Places to See

Download a comprehensive guide and videos produced by the Buenos Aires Tourism Office from the attachments section below.

and for a complete, interactive map (in Spanish only) see http://mapa.buenosaires.gov.ar/


Looking for info on museums? See http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1436897-direcciones-telefonos-paginas-webs (in Spanish).

For a broad, brush-stroke overview of this amazing city of some 15 million inhabitants, keep reading. Please note, the information presented below (and most of the images) have been adapted from Let's Go (www.letsgo.com)

Overview of the City

Buenos Aires proper is divided into a whopping 48
neighborhoods, known as barrios. Some, such as San Telmo (pop. 26,000), are
relatively tiny, while others, like Palermo (pop. 252,000), are truly epic in
scale. Fear not, weary-legged travelers: most visitors don’t stop in every
barrio, although it’s certainly possible, if slightly crazy.

 Most travelers stick to the easily accessible easternmost group of districts along the Río de la Plata, which offers the majority of sights, restaurants, and hotels. For coverage in this so-called zona turística, we will start with what is often seen as the heart of the modern city, San Nicolás, often referred to as Microcentro, and work outward in a counterclockwise spiral, hitting San Telmo, and La Boca to the south before turning northward for Puerto Madero, Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo, and Belgrano. The city beyond is compiled under the single banner of Outer Barrios. 

 

Star attraction: Teatro Colón Opera House 

The recently refurbished Colón originally opened its doors in 1908 and remains one of the world’s most important lyrical theaters. This famed 2,500-seat opera house has hosted the greats, from Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso to Luciano Pavarotti. Musical activity covers all genres, especially the tango. The impressive interior includes a dome painted by the famous local artist Raúl Soldi and a gigantic crystal chandelier with more than 700 lights.

Although the Assembly comes during the theater's off-season, guided tours are possible. More information (in Spanish only) at  http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/es/



Palermo

Palermo is the place to be in Buenos Aires. At the epicenter of the city’s recent cultural explosion, it’s today’s culinary capital and nightlife hot spot. It’s also filled with enormous, elegant mansions, well-designed and much-used parks, and some of the best boutique shopping in the country. At over 17 square kilometers, it’s the city’s biggest neighborhood—except that it’s really a few different neighborhoods combined. 

Alto Palermo is the barrio ’s center and the main shopping district, with the Alto Palermo Shopping Centre as its home base. Palermo Viejo (Old Palermo) contains the giant palaces of turn-of-the-19th-century elites, filled with beautiful Spanish-style architecture and a number of former residences now open to the public, including the former homes of Jorge Luis Borges and Che Guevara. Palermo Soho —so named for its bohemian atmosphere and teeming boutiques—is a small section of Palermo Viejo near Plaza Serrano, whose low houses, weekly crafts fair, and many cafes and bars make it a happening area at all hours. Farther west are the restaurants and nightclubs of Palermo Hollywood, home to many TV and radio producers during the 1990s.

 The fanciest area of the neighborhood is Palermo Chico (Small Palermo) and nearby Barrio Parque , where many of the rich and famous live. Las Cañitas, once a slum in the northernmost section of Palermo, has joined the trendy train, and now serves food and drink to young professionals.

Plaza Serrano: Restaurants, pubs, crafts and urban designers market at the weekends. Location: between streets Borges 1600 - Honduras 4700 - Serrano 1500.

Botanic Garden: This national monument is almost 170 years old and is carefully designed with more than 5.000 species of plants, beautiful sculptures and winter-houses. Location: Plaza Italia - Santa Fe 3900 – Las Heras 4000.

Bosques de Palermo: The park and its area around are the city lung. Decorated with rose gardens, groves and lakes is a perfect place to enjoy a tour at any season. At the park north eastern side you can get to the Rio de la Plata and its also beautiful waterfront promenade called Costanera Norte. Location: Avenida Sarmiento – Avenida del Libertador 3500 to 5000 – Avenida Costanera Rafael Obligado.


Palermo Sohollyiejo

 Palermo is such a big neighborhood, it has its own neighborhoods. Here’s a rundown on where to find them.

* Alto Palermo: Centered around Avenida Santa Fe.

* Palermo Viejo: Centered on Plaza Palermo Viejo, it’s defined by Avenida Santa Fe, Avenida Coronel Diaz, Avenida Córdoba, and Carranza.

