Buenos Aires is built around a regular grid system and is a city of barrios, or districts, each with its own personality and distinctive style. There is a noticeable divide between the north and south of the city with the wealthy Argentineans populating the northern barrios after they fled a yellow fever epidemic in San Telmo back in 1871. Here you can find sleek high-rise buildings, expensive boutiques and luxury hotels in contrast to the south which has undergone slower development and houses the immigrant families from other parts of the world.
Buenos Aires Attractions Travel Guide
The city is roughly a triangular shape with a regular numbering system making walking easy. The main thoroughfare is the Avenida 9 de Julio which runs from north to south and the Plaza de Mayo is a good central reference point when exploring the city. To the south of the centre lies the historical district of Monserrat with its antique shops and tango dance halls. Beyond this the working class district of La Boca, also synonymous with the beautiful game, lies on the Riachielo tributary of the River Plate.
North of the centre and past Retiro, the museum district, is the well-heeled barrio of Recoleta with its labyrinthine cemeteries and expensive shops and to the west are the historical districts Once and Abarto.
At night there is a real buzz to the area and some say that the streets are busier at midnight than at midday. The bars fill up and people-watching begins in earnest until the early hours. And don’t forget the small matter of the Tango. Watch a show or join in yourself to understand the rhythm and energy that underpins this metropolis.
1. Plaza De Mayo
One of the most attractive squares in the city, this has been the site of many important meetings and protests across the centuries. The Madres de Plaza Mayo still hold a weekly demonstration here concerning crimes that were never punished during the 1976-83 dictatorship. The Casa Rosada and Governmental Palace are on the eastern side of the square and the palm trees lend an air of exotic beauty to the place.
2. Avenida de Mayo
This famous street resembles a Parisian boulevard with its tree-lined road and ornamental lamps. This is the route all newly-elected presidents follow when they make their way to the Casa Rosada after being sworn in at the Palacio del Congreso. There are also several well-preserved art nouveau buildings that are worth a look.
3. Palacio del Congreso
Hipolito Yrigoyen 1849, entre Rios y Combate de la Pozos. Telephone 4959 3000
Opening hours: Guided tours in English take place on Mon-Wed, 11am & 4pm. No entry when in session. This Greco-Roman congress building bears some resemblance to the White House in Washington with its wide-columned front and surrounding park filled with statues and fountains. Admission is free (guided tour only) and it is closed in January.
5. Cementerio de la Recoleta
Junin 1760, entre Guido y Vicente Lopez. Telephone 4803 1594. Opening hours; daily 7am – 10pm.
One of the most amazing sights in the city, this enormous cemetery is a maze of marble and granite mausoleums with giant vaults and impressive tombs lining the paths. Visitors are usually keen to see Evita’s grave nestled within this city of the dead.
6. Parque 3 de Febrero
After a recent clean-up you can now walk past rubber trees, palms and parrots squawking in the trees in this big and popular park. For younger visitors there is the Planetario Galileo Galilei, and make sure you visit the beautiful rose garden and the Jarden de los Poetas with its abundance of literary busts.
7. Catedral Metropolitana
Avenida Rivadavia, y San Martin. Telephone 4331 2845
Opening hours: Jan & Feb, Mon-Fri 9am-7pm, Sat, Sun 3pm-7pm. Mar – Dec, Mon-Fri 8am-7pm, Sat, Sun 9am-7.30pm.
A beautiful neo-classical building that houses the mausoleum containing the remains of Liberator Jose de San Martin. Admission free.
8. Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso
Defensa 1575, entre Caseros y Brasil, San Telmo. Telephone 4307 6506. Opening hours: daily, 4pm. Milonga, Fri-Sun 10pm onwards, daily classes at 8pm.
To experience tango-fever, head to this well-respected venue to watch the professionals dance. It is very popular so get there early to grab a seat. On Friday and Saturday there is also live music and renowned orchestras. Tickets are AR$5-15
9. Estadio Alberto J Armando (La Bombonera)
Brandsen 805, y la Via, La Boca. Telephone 4309 4700
Football is a national obsession so come and see for yourself what the fuss is about and watch a game at this famous stadium. Diego Maradona used to play here but these days you can catch the top-class Club Atletico Boca Juniors scoring goals. Ticket prices vary.
Avenida 9 de Julio. When this enormous 68-metre memorial was first unveiled, there was huge controversy from the locals but over time they have gradually become rather proud of it. The work commemorates the first attempt and then final foundation of Buenos Aires, the declaration of the city as Argentina’s Capital and to mark the site of the demolished San Nicolas church.
11. Tierra Santa
Avenida Costanera Rafael Obligado 5790. Telephone 4784 9551. Opening hours: May-Nov, Fri 9am-9pm, Sat, Sun 11am – 10.30pm. Dec-April, Fri 5.30pm-11.30pm, Sat, Sun 3pm-11.30pm.
The word ‘kitch’ doesn’t do justice to ‘the world’s first religious theme park’. One of the city’s most popular attractions, you can see the world’s biggest manger at the nativity scene, walk from Bethlehem to Jerusalem stopping for a drink at Café Baghdad on the way, take a guided tour down the streets with people acting out the events from Jesus life and finally see the resurrection – complete with strobe lighting – every half an hour! AR$7-8