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places to eat, drink, stuff to do and see in the lovely port city of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

Restaurants & Food

  • Famous & fancy: Patagonia Sur
  • Pizzeria Guerrin excellent pizza, maybe the best in the city
  • Some cute cafes, all equally good, nice for breakfast or lunch: Malvon, Oui Oui
  • Historic cafe: Las Violetas
  • STEAK: some good places I've been are:
    • Social la Lechuza - ok, probably not the best steak in town, but for ambiance this place is neat, it's a social club with an owl (la lechuza) theme, walls are covered in customer drawings of, yes, owls. I like the joint.
    • Palermo: Parrilla Peña or El Pensador Parrilla
    • San Telmo: La Brigada
    • La Boca: El Obrero
    • More TK
  • NOT Steak - because you might get sick of it, some great places to eat are:
    • Sarkis middle eastern
    • More TK

Ice Cream

Buenos Aires has a bit of an ice cream scene.

  1. Del Viento - Palermo - "another young heladería bringing flavors from the south – try their Patagonian cream, it’s insane."
  2. Heladería Scannapieco - Palermo - "founded by an Italian immigrant in 1938, offers top-notch European-style scoops (definitely try sambayón)."
  3. OCCO - "new generation ice cream", "array of cool flavor combinations like alfajores cookies and cream"

Markets

  • San Telmo
  • More TK

Culture

  • MALBA modern art museum
  • Recoleta Cemetery - MUST GO, this is a huge, unique, beautiful cemetery, more like a city of the dead, row after row of mausoleums with the (former) elite of Buenos Aires buried there, including Eva Peron.
  • Tango in...
    • San Telmo market
    • La Boca
    • TK
  • the Boca neighborhood is a good place to walk around during the day, home to La Bombonera stadium (map) where local team the Boca Junior's play football, a gorgeous street museum El Caminito and a restaurant by Argentina's most famous chef, Francis Mallmann, Patagonia Sur.
  • There's a retro amusement park & arcade on the top floors of the Abasto shopping mall (which is in a fun area for street shopping btw) called Neverland, that I found accidentally and think is charming.
  • Do you like Jorge Luis Borges? He grew up in Buenos Aires. This NYT article has some locations, and the house he grew up in is in Palermo. (I love the author.)
  • Temaiken Zoo is nearby the city (you can get a bus) and supposed to be really lovely, I haven't made it there but might try to go this time. http://www.buenosairescityguide.com/Parks-Attractions/Temaiken-Zoo/

Drinks & Night Clubs

Day Trips

Carlos Keen, Argentina

Carlos Keen grew around the town’s train state, as did many Argentine (and American) towns. When the trains stopped, the town quit growing. Now, the freeway keeps the city alive as it brings Portenos from Capital Federale to enjoy a luncheon of pasta or meat in a handful of restaurants. Picturesque in an eerie way, the town has the look and feel of an abandoned movie set for a spaghetti Western.

La Plata

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina, kind of. Think of two concentric circles. Buenos Aires Capital Federale is the central core. The surrounding area is the Buenos Aires Province or state. La Plata is the capital of Buenos Aires Province. Residents who live on the outskirts of Buenos Aires Capital Federale are said to live in ‘Greater Buenos Aires’.

Confused? Good. Now forget all about that free civics lesson and focus on La Plata. Located about 35 miles from Buenos Aires, La Plata is called the ‘City of Diagonals’ as the street layout is diagonal with a plaza every seven blocks. Favoring European-style architecture, the city is home to a world-class national history museum. Children could enjoy a visit to Children’s City — the largest theme park on the continent. One of Argentina’s oldest cathedral is also located in La Plata.

San Antonio de Areco

Hidden among green farmlands 70 miles from the capital, San Antonio de Areco is thought by many to be one of the nation’s more historic sites. In the middle of La Pampa, the city’s history is built around Argentine cowboys — or ‘gauchos‘. Eat asado (barbecue) and watch gauchos as they display riding skills. The only sights are a few museums, but the town’s colonial streets can be memorable. Leathergoods, silverware, and rope can be purchased directly from the shops where they’re made, and each November the town hosts Fiesta de la Tradicion – a day celebrating goucho traditions in honor of the poet Jose Hernandez.

