Skyline of Buenos Aires

Is Buenos Aires Worth Visiting? Top 27 Things To See In 2024

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Read On For A Comprehensive Buenos Aires Travel Guide

It isn’t hard for us to answer the question “Is Buenos Aires Worth Visiting” since we have been there twice. We had enjoyed the city so much the first time around that we vowed that we would return.  Even UNESCO has designated the city within its Creative Cities Network.

Buenos Aires is our favourite city in South America.  Its wide boulevards, enormous green spaces, colonial architecture, and fusion cuisine give it a truly European vibe.   We were especially impressed with the great food that we had enjoyed here and trying out several new places (and some that we had liked before) was on our agenda.

In this blog, we reveal our top things to do in Buenos Aires, and why we were so intrigued that we came back a second time.

Top Highlights of Buenos Aires

Major Reasons To Visit Buenos Aires

Obelisk

The Obelisk in Buenos Aires is often considered to be the city’s iconic landmark.  It was built in 1936 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Buenos Aires by Pedro de Mendoza. The Obelisk sits atop the convergence of 3 of the city’s subway lines and in one of the widest streets in the world with 16 lanes of traffic – Avenida 9 de Julio.  It stands 67.5 metres high and each of its sides is 8.8 metres wide at the base.  

Avenue 9 de Julio

The Buenos Aires Obelisk is a key gathering location for major sporting celebrations and political demonstrations.  The area surrounding the Obelisk contains a shrub and flower garden as well as a couple of large bushes that are pruned to form the “B” and “A” for the initials of “Buenos Aires”.  This is a prime location for photographs and selfies.

The Obelisk

✅ The best way to see a city is with a local. Check out this 5 star private tour that covers many of the major sights and can be customized.

Recoleta Cemetery

The Recoleta Cemetery is often referred to as “the World’s Best Cemetery”, and after spending more than an hour walking through the labyrinth of marble tombs and monuments, we can see how it got its moniker.  

Entrance to Recoleta Cemetery

It is unlike any cemetery we have ever visited.  While the tombs are all above ground, like the famous cemeteries in New Orleans, Recoleta is far from gloomy.  

Mausoleums at Recoleta Cemetery

It resembles an eclectic city with stately pillars and elaborate carvings that is home to nearly 10,000 deceased patrons.  Each mausoleum contains 7 to 14 people and descends 2 levels underground.  91 families (people of importance) have permanent mausoleums here that don’t pay anything for the space.

Recoleta Cemetery

The remainder of the people buried here are on 99-year leases that at the end of the term can either be renewed or will be turned over to the state for refurbishment and resale.

Recoleta Cemetery

The cemetery is the burial site of some of the most famous figures in Argentina, including the iconic Eva Peron, who was Argentina’s First Lady while her husband, Juan Peron was President of the country.  

Eva Peron died of cancer in 1952, but because of military upheaval in Argentina at the time, her body went missing and was not buried in Recoleta until 1972. 

Eva Peron family crypt

Her tomb is simple compared to many others in the cemetery, but it is one of the most visited.  Her final resting place is 5 metres underground in a fortified bunker that is presumed to prevent her remains from ever becoming disturbed again.  

Eva Peron placard

We have seen some pretty amazing cemeteries in our travels, including the cemeteries in New Orleans, the Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery in Jerusalem and a little-known but remarkable one in the town of Sete in Southern France.  

For us, Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most impressive and a must-see on any visit to Buenos Aires.

✅ The cemetery has so many stories and interesting facts it is best to take a tour to fully appreciate the location. Check out this 5 star tour to make the most of your time there.

Plaza de Mayo

The Plaza de Mayo (May Plaza) is virtually the birthplace of Buenos Aires.  It is in this spot that the early village was inaugurated on June 11, 1580 with the name City of the Holy Trinity and Port of Santa Maria del Buen Ayre.

The plaza takes its name from the Revolution that took place on May 25th, 1810.

Plaza Mayo

The plaza saw the growth of a small village into the political epicentre of Argentina.  This has been the spot where the most significant political events in Argentina have taken place.

Today, Plaza de Mayo is surrounded by some of the most impressive buildings in Buenos Aires.  One of the most significant is Casa Rosada (Pink Palace), which was originally the old Customs House, but now houses the offices of the Argentine President.  

