Buenos Aires, Argentina
Attractions in Buenos Aires, Argentina: What to do and where to go
Argentina is an enormous country filled with natural riches and immeasurable cultural value. Buenos Aires, the federal capital, lies in the northeastern region alongside the Rio de la Plata (Silver River). Its delicious local cuisine, nonstop nightlife, imposing architecture, parks, squares, outdoor cafes, and renowned urban atmosphere are all defining characteristics that make this city one of the most beautiful in the entire world.
Buenos Aires fuses its European roots with a Latin-American style, transforming into a sublime and unique final result. The city is divided into "barrios" (neighborhoods), many of which have become the face and identity of Buenos Aires. There are a total of 48 official barrios, and each one has its own defining characteristics and authentic style. The city's eight most important barrios hold the most attractions for tourists and visitors; these barrios are Centro, Palermo, La Recoleta, Belgrano, San Telmo, Puerto Madero, La Boca and Tigre. In these areas, you'll find an endless number of attractions for every visitor.
Buenos Aires Centro
The most famous image of Buenos Aires' downtown area ("Centro") is of the intersection between Avenida 9 de Julio (July 9 Avenue) and Avenida Corrientes, where the famous Obelisk is located. Avenida 9 de Julio is known as one of the widest streets in the world at just over 450 feet wide. The Obelisk is 207 feet high, and its hollow interior allows visitors to climb to the top and enjoy the city landscapes by looking out of the four windows at the summit.
Calle Florida is a beautiful downtown pedestrian street where it's easy to lose yourself among the many stores and galleries. Here you'll find a wide variety of products such as leather goods, apparel, books, art galleries and crafts, creating an enjoyable experience for those who like to go for a walk and take in the scenery. Galerias Pacifico is also located on Calle Florida. This beautiful shopping center contains amazing murals done by famous Argentine artists.
Another site that's not to be missed on a tour of the Centro area is Plaza San Martin, the city's nerve center, where you'll come across prominent examples of Argentine architecture, such as the Palacio de San Martin. The Monumento a los Caidos (Monument of the Fallen) honors the soldiers that passed away in the Falklands War with England. Ironically, right in front of this monument you can find the Torre de los Ingleses (English Tower), which was given by England in celebration of the centennial of Argentina's independence.
Don't forget to visit the Teatro Colon (Columbus Theater), which is one of the world's most beautiful stages, a lavish arena with unique acoustic properties. If you want to go shopping, make a trip to Avenida Santa Fe, where you'll find cafes, bookstores, fashionable bars, restaurants and all sorts of shops.
Palermo is the largest barrio in the city of Buenos Aires, containing the most green areas and parks in the metropolitan area. Palermo is divided into zones or smaller sub-barrios, all with unofficial names. Some of the most important are Palermo Chico, Palermo Viejo, Palermo Hollywood, Las Canitas and Palermo Soho. Each of these areas has its own individuality and unique atmosphere.
Palermo Chico is considered the capital's most expensive residential area. Elegant homes decorate all of its streets. To the north of this area, you'll find the Lagos de Palermo (Palermo Lakes), the Jardin Zoologico de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Zoo-Garden), the Jardin Japones (Japanese Garden), the beautiful Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden), the Planetario (Planetarium), the polo field and the famous Hipodromo de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Hippodrome). This is a beautiful neighborhood to tour during the day, so don't forget to bring along your camera.
Palermo Soho holds the area's most popular locales, including restaurants, trendy bars, galleries, clothing stores, bookstores and a vibrant nightlife. Calle Honduras and Calle Serrano are the streets with the highest density of stores and businesses, near Plaza Julio Cortazar. Palermo Hollywood is named for the large number of film producers and television networks housed in the area.
La Recoleta stands out as one of Buenos Aires' most distinctive barrios. Its name comes from the Convento de los Padres Recoletos (Monastery of the Secluded Fathers) of the Franciscan order that came to the area at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1716, the church Nuestra Senora del Pilar was built, quickly becoming one of the neighborhood's main landmarks. However, nothing compares to the Cementerio de La Recoleta, the barrio's most famous site. This is Buenos Aires' most important cemetery, with eye-catching tombs featuring nineteenth century architecture, family crypts, and vaults. Within these graves are an endless amount of the country's most important people, one of the most famous and most visited being Eva Peron.
Another attraction in La Recoleta is the vast number of museums, galleries and cultural centers. Here you'll find the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), which holds one of the most important collections on the American continent. The names and works of the great masters set along its hallways set it apart as one of the most important museums in the world: Pollock, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, el Greco, Coya, Picasso, Kandinsky, Manet Tapies, Rodin, and Candido Lopez, among others. At the Centro Cultural Recoleta (Recoleta Cultural Center), located in Plaza Francia, many events, expositions, concerts, plays and other Argentine art forms are held.