### Tigre Delta

Tigre Parana Delta is 20 miles north of Buenos Aires. The trip can be made by boat, train or car as the area is accessible and convenient. A favorite getaway for Portenos, Tigre Delta is one of the largest deltas in the world. With interconnecting paths and a modern canal system, boat rides into the delta give a peek at local stilt homes as well as colonial mansions.

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

Since the Portuguese in 1680, through disputes with the Spanish, many have perpetually sought to get a slice of this Uruguayan town. UNESCO named Colonia’s historic quarter a World Heritage Site in 1995. Just across Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires, the crossing takes either three hours or one hour, depending on which ferry you use. The ferry terminal, BUQUEBUS (pronounced BOO-key-boose), is conveniently located in Buenos Aires. Regardless of how you get over the river, be sure to take your driver’s license; you can hire a golf cart or scooter when you get to Colonia — they recognize all legitimate American driver’s licenses.

Montevideo

Visiting Montevideo in a 10-hour day is doable. Founded by Portugal’s early explorers and ruled by Spaniards, Montevideo is the southernmost capital found on the Rio de Plata. Portenos visit Montevideo to see Ciudad Vieja – ‘Old Town’ – which has numerous colonial buildings, museums, and art galleries. Tourists head to 18 de Julio Avenida to see the art deco buildings and to shop.

Cool Neighborhoods

Villa Crespo

Just southwest of Palermo, Villa Crespo hasn’t quite been gobbled up by Palermo — yet. The barrio is still a great place to stay or just stroll about. It is just a matter of time before the barrio becomes another branch of Palermo. Artsy and scrappy becomes prohibitively expensive, and Villa Crespo is the hot commodity of the moment. A cosmopolitan part of town, there are no major sights. There are, however, various cultures mingling in the streets that bring an old-world feel.

Villa Crespo has been informally associated with Buenos Aires’ Jewish community, with several synagogues located in the barrio. The Jewish migration was minimal until the 1930s and previously had been filled with farming colonies and other rural activities. Today, Villa Crespo is home to a mix of different cultures — just like the rest of Buenos Aires.

Caballito

Caballito borders Villa Crespo to the north and Almagro and Boedo to the east, keeping a fairly low profile, even if it is the precise geographic center of the city. Caballito literally translated means ‘little horse’. The name comes from the horse (caballo)-shaped weather vane on top of a pulperia (gauchos’ bar).

The Historical Tramway Museum of Buenos Aires is located in Caballito as well as ‘Mercado del Progreso’ (Market of Progress).

Caballito citizens have a few large plazas to enjoy. The two most important are Parque Rivadavia and Parque Centenario. Parque Centenario, one of Buenos Aires’ largest, has a lake and a mile-long jogging route around the perimeter.

La Boca

Soccer, or ‘futbol’, fans will want to see the La Bombonera stadium, home of the Boca Juniors. La Boca marks the original settlement before yellow fever forced the well-heeled to move to San Telmo. A brightly painted ghetto, the PROA art gallery is located here.

A working class barrio, La Boca has built a reputation for being subject to more crime than central areas. Tourist areas are usually safe, but taking a wrong turn can put a person at risk, so keep your wits about you.

Restaurant owners in La Boca are happy to see visitors. The eateries here are not as crowded as in more traditional barrios. Expect good food, excellent service, and a low price.

San Telmo

Cobblestone streets, a faded grandeur, and a large street market put San Telmo on tourists’ maps. Tourists find San Telmo romantic and most ‘Porteño’ of Buenos Aires. The barrio is gentrifying and has narrow streets, so it’s not as dangerous as in the past, but be careful at night. Most visitors stay at hostels and boutique hotels. San Telmo is accessed easily by stations on Subte line C, which follows Avenida 9 de Julio.