Casa Rosada

Casa Rosada has a famous balcony that was used by Juan and Eva Peron for the passionate political speeches that they delivered in the 1940s and 50s.  

 Another famous building, Cabildo de Buenos Aires, is a colonial-style structure that houses a museum of the Cabildo (post-colonial administrative council) and the May Revolution.  

Cabildo de Buenos Aires

While we were at Plaza de Mayo, we visited the Metropolitan Cathedral, home of the Archbishop of Argentina, the most famous being Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is now Pope Francis.  While he was Archbishop, he celebrated mass here for over 20 years.

Metropolitan Cathedral

The former city hall, which was built between 1891 and 1902 is also located here.  It was home to the city government until 2015.

Fun Facts

1. Bullfights used to be held here until the May Revolution.
2. Up until the 19th century, people were afraid to gather on the open lot in front of the cathedral because they thought that spirits wandered there.  It was known as “hueco des las animas” (Hollow of the Souls).

Palacio Barolo

The Palacio Barolo is a unique building inspired by Dante’s “Divine Comedy”.  It was built from 1919 to 1923 by Luis Barolo who wanted to preserve the memory of European history and literature.

Palacio Barolo

The building itself represents Neo-Gothic and Neo-Classical styles and was considered one of the tallest reinforced concrete buildings in the world.  It is 100 metres high and has 22 stories (not including the 2 levels in the basement).

Lobby of the Palacio Barolo

The building tells the story of Dante’s Divine Comedy with the lower floors representing hell, the middle floors representing purgatory and the top floor and dome representing heaven.

Looking down into Purgatory

There is an incredible view at 100m from the top that you can reach after climbing 8 floors up to the lighthouse.

View from the lighhouse

Guided tours are available at different times during the day and last about 90 minutes. All tours finish with a visit to one of the building’s offices which is set up like it would have been in the early 1920s.  The evening tour includes a glass of Argentinian Malbec from the Mendoza Valley that is served in the office boardroom.

Office from the 1920s

We did a morning tour, so while we didn’t have the wine, we certainly received a great overview of the building and its representation of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The El Ateneo Grand Splendid is often referred to as one of the best bookstores in the world and having spent an hour browsing through its vast collection, we can certainly understand why!

Entrance to El Ateneo Grand Splendid

But it’s not just the quantity of books, magazines and CDs that make this such an interesting place to visit.  The bookstore itself was created from the former Grand Splendid Theatre and Cinema and it preserves much of the original architecture of the initial structure.

We visited the El Ateneo Grand Splendid on a dreary and rainy morning in Buenos Aires, but we were instantly cheered up once we entered the bustling bookstore.

Front lobby of the bookstore

The main entrance where the lobby of the theatre used to be is now the main store and souvenir shop.  As we made our way towards the main part of the bookstore, we could see the multi-level circular theatre lined with shelves filled with the 120,000 books that make up the stock of the store.  

Bookshelves lined with materials

From the upper balcony of the large open theatre, you can look down onto the main orchestra and stage area where the decor from the original theatre is preserved and cleverly integrated into the architecture of the bookstore.

View of bookstore from the balcony

The original stage area is now a coffee bar where you can linger over a cup of hot brew and read your book! 

Coffee bar and cafe

The lowest level, where the orchestra used to be is dedicated to children’s books and activities.  

The original theatre was built in 1919 and was a major centre of culture for Buenos Aires, featuring ballet, opera and eventually the first films that were shown there.  It was converted into a bookstore in 2000 and amazingly managed to preserve all the elegance and glamour of the original building.

Teatro Colon

The Teatro Colon (Columbus Theatre), is the main opera house in Argentina where Kim had booked a tour for us.  

Main foyer of Teatro Colon

I must admit, I am not much of an opera person, but was willing to do the tour, nonetheless.  I was more than pleasantly surprised.  This theatre is an architectural marvel, which was refurbished from 2005 to 2008 by more than 1500 workers at a cost of $100 million dollars.  

Halls of Teatro Colon

It has elaborate decor with carved columns, stunning stained-glass windows and skylights and spacious anterooms.  The main theatre is horseshoe-shaped and rises 6 stories above ground and 3 below.  

