Long-touted as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires is a huge metropolitan city that has a little something for everyone. But given its sheer size, it can be slightly overwhelming to narrow down what activities are a must. So after spending an amazing ten days in this fabulous city, we have compiled our favorite activities into one list:
Visit Evita’s Grave
You probably saw this one coming. Yes, La Recoleta Cemetery is in practically every guidebook, travel blog, and tour itinerary, but that’s because it’s just one of those places you need to see. While the main attraction is the final resting place of Eva Perón, all of the tombs within the walls are like pieces of art. Take some time and wander around. Another site worth seeing is the tomb of Rufina Cambaceres, who according to legend, was tragically buried alive. Creepy. The cemetery is open daily from 7am-5:30 pm.
Spend the day in Palermo
This is definitely the trendiest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, which yes, does make it touristy. That said, it has some of the coolest restaurants, bars, and shops. Not to mention that almost every wall is decorated with hip street art. Perfect for that #instaworthy shot.
Make a Reservation a Closed Door Restaurant
A Puerta Cerrada or Closed Door Restaurant is a totally unique way to experience the Argentinian cuisine and culture. These restaurants are more like a dinner party hosted by local chefs inside their homes. We went to Casa Salt Shaker, hosted by Chef and sommelier Dan Perlman and his partner Henry Tapia. They open their home on weekend evenings to diners who want to experience their constantly changing five-course meal and meet some new people as the dining table is communal.
Eat at a Parilla
As you might already be aware, Argentina is the land of beef. And while I don’t eat meat, Mike is a carnivore and he was determined to have an amazing steak dinner while we were in Buenos Aires. He was successful. We visited two different parillas while in Buenos Aires, one of which turned out to be “life-changing” for Michael. If you’re into steaks, we recommend hitting up La Carniceria. It’s small, so make sure to make a reservation. For my veggie friends, the options aren’t endless but I still managed to have a delicious meal consisting of grilled veggies, a baked potato, and the best gin and tonic on the planet.
Enjoy the parks
With all of the steaks, pizza, pastries, and empanadas you will likely be consuming on your trip to Buenos Aires, you might be thinking a little exercise would be nice. Luckily, Buenos Aires has one of the best networks of city parks that we have come across. Get outside, go for a jog, and breathe in the city. Almost all of them are also equipped with outdoor gyms, so you can also get in some pull-ups and tricep dips if you so choose. If you’re thinking that working out on your vacation sounds like a terrible idea, we would still recommend taking a stroll through the parks. Set up a picnic if the weather is right!
Stroll through La Boca
One of the most interesting neighborhoods in Buenos Aires has to be La Boca. The birthplace of tango and home to one of the most popular football stadiums in South America, this area has a little something to offer to everyone.
A must visit in this neighborhood are the famous El Caminito streets. They are lined with brightly colorful shanty houses that beg for photos. Just be mindful that tourists are subject to pickpockets in this area so keep your eyes on those phones or cameras.
Listen to Jazz at Thelonious Club
If you’re craving a night of live music in an utterly cool setting, look no further than Thelonious Club. Located in Palermo, this jazz club features live performances Wednesday-Sunday starting at 9:30 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, the club offers two bands in the lineup. The club is pretty small so we highly recommend reserving your spot at a table ahead of time. Once there, you’ll notice that the club is a recycled house with bare brick walls and low-lighting. Order a drink (or two) and enjoy the show! This will no doubt be a highlight of your trip.
Spend a Sunday at San Telmo Market
The biggest attraction of Buenos Aires’ bohemian neighborhood is its Sunday market. From 10 am – 4 pm every Sunday on Calle Defensa, both locals and tourists can be found shopping for antiques, crafts, food, drinks, clothing, and much more. If you’re lucky, you might also see an impromptu tango performance. While we were there, we found ourselves watching a live band while drinking Malbec and eating barbeque. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
Dance the night away at La Bomba de Tiempo
This was quite possibly the coolest thing we did while we were in Buenos Aires. Every Monday night at 7 pm, a 17-person percussion group performs South American/African beats to a crowd of about 1,500. The show is improvised through hand signals, which makes it not only more impressive but also unique from week to week.
Important to note that it’s only on Monday nights so plan accordingly. The show is located within the Konex Cultural Center. You do not need to buy tickets beforehand we would recommend getting there early so that you can enjoy a beer (or Fernet & Coke) before the lines get crazy.
Embrace Your Inner Flaneur
Sometimes you just need to relax and watch the world go by. Luckily, you can find a cafe on pretty much every corner of Buenos Aires to accomplish just that. If you want to act like a true porteño, then order a cafe con leche and a medialuna (small croissant-like pastry). Some classic cafes are Cafe Tortoni and Cafe Gate Negro.
However, if you’re like us and are constantly on the hunt for the most hipster joint to serve you up a pour-over then head to Coffee Town (inside the San Telmo market), All Saints Café (located in Belgrano), or Félix, Felices & Company (located in Palermo).