One of the earliest barrios in the capital, San Telmo, has undergone a decline, but a fresh focus on tourism has brought many improvements and now the neighborhood is a barrio on the rise. A favorite with tourists, San Telmo, has charming locations and is great for antiques hunting. Each Sunday shoppers linger around a giant open air market as tango strut move around the street.

Barracas

In the 1800s Barracas was the popular barrio where everything happened. Then came the yellow fever epidemic and things changed.

Several wealthy families owned property in Barracas during the 20th century. Modest cafés opened, and factories dominated the economy until 1980. Freeway construction through Barracas led to the demolition of 20 residential buildings and two public parks. As a result, the barrio became the stage for activist Fernando Pino Solanas’s film, Sur, about a man released from prison after the military coup who is trying to come to terms with how life has changed.

Homes in Barracas – located in the south-east of Buenos Aires – have colorful façades. Local artist Marino Santa Maria started painting home fronts in the 1990s, and his work has sparked other redevelopment projects.

Palermo Soho

Palermo Soho is bordered by the thoroughfares Santa Fe, Cordoba, Dorrego and Coronel Diaz and contains Plaza Serrano. Liberally sprinkled with cafés, restaurants, and boutiques, Palermo leans toward trendy, creative, chic and young.

A small area wrapped around Palermo Viejo, Palermo Soho is becoming the fashionable destination for design, bars and street culture. The atmosphere through Palermo Soho tries to be ‘alternative’, and the area is popular with young, upper-middle class Argentinians.

The traditional low (single story) houses have been reworked into boutiques and bars leaving a bohemian feel.

Palermo Hollywood

Most of Buenos Aires’ radio and television studios are in Palermo Hollywood, but the barrio is becoming known for its nightlife and includes some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

Palermo Hollywood earned its name in the mid-1990s when television and radio broadcasters established stations in the area.

Along with Palermo Soho, the barrio is best known for a dense concentration of restaurants, clubs, cafés, and an active nightlife.

Recoleta

Possibly the most affluent barrio in Buenos Aires, Recoleta holds immense interest for historians and is the home of the impressive Recoleta Cemetery — Eva Perón’s resting place. The cemetery is filled with ornate mausoleums and tombs. Some are well preserved, but others are dilapidated. Despite its popularity, Recoleta Cemetery is not the largest in Argentina; that mantle goes to Chacarita.

Some tourists feel Recoleta is like being on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, with its lavish homes and plush hotels.

Like the Palermo barrios nearby, Recoleta is building a reputation for being the latest ‘hip’ place to see and be seen in Buenos Aires. Don’t even think about having dinner in Recoleta until after 10PM, though — that’s when the restaurants start serving.

Good to Know

  1. Most places have free wifi, which the locals pronounce "wee-fee"
  2. Speaking of the locals, they call themselves "porteños" (BsAs is a port city)
  3. The dialect of spanish spoken there differs from continental spanish in a few ways, in particular how "ll" is pronounced: like a "j" instead of a "y" (pollo is poh-jhoh instead of poy-yo)
  4. Despite being a port city, BsAs has historically turned its back on the water, only recently developing the waterfront area. Check out the Puerto Madero area around Puente de la Mujer (woman's bridge) for a lot of new stuff.
  5. Walk around any part of the city and you'll find a rich tradition of street art. Link
  6. There's more than one exchange rate in Argentina. It used to be a lot more profitable to use the non-official rate (aka "blue dollar" market) but I just looked and it seems their current president cleaned the place up. There goes that tip, but maybe still worth looking into (I used xoom.com in the past and ended up with 3x the amount of pesos than the official...)

More Links & Recs

6 Reasons you should visit Buenos Aires before you die

Best Food Markets

15 must visit attractions in argentina

10 best wine bars in buenos aires

10 of the best restaurants in buenos aires

15 epic places locals wished were kept secret in argentina

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