Inside the Teatro Colon

Teatro Colon is considered to be one of the top 5 performance venues anywhere on the globe and has hosted the best singers and conductors in the world.  The acoustics are so precise that Luciano Pavarotti, the renowned tenor, found it the most challenging theatre to sing in because it amplified every mistake.

✅ Book your tickets and guide to visit this amazing theatre by clicking here.

Congreso Nacional

One of the most beautiful buildings in Buenos Aires is the Congreso Nacional, or the National Congress of Argentina.  This magnificent structure was designed by Victor Meano, an Italian architect who won an international competition in 1895 to design the building.

While the Congress was inaugurated in 1906, it wasn’t fully completed until 1946, when the exterior marble cladding was added.  

Congreso Nacional

The most imposing and recognizable element to the structure is the impressive 80 metre dome which sits atop 4 porches at the central entrance to the Congress.  The scale of the dome reminded us of the Dome at Napoleon’s Tomb in Paris (although this one is oxidized copper instead of gold). 

In front of the Congreso Nacional is the beautiful Plaza de Congreso, which was created on expropriated land in 1905.  The Plaza is a vast, park-like setting with monuments, gardens, and fountains. 

Garden in front of the Congreso Nacional

Of particular significance is the Monumento a los Dos Congreso whose main figure symbolizes the Republic.  The fountain in front of it symbolizes the Rio de la Plata.

Monumento a los Dos Congreso

A wide walkway along the north length of the Plaza is shaded by large trees.  We watched as a young couple danced the tango just off the walkway.

Couple dancing the tango in the park

At the east end of the Plaza de Congreso, the main road divides this plaza from Plaza Mariano Moreno, another park-like setting with a circular fountain.  At the entrance to this plaza is a replica of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker”.  We saw the original of this sculpture at the Rodin Museum in Paris.

Rodin sculpture in the park

The road that divides the 2 plazas is mile 0 for all of Argentina’s National Roads.

Centro Cultural Kirchner

The Centro Cultural Kirchner was once the Post and Telegraph building of Buenos Aires and is a key architectural treasure of the city.  At 100,000 square metres (1,000,000 square feet) it contains several halls including the Sala Argentina, a chamber music hall, and a performance hall with a capacity of 500+.

The main attraction is the National Auditorium which seats over 1700 people and is considered one of the world’s most important Symphony halls.  It features a 1912 Klais organ, one of the most renowned organ builders in the world.

Kirchner Cultural Centre

This magnificent building is capped by a 500 square metre glass cupola which allows incredible views of the city.

The Centro Cultural Kirchner is currently undergoing a major restoration and will reopen in early 2024.

Floralis Generica

Located in the Retiro Neighbourhood, the Floralis Generica is one of the icons of Buenos Aires that was donated by its creator, Eduardo Catalano, an Argentine architect, in 2002.  

The steel and aluminum sculpture is a gigantic silver flower that uses hydronic and photoelectric cells to open and close the flower’s petals depending on the time of day.  Typically, the flower opens at 8:00am and closes at sunset when it emanates a red glow from inside.  

Floralis Generica

Unfortunately for us, before our first visit to Buenos Aires in 2020, a fierce storm had damaged the flower, and it was not working so the petals remained partially open 24 hours a day.

We had heard that the mechanism had been fixed in July 2023, so we were excited to see it in full operation when we came in 2024.  Unfortunately (again), the flower was not working while we were here.

In any event, the sculpture itself, standing 20 metres high and weighing 18 tons is still impressive and worth a picture.

Tango Show

No visit to Buenos Aires is complete without experiencing a genuine Argentine Tango Show.  And this was one of the top things on our list to do while we were here.

Kim had booked a reservation at La Ventana Tango and Dinner Club, which is in the heart of San Telmo where tango was born.  

Use this link to book the same Tango Show we went to – it even offers transportation.

The dinner was scheduled to start at 8:00pm followed by the tango show which consisted of 32 artists including singers, dancers, bands and “gauchos”.   

