Best Things To Do in Buenos Aires
In a single trip, it's near impossible to experience everything Buenos Aires has to offer: cemetery-strolling, boutique-shopping, opera-watching, and tango-dancing. But watching a soccer match or leisurely sipping an espresso at a local café is an excellent way to start your visit. You'll want to stroll through La Boca and San Telmo to shop, catch a street-side dance performance, and walk through the colorful Caminito. But don't miss out on the cache of contemporary art showcased at the MALBA or the spectacular performances at the Colón Theater. You'll also want to carve out time for hidden gems like the El Zanjón de Granados and the Zen-like Rose Garden Walk (Paseo del Rosedal).
Updated June 24, 2019
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The chic, sprawling neighborhood of Palermo in north Buenos Aires is divided into three parts: Alto Palermo, Palermo Chico, and Palermo Viejo (which is further broken into Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood). Alto Palermo is known for its museums and urban parks, like Carlos Thays Botanical Garden. Palermo Chico, which hosts extravagant mansions tucked behind the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA), is a hidden spot often overlooked by tourists. And Palermo Viejo is where you'll encounter the most color and local flair. Palermo Soho houses a trove of high-end boutiques, bustling cafés and bars, and cobble-stoned streets. Neighboring Palermo Hollywood, located just north of Soho, brims with lively tapas bars, film studios, and festive outdoor markets.
Most travelers agree vibrant Palermo is a comfortable place to stay with easy access to public transportation and authentic restaurants. "Safe, fun, great food, trendy […]. While Recoleta still receives all the referrals Palermo was for us a better representation of what Argentina was really like," claims one TripAdvisor user. There's plenty to do in Palermo. The only question is where to start. You can reach Palermo easily via subte Line D to Bulnes.
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To get your culture fix, you'll want to head straight to the Fería De Mataderos. Here, guachos (similar to cowboys) saunter on majestic horses and market vendors offer a colorful array of crafts and food. Ornately costumed tango dancers ignite the streets with traditional country dancing and guachos rival each other in Argentinean contests to win prizes. If you tire of watching all the fun from afar, you can sign up for boleadoras (guacho classes). And if you should get hungry, you'll find no shortage of tasty steak sandwiches to munch on and scrumptious local wines to leisurely sip.
Recent visitors enjoyed the festive ambience of the Fería De Mataderos. One TripAdvisor user comments, "I loved the atmosphere of Feria de Mataderos [...] With its gauchos, dancers and musicians this fair is organized for and by local people, not for tourists." If you don't have time to trek to Fería De Mataderos, head to the vibrant and festive outdoor Sunday market along San Telmo's Defensa Street instead.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Buenos AiresParks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
When you tire of meandering down the bustling Avenue Libertador, take respite at the city's tranquil rose garden. Located in Palermo Woods (also known as Parque Tres de Febrero), this lush green space bursts with color thanks to more than 1,000 species of roses found here. The Rose Garden exudes a Zen-like charm similar to Paris' Tuileries. The path extends into to a serene Poet's Garden and features an Andalusian patio, teeming with colorful tiles imported from Seville.
One TripAdvisor user exclaims "This area is beautiful, relaxing and charming worth several photos and pleasant to walk through or roller skate around."
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This beloved cemetery—located in the ritzy Recoleta neighborhood—is the resting place of many notable political figures and elites in Argentine history.
You'll probably recall Madonna belting out Tim Rice's lyrics "Don't Cry for me Argentina" in her rendition as Eva "Evita" Perón in the 1978 musical, Evita. But what you may not remember is Eva Perón's role as the outspoken and influential first Lady of Argentina in 1946, nor her untimely death at age 33 from cancer. As you stroll through the cemetery, you'll not only catch a glimpse of Ms. Perón's ornate resting place, but also discover a wide array of art nouveau, art deco, and modernist mausoleums. Another highlight is the towering Círculo Militar, a black structure imported from Paris that features stunning white marble angels. One TripAdvisor user comments, "It is a necropolis full of architectural art. A visit to the city wouldn't be complete without this."
- #5View all Photos#5 in Buenos AiresMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
For art aficionados, the National Museum of Fine Arts is an aesthetic wonderland. The collection sprawls across 30 rooms and three floors, showcasing international art from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Inside, works of Rembrandt, Goya, Manet, Modigliani, and Picasso hang on the walls. The museum's permanent Latin American and Argentine collections can be found on the first floor, while temporary exhibitions are located throughout the building and in the outdoor pavilion.
