There is so much to do in the capital of Argentina! Be sure to check these 12 best things not to miss in Buenos Aires
With a population of almost 3 million people, Baires (the other way of saying Buenos Aires) is a huge city. It is not a question of what to do – it is more like WHEN to do all the things.
I have spent 3 weeks in the city and here is my list of best things to do in Buenos Aires, both touristic and non that much:
- 1. Stroll around the streets of La Boca
- 2. Learn to dance Tango!
- 3. Eat a steak
- 4. Take a city tour
- 5. Have a drink in a speak easy bar
- 6. Go to Libraria El Ateneo
- 7. Visit a local market
- 8. Visit Evita in Recoleta cemetery
- 9. Visit the MALBA museum
- 10. Try the real mate
- 11. See the blooming of Floralis Generica
- 12. Get out of the city
1. Stroll around the streets of La Boca
For a postcard-like views of colorful houses and cobbled alleyways lined with art, head to La Boca district of Buenos Aires, that’s where you will find it all!
The reason why La Boca is so colorful is because it was originally the district where immigrants arrived and lived. Though touristy, it is surely worth a visit!
2. Learn to dance Tango!
Experiencing the tango culture is an absolute MUST when in Buenos Aires!
There is no better way to experience it than to become a part of the culture, right?
That is what I decided too, and took some lessons of tango in a place called Tango Coincidence.
I knew I would want to share my progress with my readers, so I have recorded a video of what I have learned in just 8 lessons, here you go:
To tell you a secret, tango is not such a hard dance, especially you have a good teacher!
My teacher, Chris, has a remarkable ability to notice tiny mistakes and explain them in a way that you would understand. Water bottles, chairs etc. – anything can be used in the process of explaining, that was entertaining!
Chris speaks perfect English and he won many prizes in international tango competitions. If you don’t catch him in Buenos Aires (he is traveling a lot), he is probably somewhere in Europe giving tango workshops. Just write him an email and ask if he is in town.
After the lesson, a perfect place to practice your tango skills would be La Catedral de Tango. That’s where locals hang out. Don’t be surprised by the old filthy furniture, that’s the real ambiance of the real tango. Go there, I recommend it!
If you don’t feel like dancing (sigh), fare enough, I understand you! Be entertained by the amazing Tango dancers as you feast on an Argentinian dinner on this tango show!
3. Eat a steak
Here, I said it! 🙂
If you are not vegetarian, have a feast, try that delicious Argentinian steak!
Argentina is long known for the best steaks in the world! During my 3 weeks stay in Buenos Aires, I have been to many steak restaurant, but Don Julio Is the one I liked the most!
They offer amazing quality meat that is in the menu for dozens of years. Book yourself in advance, – it is an absolute must whilst in Baires!
P. S. Come hungry, the portions are huge!
P.S.S. If you are comfortable with Spanish (or can use Google Translator), you can get a very good promo for a restaurant on Groupon website.
4. Take a city tour
I took a Free walking tour around the city and could not be happier with it!
In case you don’t know what are Free Walking tour – the tour is free, it works on tips, you can leave the guide as much as you think your tour was worth at the end.
I can’t recommend these tours enough, it is the first thing I google when I arrive to a new destination. Try it!
In 4 hours a local guide will walk you through the main sights in the center and tell you everything about the rich history of the city – Teathro Colon, Opera House, Casa Rosada, the Obelisc, Puente de la Mujer etc. There are tours every day at 10 30 a.m. and 3 p.m., no booking needed, you can just show up!
If you feel like something a bit more private, this Half-Day Sightseeing Tour will show Buenos Aires from many angles and your guide will even pick you up from your hotel!
If you have time, I recommend taking both of them because they are quite different.
5. Have a drink in a speak easy bar
You will love Speak Easy bars if you into riddles and quests, or just unusual bars!
Speak Easy bars are secret bars that require knowing a secret location and a code word to enter it.
Now worries here, I’ve got you covered on this one!
Originally this bars appeared when alcohol was forbidden in the country, thus, many bars were camouflaged as a flower/barber shop etc.
The one I have been to required a key phrase (a small riddle on their Facebook page, changes every day).
The bouncer let us in … to the empty room that had nothing but a red telephone booth… That was the secret entrance to the bar!