* Palermo Soho: Centered on Plaza Serrano (formally Plazoleta Cortázar), at the intersection of Avenidas Serrano/Borges and Honduras.

* Palermo Hollywood: Located between Avenidas Córdoba, Santa Fe, Dorrego and Juan B. Justo.

* Palermo Chico: Located between Avenida del Libertador and the river.

Besides chowing down on tastebud-tingling gnocchi and guzzling imported beer, Palermo offers a fantastic set of parks, where you can bring said gnocchi and beer on picnics. The Jardín Zoológico, Jardín Botánico, Jardín Japonés, and Parque Tres de Febrero were all built in the 1870s out of land confiscated from Juan Manuel de Rosas and serve as a good spot to let your stomach settle between lunch and second lunch. Sure enough, outside the parks, there are an astounding number of museums, churches, and giant-palaces-turned-embassies, all waiting to be explored for cheap.

For more local tips in Palermo, see www.argentinaviajera.com.ar/espanol/buenosaires/palermo.html (in Spanish only).

Microcentro

Microcentro gets down to business. It’s BA’s central neighborhood in more than one way: it’s the financial district, home to important government buildings, and where most tourists stay. Formally named San Nicolás, it’s more commonly known as Microcentro (little center), and the area east of the canyon-like Avenida 9 de Julio —the city’s main banking district—is generally referred to, in a stroke of genius, as La City. There are a few telltale signs that you’re in Microcentro: the sidewalks are clogged with businesspeople and shoppers, and there are a stunning number of Christian Dior vendors. Its most crowded thoroughfare is the tourist-packed pedestrian Calle Florida , home to knockoffs of everything and three-peso chorizo, not to mention some cheap eats and a high-class mall. Nearby are some of the city’s most famous sights. Though it’s technically not within Microcentro, the Plaza de Mayo, the city’s main square, is just across Avenida Rivadavia in Monserrat . Just a kilometer northwest from the Plaza along Avenida Roque Sáenz Peña is the iconic Obelisk of Buenos Aires, also known simply as Obelisco . The 49-meter-tall monument, located in the Plaza de la Independencia, where the Argentine flag was first flown, was built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the city. Running east and west from Obelisco is yet another major thoroughfare, Avenida Corrientes, the street for tangos, huge post offices inspired by French architecture (read: Correo Central, at the eastern end of Corrientes), bookstores, and cafes. 
Florida Street: Is an elegant street converted in pedestrian since 1913. Starts at Avenida de Mayo and continue less than 1 Mile (1Km) until the beautiful Plaza San Martin in Retiro. Surrounded by shopping malls like Galerias Pacifico, brand stores, leather and souvenirs stores, Florida is an interesting place to observe Buenos Aires daily activity and to enjoy a day of tourist shopping. Location: Florida St.

Avenida de Mayo: It connects Plaza de Mayo with Plaza Congreso in a beautiful 10 blocks path of neoclassic and art nouveau structures that reflect the European influence of the city. Named after Buenos Aires foundation in 1810, keeps the most important memories of the Argentinean history with places like the Café Tortoni or the Cultural Center of Buenos Aires. The quirky Palacio  Barolo is also located here and well worth a visit. More info about that construction
at 
www.pbarolo.com.ar/Location: Avenida de Mayo, from 500 until 1400.
9 de Julio Avenue & the Obelisk: The widest avenue in the City and probably one of the widest in the world is one of the places you surely would not miss in Buenos Aires. With the obelisk elegantly standing at the 9 de Julio with Corrientes junction, this avenue is a wonderful place to take a walk at day or at night and enjoy tourist landmarks such as the Colon Theatre, the French Embassy and other sculptures and monuments placed in its sidewalks. Location: 9 de Julio Avenue from 1300 to 500. 
San Telmo


 San Telmo is beloved by tourists and mostly avoided by everyone else, except on Sundays. Old, colonial-style mansions and wrought-iron lanterns—relics of the wealth that made San Telmo the city’s ritziest barrio until 1871’s yellow fever epidemic sent monied families northward—line narrow cobblestone streets, which have only recently started to go upscale. Known for nearly half a century as the dirty, dangerous neighbor of its fancier barrios to the north, San Telmo, fueled by tourist dollars and its Old World feel, is renovating its crumbling buildings and widening its sidewalks, all the while trying hard not to disturb the colonial feel tourists love. This effort results in beautifully restored mansions, but also sometimes gives a strangely inauthentic feel to some of the freshly paved cobblestone and rapidly multiplying tango bars.