Recent visitors highlight the museum's stunning presentation and design. One TripAdvisor user comments, "If you enjoy outstanding art, superbly presented, in a wonderful atmosphere, this is the museum to visit." Travelers also suggest purchasing an audio guide upon entrance, since most titles and descriptions are written in Spanish. Audio guides cost 36 ARS (approximately $8 USD).
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When visitors want to take an evening stroll, many head to Puerto Madero, where dazzling city lights illuminate the port that once served as a major destination for European trade. During the day, this area rests as a quiet business hub, but by night, this little neighborhood bursts with energy. Trendy porteños flock to the neighborhood steak and seafood restaurants and tango at festive dance clubs. Standout spots include Rojo Tango and Asia de Cuba, which are both for their sultry dancing and festive décor.
Recent visitors highlight the wide variety of cuisine available here as well as the striking Puente de La Mujer (Bridge of Woman), a white structure designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. Calatrava's bridge is speculated to have been inspired by tango dancers. According to one TripAdvisor user, "The modern architecture is breathtaking. Across the woman's bridge (a sight in itself) is a good museum of modern art […] great for an afternoon stroll." You'll find Puerto Madero just north of San Telmo and La Boca.
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With its extensive collection of avant-garde 19th- and 20th-century works, the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) is an essential stopover for art lovers. The museum features the private collection of Eduardo Costanini, a real estate tycoon with an eye for iconic art. Highlights include the works of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Antonio Berni. In addition to its temporary exhibits, the museum also hosts film and lecture series throughout the year.
Many visitors are just as impressed with the museum's contemporary design as they are with its art. One TripAdvisor user comments, "The range of modern art, both Latin American and North American, is phenomenal and the space and book store are terrific."
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Essentially a playground, this interactive museum is comprised of rooms where kids explore a miniature Buenos Aires. Complete with a hospital, a newsroom, a TV station, and a post office, they run around replicas of city landmarks. Kids particularly love climbing through the mock plumbing system and playing doctor, reporter, and other professions. One TripAdvisor raves, "I was blown away. This place exceeds every other place I have secretly been bored in before."
The museum is located in Abasto Shopping Center, a massive complex found southwest of Recoleta and accessible from Corrientes Avenue. You can easily reach the museum via the Gardel subte stop. Admission on weekends costs 50 ARS (about $11.50 USD) for children and 20 ARS (about $4.50) for adults. On weekdays, prices increase to 55 ARS (about $12.50) for children and 20 ARS for adults. The museum welcomes visitors from 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. For additional information, consult the Children's Museum's official website (written in Spanish).
- #9View all Photos#9 in Buenos AiresHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
When you tire of rummaging through San Telmo's designer racks and museums, head over to El Zanjón de Granados for insight into Buenos Aires' far-stretching, 500-year history. From the outside, the building looks like an immense, lavish mansion. But beneath this glamorous structure, you'll catch a glimpse of Buenos Aires' past as you traverse a maze of ancient Spanish settlements.
Tour guides relay enchanting tales of the city's history as you descend into through El Zanjón's network of underground tunnels. You'll admire ancient artifacts, old walls, and flooring and decide what to believe for yourself. One TripAdvisor describes a visit here as a "fascinating look at the past."
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If you came to Buenos Aires to dance, sashay your way over to this stylish southern neighborhood where tango has left its mark. Though its streets garnered a reputation for seediness in the early 1990's, the area has since blossomed into jam-packed bohemian blocks. Meander through San Telmo's cobbled streets and you'll pass colonial houses, quaint cafés, traditional restaurants, eclectic shops, and festive flamenco and tango clubs.
For shopping, venture to Calle Defensa, a narrow, cobbled street lined with stores. For food, sit down at La Brigada, a steakhouse known for its hearty steak dishes. And for dancing, head to Independencia Street, which brims with nightclubs. If you happen to find yourself in San Telmo on a Sunday, you'll also want to peruse the vibrant San Telmo market in Plaza Dorrego, where you can pick up some fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and vintage clothing. One TripAdvisor comments, "There are lots of things to do […] getting lost in the endless antique stores, people-watching in a café, gorging on meat and wine in a parrilla."
