Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires is a truly cosmopolitan destination, with a mix of architectural styles – from grandiose 19th-century Parisian knockoffs to 21st-century minimalist spaces; over 100 fascinating museums showcasing the expected and the unusual; and loads of culture, from top-drawer symphonies and classical performances to avant-garde productions. And let's not forget the most famous Buenos Aires invention of all – the tango!

Things to do in Buenos Aires

Avenida de Mayo

Gawk at architectural eye candy along this tree-lined boulevard, ride the wooden A-line subway to Borges' hangout Café Tortoni, and witness the Madres de Plaza de Mayo’s faithful Thursday march outside of the Casa Rosada. Eva Perón – and later Madonna acting as Eva Perón – addressed boisterous crowds from the balcony of this pink palace, office to the Argentine president.

Avenida de Mayo 825, 011-54-11-4342-4328, www.cafetortoni.com.ar
Tags: editor pick | things to do | culture | architecture | walk

Boca Tango

Boca Tango’s three-hour program includes a thematic walk through the La Boca district where tango originated, a meal at a country-style restaurant serving typical dishes, and, of course, a show. A little bit touristy for some, though the day and night options make it convenient for those short on time.

Brandsen 923, 011-54-11-4302-0808, www.bocatango.com.ar
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | tango

Catch a polo match

The well-manicured lawns of Campo Argentino de Polo are a great place to mingle with Argentinean gentry on weekends during the November and December tournament season. Be sure to dress for the occasion in poplin pants from Argentine designer La Martina (anything from Ralph Lauren will also work). Tickets are available at www.ticketek.com.ar (Spanish only).

Av. del Libertador 4000 at Dorrego, 011-54-11-4777-6444, www.aapolo.com
Tags: smart splurge | things to do | spectator sport

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Infuse your visit with an extra shot of creativity at this multi-functional exhibit space, host to monthly art installations, performances, and film screenings. The Jesuit building, originally a convent, dates to 1732 and is one of the oldest in the city.

Junin 1930, 011-54-11-4803-1040, www.centroculturalrecoleta.org
Tags: family | things to do | culture

Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso

Check the agenda at this event and cultural space near Plaza Lezama where you can catch orquestras tipicas (tango orchestras) and weekly milongas (social dances). A wide range of performers, from old school crooners to new age fusion groups, make appearances here.

Defensa 1575, 011-54-11-4307-6506, www.torquatotasso.com.ar (Spanish Only)
Tags: nightlife | great value | dancing | things to do | culture | tango

Confiteria Ideal

Established in 1912, the Confiteria Ideal is one of the most famous dance halls in the city. Nostalgia unites the crowd, a mix of locals and tourists. Come for lessons and dancing throughout the week or the Friday and Saturday night dinner shows.

Suipacha 380, 011-54-11-5265-8069, www.confiteriaideal.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | culture | dance lessons | tango

El Querandí

The historically based tango show, held in a classic Art Deco building, traces tango from its bordello roots to the more modern, sexier styles. While pricier and classier shows have been established in recent years, El Querandí is one of the most consistent and well reviewed.

Peru 302, 011-54-11-5199-1770, www.querandi.com.ar
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | tango

Feria de Mataderos

For a dose of folklore and campo tradition without leaving the city, venture to this Sunday festival. Be sure to visit the Museo Criollo de los Corrales, a museum dedicated to gaucho and Creole life.

Avenida de los Corrales 6500, www.feriademataderos.com.ar (Spanish only)
Tags: great value | things to do | culture | museum

Feria de San Telmo

Revel in the boho scene as musicians, performance artists, and artisans spill into the streets of San Telmo while curio vendors and tango dancers fill Plaza Dorrego every Sunday from 10am-5pm. From silver and glassware to vintage camera equipment, antiques dominate the crowded stalls at this event that began in 1970.

