Buenos Aires comprises 48 neighborhoods (or barrios). Below are suggestions for what to see and do in some of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, treasured by locals and travelers alike.
One of most-visited neighborhoods of the city, La Boca is bursting with color and rich history. For stunning photo opportunities of iconic brightly-painted houses, head to the Caminito, a pedestrian walk replete with art exhibitions, restaurants, tango demonstrations, and metal houses built years ago by poor immigrants, who moved to the city in search of a better life.
La Boca is also a mecca of football, and La Bombonera (the Boca stadium) is only a few blocks from the main street. You can tour the inside or don a blue and yellow hat and root on the Boca Juniors. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, as the games are extremely popular.
The neighborhood’s museums offer an interesting and inexpensive way to learn more about the history of the region. Visit Museo de Bellas Artes de Boca, located in the former house of a Boca native, to see art inspired by the area, including Boca’s port, ships, and men at work. For hip but traditional Argentinian cuisine, dine at Patagonia Sur, which is located in a building built in the 1920s and decorated with elegant furnishings. The restaurant is situated on the Matanza River, just a block from the Caminito.
With cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, antique shops, and a Sunday market in the main square, San Telmo is steeped in the city’s history. It’s one of the oldest parts of city, and life here still feels authentically “Argentine.” You can enjoy a cup of coffee at one of the city’s oldest cafés or watch a Tango demonstration on the street. Rougher in appearance than other parts of the city, the neighborhood is known as Buenos Aires’ bohemian quarter and it exudes a romantic quality.
San Telmo is conveniently located for the central sites, but has a reputation for being unsafe at night. Stick to the main streets if you’re walking around at night.
Downtown Buenos Aires
The Casa Rosada or “Pink House” — perhaps the most photographed building in Buenos Aires — is the main attraction on the Plaza de Mayo in the city’s downtown area. Home to the presidential offices, the governmental palace dates back to 1873, when its construction began on the site of a fort. Its historic balcony hosted important events in Argentinian history, such as the famous speeches of President Juan Peron and Eva Peron. You can attend a free guided tour of the palace in English on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays at 2:30 p.m. You need to reserve your spot on the tour here.
Some of the wealthiest families in the world settled down in the Recoleta neighborhood at the end of the 1800s, and you can still see their grand palaces as you wander through the city streets. Recoleta draws thousands of visitors on the weekends for its crafts market, held on Plaza Francia outside the Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. Craftsmakers at the market are evaluated by an Admissions Office before they’re afforded a table, so the goods tend to be of higher quality and originality than the market in San Telmo. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. or dusk. It’s a must-visit stop for the most unique souvenirs!
The neighborhood also includes the famous Recoleta Cemetery. Hailed as one of the “best” cemeteries in the world, the vast necropolis hosts the elaborate tombs of important Argentinian figures, such as Eva Peron, Nobel Prize winners and Napoleon’s granddaughter. You can find a number of restaurants and cafés near the cemetery. For a taste of Argentine history, visit one of the city’s historic cafeterias, where revolutionaries met in the first years of the Republic to discuss their political ideas. The city has declared some of the establishments Bares Notables (Notable Bars), and many have served customers for more than 100 years. Head to El Boliche de Roberto, located on Bulnes, for a bohemian atmosphere, wine and tango from 10 p.m. until whenever someone decides to close. La Giralda on Corrientes offers amazingly delectable hot chocolate and churros in a shop that will transport you straight back to the ‘70s.
Just minutes from downtown Buenos Aires, Palermo encompasses the largest green area of the city. Porteños spend weekends in the park walking, biking, picnicking in the grass or paddling in the lakes. Take a stroll in the Botanical Gardens and visit the five lush greenhouses, where your walk may be accompanied by one of the friendly domestic cats that live in the gardens!
For a shopping fix, visit the indie vendors on Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia. The neighborhood also offers a variety of high-end boutiques with wares by famous Argentinian designers and foreign brands. Visit the MALBA (Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires) to appreciate 20th-century contemporary art in a sleek space crafted by Argentine architectural firm AFT Architects. If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to skip out on Casa Cruz, one of the city’s chicest restaurants. Argentinian chef Germán Martitegui curates an eclectic and exotic menu, including dishes with rabbit, sea bass and Parma ham rolls.
Guests loved the Palermo Suites’ elegant and spacious rooms and the hotel’s proximity to great restaurants and lively Soho nightlife. All the suites feature cable TV, kitchens with microwaves and refrigerators, and balconies with city views. The Palermo Suites offers continental breakfast and a sun terrace, where guests can enjoy drinks from the bar. The hotel’s 24-hour front desk will secure a shuttle for you to take to and from the airport.
Built in 1932, this five-star hotel features a fitness center, spa, indoor heated pool, and a buffet-style breakfast. Located within a 7-minute walk of Recoleta Cemetery, Museo de Bellas Artes, and Museo Bellas Artes Argentina, the grand Alvear Palace Hotel is a great choice for those interested in museums, historical sites, and gourmet food. The hotel is top rated (9.7/10) on Booking.com for its location and value.
This hip and modern accommodation offers apartments fitted with air conditioning, a flat screen TV, dining area, fully-equipped kitchen, free WiFi, and a balcony with a city view. Bed linen, towels, and daily maid service are provided, and guests can rent bikes to explore the city for free. The accommodation is located near the Plaza Italia, Plaza Serrano Squares, and the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery Airport in a safe and non-touristy area.