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For a taste of Argentine's exuberant spirit, take a stroll along Corrientes Avenue. This is where tango dancers have congregated since the booming 1930's and where Broadway-esque performers riveted audiences. Cinemas and world-renowned theaters rub shoulders with charming bookstores and boutiques. Look up and you'll find a sky-high obelisk beaming above. Corrientes is also an idyllic spot for enjoying a churro and a cup of coffee as you people-watch from one of the area's European-style cafés. Apart from admiring the local architecture, particularly the monumental obelisk and the Colón Theater, you'll also find landscaped gardens, dazzling nightly tango performances, and plenty of nightlife.
One TripAdvisor user has some advice on how best to experience Corrientes: "Walk the length of the street down to obelisk to take in the full experience. Wonderful in daylight, but night time highlights the atmosphere of the avenue." Corrientes Avenue is located in Centro, just below Recoleta, and is easily reachable via subte Line D to Tribunales in Centro.
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In this verdant, 18-acre botanical garden, you can take a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city and savor the scenery from a park bench. Boasting around 5,000 species of plants, this tranquil oasis lures visitors with its versatile array of flora, as well as beautiful statues, trickling brooks, buzzing dragonflies, and organic vegetable garden. Another highlight: The garden contains a green house imported from France in 1900.
Recent visitors praise the garden's idyllic location in the heart of the city and suggest strolling through its enclosed green space when in need of respite. One TripAdvisor user describes the garden as a "very beautiful and wooded place in the middle of the city. In an hour you can enjoy it."
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This fashionable neighborhood located in southern Buenos Aires brims with trendy boutiques and art galleries. Once a gritty shipyard bustling with European immigrants, this now vibrant port houses local artists, soccer fans, and middle-class workers alike. Its name—which translates to "The Mouth"—is derived from its distinct location near the Río de la Plata (the estuary formed by the meeting of the Uruguay and Paraná rivers).
Make your way to Vuelta de Rocha's triangular plaza and you'll come upon the start of colorful Caminito, a popular pedestrian sidewalk flanked by bright murals and shimmering metal houses. Here, you'll also find the taxicab-yellow stadium of Argentina's most popular soccer team, Boca Juniors, along with lively cafés, bars, and casual tango institutions. Most travelers highlight La Boca as a tourist hotspot, but a must-see destination for Buenos Aires first-timers. According to one recent TripAdvisor user, "La Boca has a charm to it and it's summed up in one word...tango! Go there, walk around, find a cafe/restaurant to your liking and just take it in."
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This opulent opera house is as pleasing to the eyes as its performances are to the ears. Inside this grandiose space, you'll behold European-style décor ranging from Italian-marble staircases and Venetian mosaics to French stained glass and a gleaming grand chandelier. And in case you're not awed by spectacular architecture and design, the theater has welcomed a slew of world-class artists, including Richard Strauss, Igor Stravinsky, and Luciano Pavarotti. Visit between April and December to catch one of the theater's spectacular ballet or opera performances.
Recent visitors recommend splurging for an event on the Colón's majestic stage. One TripAdvisor user raves, "What a place […] Go to the trouble of seeing a performance if you can rather than just doing the guided tour."
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If you're feeling lucky, head over to this lavish French-style racetrack. Welcoming visitors since 1876, the Palermo Hippodrome hosts 10 horse races each month and features a casino, shopping area, and delectable French restaurants. Recent visitors are impressed by the beautiful race horses and the elegant facilities. "If you love horse racing, French architecture, and being near large roads than this is your spot," says one TripAdvisor user.
The Palermo Hippodrome is conveniently located off of Libertador Avenue, just a five-minute walk from downtown. If you're planning to use public transportation, take subte Line D to the Palermo stop. For more information, consult the Palermo Hippodrome's official website.
- #16View all PhotosfreePlaza de Mayo#16 in Buenos AiresHistoric Homes/Mansions, Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Tourists have flocked to this historic square ever since Argentina declared independence from Spanish colonial rule on May 25, 1810. One major draw is the Casa Rosada (or Pink House) perched at the plaza's eastern tip. Casa Rosada contains Argentina's presidential headquarters. From its lofty balcony, Evita once spoke to swarms of Peronists (members of Buenos Aires' poor labor class). Another feature is the Pirámide de Mayo (May Pyramid), which was erected to commemorate the country's uprising and holds the stature as the city's oldest monument.
Most visitors recommend visiting the plaza to gain insight into Buenos Aires' culture and history, but warn that frequent protests occur here. One TripAdvisor user comments, "The plaza, itself, is always crowded with protesters. There is ALWAYS a protest. "
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