Defensa and Humberto Primo, www.feriadesantelmo.com (Spanish only)
Tags: family | art | things to do | culture

Florida Street

The nine-block pedestrian mall around Galerías Pacifico (two blocks from relaxing Plaza San Martín) houses deals on everything from Argentinean leather and cashmere to jewelry and electronics.

Florida/Cordoba/San Martín, 011-54-11-5555-5110, www.galeriaspacifico.com.ar
Tags: shopping | editor pick | great value | things to do | jewelry | menswear

Fragata Sarmiento Ship Museum

Imagine life on the high seas on this vessel – originally a training ship for the Argentine Navy – as you explore from the top deck to the engine room. Built in the 1890s and named after Argentina’s seventh president, the ARA Presidente Sarmiento retains its original gun mounts and torpedoes.

Puerto Madero, Dock 3, 011-54-11-4334-9386
Tags: family | things to do | culture | museum

Galerías Pacifico

Every February, big-name designers present their autumn and winter collections in Buenos Aires for the upcoming South American winter, long before the garments hit the racks in New York or Paris. This elegant mall boasts the best local and international chains and the Borges Cultural Center. It's an excellent place to seek out chic, up-to-the-minute designer threads and coveted Argentinean leather handbags from Prune and Cardon. You’ll be months ahead of the curve!

San Martin 768, Florida and Av. Cordoba, 011-55-11-5555-5110, www.galeriaspacifico.com.ar
Tags: shopping | expensive | smart splurge | trendy | things to do | designer

Madero Tango

Expensive yes, but this exclusive tango show, backed by a dazzling view of the river, is one of the most talked about in Buenos Aires. Famed Argentine chef Martiniano Molina designed the dinner menu, while the elaborate show presents 120 outfits, 100 pairs of shoes, 20 artists on stage, and six live musicians.

Dock 1, Alicia Moreau de Justo y Brasil, 011-54-11-5239-3009, www.maderotango.com
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | tango

Mercado de San Telmo

Travel back in time in this sprawling turn-of-the-century Italian-style market with soaring ceilings and ornate wrought-iron interior archways. Produce, meat, and poultry vendors set up shop daily, as do purveyors of antiques, books, vintage clothes, and sundry items.

Defensa 961, Entrances on Estados Unidos, Defensa, Carlos Calvo and Bolivar,
Tags: shopping | things to do | market

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)

Feast your eyes on works by Frida Kahlo, Xul Solar, Antonio Berni, and 75 others in this strikingly modern, airy museum showcasing Latin-American artists from the 1900s to the present. More than 200 pieces from the private art collection of Eduardo Costantini make this one of the premier museums for contemporary Latin American art in the world. Traveling exhibitions also include heavy hitters like Warhol and Lichtenstein.

Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, 011-54-11-4808-6500, www.malba.org.ar
Tags: editor pick | art | things to do | culture | architecture

Museo Evita

This museum provides a glimpse at the short yet celebrated life of Argentina’s first lady in what was once a shelter she opened for unwed mothers. Displays chronicle significant parts of her life: her childhood, her time as an actress, her years as first lady, and her death. Tours in English are available Tuesday through Sunday.

Lafinur 2988, 011-54-11-4807-0306, www.museoevita.org
Tags: things to do | culture | museum

Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo

High-society living, early 1900s-style, is on display at this museum, which showcases the one-time home of an Argentine diplomat and his family’s collection of European and Asian art and antiques. A sculpture by Rodin and paintings by Manet, Sorolla, and El Greco, as well as elaborate tapestries and furniture are showcased.

Avenida de Libertador 1902, 011-54-11-4801-8248, www.mnad.org
Tags: things to do | museum

Palermo Viejo stores

Pick up one-of-a-kind looks at the weekend-only design fair spaces just off Plaza Cortázar and roam the stores along the surrounding dappled streets for fashion-forward finds. Palermo Viejo is Buenos Aires’ version of Beverly Hills with high-end designer boutiques every few steps.

