks,” but don’t worry, the tourist part is amazingly colorful- in all the right ways! This area is full of rainbow colored buildings and tango street dancers. You will also find artists looking to sell their paintings along the different streets. This area also holds the famous soccer or futbol stadium- La Boca Juniors. Try seeing a match! But I would go for the people watching and cultural observation rather than the actual game.
3. Puerto Madero
This new and modern section of Buenos Aires follows the river. There is a bridge that is apparently a woman dancing. It is close to a natural park that many walk or bicycle around. In fact, just like most major cities in the world, Buenos Aires has one of those rent a bicycle programs. Also along the river are different food “huts,” think food truck, but no truck, which sell traditional Argentine food such as choripan!
One could describe this area as the middle class as well as the nightlife scene. There are so many bars, clubs, and restaurants that the nightlife scene is endless! During the day, you can find different shopping experiences and apartment buldings. In terms of nightlife, anyone who is cool won’t go to the bar or club until one or two am and then won’t leave until six or seven. Get a good nap in before heading out!
5. San Telmo
Just like Recoletta, San Telmo is known for its Sunday artisan markets that line the major streets of this section of Buenos Aires. Take a few hours in the morning and wander around the different vendors. There are certain sections of the street market that are only antique items. Besides this street fair, one can find hommage to one of Argentina’s famous comic characters, Mafalda, as well as other well known comics. Try to spot all the statues as you walk around.
6. Metal Flower
This metal flower opens and closes with the sun just like a real flower. Often, it is broken and permanently open, but you might luck out and get to see it close at sunset! It is also surrounded by green grass, so come for a picnic! Right next to it is one of the biggest public university’s (La Universidad de Buenos Aires, la UBA) law building. It is quite beautiful and offers great seating for the sunset.
7. Old Theater Bookstore
This old theater has been converted to a bookstore, but still has the beautiful architecture. Located on Santa Fe street in the Palermo/Recoleta area, its neighbors are other shops one could browse through for the latest fashion.
8. Fine Arts Museum
This museum holds master pieces for Argentine and other South American artists. It also contains some European works, but definitely go for the South American pieces as they are truly unique and different than what is seen in major museums in New York or Paris.
9. Calle 9 de Julio
One of the biggest streets in the world. This street composes of about 10 lanes in total. It separates Puerto Madero/downtown and Recoleta/Palermo. In the middle of the street is a giant obelisk that is a big attention grabber.
10. Calle Florida
Close to Calle 9 de Julio is Calle Florida, a very touristy street. If you are looking for a souvenir and couldn’t find one at any of the artisan markets, check out these shops! But also beware, since it is known for tourists, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings. Another interesting observation is all the people looking to exchange money on the black market or blue market as it is called. Due to the high exchange rate of US dollars to Argentine peso, the blue market might be better for Americans and Argentines can get more US dollar quickly. Again, be careful as sometimes they will give you fake bills instead.
11. Casa Rosada
This is the White House of Argentina, but because it is pink colored it is called Rosada (pink in Spanish). You can take a tour of the place and see where the politics happen.
12. Plaza de Mayo
This square situated in front of Casa Rosada is known for when Argentina had its dictatorship and many mothers came to protest because their children and grandchildren had gone missing and were most likely dead. These women were protesting that they wanted the truth of their missing relatives and to end the tyranny. In the square are painted head scarves on the floor to represent these women.
Because it is located in front of the government house, it still hosts many protests today.
Argentina is home to Tango. For sure, any visitor needs to watch a tango show or participate in a class. It is a must. You can also visit the home of the Father of Tango, Carlos Gardel, who sang many tango songs. This dance definitely gives insight into how passionate and romantic Argentines are.
I hope this inspired you to visit Buenos Aires and Argentina in general even if it is just for a week. I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back yet for a third time!