"Without the streets or dusks of Buenos Aires, a tango cannot be written."
- Jorge Luis Borges
I'll start by saying it's really hard to go wrong with this city. Good food, friendly people... need I say more? It has a very romantic, fun energy that will keep you occupied throughout your stay, regardless of what you choose to do. That being said, in order to maximize your Buenos Aires experience, here is a list of my top 10 favorite things to do in the capital of Argentina.
FOR A LIST OF MY FAVORITE STREET FOOD SPOTS AND RESTAURANTS, CLICK HERE
1. La Fería Mataderos
This is probably one of the most fun, authentic experiences you'll have while in Buenos Aires. Mataderos means slaughter house in Spanish, because the region used to be home to the city's largest livestock market. Nowadays the area is mostly made up of residential homes and small businesses, but they still hold the La Fería Mataderos fair every Sunday.
Dancing, live music, street food, art, and horse racing. Who could say no to all that?! It's easy to spend most of the afternoon here, getting lost among the numerous street vendors and locals.
Hours: 11am-8pm Sun, April - December
6pm-midnight Sat, January - March
Address: Avs Lisandro de la Torre & de los Corrales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
2. La Catedral (Tango!)
No list about Buenos Aires is complete without tango dancing, and La Catedral is second to none. Located in Almagro, this upstairs bar occupies the entire second floor of a decades old building. The real selling point of this place is the atmosphere. Dark lighting, rugged wooden tables. it has an elegant,yet very real feeling to it.
Professional tango dancers will usually perform in the center but they also offer beginner courses and open sessions to anyone adventurous enough to try.
Price: Varies (typically 90 pesos for a jug of beer, 100 for a tango class)
Hours: 11am - 4am
Address: Sarmiento 4006, Buenos Aires, Argentina
3. Mercardo San Telmo
San Telmo itself is a pretty cool little neighborhood packed with trendy shopping and graffitied walls. It's a nice place to wander around for a couple hours, just getting to know the people and the city.
The reason most come here though, is for the market. From fresh produce and meat, to antiques and clothing, this market has it all. I'd recommend coming here early in the morning for breakfast and a coffee (some of the best in the city!). Then wander around the various stall for an hour or two, before heading out to check out the rest of the neighborhood.
Hours: Daily (although some stalls only open on weekends)
Address: Carlos Calvo 495, C1102AAI CABA, Argentina
4. Recoleta Cemetery
Listed as one of the world's greatest cemetery's by BBC, Recoleta sits on about 14 acres and is the resting place of over 10,000 people from all over the world. Several Argentinian presidents are buried here as well as Nobel prize winners and even a granddaughter of Napoleon.
Free English guided tours are also available starting 11am at the main entrance (Tuesdays and Thursdays).
Hours: 7:00am - 5:30pm
Address: Junín 1760, 1113 CABA, Argentina
5. Cafe San Bernardo
It may be called a cafe but San Bernardo is anything but. As with most places in Buenos Aires, San Bernardo is open well past midnight, serving cheap beer, playing good music and offering some pretty decent food.
The real reason to come here though is to witness the ping pong competition which happens every Tuesday night around 8pm. "Tuesday night is a hipster dreamland with not a gringo in sight providing cheap drinks, dreadlocked DJs and a wild ping-pong competition. " I mean you can't argue with that right?
Price: Free (drinks will cost you around 70 pesos)
Hours: 9am - 4am
Address: Av. Corrientes 5436, Buenos Aires, Argentina
6. Palermo Soho
Palermo Soho is the largest barrio in Buenos Aires, full of plazas, restaurants, and parks. This is where most Argentinians come to relax and on weekends, street fairs and festivals pop up all over the neighborhood.
The perfect place to grab lunch and watch the city go by.
Address: Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires
7. La Boca
Full of tango dancers, street musicians and outdoor restaurants, La Boca would be the perfect neighborhood in Buenos Aires... unfortunately it has become a tourist hotspot so some of the charm gets lost in all the chaos.
That being said there are still a few good reasons to come here, namely La Bombonera. This 50,000 person stadium is home to the Boca Juniors futbol team, and catching a game here is a must if your in Buenos Aires (expect to fend off against a rowdy crowd of drunk Argentinians!). One of the most authentic experiences you can have.
Price: Free (for futbol games check this site)
Hours: Always open
Address: Just ask anybody for "La Boca" and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
8. Cafe Vinilo
If you're looking for good live music, Cafe Vinilo is definitelythe place. This small neighborhood cafe has a wide variety of jazz, tango, folklore and live music almost every day of the week. Boasting a wide variety of local musicians and well-known artists, You'll be able to get your fill of Argentine music.
Because of the size of the cafe, the setting is very intimate and it's easy to meet new people and make friends.
Price: Free (drinks will cost about 80 pesos)
Hours: 7pm - 2am
Address: Gorriti 3780 (near Gorriti and Jeronimo Salguero, Palermo neighborhood)
And yes, that guy is brushing his teeth!
If you're tied of all the chaos and fast paced life that is traditional of Buenos Aires, Tigre is the perfect solution. Located just 45min outside the city it feels like you've entered an entirely new world.
It has been dubbed the "Undeveloped Venice" because of its extensive canal network and beautiful weather. The train to get there is only two pesos so you don't have to break the bank to get there. I'd say the best way to organize you day is to leave around 10am and then walk around and grab lunch at one of the many waterfront restaurants.
Price: 2 pesos for the train and 75 for the ferry
Address: There are two main stations that run trains to Tigre, the Retiro Mitre railway station and the Ciudad Universitaria railway station.
10. Japanese Gardens
The Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires are the largest in the world (outside of Japan, of course). Completed in 1967, the gardens officially opened during a State visit to Argentina by Princess Michiko of Japan. How's that for a welcome gift?
The gardens cover over 4.5 acres and are made up of trees, plants, and grasses all imported directly from Japan.
Price: 70 pesos (~$5 USD)
Hours: 10am - 6pm
Address: Av. Casares 2966, 1425 CABA, Argentina
WHERE TO STAY?
The best place to stay is probably Palermo Soho or San Telmo. Both are great neighborhoods to walk around in and are decently priced (I recommend using Air BnB). The one advantage that Palermo has is it is slightly more central to most of the attractions in Buenos Aires, but the city is so large you end up taking taxis to most of the places you'll visit.