The venue is an old historical conventillo, an urban tenement built in the 19th century.  We were led upstairs to the main hall and squeezed into our seats near the back of the venue.  The tables were set up in long rows with the seats all facing the stage.  We were provided with a single-page menu that consisted of pre-set meals with 2 options – chicken or steak.  

La Ventana Tango theatre

The show started at 10:00pm and was lively and entertaining throughout the evening, lasting until just before midnight.  There were a variety of tango dances performed by couples and groups and their energy seemed boundless. Musicians accompanied the dancers but also performed solos and in small bands.  This is a great way to experience the custom that is the heart of Buenos Aires culture.

Tango dancers

Insider Tip

It is important to understand that many popular tango shows tend to be in older, traditional venues and they can get pretty crowded.  Just keep that in mind and expect it to take a little longer to get in and out of the venue than more modern facilities.

Museums in Buenos Aires

Museo Nacional de Belles Artes

The Museo Nacional de Belles Artes (National Fine Arts Museum) is one of the many museums in Buenos Aires that is worth a visit.  What’s more, this one offers free admission!

National Museum of Fine Arts

We were quite impressed with the number and quality of artifacts that the museum has on display.  Aside from a rich assortment of Argentinian art, there is also a wide range of art from Europe and special sections for France with pieces from some of the world’s greatest artists including Van Gogh, Rodin, Degas and Monet.

The museum is divided into a series of rooms and halls with each area being dedicated to a different genre, period, or artist.  We started in the Argentinian section where there were works from the mid 19th century by both painters and sculptors.  

Argentinian artists

We found a few of the pieces to be quite interesting, including a sculpture by Lucio Correa Morales titled “Abel” which depicts the body of Abel after he was slain by his brother Cain.  Morales created this sculpture to represent the death of Argentinian art and as a criticism of the art institutions of his time.

Abel sculpture by Morales

A rather dark and dramatic portrait of an angry man sitting at a table and glaring out the window as his sullen-looking wife is breastfeeding across from him also caught our eye.  This was painted by Ernesto de la Carcova in 1894 and is entitled “Sin pan y sin trabajo” (Without bread and work).

Painting by Ernesto de la Cacova

One of our favourite rooms was dedicated to Auguste Rodin, the great French sculptor whose works we had previously seen in Paris.  Some of his work in this museum inspired his unfinished masterpiece “The Gates of Hell”.

Rodin exhibition

Another room that was a highlight was dedicated to 19th century French Art featuring “Light and Modern Life.” On display were several works from Paul Cezanne, whose art we had been introduced to on our visit to Aix-En-Provence in the South of France.

Francia by Cezanne

If you are looking to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, it is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:00am to 6:00pm and weekends from 10:00am to 8:00pm, Wednesdays from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  It is closed on Mondays.

Museo Evita

If you want to learn about Argentina’s legendary icon and hero, Eva Peron, more commonly known just as Evita, then make sure to visit the Museum that is named after her – Museo Evita. The museum is housed in an early 20th century mansion that was inspired by the architecture of the Italian Renaissance.  

Entrance to the Evita Museum

In 1948, the Eva Peron Foundation purchased the property and undertook major renovations to convert the mansion into a shelter for women and children.  It was in this building that Evita inspired so many young women, providing them hope as well as food and shelter.

Inside courtyard

The shelter was designated a National Historic Monument in 1999 and then, in 2002, exactly 50 years after Evita’s death, her grandniece inaugurated the former mansion as the Museo Evita in Buenos Aires.

2nd floor of the mansion

The museum contains a wealth of artifacts and memorabilia from the life and times of Eva Peron.  There is one section that displays the clothes that she wore to public and private events.  Other sections depict her life in photographs and films that were taken of her throughout her short life.

Memorabilia
Eva Peron's dresses

On the second level of the museum is a section that preserves the rooms of the shelter, including the classroom and kitchen area.  

Kitchen area

One of the most inspirational displays is a room that has a continuous loop of the most poignant parts of her final speech to the people of Argentina.  This is the speech that she gave just before she died and is the inspiration for the hit song “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”.

Image of Eva

The museum is in the Palmero area of Buenos Aires located at 2988 Lafinur Street.  It is open every day except Monday from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

✅ If you want to learn about Eva Peron and Peronism in detail with a visit to the Museum, click here for the perfect private tour.