 Back to the aforementioned Sunday buzz in San Telmo—the most popular attraction in the barrio is the feria (flea market). Six days a week, the Plaza Dorrego, the focal point of the neighborhood, at the intersection of Humberto Primo and Defensa, is a relatively quiet square, albeit one filled with cafes and bars. 

On Sundays, however, authorities close Defensa between Avenida San Juan and Avenida Independencia, and the Plaza turns into a giant antiques market from around 9am to 5pm. Many of San Telmo’s most famous sights are near the Plaza, including La Casa Mínima , the city’s narrowest house at two-meters wide by 50-meters long, and a string of imposing buildings: the Edificio del Libertador, a military complex flanked by tanks and cannons; the Aduana, home to customs services; the Secretaría de Agricultura, Argentina’s Ministry of Agriculture; and, the largest and scariest-looking, Facultad de Ingeniería (School of Engineering) of the University of Buenos Aires, a cross between Athens’ Parthenon and a big, windowless cube of granite. Check out the nearby sculpture to workers by artist Rogelio Yrutia. San Telmo is also home to some quirky museums, not the least of which is the Museo del Traje , which houses clothes and costumes from over the last 100 years. There’s also this whole tango thing. San Telmo is a hotbed for it, whatever it is.

La Boca

 

For many, the multi-colored walls and balconies of El Caminito, a pedestrian alleyway in La Boca, are the icons by which they recognize Buenos Aires. In some ways, they’re right to see Boca as archetypical Buenos Aires. Beyond the romanticized blue collar feel of the handful of sights gawked at by tourists on buses are the slums and tenements of a neighborhood outside the reach of Microcentro’s tourist dollars. This barrio, built around the final U-shaped arm of the river El Riachuelo (formally La Matanza, “The Slaughter River”) before it spills into the Río de la Plata, is marked by old warehouses and sunken freighters along its highly polluted and stinky waters. Modest cantinas and crumbling houses define this side of Boca—the Boca that began in poverty and has consistently remained poor, the Boca that seceded from Argentina in 1882, the Boca of loud soccer fans and street crime, of Diego Maradona and Benito Quinquela Martín. It’s sometimes beautiful, but it’s not somewhere to go after dark.

    * La Boca Safety: Boca can be very unsafe, both during the day and night. Exercise caution and consider using cabs to travel to destinations outside of the barrio’s more touristy sectors.

The other Boca is something built off of the grit and history of this neighborhood, and in many ways it is the more charming of the two. Tourist-friendly Boca is still covered in the many-colored paints that once defined the sector as a whole. When early Italian, Greek, and Slavic immigrants took over this port on El Riachuelo, they used the remainders of barge paint to cover their homes, creating the carnival-esque color scheme that now defines tourist streets such as El Caminito. Those same immigrants, and their varied ethnicities, still define the neighborhood. Perhaps the strongest group were the Genoese, whose flag the rebellious neighborhood flew during their (very brief) secession from the country in 1882. Even the name of the barrio may come from Genoese roots: though it’s often stated that the name “La Boca” (the mouth) comes from the neighborhood’s location at the river’s mouth, it may well come from the Genoese neighborhood of Boccadasse, instead.

The line between the two Bocas isn’t always clear, either. Fanny-pack-toting tourists make their way to La Bombonera , home to the world-famous Boca Juniors fútbol club that produced Maradona and a host of other greats, and squeeze their way between auto mechanics wearing the signature blue and yellow of the club. Even the tourist areas along the river, the Disney-like El Caminito, or the corridors of the creepy wax museum, Museo de Cera, of Del Valle Iberlucea street are never wholly owned by the bus groups that photograph them. Throughout all is a rowdy feeling of community that permeates the vendor stalls and helps to make the dangers and poverty of the neighborhood a thing both tragic and romantic.

Puerto Madero

Seventy years ago, the main port of Buenos Aires moved away from Puerto Madero to Puerto Nuevo, a mile north, and the riverside warehouses and apartments of this barrio were nearly abandoned. But since the early 1990s, Puerto Madero has been on the up-and-up as one of the most successful urban renovation projects in the world, and this riverside neighborhood has transformed into the latest hot spot of young professionals and increasingly expensive restaurants. 