How cool is that?
You should visit at least one of them, I have great memories of our small adventure!
Here is the list of the best Speak Easy Bars in Buenos Aires. Enjoy!
6. Go to Libraria El Ateneo
For a bookworm like me, this place was a rear find!
There are so many bookshops in the city, but the book shop that was a theater before? That is fantastic! Moreover, there is a coffee shop inside. You can enjoy your coffee sitting on the scene and reading a book. That’s what I did!
Oh, and it closes at midnight!
7. Visit a local market
If you are in BsAs during the weekend, there is no better way to spend your Sunday than to hit a local open air market.
Go relic hunting or pick up classic souvenirs in Feria de Mataderos or in San Telmo market.
There are plenty of choices for a memorable gifts from the coutnry:
Some Malbec? Or maybe a bit of mate for your friends? Leather goods are very inexpensive in the country and is known for its high quality.
Even if you are not planning to buy anything, I recommend going, at least to people watch, it is very entertaining!
8. Visit Evita in Recoleta cemetery
Whaaaat? She wants me to visit a … cemetery?
If that is a Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, then YES! It is definitely a unique experience to encounter.
Evita (or Eva Perón) was a famous woman who played an important role in the development of the country. She is a national hero, ask anyone in Argentina, they surely know who she is. Or simply watch this movie about her by Madonna and Antonio Banderas.
While the grave itself is not that spectacular (sorry, Evita), the cemetery is fantastic, each grave is a piece of art.
P.S. There are free tours of the cemetery that will explain you a lot of once important people occupying the cemetery. Here is the schedule of the free tours.
9. Visit the MALBA museum
While I am not a big fan of contemporary museum, as I just don’t get it. But I actually had lot of fun in MALBA museum (The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires)!
The price is 90 pesos ($6) on any day, or twice cheaper (45 pesos) if you visit on Wednesday. Check the details here.
10. Try the real mate
Be it a park with you local friends, or a during a guided tour, you should try this traditional tea drink at least once when in Argentina!
Beware, it is very bitter! Give it a couple of sips until your taste buds will get used to the bitterness.
I actually enjoyed it that much, I bought one for myself!
P.S. Don’t forget about medialunas and empanadas (small pastry pocket filled with different stuff)! Oh, and dulce de leche ice cream!
11. See the blooming of Floralis Generica
Go see the giant metal flower that opens up its petals every morning with the sun and closes up during the sunset. Yes, like a real flower, just that this one is made by a contemporary artist.
This flower was always a symbol of Buenos Aires for me.
It is located in a spacious park and it is great to watch the sunset and see airplanes flying over the slowly closing flower. Pay a visit!
12. Get out of the city
Fancy a day trip out of the big city?
Go to Tigre – a lovely town comprised of hundreds of tiny islands. It is situated on the Tigre River Delta just 40 minutes away by train from Buenos Aires.
Embark on a 1-2 hour Delta cruise for the full experience passing by stilted homes and learn how delta-dwellers access goods through a network of floating markets.
Best hotels in Buenos Aires, where to stay
Luxury (US$ 300 and up):
Alvear Icon Hotel will offer you the experience of a lifetime. Fine dining restaurant, luxurious design and 24 hour service. Hotel Park Tower is the definition of elegance. Its interior swimming pool and great views have made guests want to come back again.
Middle (US$ 100 – 150):
Mine Hotel: if you are passionate about architecture, this is the place for you. Mine Hotel has an interior garden as well as a swimming pool. Miravida Soho Hotel and Wine bar is the to go place for an adventure with the local Argentinian wines.
Budget (up to US$100):
Hotel Facon Grande is a coquette hotel offering a la carte service that will not break your budget. It is situated in the near proximity of the Florida pedestrian street. Another hotel which you will enjoy without breaking the bank is the Scala Hotel Buenos Aires which offers breathtaking views from their room balconies. Past guests have stated that it is a great choice for exploring the surroundings by foot.
If you still want more…
Of course, there are plenty of other great things to visit in Buenos Aires if you have more time!
Those were my 12 Best Things to do in Buenos Aires, I hope you enjoyed reading it!
How many did you do?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below, I LOVE hearing from my readers!
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