Shopping and Markets

San Telmo Indoor Market

The San Telmo neighbourhood is the birthplace of Tango and has one of the most famous markets in Buenos Aires, a sprawling indoor and outdoor market.  

On our first visit to Buenos Aires, we had a chance to visit the Sam Telmo Indoor Market.  This market is an Argentine cultural tradition that has existed since 1897 and is truly a great place to feel the pulse of Buenos Aires daily life.

San Telmo Indoor Market

The market has restaurants, butcher shops, greengrocers, antiques, and a variety of other unique knick-knacks.

Vendors at San Telmo

We spent our time meandering through several aisles of the market taking in the smell of fresh vegetables and fruits along with cooking dishes that were being prepared in the various bars and cafes.  

Places to eat at San Telmo market

We stopped at a tiny cafe called El Hornero that had a stand-up bar in front of a brick oven.  We were told that this was the best place to try an empanada.  The tiny venue was fairly busy and after ordering we waited about 10 minutes for ours to be freshly prepared and baked.  

It was well worth the wait.  The empanada crust was hot and flaky.  The beef filling was steaming and full of rich, tangy flavour.  On our second visit, we found a local restaurant, Choripaneria, that was serving delicious chorizo sandwiches.

Chorizo sandwiches

The nice thing about this market is that there is an amazing choice of foods from around the world, many with a distinctive South American fusion flare.  And you will find that no matter what your preference is, the food will be good, and the price will be reasonable.

✅ The perfect experience in San Telmo is a food tour where you visit many stops in the area and visit the market with a local. This tour is a 5 star experience that will give you a taste of the fabulous foods of Buenos Aires.

San Telmo Outdoor Market

Upon our arrival in Buenos Aires, we arrived at the Sunday market just before 5:00pm and were amazed at how far down Defensa Avenue it extended.  There were also a few side streets running perpendicular to Defensa that were lined with market stalls.

Vendors at San Telmo outdoor market

The street was bustling with tourists and locals browsing at the various stalls.  The market was a cacophony of sounds including music, jubilant chatter, and vendors calling people to view their wares. 

Items for sale at the outdoor market
Matcha supplies

Wheeled carts of fruits and vegetables, freshly baked pastries and meats were being pushed and pulled along the busy street. 

Food sellers

Dancers and buskers were entertaining at some of the bigger intersections.  One particular gentleman was pushing a wagon overflowing with thermoses of hot water for the popular local matcha teas that South Americans love to share.

Hot water thermos supplier

We even came across a parade of musicians and dancers who were making their way slowly down the busy street.  The outdoor market is not only a great spot to pick up souvenirs, but also a wonderful place to just sit back and do some people-watching.

Dancers in a parade

Generica Artisinal Market

If you are looking for a different kind of market, one that focuses on local artists and artisans, then we suggest visiting the Generica Artisanal Market in Plaza Francia.

Artisinal Market

This market represents one of the oldest expressions of cultural art in an outdoor public space in Argentina and as such, was named a Tourist and Cultural Landmark of the city by the legislature of Buenos Aires.

Vendors at the Artisinal Market

Galleria Pacific Shopping Mall

The Galleria Pacifico Shopping Mall isn’t just another place to shop.  It is a cultural landmark that was inspired by the famous Bon Marché in Paris.

Galleria Pacifico

The mall was originally constructed in 1908 as part of the Buenos Aires al Pacifico Railroad offices but was remodelled in 1945 when the shopping complex was separated from the railroad offices.  At the same time, the iconic murals were added to the central dome.  

Murals at the mall

The murals were created by 5 Argentinian mural painters who created the 450 square metre work of art that beautifies the shopping gallery’s central dome.  The murals represent the artist’s interpretation of sociocultural values revolving around family and contact with nature.

The Galleria Pacifico Shopping Mall has become one of Argentina’s most successful malls and an important part of its culture.  It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

The beautiful interior of the Galleria Pacifico

We were awed by the magnificence of the murals on the ceiling of the dome which gives the shopping complex a cathedral-like feeling.  The juxtaposition of the modern, brightly lit high fashion stores lining the wide halls of the mall with the subdued tones of the domed ceiling is quite surreal.

