Buenos Aires is a sprawling city, known for its vibrant culture, lush parks, and beautiful European architecture. Having lived in Buenos Aires myself, I understand that the city’s size and endless options for discovery and entertainment can sometimes be overwhelming. With the right guidance, however, you will not regret exploring the “Paris of the Americas”.
Because so much is constantly happening in Buenos Aires, I’ve come up with a select list of things worth seeing and doing when visiting the city. The top 8 things to do in Buenos Aires are:
- Street Markets
- El Caminito in La Boca
- Explore by Bike
Tango may be one of the things that Buenos Aires is most well known for. Reserve a class at one of the many tango studios in the city: La Viruta, Escuela Mariposita, and Escuela Tango are some of the most popular places to learn the national dance.
Got two left feet? Tango is also an incredibly entertaining dance to watch! Try ordering a dessert and some coffee at Buenos Aires’ oldest café, Café Tortoni, and catch a tango show in the café’s theater.
Finally, you just cannot miss a milonga, an event where regular people dance the tango in a crowded room. Essentially, it’s a tango club. Hey, maybe you could show off your new-found dance skills! La Viruta also has Milongas some nights of the week, but you may want to drink some coffee or take a nap before heading over– milongas often don’t start until late, and last well into the early morning!
Artisanal markets, or ferias, are bountiful in Buenos Aires, and perfect places for finding affordable and unique souvenirs, gifts, or just doing some shopping! On the weekends, you can happen upon a feria in essentially every neighborhood.
The most popular, touristy, but must-see market is La Feria de San Telmo. Every Sunday, hundreds of vendors set up along the cobblestone streets of the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo.
Want to get a taste of the “authentic” Argentina? Make sure to visit the Feria de Mataderos, a market that includes traditional “gaucho” performances, games, and folklore dances. Also, this is the place to try traditional cuisine like choripon, locro, and empanadas. Make note: Feria de Mataderos is a good 45 minutes from the city center, so plan accordingly.
Whether you’re a history buff, art-lover, or natural science enthusiast, there are plenty of museums in Buenos Aires that can garner your interest.
The Eva Perón Museum helps preserve the legacy of one of Argentina’s most important and beloved public figures. The museum is in a beautiful mansion located in the Palermo neighborhood and has several rooms with artifacts from Evita Perón’s life. If possible, I strongly encourage you to choose a guided tour to learn more about Evita’s influence and life.
MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art) holds hundreds of works by Latin American artists throughout history, including famous greats like Fridah Kahlo, along with some classic European works. The museum’s mission is to preserve and educate people on art produced in Latin America, and it is definitely worth checking out while in Buenos Aires.
Planetario Galileo Galilei
Planetario Galileo Galilei gives you a look into our earth, moon, and solar system. One of the highlighted exhibits includes a virtual reality trip to Mars! In addition to exhibitions in the museum, Planetario often holds events for the public. It’s important to note that there is no English rendition for the tours or lectures. Thus, this museum is better for Spanish speaking individuals.
When I first moved to Argentina, I wondered: is there a beach close to Buenos Aires? Although there technically isn’t a beach in the city, the nearby Tigre is a quaint town situated on the Parana River Delta and is an optimal place to visit if you are craving some time near the water.
Tigre is an easy and cheap train ride from the Buenos Aires city center; it’s only about 45 minutes away. Take the Linea Mitre Train from the Retiro station (downtown Buenos Aires) or from the Belgrano C station (near China Town) to Tigre.
While there, you can take a boat trip along the delta and around its many islands. If you’re willing to pay extra, some longer boat rides may allow you to stop off at an island with a restaurant so that you can take in the scenery while enjoying a meal on the river. In addition to boat tours, many people choose to rent kayaks, go water skiing, or lounge at one of the many public beaches on the river.
Finally, the town of Tigre is well worth exploring. Go there on a Sunday for the Puerto de Frutos, a busy market known for its fruit, but also offering many other artisanal goods. Explore the quaint town via bike, and finish your day with a meal at one of the many delicious restaurants the town offers.
El Caminito in La Boca
Strolling down “El Caminito” in the neighborhood La Boca is a must when traveling to Buenos Aires. The buildings along the street were refurbished into a street museum and painted in pastel colors by an Argentine artist in the 1960s. While walking down the cobblestone street, admire the bright buildings, eccentric art installations, and performances by tango dancers.
Today, El Caminito is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Buenos Aires. For this reason, it’s important to remain aware of your surroundings and belongings, as petty theft is common in the area.
Argentinians are crazy about soccer. Thus, attending a soccer match in Buenos Aires is essential if you are looking to soak up a complete Argentine experience.
If you feel like really experiencing the passion and energy associated with soccer in Buenos Aires, try to score tickets to a match between Boca Juniors and River Plate. Note: these games can be especially expensive, and tickets are difficult to come by.
Another popular and unique sport in Argentina is Polo. If you’re not very familiar with polo, know that the sport is fascinating to watch: the sheer amount of skill and horsemanship required to play is astounding!
Catch a match at the Argentine Polo Ground in the neighborhood of Palermo. If you plan to visit Buenos Aires in November or December, make sure you get tickets to the Argentine Open Polo Tournament, the most important championship hosted by the grounds.
Explore by Bike
I always think that, if feasible, cycling around a new city is the best way to take in the vibe and appreciate its atmosphere in a short amount of time. Luckily, Buenos Aires has an extensive network of bike lanes and is basically entirely flat. Because of this, it’s an ideal city to explore by bike!
Getting a bike in Buenos Aires is simple: the city has an EcoBici system that allows you to rent a bike for up to an hour at a time during the weekdays and for up to two hours on the weekends. To register, you simply need to download the app, register, and you’re good to go!
Another excellent way to get to know Buenos Aires is by reserving a bike tour. With a bike guide, you’re sure to safely explore the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires without getting lost, and learn the quirks and history of the beautiful city.
What is Buenos Aires known for?
Buenos Aires is known for its vibrant culture and elegant, European architecture. Beyond being the birthplace for Tango, the theater, cinema, art, music, and literature that is generated in the city is world-renowned.
Is there a beach in Buenos Aires?
There is no beach within the city of Buenos Aires, although you can approach the shores of Rio de la Plata by going to the Reserva Ecologica de Buenos Aires, Parque de la Memoria, or Parque de Los Niños, which converts a part of the park to a beach during the summer. Note that the Rio de la Plata is very polluted and you should not swim in it.