Buenos Aires City: Puentes Destination Guide
Called the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is one of the most cosmopolitan cities of South America and has cultural offerings for everyone, ranging from myriad restaurants and historical sites to dance houses and expansive city parks. It has enough entertainment options to keep you satisfied for a lifetime, and indeed, many who visit end up staying forever. The city has a population of 3.5 million people, with a metro area containing 12 million more, so it is the bustling hub of the country and offers a fast-paced backdrop to work and life.
On the streets of “Capital Federal,” as it is known by the “porteños” (the residents of the city), you’ll hear every language under the sun being spoken, you’ll try different types of international cuisine, and you’ll find pockets of “barrios” (neighborhoods) that are made of people of different ethnicities. In this sense, Buenos Aires truly is a global city. But at its core, its principal protagonists are the “porteños” - a proud and friendly people who will welcome you into their city and share with you its splendor. They might also heavily debate the pros and cons of the government and politicians, but they’ll also be the first to proudly tell you that Buenos Aires is the finest city in the world.
BARRIOS (NEIGHBORHOODS) AND MUST SEE SIGHTS
Buenos Aires Capital Federal is spread out over various “barrios:” Microcentro, San Telmo, La Boca, Puerto Madero, Recoleta, Palermo, Belgrano, Las Cañitas, and others. Click on each teal icon in the map below for more information on each neighborhood and its must-see sights or open the full view map here.
ARTS AND MUSIC
There are over 130 museums in Buenos Aires, both private and public. Some highlights follow:
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Latin American art)
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (national fine arts museum)
Museo Evita (museum on the life of Evita Perón)
Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (decorative arts museum)
La Ene (contemporary art museum)
Museo Benito Quinquela Martín (fine arts museum)
Puentes Pista: It is always good to check the museum’s website for opening hours before visiting.
Teatro Colon (historic and stunning opera house)
Complejo Teatral de Buenos Aires (theater performances)
Centro Argentino de Teatro Ciego (theater based on sound and taste)
Teatro Cervantes (stage and comedy theater)
Tango and Music
Buenos Aires has a vibrant and eclectic music scene. Don’t miss seeing (and doing!) the tango, as well as checking out other music venues throughout the city.
La Viruta (tango classes and dance hall at Armenia 1366)
La Catedral (tango classes and dance hall at Sarmiento 4006 and Medrano)
Tango Shows (tango performances)
Thelonius (jazz club)
La Bomba de Tiempo (drum circle)
Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro (tango rock)
La Peña del Colorado (folklore)
These cultural centers often offer art exhibitions, music shows, classes, and other engaging cultural activities.
Buenos Aires has quite a bit of green within the city. The Costanera Norte is located along Avenida Rafael Obligado and has recreational complexes that offer tennis, swimming, golf, basketball, soccer, windsurfing, sailing, and others sports. There is also the Bosque de Palermo, which extends east from Palermo to Belgrano and has tons of jogging and biking trails. Within the park, there are a planetarium, several lakes, the “Rosedal” (rose garden), the Jardín Japonés, and the horse racetrack. There is also a span of green space east of Palermo heading toward Recoleta, near the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, and don’t miss the amazing “Reserva Ecologica” in Puerto Madero.
Argentines are an active bunch, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to both watch and participate in a wide variety of sports.
Argentina has twenty first division clubs, eight of which are located in Buenos Aires. The local soccer championship is ranked among the five most important events of its kind in the world. You can check schedules and details here, or purchase tickets to watch soccer games here.
Play soccer games with BAFA (Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos). You can sign up directly from their website.
Visit the Museo de la Pasión Boquense, which is the museum for the very popular Boca Juniors Soccer Team (located at Brandsen 805, La Boca, 2 blocks away from “El Caminito”).
Visit the River Plate Museum and Stadium Tour of the famed River Plate Soccer Team (located at Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 7597, Nuñez).
Club Ciudad is a well-know rugby club (Av. del Libertador 5683, Núñez), which training two or three times a week.
The Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo (Av. del Libertador 4101, Palermo) is Argentina’s main racetrack. Beautiful architecture and free entrance. Check the schedule of races.
Tennis and Paddle
Complejo El Circulo (Av. Sarmiento 4040, Palermo) has tennis and paddle courts. You can rent racquets here as well.
Campo de Golf de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Avenida Tornquist 6397, Palermo) is a good golfing venue in the city.
Buena Onda Yoga for English-speaking yoga classes to find your inner “tranquilidad.”
The city has several shopping circuits, each offering different items: antiques in San Telmo, books on Corrientes Avenue, leather items in Retiro neighborhood, and souvenirs in La Boca. The avant-garde in objects, clothes, and decorative elements is in the Palermo Soho neighborhood. Be sure not to miss the “ferias” (markets) in San Telmo on Sundays, in Recoleta on Saturdays and Sundays, and for a real taste of the Gaucho culture, the Feria de Mataderos on Sundays and public holidays, 11am - 8pm Buenos Aires also offers extended shopping hours, with the main malls staying open until 10pm. Some top malls are Galería Pacifico off Florida Avenue, Paseo Alcorta in Palermo, Alto Palermo in Palermo, and Patio Bullrich in Recoleta.
A great and easy option to meet locals is going to Mundo Lingo. These are gatherings of people from every language background that happen every week. The idea is to practice any language you want, not just English and Spanish! Most porteños are looking forward to practicing English. It is a free activity, so you can enjoy a good drink, while meeting new people in a laid back and informal environment.
A great bar where you can play some fun board games is called Jobs, in Palermo, where you can play board games, ping-pong, mini football, darts, and practice archery. There is always a good excuse to play with people from other tables, and maybe they can teach you games you don’t know and the other way around.
If you want to watch “fútbol” and check out how passionate porteños can get while watching it, you can go to Locos X el Fútbol, Chicken Bros, and El Álamo bars. If you are looking for something more traditional, you can go to El Banderín (Barrio Almagro) where you can smell a perfect blend of coffee and fútbol; what’s more, it’s a traditional and historic bar that has been open since 1929.
During the day but also at night, there are some other trendy plazas to visit, such as Plaza Serrano, Plaza Armenia (both in Palermo), and Plaza Dorrego (San Telmo), which are surrounded by bars and restaurants, and there is a great young atmosphere. They are good places to bar hop and meet locals. These areas are also good for After Offices: porteños hang their suits and ties and go to after offices (like happy hours) as soon as they leave work. Some hotspots to try for these Happy Hour occasions are La Cigale in Microcentro and Gibraltar in San Telmo. Find a porteño to take advantage of 2x1 specials!