Buenos Aires is a vibrant city full of history and steeped in culture. The essence of the city are its people, and their identity is marked by the foreign influences of Spanish, Italian, French, Colombian, Venezuelan and Peruvian nuances, among many others. You will discover these characteristics in the city’s architecture, its food and in the way of life every “porteño” cherishes. So, get ready to experience in every corner the legacy of all those who came to the city looking for new opportunities and you will become mesmerized by the mixture of cultures that make up a remarkable and delightful whole.
There are countless reasons why you should visit this place, and that’s why one day in Buenos Aires is not enough to experience everything there is to see. However, you will still be able to pick up on the passionate vibe of the city and explore its fascinating history and present.
Guest post by Mechi Martínez Uriburu
What is the best time to visit Buenos Aires?
The weather in Buenos Aires can get very hot and humid in summer and somewhat cold in winter, so the best time to visit is from March to May in autumn or from September to November during spring.
A few facts about Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina and is located by the Río de la Plata. The language spoken in the country is Spanish. The local currency is the peso argentino. People living in the city of Buenos Aires are called “porteños” and are known for speaking very loudly and being passionate about almost everything, but mostly futbol and asado, the Argentinian version of North American barbecues or South African braai. People in Argentina drink lots of mate, a traditional drink made of an infusion of dried leaves of yerba mate that is drunk with friends and served in a hollow pumpkin called “mate”, with a special metallic straw called “bombilla”. You definitely need to try it to be able to say you’ve been to Argentina.
One Day in Buenos Aires Itinerary
Porteños are all about enjoying themselves. Buenos Aires is the number one destination for anyone who loves cultural activities, eclectic architecture and most importantly – great food. Get ready to walk a lot and eat several times in your one day in Buenos Aires, enjoy coffee breaks and experience the city just like one of the locals.
Explore the neighborhood of San Telmo
Start your day in San Telmo with a powerful porteño-style breakfast at Bar Plaza Dorrego, a traditional coffee shop that used to function as a general store in the old days. Order a cortado con medialunas or a tostado and begin your porteño experience. Bar Plaza Dorrego is one of 92 “Notable Bars” of the city of Buenos Aires that were selected because of their cultural legacy. Take some time to walk around San Telmo, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and the home of several “tangerías”: places where you can listen and dance to traditional tango music. Also, some antique markets take place at Plaza Dorrego and the surroundings that definitely are worth a visit.
Visit Plaza de Mayo to get in touch with some of the city’s history
For your next stop take a walk to Plaza de Mayo because every city has a historic center and Buenos Aires is no exception. Plaza de Mayo is the oldest square in the city and around it you will find several buildings related to the country’s history like the Metropolitan Cathedral, Casa Rosada (headquarters of the National Government) and El Cabildo, built in 1583 and a very important site related to the Spanish colonial era. On Saturdays, the city government offers free guided visits to Casa Rosada that can be booked 15 days ahead of time here.
If you feel like walking around a little bit more, you can visit the CCK, a cultural center built in 1928 by the French architect Norbert-Auguste Maillart. It hosts exhibitions and activities, but the building is quite a spectacle on its own.
Walk through the Presidente Roque Saenz Peña Avenue towards the iconic Obelisco and make sure to look up and appreciate the beauty of the architecture. This area is usually packed on weekdays since it’s the city center and a business district.
Stroll down the Alvear and Figueroa Alcorta avenues and pass by several cultural and architectonic spots
From the Obelisco, take the subway to Facultad De Medicina station. Find your way to Alvear Avenue and take a walk through one of the most exclusive streets in the city in the Recoleta neighborhood. If you are hungry (and willing to spend a little), you can enjoy lunch at the Park Hyatt Hotel located at the Duhau Palace, which has a beautiful garden. If the weather’s nice, you might also want to try the terrace of the Buenos Aires Design Mall which has several options at lower prices and a very cool environment.
Return to Avenida Figueroa Alcorta and begin your way to the Latinamerican Arts Museum (MALBA). Strolling down the Avenue you will find the National Arts Museum, the Palais de Glace (a French-style Belle Époque building), the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas and the famous statue “Floralis Generica”, donated to the city by the Argentine sculptor Eduardo Catalano. It’s a short and green 20-minute walk, and if you are lucky enough to be visiting in spring, the whole avenue will be filled with violet flowers of jacarandá trees.
Bonus: Make a little 200-meter detour from Figueroa Alcorta Avenue and take a look at the marvelous Errázuriz Alvear Palace where the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo is located. The restaurant of the museum is called Croque Madame and is a great place to have a quick after-lunch coffee or even to have lunch if you didn’t manage to eat anything before.
Visit the Palermo neighborhood for some street art, design brands and craft beer
After visiting the museum, begin your way to the biggest neighborhood in the city: Palermo. Take a walk to Boulevard Cerviño (Cerviño Avenue) and enjoy a beer at Pïba or have tea at Birkin. Make sure to walk by the Palacio de Los Patos (Ugarteche 3050) and La Colorada Building (Cabello 3780), two architectonic gems in the area.
Continue your journey to Plaza Julio Cortazar, popularly known as Plaza Serrano, and walk around the area. You will find lots of restaurants and bars, mostly offering craft beers which have been a boom in the city for the last couple of years, famous Argentinian clothing brands, design stores, bookshops, clubs and lots of street art and murals by renowned artists of the city like Tano Veron or Guille Pachelo. You should try La Cabrera or Lo De Jesús for typical Argentinian beef (asado). Take into consideration that in Buenos Aires dinner is served rather late – dinner services can start around 20:00 (and that is extremely early for any porteño). You can also try Perón Perón a thematic peronist restaurant. Peronism is a political movement in Argentina based on the legacy of President Juan Domingo Perón. The restaurant serves typical and delicious porteño food.
Enjoy the characteristic nightlife of Buenos Aires
As far as the bars go, you should definitely walk around and choose the one that matches your vibe, since there are options for every taste. This area is usually packed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but that is exactly the perfect moment to be there and experience the nightlife of the city and make some Argentinian friends from the table next to you.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
Generally, young tourists stay in Palermo because it is well connected to popular city attractions and it has great nightlife with many restaurants and bars. Art Factory is a hostel chain with many options in different neighborhoods. The Beer Garden Hostel in Palermo is great because of the craft beer patio.
Day trips from Buenos Aires
The best option for a day trip inside the province of Buenos Aires is San Antonio de Areco, a traditional village only two hours from Buenos Aires by car or bus. In Areco, you can get a peep at the rural customs of the country and experience some folklore music played by gauchos. Original gauchos were the result of a mixture of Spanish and indigenous blood at the time of the colonization and this figure was key to the construction of the Argentinian identity. If you decide to visit Areco, you should definitely take a sit outside of the historic bar El Mitre to enjoy a beer and some cheese while you watch the people going around the plaza and the horses and cars that pass by.
If you would like to get the most out of your trip to Buenos Aires and travel to another country, you can definitely make a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay. A small colonial town that is incredibly charming because of its tiny cobbled streets and sunsets. You can get to Colonia by taking a one-hour ferry that departs from the Buenos Aires Port. The companies offering the ferry service are: Buquebus, Seacat and Colonia Express, and they usually have special offers for one day trips. There’s one spot you cannot miss when you visit to Colonia and that is the restaurant La Bodeguita.
Extra Tips for visiting Buenos Aires
– In order to use public transport you will need to get a SUBE card that can be bought and charged at any subway station or any of the Puntos SUBE. Make sure you get one before starting the itinerary.
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