We decided to have lunch here at the bottom of the escalator underneath the impressive murals to continue to enjoy the experience of “art meets commerce”.

Lunch at Madison Cafe

Galleria Guemes

The Galleria Geumes was modelled after the grand galleries of Europe which were multi-function venues for meeting and recreation, shopping, and social events.  These were the predecessors to the modern shopping mall.

The Galleria Guemes definitely has a European flair, and in fact, when we first passed through its entrance, the grand main hall with its high vaulted and transparent glass ceilings reminded us of Les Galleries Royale St. Hubert in Brussels.

Galleria Guemes interior

When it was first constructed in 1915, the gallery was considered an architectural marvel.  Measuring 87 metres (285 feet) high, it was the first skyscraper in Buenos Aires, boasting 14 floors.

It also had elevators that travelled up to 140 metres (460 feet) in just 60 seconds, and a system of pneumatic tubes that served as the building’s internal mail system. 

Elevators at Galleria Guemes

And, one of the apartments in this location was the home to the famous author Antoine Saint-Exupery who wrote The Petit Prince and worked in Buenos Aires in the late 1920s. It is said that two of his books were inspired by his time in Argentina.

Our goal in coming to the gallery was to enjoy the magnificent 360-degree views of the city that have been enjoyed for more than 100 years from the 14th-floor observatory.

Spiral Staircase to the observation deck

This is one place you need to visit if you want a bird’s eye view of one of the most beautiful South American cities in the world.

Viewpoint from the top floor observation deck

Parks and Green Space

Part of our love for Buenos Aires stems from the numerous spacious parks with magnificent, mature trees and green space that abound in the city.  Here you can participate in free exercise classes in the parks and throughout our stay, we were able to see small groups of people practicing yoga, tai chi and other outdoor activities.  Here is the list of parks that we visited while we were here.

Parque Tres de Febrero

Parque Tres de Febrero is the largest green space in Buenos Aires covering an area of 370 hectares (915 acres), primarily in the Palermo neighbourhood.  It is commonly referred to as the Palermo forests.

The park is predominately made up of free space, like the Rose Garden, the squares, and the many walkways, but there are some sections, like the Japanese Garden which require a fee to enter.

The park contains forests, 4 lakes, 29 squares and dozens of walkways that will let you enjoy this magnificent oasis in the city.

Walkways in the parks

We started our visit to the park in the northeast corner, near the Japanese Garden (see below), keeping the Avenue del Libertador, a main boulevard which forms one of the park’s borders on our left.  

Avenue del Libertador

It was late morning when we arrived and the sun was becoming quite hot, so we appreciated the shade from the expansive mature trees that abound in the park.  

Beautiful park areas in Buenos Aires

There were quite a few people that were exercising and working out.  We were also quite surprised at the number of dogs in the park.  Many of the dogs were part of large groups that appeared to be obedience schools.  We ended up referring to it as the “dog park”.

Park area in Buenos Aires

We took our time walking leisurely towards the Rose Garden as we just wanted to enjoy all this green space in the middle of the city.

Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is made up of dozens of flowerbeds, connected by a series of walkways, that contain over 18,000 roses.  There is also a small lake in the garden that adds to the natural setting. 

The Rose Garden

Unfortunately for us, when we finally arrived at the Rose Garden, we discovered that it is closed on Mondays.  

We weren’t able to enter through the gates, so we wandered around the perimeter to gaze from a distance at the roses and other flowers that were still in bloom. 

Japanese Gardens

Located in the north-east corner of Parque Tres de Febrero in Palermo the Japanese Garden is administered by the Japanese Argentine Cultural Foundation in Buenos Aires.  It is considered one of the largest Japanese Gardens outside the country of Japan.  

Entrance to Japanese Garden

We arrived about 15 minutes before the Garden’s designated opening time of 10:00am and had to wait in a small queue of about half a dozen people for the ticket office to open.  Once it did, we were able to get through quickly and, because we were among the first to arrive, our walk through the park was serene and relaxing.  

Beautiful walkways in the garden

Inside the park entrance are a couple of simple but modern wooden structures that house a cultural centre, restaurant, greenhouse, and gift shop.  The greenhouse is well-regarded because of its collection of bonsai trees.  