Once in Plaza Francia, don't miss out on a visit to the Feria de Artesanos (Artisans Fair). With a hippie atmosphere, this is a popular hangout for many young Argentineans and foreigners. Music is played in the middle of the street among crafts stands and a festive ambiance. This plaza is a must-see for those who wish to get to know true Buenos Aires culture. It's also worth your while to tour Avenida Libertador and Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, two avenues filled with parks and green areas. Here you'll find Floris Generica, an important steel sculpture in the shape of a flower. You can also visit Gomero, a famous centuries-old rubber tree of immense proportions, whose branches sprawl out over a diameter of 165 feet.
The Belgrano barrio is an important residential and commercial area in Buenos Aires. Years ago, it was just a small town located near the port, later obtaining official status as a city. Although it seems surprising, for a few years it was actually the federal capital near the end of the nineteenth century. Finally, it was integrated into Buenos Aires as an important barrio. It's a charming corner of this metropolis and is highly appreciated by locals for the beauty and tranquility of its streets and parks. Every Sunday at Plaza Manuel Belgrano, there's a Feria Artesanal (Artisans Fair), in which artists present and sell their works. Don't forget to visit the Parroquia de la Inmaculada Concepcion (Parrish of the Immaculate Conception), a beautiful neo-renaissance temple in a circular shape, more commonly known as La Redonda (The Round).
Belgrano has a famous commercial area situated on Avenida Cabildo. Here you'll also find the famous Estadio Monumental, a temple for national soccer and home to Argentina's national soccer team, the River Plate soccer team, and the 1987 World Cup final. Belgrano's residential area is very eye-catching, ranging from French-style architecture filled with parks, hills and landscapes to luxurious English-style houses and modern apartment buildings.
Puerto Madero is one of the capital's most modern and exclusive barrios. Its river views, dams, residential area and infrastructure make it one of the most upscale barrios in Buenos Aires. The waterfront pedestrian street is attractive, if not stunning, due to its amazing restaurants, cafes, bars and nightlife. Touring the area on foot during the day or at night is always a highly enjoyable activity.
Among this barrio's attractions, you can't miss visiting the ships docked within the port. The Fragata Sarmiento, an old training ship for the Argentine navy, is over one hundred years old. It is one of the area's oldest ships and was one of the navy's fastest in its day. You can also see the Corbeta Uruguay, the oldest Argentine navy ship still afloat. Visit Puente de la Mujer (Woman Bridge), a 525-foot long rotating pedestrian bridge over the river that is considered a structural masterpiece. If you want to disconnect from the urban rhythm and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature, then visit the Costanera Sur ecological reserve, covering over 865 acres in the middle of the city.
European immigrants have made this old port their home over the years, especially Spaniards and Italians. The typical wood-zinc houses stand out, painted in a wide range of bright colors due to the fact that leftover paint and ship lumber were used to construct them. This is the ideal place to try your luck as a photographer and take surprising, colorful and captivating images.
One great spot for taking a walk is Caminito, where the old train tracks used to be, which has now been integrated into the urban landscape as a space for artists and tango dancers. Another site of interest is the Plaza de los Suspiros (Plaza of Sighs), which was once a meeting point for the Genoese people that arrived at the port and where they continually tried to recreate their beloved city of Genoa. This area is also home to the Museo Quinquela Martin, a museum with a collection of more than 1,000 works of art by this famous painter and other Argentineans.
La Boca is a highly popular barrio not just in Buenos Aires, but also on an international level, since it's home to one of the world's most important soccer clubs, the Boca Juniors. The club's home, La Bombonera (the Chocolate Box), is a famous soccer stadium where Maradona used to amaze the world as he played with his beloved team. Don't forget about tango; in La Boca, there are many places where you can enjoy shows and presentations of this unique dance along with the milonga dance.
San Telmo has played a very important role in the history of Buenos Aires. Once considered one of the most aristocratic barrios in the capital, its population was deeply affected by yellow fever, causing an exodus from the area. Today, San Telmo is known for its South American antiques markets, especially the Feria de San Telmo, which takes place every Sunday in Plaza Dorrego.
Housed inside an old tobacco factory, the Museo de Arte Moderno (Museum of Modern Art) presents a collection of more than 1,500 pieces by numerous international artists such as Dali, Matisse, Miro, Kandinsky and Picasso. Here you'll also find the Museo Historico Nacional (National Historic Museum), which holds Argentine cultural heritage. Another point of interest you should add to your itinerary is Pasaje San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Passage), where the Casa Minima is situated, a house that's just barely seven feet wide and belonged to a freed slave in the nineteenth century.
Just a few miles from the capital, on the Rio de la Plata (Silver River), you'll come across Tigre on the northern outskirts of Buenos Aires. This luxurious residential area is home to a beautiful nature reserve. In the far north, you can visit the Delta del Parana, also known as the Delta del Tigre, a popular weekend getaway for locals looking to spend a day outdoors, biking or simply going for a stroll. Tigre also has various other attractions, such as the Tren de la Costa (Coast Train), Paseo Victoria (Victoria Lane) and the Puerto de Frutos (Fruit Port). A visit to the nearby town of San Isidro and its stunning cathedral is also worth your while.
You're sure to fall in love with Buenos Aires.
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