Buenos Aires isn’t the standard big city with dozens of famous tourist attractions. Actually, the city is rather the opposite as it is all about exploring the city’s neighborhood and soaking up the culture instead if hunting down the biggest sights. For me, my amazing Buenos Aires experience centered around the food, the wine and the lively culture. Buenos Aires is a happy city that never sleeps and deserves a visit! Here are 12 things I recommend to do when visiting Buenos Aires – and I recommend to spend at least four days in the city.
1. Explore La Boca
La Boca is one of Buenos Aires’ neighborhoods and probably the most colorful one! The painted houses, street art and artistic shops make the area a must to visit. At the same time as being a popular place to visit among tourist, this part of Buenos Aires is very poor. Be careful about going there in the evening and take a taxi or public transport to the center of the neighborhood, as it isn’t the safest neighborhood for tourists.
2. Shop on Florida street and visit Galerias Pacifico
In the center, the pedestrian street Florida is the main street for shopping. Honestly I didn’t find the shopping here any good, but I still recommend to stop by because there is a lot going on here. Galerias Pacifico is also a place to visit, as the mall is very beautifully decorated.
3. Visit Recoleta Cemetery
There aren’t many tourist attractions in Buenos Aires, but the biggest one is actually a graveyard! This is where Argentina’s rich and famous are resting – as for example Eva Peron. The graves are impressing; some graves even have their own chapel!
4. Eat the best steak in the world
When you visit the country with the best steaks in the world, it’s time to forget both your budget and diet – because you are going to have the best meals of your life here. You should go to “parrillas”, steak houses, to enjoy the “bifes”. An extremely good option for a budget friendly parrilla is Parrilla Don Niceto. One steak (bife) is 125ARS, and make sure to try their grilled cheese starter for 75ARS. The place itself is also an experience, as there are no tourists here, but the locals seem to love it. A more high-end option is La Carniceria, where one steak is about 360ARS. The service is excelent and this is a reasonable price to pay for the quality you get. At Don Julio, you get delicious steaks from 400ARS and up and the service is perfect. Make sure to reserve a table in advance!
5…and other local specialties
Did you think the Argentine kitchen only have steaks as their specialty? No – it’s so much more. Their “choripas” is a sausage served in a sandwich – it may sound simple, but it’s so tasty! Head to Chori in Palermo for a sausage experience you won’t forget (90ARS each). Buenos Aires also had the best empanadas I’ve ever tried, and this is after backpacking through Central and South America and trying loads of them. You can eat very cheap empanadas on almost every corner – from 13ARS each (in restaurants, they usually cost from 30-40ARS). In Buenos Aires you will also find loads of pizzerias, but the pizza you get is neither classical Italian nor American. The Argentinian pizza is different, but it is tasty and has loads (!) of cheese.
6. Drink loads of wine
Argentina is not only a food country, but also a big wine producer. The Argentine red wine is extremely good. If I had more time in Buenos Aires and Argentina I would definitely have done a wine tasting and maybe even a wine tour. Anyway – when in Buenos Aires you will for sure drink liters of red wine!
7. Party until sunrise
Buenos Aires is a city that never sleeps. The clubs usually get crowded as late as 1-2am, and don’t close until 6-7am. The hippest party area is in the neighborhood Palermo. Around “Party Plaza” you will always find something good, no matter what day it is. Check out the end of the blog post for some bars and clubs I recommend. If you just want to visit a cool bar, Floreria Atlantico is a different underground bar. You actually enter a flower shop, and the secret bar is in the basement. Note that this is an expensive place (drinks 200ARS, wine by glass 130ARS, beer 80ARS).
8. Go to the Buenos Aires’ many markets
Buenos Aires is filled with exciting markets. On Sundays, there is a huge market happening in San Telmo. Here you can find antiques, vintage/second hand clothing and interior, jewelry and much more. If you are not in town on a Sunday, you can find smaller markets every day around the city.
9. Walk around the Palermo area
Palermo is a quite central neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is very hip at the moment. Fancy restaurants, cool bars, chic cafes and all kinds of nightclubs can be found here. The architecture in the area is also quite nice, so just walking around here is a nice way to spend a few hours. We also stayed in Palermo and I found the location perfect (just make sure that you aren’t staying too far from the subway station).
10. Take a day trip to Uruguay
A popular city escape from Buenos Aires is Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. Located only one hour away by ferry it is a perfect day trip. The town’s historic center is the main attraction with its cobbled streets, colorful houses and old cars. There are loads of cute cafes as well as fancy restaurants here. We went on a very rainy day in the winter, which kind of ruined the trip a bit – but I will recommend to go if the weather is nice. There are several ferry companies, but I recommend Seacat which the cheapest option (well – it’s still quite expensive).
11. Explore the street art
Buenos Aires is, as many other big cities, filled with amazing street art. The graffiti can be spotted everywhere as long you look for it. Loads of cool street art can be found in Palermo – some streets were entirely covered with amazing art!
12. Visit Casa Rosada and the surroundings
Casa Rosada is the President’s office and is one of the main landmarks in the city. With it’s bright, pink color, the building definitely stands out. Another nearby sights is the Metropolitan Cathedral, as well as a park and a few other nice buildings and churches.
To sum it up;
Where to eat in Buenos Aires:
-Chori: This place is, as the name indicates, selling choripas, and is the perfect place for lunch – located in Palermo.
-Burgerjoint: Amazing burgers, and the place is super crowded and kind of turns into a bar during the night! Located in Palermo.
-Don Nicelo: A small, local restaurant serving the best steaks I have ever had – for barely nothing! Remember to try the grilled cheese for a starter – it is delicious.
-La Carniceria and Don Julio: These two fine dining restaurants serves amazing beef. It is not the cheapest sposts in Buenos Aires, but the steaks are worth every penny. They are both very popular so you need to make a reservation a few days ahead!
Where to drink and party in Buenos Aires: Buda Bar, Terraza del Este (during summer), Rose Bar, Amerika Club (gay bar) and Brujas are all worth checking out.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires: We stayed at Art Factory Beer Garden, which was OK. I loved the location in Palermo and we got a modern, private room for a reasonable price. The hostel was very quiet, so it’s not the place to stay if you want to meet people (maybe we went during low season, but I’m not sure). But, the location was great and it was overall an OK place to stay, so I do recommend the hostel.
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