The gigantic South American city bustles with creativity from the futuristic neighborhood of La Boca to the multifaceted Palermo, with tango, literature and love of beef. Here you are.
Buenos Aires, the capital of the Argentine Republic, awakens its South American bustle on the Rio de la Plata, wide as a sea, and is a place you will want to return to. Its creative effervescence distinguishes it as a “lighthouse city” in terms of design, advertising and arts. El Plata and Riachuelo are its natural boundaries to the east and south. The General Paz ring road, which borders the city from north to west, completes its limits. Three million people live in it, but 13 million if you take into account the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, making it one of the fifteen most populated megalopolis in the world.
The inhabitants of the city call themselves “porteños” (in allusion to their status as port city), although a large part of its inhabitants come from the rest of the country and neighboring nations. Weather is mild weather and its filled with sunny days.
It’s enormous so bring some comfortable shoes. It has 48 neighborhoods, from la Boca, a passionate football ground, to the multifaceted Palermo with restaurants and very sophisticated shops. Safer than other Latin American capitals, it can be traversed without fear, although with increasing prudence. It is a “gay friendly” destination with cultural, hotel and entertainment specials specifically designed for gays and lesbians.
It has 3,500 restaurants, of all styles imaginable and although meat is still mainstay, it has developed a love for sushi and Asian fusion food. There are 6 underground lines (“subways”) and more than 100 buses (“buses”): the value of the tickets is absurdly low in international terms (one reason for lack of maintenance). Taxis are a good option.
Bookstores are open until dawn. Museums (a must see, the Malba, Latin American art), fairs, outdoor cinema (summer), cafes to chat for hours, and there are free cultural tours organized by the City Council on certain neighborhoods. Music and dancing also abound – in Palermo it is possible to listen to groups live for a few pesos or “milonguear” in the tango bowls of Almagro, open until dawn.
International chains like Sheraton, Four Seasons, Holyday Inn, Intercontinental, and Marriott have hotels in Buenos Aires, but the city offers innumerable options with local flavor and daring for all budgets. Here are some:
- Faena Hotel + Universe (www.faenahotelanduniverse.com, 4010-9000, Martha Salotti Street, 445). Heart of the artistic district of the same name, Faena Hotel is a five star designed by Philippe Stark: baroque territory adorned in red, gold and black.
- Bonito Buenos Aires (www.bonitobuenosaires.com, 4362-8451, Juan de Garay street, 458) Two recycled buildings, one in San Telmo (bed and breakfast with seven rooms) and one in the Monserrat neighborhood. Local artists customized their rooms. Artistic Bohemia and warmth.
- Livian Guest House (www.livianguesthouse.com.ar, 4862-8841, Palestine Street, 1184). A classic French-style mansion from the 1920s shelters this informal lodging, which includes among its additional services, from massages to the advice of a personal shopper.
- Malabia House (Malabiahouse.com.ar, 4833-2410, Malabia Street, 1555). Practical and contemporary style to rehabilitate a convent of the nineteenth century in the middle of Palermo Viejo (which marketing and urban developers renamed Palermo Soho). Net lines and bright decoration in its 11 rooms.
You can also sleep in:
- Depending on the number of nights you spend in the city, renting a apartment can be a good option. In that case you can consult the websites of specialized real estate:
- The foreigner (www.elextranjeroteatro.com, 4862-7400, Valentín Gómez 3378, Abasto). This theater includes a restaurant – Delia – with rotating chefs, vegetarian option and actors that sponsor dishes. Only 35 cutlery and scenery decor. Pink salmon with caramelized onions, arugula and herb butter is a winning dish.
- Fervor (Posadas 4804-4944, 1519. Recoleta). Field and sea breezes on a gourmet grill watered with boutique wines. Meat: Steakeye and seafood grill.
- Pippo (www.pipporestaurant.com.ar, 4374-0762, Montevideo Street, 341, Center). Paper tablecloths define the popular style of this “porteño tradition”. Do not go without trying the “Vermichellis tuco-pesto”: combo of noodles with two sauces, typical of the house specials.
Cocktails Bars and clubs:
- Dill & Drinks (www.dillanddrinks.com, 4515-0675, Calle San Martín, 986, Microcentro). Mediterranean proposals with cocktails, high-end wines and distinctive notes of contemporary author cuisine. Lots of fish and seafood on tapas and tapas. Closed on Sundays.
- The Cathedral (www.lacatedral.club, Reservations at 15-5325-1630, Sarmiento street, 4006, Almagro). Tango with rock spirit. Dance classes and milonga every day, from 20 to 4. Naturist food and food for carnivores.
- Museum (www.clubmuseum.com.ar, 4771-9628, calle Perú, 535. San Telmo). Friday and Saturday from 22. The building, designed by Eiffel (yes, the same as the Tower!) 80s and 90s, Dance, Pop, Disco.
- Ultra (www.ultrapop-ar.blogspot.com.ar/, 4312-5605, San Martín 678. Microcentro). Bohemia, drinks and good music. Live bands and classic of the 21st century, every Friday and Saturday.
WHAT TO DO:
If you only have a few days to get a glimpse of the city, don’t forget to visit the Obelisk on 9 de Julio Avenue (where you can also admire the lavish Colón Theater, one of the most prestigious lyrical venues in the world; San Telmo (land of antiquarians) and La Boca, two emblematic neighborhoods of the south of the city. Check out the South Costanera, near the luxurious Puerto Madero, the Cementerio de la Recoleta.
For a synopsis of the country’s social political history, view the tomb of Eva Perón. Palermo, a neighborhood that integrates knife legends and the latest design and gastronomy. Tours and maps on the City’s Tourism website (www.buenosaires.gov.ar).
Palermo is the neighborhood that defines Buenos Aires. Walking and discovering its countless clothing and design shops, cafes, bars, bars, restaurants, terraces and places of wandering can be done walking between the squares Desert Campaign and Plaza Cortázar.
The Museum Mile: 15 cultural spaces, from art to technology, lead this cultural walk between the neighborhoods of Retiro and Palermo. Everyone can choose a destination according to their interests. Throughout 48 hours, all are crossed, by bus, walking or cycling (http://www.buenosaires.gob.ar/areas/cultura/millamuseos/).
Buenos Aires by bicycle: A healthy and recent option is to tour the city by bicycle using a network of protected cycle paths and thanks to the free public system that, upon previous registration online, lends you a “bike” for one hour just like CITI Bikes for you New Yorkers out there.