The red brick apartments—housed in buildings that once stored ship parts and cut wood for siding—attract a large crowd of expats and wealthy artists, while the recent construction of skyscrapers around the former port’s four diques (docks) constitute one of the latest architectural trends in the city. 

In some ways, the barrio feels cut off from the rest of the city: few bus routes make their way to the old port, and no subway line reaches it. Nevertheless, one of Puerto Madero’s main streets, Avenida Juana Manso (named, as are all the streets in the neighborhood, after a woman) still brings crowds of those wealthy enough to afford it to Puerto Madero’s high-tech cinemas, quality theaters, luxury hotels, and classy eateries. Not all of the port redevelopment focused on glam and glitz. 

Womans bridge: locally called Puente de la Mujer, this contemporary urban sculpture designed by Santiago Calatrava became an important tourist attraction since its asymmetrical shape and elegant aesthetics resemble to the locals a woman dancing tango. Location: Puerto Madero dock 3.

Ecological Reserve: Behind the architectonic explosion of Puerto Madero lies the Costanera Sur or Southern waterfront promenade with the Ecological Reserve, a place to enjoy one of the most beautiful Buenos Aires landscapes and enjoy its nature richness through the different trails that lead to the Rio de la Plata shore. Location: Tristan Achaval Rodriguez Avenue 1500.

Retiro

Just a stone’s throw north of the Microcentro, Retiro is well removed from all of the craziness of its southerly neighbor, making it the perfect haunt for top-notch hotels, foreign embassies, and a few super-classy restaurants. Though it doesn’t offer much lodging for the budget traveler, Retiro’s relaxing park and impressive buildings—many of which were private mansions during the early 20th-century boom, but are now owned by the government or have become foreign embassies or private hotels—offer a lot to see. 

The center of the neighborhood is Buenos Aires’ second most important square after Plaza de Mayo, the Plaza de San Martín . The leafy park is centered around a giant statue of El Libertador, José de San Martín —still revered throughout the country—rearing on a horse in a fashion typical for great liberators. Foreign dignitaries still leave wreaths at the foot of the monument, marking the ground where the general once trained his Granderos corps. The park slopes downward towards another memorial, this one commemorating the dead of the 1982 Malvinas War. Between the giant monuments and well-kept ground, the Plaza also serves as a main picnic and relaxation ground for many of the city’s residents. On a summer weekend, it can fill up pretty quickly.

Surrounding the Plaza are some of the city’s most spectacular buildings. The Palacio Paz , built for José Paz, sugar baron and founder of the newspaper La Prensa, is perhaps the most extravagant and beautiful palace in the country. Palacio San Martín , just off the western edge of the Plaza, is smaller but nearly as beautiful, and in better shape. Nearby are the 120-meter-tall Edificio Kavanagh and the French-style Basílica de Santísimo Sacramento . Right in the middle of the Plaza is the Torre de Los Ingleses (British Clock Tower), a 76-meter miniature replica of Big Ben—which, unsurprisingly, became an object of controversy during the Malvinas War, leading to a temporary name change. The northern edge of the park is home to one of the largest transportation hubs in the country, including the decaying and enormous Estación Retiro, the city’s main train terminal, and the major long-distance bus station, Terminal de Omnibus , The area just north of the station, however, Villa 31, has long been home to one of the city’s slums, and is best avoided.

Recoleta

 

Like its neighbor, Retiro, Recoleta is one of the glitziest and most exclusive residential areas in the city. When yellow fever hit San Telmo in the 1870s, the rich went north and chose Recoleta as the place to be. Strangely, and morbidly, the most expensive properties in one of the city’s most prestigious barrios are the one-story, non-air-conditioned mausolea of La Recoleta Cemetery . Once a public cemetery, this nearly 200-year-old burial ground is home to former Presidents and noblemen and -women: the most famous and tourist-crowded tomb is that of Eva Perón, whose black marble resting place is marked only as “Duarte,” her maiden name. 

Just outside of the cemetery is the colonial-style church Nuestra Señora del Pilar , a simple structure with an impressive interior. More impressive still is the monstrous rubber tree (as in a natural rubber tree, not a fake tree made out of rubber) in the square facing the cemetery. Known as the Gran Gomero, it’s 150 years old and over 50 meters wide. No, you can’t climb it.