Plaza Cortázar (aka Plaza Serrano), at intersection of Jorge Luis Borges and Honduras,
Tags: shopping | design | things to do | menswear

Parque Tres de Febrero

Stop and smell the blooms of 12,000 rose bushes at the Rosedal, tucked in the corner of the massive Palermo park, steps from the impressive Monumento de Los Españoles. A picnic and rowboat ride around the nearby lake make for an idyllic afternoon (boats are available for rent at the water's edge). The rose park is closed Mondays.

Avenida del Libertador and Avenida Sarmiento, www.bue.gov.ar
Tags: things to do | park

Recoleta Cemetery

Wander the architecturally diverse and eerily beautiful rows of angel-topped marble mausoleums where presidents, national heroes, and Buenos Aires’ elite are buried. To find the most famous resting place of all, just look for the gathering of tourists: Eva "Evita" Perón is buried in the Duarte family tomb.

Junin 1790, 011-54-11-4803-1594
Tags: things to do | outdoors | culture | architecture

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Flanked by the Costanera Sur promenade and the dulce-de-leche-colored Río de la Plata, this verdant, marsh-filled getaway is a bird-watchers paradise and ideal for biking or walking. The more than 850-acre ecological reserve bordering Puerto Madero is home to flamingos, swans, egrets, parrots, nutrias, pampas grass, and acacia trees. Chill out along the riverside promenade where the locals flock on weekends to drink mate, soak up the sun, and smooch.

Av. Tristán Achával Rodríguez 1550, 011-54-11-4315-1320
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | outdoors

Rojo Tango

The tango show and dinner at the sleek Faena Hotel + Universe hotel is anything but traditional. During the three-course meal you’ll witness one of the city’s sexiest and most stylish performances, set in an intimate 1940s-style cabaret.

Martha Salotti 445, 011-54-11-5787-1536, www.rojotango.com
Tags: things to do | culture | architecture | tango

San Telmo shops

Amid the antique stores and flea markets, you can nab the latest creations from local designers: visit Puntos en el Espacio for hip clothing and L’ago for cool lamps and decorative objects.

Peru 979, Peru and Defensa near Carlos Calvo, 011-54-11-4307-1742
Tags: shopping | things to do | designer | menswear

Señor Tango

Señor Tango is the closest thing Buenos Aires has to Broadway. The massive rotating stage with everything from live horses and a full orchestra to a re-enactment of the history of Argentina is sheer spectacle. One of the largest and most well known tango performances in town – even if its DNA owes more to variety shows.

Vieytes 1665, 011-54-11-4303-0231, www.senortango.com.ar
Tags: things to do | outdoors | culture | architecture | tango

Stroll El Caminito

Tourists make a beeline for the heartbeat of La Boca's brightly colored barrio – El Caminito  (Little Lane). This short pedestrianized strip, flanked by vividly painted buildings, doubles as an open-air art museum. Get to El Caminito early in the day, before the bus-tour crowds convene, when the natural light is most flattering to the bright hues; after nightfall, the area is considered unsafe due to rampant petty crime. For suggestions on what to see and do in the area, see our Top 10 Tourist Trap Tips.

El Caminito,
Tags: things to do | architecture

Tango lessons

Learn the basic ocho and give it whirl at a practica after the lesson. The 1912 Confiteria Ideal, a national historic site where all of the greats have performed and a frequent star of films, is one place to strut your stuff daily.

Confiteria Ideal, Suipacha 380, 011-54-11-5265-8069, www.confiteriaideal.com
Tags: editor pick | things to do | culture | dance lessons

Teatro Colón

Between the gorgeous acoustics, opulent splendor, and historic setting, committing a few hours to this opera house, considered one of the five best in the world, guarantees an enriching evening. The 1908 building reopened in May 2010 after a four-year renovation.

Cerrito 628, 011-54-11-4378-7100, www.teatrocolon.org.ar
Tags: smart splurge | things to do | culture | performing arts

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