Visiting Buenos Aires - What to See and Do
(Buenos Aires Ezeiza International Airport EZE, Argentina)
Buenos Aires certainly deserves its nickname 'The Paris of South America' if for no other reason than the European flair of its architecture, boulevard attractions and lazy café culture are remarkably similar to the French capital. This is one of those rare cities in South America where it is a challenge to tire of shopping in Palermo Viejo or soaking in the café culture of the historic Recoleta district.
Argentina's capital is as cosmopolitan as it gets in this corner of the world, with tango salons dancing late into the night and some of the finest native steak restaurants on the planet. You may like to spend the days lounging in the parks of Palermo before hitting San Telmo for some Argentine jazz.
The local Portenos love to be outside, whether sipping espressos along leafy Palermo streets or browsing one of the many outdoor markets. Buenos Aires is bursting with life, and is so infectious that many visitors find it painfully hard to catch their return flight home.
Ten things you must do in Buenos Aires
- Catch a tango show at any of the top-flight venues around the city. Tango shows come in many flavours in Buenos Aires, from the over-the-top Vegas-style sexiness in Senor Tango to the elegance of the Esquina Carlos Gardel performance backed by a symphony in the Abasto district.
- Browse the capital's myriad local outdoor markets such as Sunday's San Telmo Antiques Fair in the colonial-era Plaza Dorrego. Enjoy expert tango shows for free while hunting for collectables and crafts. The Feria de Plaza Francia is another amazing way to spend an afternoon with food, live music, handicraft stalls and a sublime outdoor setting.
- Take in the grandiose architecture of Buenos Aires with a self-guided walking tour along the Avenida de Mayo, where the Casa Rosada (President's mansion) and other fantastic neoclassical buildings still preen after more than a century. The Avenida Roque Saenz Pena is another inspiring boulevard starting off at the Plaza de Mayo.
- Experience the artistic prowess of Argentine painters at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), where the best modern artwork of this passionate nation is displayed. Afterwards, check out the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - another of the capital's impressive art repositories.
- Allow yourself to get lost in the historic neighbourhoods of San Telmo and Monserrat, where elegantly decaying 19th-century houses and their wrought-iron balconies provide as much timeless atmosphere as most visitors can handle. Linger in unknown cafés for a breather, discover one-of-a-kind clothing shops and grab a taxi home from wherever you end up.
- Take time out from the capital's urban pleasures to enjoy its remarkable city parks in Palermo, along the Avenida Libertador. Famous for their purple jacaranda trees that paint the city every September and October, these parks are among the world's finest. A series of small parks, like the Japanese Gardens and the Rose Garden, link together along an urban path system where cultural highlights such as the MALBA museum are right on hand.
- Shop 'til you drop in this fashion-savvy city. From the intimate boutiques found only in Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho to the global fashion houses lining the Avenida Alvear, Buenos Aires is a clothes-hound's dream come true.
- Buenos Aires is legendary for its cuisine, especially pampas-fed beef. Head to the Las Canitas neighbourhood, and Calle Baez in particular, to discover some of the city's top restaurants. To add to the fun, Calle Baez is also one of the city's hot spots for nightlife.
- Calle Florida is arguably the best place to wander around during the day. It is pedestrianised, features dozens of local-style shops to browse and abounds in street performances. Grab a front row bench if you can and watch tango dancers, musicians and other circus-style attractions blow your mind for free.
- Soccer fans in Buenos Aires won't want to miss the passion of a match featuring either of the capital's two top-flight clubs - the Boca Juniors and also River Plate. From February to November, Argentina's soccer season offers plenty of home games at the Estadio Boca Juniors. Expect a raucous party every time a match is played both inside and outside the historic stadium in San Telmo.