Recoleta is an artistic and cultural center, too. Beyond the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and Centro Cultural Recoleta is an architectural opulence that’s just absurd, with early 20th-century palaces and Art Deco mansions—now fancy storefronts and unbelievably expensive hotels—lining the Avenida Alvear and the Plaza Carlos Pellegrini. East of the cemetery is the United Nations Park, where the Floralis Genérica, a giant metallic flower, opens and closes its petals daily. Farther west, the neighborhood becomes more residential and more difficult to reach by public transportation; it’s also farther from the sights, besides the massive Biblioteca Nacional , Latin America’s largest library with five million books, and perhaps its ugliest building. You’ll understand once you see it. Then again, Recoleta is closer to the ultra-trendy bar scene and restaurants of Palermo.

Cemetery of Recoleta: More than a cemetery, this place is a museum of art that dates from the year 1800. In the Cemetery of Recoleta are lying the remains of the most influential and important personalities of the Argentine history including the populist Eva Peron. Its marble mausoleums are dedicated to entire families and their descendants and adorned with sculptures and other outrageous monuments resembling the opulence of the Argentine high class. Location: Junin Street 1700. For more information on the cemetery, visits and guided tours, see www.cementeriorecoleta.com.ar/ 

Recoleta Cultural Center: The building was donated to the city by the Franciscans in 1716 and since its renovation in 1980 it operates as a cultural center and one of the most popular venues of the city. Location: Junin Street 1930. Don{t miss Buenos Aires Design, with it's array of eclectic shops, right next door (you can skip the Hard Rock Café, also located there, if you wish).

Other nearby attractions include the Hispano-American art museum Museo Fernández Blanco (www.facebook.com/pages/Museo-de-Arte-Hispanoamericano-Isaac-Fernandez-Blanco/109750765713863) in a spectacular private home and the gaucho folk art José Hernández museum www.museohernandez.org.ar/

Belgrano

 

Contrary to popular belief, there is life beyond Palermo in northern Buenos Aires. Just northwest of Palermo, Belgrano is a leafy residential district with a large amount of local traffic. Named after Manuel Belgrano, the politician who designed the Argentine flag, the barrio was originally a separate town, and then—after sizeable growth—its own city. In 1880, during the national turbulence, it served as the nation’s capital, and it was here that the law was signed to make Buenos Aires Argentina’s federal capital. Shortly thereafter, the federal district expanded to officially include Belgrano. It has been a part of Buenos Aires proper ever since. Locals come to shop among the department stores and eat at the numerous cafes scattered along the Universidad de Belgrano, a private liberal arts college. Belgrano is also home to the city’s small Chinatown and to the Barrancas de Belgrano, a landscape park designed by Carlos Thays, who also designed the Parque San Martín and the Jardín Botánico.

Two more neighborhoods even farther north receive some degree of tourist traffic— Núñez and Saavedra. Núñez, which lies right along the Río de la Plata at the farthest northern section of Capital Federal, is a prosperous residential barrio best known as the home of River Plate , one of BA’s top soccer clubs and rival of the Boca Juniors to the south. Saavedra, just to the west of Núñez, is a neighborhood with little to see, save for its large, relaxing parks.

Belgrano Square: Is the central square of the neighborhood, surrounded by the Belgrano cathedral popularly called "La Redonda" or the "the rounded one" because of its circular shape, the Enrique Larreta Museum House of Spanish Art (see www.tyhturismo.com/data/destinos/argentina/ciudad_buenos_aires/museos_biblio/museos/larreta/index.html), the Yrurtia House Sculpture Museum http://www.casadeyrurtia.gov.ar/and the Sarmiento Museum. The square is an important meeting point especially on weekends where artists open a craft market there. Location: Juramento Street 2200. Farther away from the river you will find the homes and residences of the original English and German immigrants, the Belgrano Athletic Club and the glorious Calle Melián.

China Town: Is not officially a neighborhood and not completely Chinese as its first settlers from Far East were Taiwanese immigrants, preceded by Chinese, Korean and Japanese that moved there at the middle of the 80s. With the time it became a place addressed to keep their ancient culture, religion and food and even though is small, still counts with a plenty of grocery stores, Asian restaurants and other typical stores. Location: Juramento 1600 and Arribeños 2100 intersection.



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