Buenos Aires has become known around the globe for many things: as the birthplace of tango, a place to drink the famous Argentine wine and eat a delicious asado or empanadas. Even though those are all true, the city has so much more to offer. For starters, it’s a place where many of the country’s fascinating historical events have happened, so learning about what it has withstood in the past is an experience in itself.
Each neighborhood tells a different story through its buildings and architectural details. You can see the clear contrast between the oldest parts of the city like San Telmo, a “barrio” with cobblestoned streets, and Puerto Madero, full of luxury and innovation. This is exactly why we love Buenos Aires; it’s the best of both worlds! So if you’re planning to stop by this South American metropolis but don’t have much time, here’s what you can’t miss.
Have breakfast like a true “porteño”, a Buenos Aires local, by eating some “medialunas” and “facturas”, along with yerba mate or “café con leche” (coffee with milk). The “medialunas” are essentially what we know as croissants, only a little sweeter, which is a great way to start the day if you ask us. “Facturas”, on the other hand, are pastries filled with other sweet ingredients like dulce de leche or “crema pastelera” (custard). We know that after indulging in this finger-licking good food, you’ll be ready to explore the city.
An emblematic spot, Plaza de Mayo is right at the center of Buenos Aires’ history. From protests to celebrations, the square has served as a stage for many important events throughout the years. It’s the perfect place to begin your adventure because it’s surrounded by other meaningful points of interest like the Casa Rosada and Metropolitan Cathedral.
Just a short 20-minute walk away, you can also find Teatro Colón, one of the most important and best opera houses in the world. If you think the facade of the building is astonishing, wait until you see what’s inside. In one word: it’s breathtaking. The theater has hosted many famous artists over the century it’s been in operation. Among them, world-renowned singers Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo.
It’s time for a much-needed lunch break to regain energy. Except, instead of eating at a tourist-packed place with international food, you’ll go on a market and parrilla tour around San Telmo. It’s your chance to not only taste authentic Argentine dishes like empanadas, choripan, and steak, but also discover interesting finds at Mercado de San Telmo.
While you’re there and having just finished the delicious culinary tour, it’s not a bad idea to walk around. Being the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo has so much history and culture in every corner, it’s hard not to fall in love with it. Museums, churches and antique shops are some of the places you’ll run into. And don’t forget to get your camera ready to film the amazing street performers!
Learning the basic steps of tango is the perfect way to finish a history-filled day. Listening to a live orchestra, enjoying some drinks and having an unforgettable time. This passionate dance and the music are some of Buenos Aires’ cultural treasures because it’s where they originated. So you really can’t leave without having this experience and learning about the fascinating origins of this sensual dance.
Although we’re all for going off-the-beaten-path here at LocalAventura, we have to say that no trip to Buenos Aires is complete without a visit to La Boca. It’s an iconic neighborhood that most tourists put on their to-do list because it’s filled with great photo opportunities, especially in El Caminito. The bright, multicolored houses provide a perfect background for any picture.
And for those of you who are into fútbol (sorry, soccer), you will probably not want to miss paying a visit to La Bombonera, which is about three blocks away. Year after year, this chocolate-box-shaped stadium, home of the Boca Juniors club, is named one of the best in the world (according to FourFourTwo, it’s number one).
Before the day is over, there are two more parts of the city that deserve a time slot in your itinerary. First, the Recoleta neighborhood. Stunning architectural designs that date back to the end of the nineteenth century can be found here, all of which tell stories about old and present-day Buenos Aires. Just walking around the streets of Recoleta can be a great experience.
Although this “barrio” is mainly a residential area, there are several landmarks that attract travelers, the most important one being the Recoleta Cemetery. There, you’ll get a chance to see incredible mausoleums and tombstones of key people in Argentina’s history, like Evita Perón. It’s a place where you can truly understand how the events of the past have shaped the country we know today.
*Fun fact: this cemetery is usually filled with feline friends! Added bonus for fellow cat lovers.
Other spots in town you may want to visit if there’s enough time:
The second and last neighborhood in our tour is Puerto Madero. You’ll notice it looks nothing like the rest of Buenos Aires, with skyscrapers and other high-end construction. But this wasn’t always the case since, as you may have guessed from the name, it used to be the main port of the city until a few years ago when the area went under an urbanization project.
Today, it’s the home of many upscale hotels and restaurants, as well as the Puente de la Mujer, a modern footbridge that became one of the city’s most recognized postcards. See if you can guess what inspired the architect, Santiago Calatrava, to build it in such a unique shape!
And so we reach the end of our 48-hour adventure. Hopefully, your next visit to Argentina can be longer so there’s a chance to see other places like Mendoza, the country’s most important wine region, or the Salta Province, where you can live like a true cowboy.