Buenos Aires Walking Tour

Buenos Aires Walking Tour

Walking past gorillas and robots, followed by a church dating back 200 years, then skyscrapers with men in business suits pouring out and finally sitting down to a steak lunch while watching tango dancers…just another day in Buenos Aires.  Navigating from neighborhood to neighborhood the scenes change quickly from graffitied buildings in San Telmo featuring gorillas and robots to the financial district with smartly dressed business men on Florida Avenue.

Buenos Aires has something for everyone and being such a walk-able place there is no better way to explore than on foot.  Below is a short summary of my favorite neighborhoods in Argentina’s beautiful capital:

Monserrat

Home to the Casa Rosada where Eva Peron famously addressed the nation, Monserrat forms part of Buenos Aires’ business district.  The concentration of significant public buildings and local history make this a requisite stop for any visitor. This small neighborhood can trace it’s roots back to colonial times, it was here in 1580 that Spanish conquistador Juan de Garay first arrived with settlers from Asuncion and Santa Fe.

Must see: Casa Rosada, the elegant pink government building (feature in the above photo)- guided tours are interesting and worth checking out, take a stroll around Plaza de Mayo, which is always busy and offers great people watching.  You can see Buenos Aires oldest church in this barrio, Iglesia de San Ignacio de Loyola sanctified in 1734. And don’t miss Manzana de las Luces (Block of Enlightenment), a block of 18th century buildings including Buenos Aires National College

Puerto Madero

Puerto Madero is one of the newest barrios in Buenos Aires, located in the old port area, the brick warehouses have been transformed into trendy restaurants and offer excellent dining. Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) spend weekend afternoons strolling along the docks, riding bikes on the wide pathways, and lingering over coffee and pastries at riverfront cafes offering great people watching.

Must see: Enjoy lunch at on of the many luxurious riverfront cafes, the all-you-can-eat lunch buffets are a great deal!

La Boca

If you see only one neighborhood in Buenos Aires make it La Boca you will find two attractions which most, if not all, visitors to Buenos Aires will want to see: the fútbol stadium ‘La Bombonera,’ and Caminito, the colorful artists’ street by the water. It is the perfect place to watch tango over lunch and get a glimpse of Buenos Aires iconic dance on every corner.

Must see: Caminito, which is the work of the local La Boca artist Benito Quinquela Martín whom painted all the buildings bright hues in the 1960’s attracting artists.  This is the best place to catch live tango or partake in a lesson- but be warned this area is a tourist trap.  The home to famous soccer team the Boca Juniors is also a must-see, you can watch a game at La Bombonera or take a tour.

Recoleta

The upscale neighborhood of Recoleta is home to the richest Porteños past and present.  Many of Buenos Aires’ luxury hotels are located here and it is often considered the cultural epicenter of the city boasting museums, cultural centers and historic landmarks. No visit to the capital would be complete without a visit to the Recoleta Cemetery.

Must see: The Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron is buried and famous writer Jose Hernandez. The Centro Cultural is another highlight of the neighborhood with art exhibitions and theater productions.  Recoleta is also home to the magnificent Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, displaying work by Goya and Rembrandt and offering free entrance from Tuesday to Sunday

Palermo

If you want to shop or go clubbing then look no further than the well-heeled neighborhood of Palermo.  Bars and cafes, chain stores and independent boutiques, expats and foreign students, there is literally no avoiding the sprawling, yet beautiful barrio of Palermo.  Definitely worth a visit especially for the night life.

Must see: Check out MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires) on Figueroa Alcorta to see the work of Rafael Barradas and Diego Rivera. Come on Wednesday for half price admission (free for students).  Or just enjoy strolling the streets, shopping in the boutique stores and popping into a cafe when you need a rest.

San Telmo

My favorite barrio in Buenos Aires, the street art is excellent, the cobblestone roads and the faded facades of the buildings just add to the ambience.  Don’t miss the Sunday street markets, which stretch on for miles through the streets offering antiques, hand made goods and great street music. This barrio also features some of the most stunning grafitti in the city, so bring your camera.

Must see: If you can’t make it to San Telmo or the Sunday market you should of course still go. The best place for a walk is along Calle Defensa between Avenidas San Juan and Independencia, do some window shopping or go into a few of the many antique shops that line the street.  Plaza Dorrego has professional tango dancers strutting their stuff most of the time.

You could spend years exploring all the barrios of Buenos Aires, but the above neighborhoods will give you a good sense of the city and give you a work out if you make it to all of them!  While I could continue to list all of the places to see in Argentina’s capital, this is a city best discovered by you then through a guidebook.

WHEN YOU GO:

-Bring US Dollars, the “official” exchange rate, the one you get when withdrawing money is 5 pesos to $1 USD.  If you exchange money on Calle Florida though you can exchange for 8-10 pesos per dollar, effectively cutting all your prices in half!  Ask your hotel for information and be prepared to bargin for the best rate.

-Walk. Though the city limits are huge, the downtown, including all the spots I’ve mentioned are completely walkable.  To cover longer distances hop on the subway.

-Eat meat. Argentines are the beef eatingest people in the world.  They claim this is because they have the best beef in the world.  Like having sushi in Japan, having steak in Argentina is a must.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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