Things to do in Buenos Aires
The lovely streets of Buenos Aires are ideal for walking and absorbing the city’s spirit. Start your sightseeing journey at Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, where you can take a guided tour. Nearby, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Santo Domingo Church and Convent are stunning examples of the city’s grandeur. If you’re an opera aficionado, make sure to check the schedule at the Colón Theater before your visit–you might catch a memorable performance. Tango shows are on top of most visitors’ lists of things to do in Buenos Aires. Classic clubs like Café Tortoni and Tango Porteño will give you an excellent taste of this sexy dance.
Continue the search for buzzing nightlife at Palermo Soho, a chic neighborhood lined with vintage boutiques, open-air markets and lively bars and restaurants. With its ornate mausoleums, the Recoleta Cemetery is another must-do. Walk around impressive vaults built in Art Deco and Baroque styles, and pay a visit to former first lady Eva Perón or Liliana Crociati de Szaszak, a young Austrian woman whose tomb was designed by her mother in Neo-Gothic style. Other enjoyable activities in Buenos Aires include walking around Caminito, an alley lined with brightly-colored houses in La Boca, or the bohemian cobblestone streets of San Telmo, where you’ll be surrounded by artists and street performers.
With treatments ranging from a 15-minute facial ($20) to the three-and-a-half hour Extended Stay (massage, manicure, pedicure, and facial treatment; $350), this mini-spa caters to the needs of all travelers, whether awaiting an international flight or passing through on a layover.
Strictly working class, La Boca retains the Italian identity of the immigrants who landed here. You’ll find plenty of good food, but skip the tourist trap that is the Caminito market.
The two-story shop—modeled after an upscale bordello, with flocked wallpaper and velvet sofas—is the place to stock up on tango gear. The 1940's T-strap shoes and flouncy dresses look as good when you get back home as they do on the dance floor.
For foodie souvenirs, visit the new gourmet market in Recoleta.
Arguably the top fashion designer in Buenos Aires, Ramírez’s store and clothes exude a minimalist elegance that borders on the monastic (although the garments, which Ramírez designs only in black and white, are certainly more body-conscious than a monk’s robes).
Gawk at the interior decoration at this humongous full-service denim store: floor-to-ceiling library bookcases filled with jeans; wicker fans turning lazily high overhead; floors covered with hundreds of patterned Oriental rugs.
This smart stop for traditional Argentine items sells woven gaucho-style ponchos, silver jewelry, supple leather belts and wallets, and the ultimate Buenos Aires souvenir: maté sets, replete with the mate (gourd), yerba (loose tea), and bombilla (metal straw).
Built in 1914 (and temporarily closed until December 2008), this beautiful park—with its Rosedal rose garden and a delicate white wooden bridge crossing a figure-eight lake—serves as ground zero for sun-loving Argentines on weekend strolls.
Buenos Aires Design features more than 60 different shops. Situated on a hill next to the famous Recoleta Cemetery, the center showcases the best of contemporary B.A. home design.
Barrenechea is known for helping to cultivate travel to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay.
Modest Almagro, reportedly the birthplace of the tango, is known for its dance halls, which cater to a mix of tourists and locals. Here you’ll also find the house museum of Carlos Gardel, tango’s most famous singer.
The streets between Plazoleta Cortázar and Plaza Palermo Viejo are packed with stylish boutiques. Stop by Papelera Palermo for fine handmade paper goods.
On the platform in the subway station between Buenos Aires’s court buildings and the famous Teatro Colón, the Cartala brothers’ modest kiosk sells an inexpensive and functional reminder of the city: the traditional white oval metal address signs that adorn the local buildings.
On Sundays it feels like the entire population of Buenos Aires flocks to the San Telmo neighborhood, home to a network of antiques centers that seems to stretch for miles.
The selection of vinos at this well-curated wine store includes everything from upmarket labels like Catena Zapata (try the 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon) to more everyday classics, such as Luigi Bosca (a full range, from Malbecs to Chardonnays).