Cultural Centre

Just to the right of the cultural centre is the central lake which is seen throughout the park and is populated by carp and surrounded by various flora from Japan including sakura, katsura, momjii and azalea.  Orchids are also found throughout the park.  

One rather interesting feature of the lake is the steeply arched red bridge that crosses it.  Known as the Divine Bridge, it represents the entry into Heaven.  

Divine Bridge

There is also another bridge that crosses the lake known as the Truncated Bridge, and it leads to a small medicinal herb garden located on one of the lakes islands.  

Truncated bridge

Among other features of the Japanese Garden are a Peace Bell and a Buddhist Temple along with numerous granite statues and stone lanterns that are central to Buddhist traditions.

We spent about 45 minutes meandering through this very serene setting, although, if you wanted to sit and relax or spend some time in deep thought or meditation, it would be easy to stay much longer.  We also didn’t stop at the cultural centre or gift shop, so that may also add a bit of time.

Jardin Botanico

The Jardin Botanico in Buenos Aires is not just one of the many green spaces that adorn Buenos Aires. It plays a very important role in the preservation of biodiversity and environmental education for the city of Buenos Aires and Argentina as a whole.

Jardin Botanico

The 7 hectare garden contains an art nouveau greenhouse that was originally constructed at the Paris Exposition in 1900.  What is unique about the Jardin Botanico, is it dedicates 5 hectares of its total space to local tree and plant species indigenous to Argentina.  

Art Nouveau greenhouse

Because of its focus on biodiversity and ecological sustainability inside a fully urban location, the garden was named a National Monument in 1996.

✅ If gardening is of interest to you we highly recommend taking a private tour that shows you the major gardens in the city with a guide who knows about the history and types of plants on display.

Places To Eat And Drink In Buenos Aires

Don Julio Restaurant

When it comes to food, Argentina is world-renowned for its amazing beef.  And there is no better place to feast on some fabulous tender and juicy steak than Don Julio restaurant in Palermo.

This was our second visit to Don Julio which is often listed as the Best Steakhouse in the World, the first time we were in Buenos Aries, we really didn’t know much about the restaurant other than a few recommendations that we had seen online.

Front of Don Julio Restaurant

On our first visit, went for lunch as the dinner time slots were all taken.  We arrived just before our noon time slot and noticed a long line of people who hadn’t made reservations but were hoping for a cancellation.  On our second visit, we booked several months in advance and managed to get a dinner reservation on our last night in Buenos Aires.  Our table was on the sidewalk patio which had not existed when we visited the first time pre-covid.

Each time we visited we were presented with cold sparkling wine and appetizers while waiting for our table. What a lovely first impression.

Sparkling wine at Don Julios

On both visits, we had an appetizer of fried cheese and excellent steaks with different potato sides. The meat is so tender and cooked to perfection. It is amazing to look at the counter with so many cuts of beef and then watch the chefs in the open-concept kitchen preparing your order. 

Even if you are seated outside, be sure to wander into the main restaurant to check out the steak bar where the meat is grilled.  Here you will find an array of uncooked steaks on trays along the bar and you can pick out what sort of cut you are interested in.

Steaks on display

We found the food and the service at Don Julio to be excellent both times that we visited and we were glad that we had included this top-rated restaurant on our list of places to eat in Buenos Aires.

At our table at Don Julios

Insider Tip

Consider sharing a steak and order your sides to share.  The steaks at Don Julio are immense, many weighing in at 500 to 900 grams (1 to 2 pounds).  We didn’t realize this on our first visit and each ended up ordering a rib-eye steak and appetizer.  This was way too much food for the 2 of us.

Sharing your order also has the added benefit of reducing the overall cost of your experience.

Casa Coupage

At least once on every trip, we try and find a unique eatery that features cuisine from the local region.  Kim has a knack for finding the most exclusive venues that offer a sampling of food and wine and that capture the essence of the places we explore.  

One such venue is the Casa Coupage, a private wine-tasting and pairing club owned and run by Sommelier, Santiago Mymicopulo.  

The closed-door, private restaurant was a quick 10 minute walk from our hotel and is located in a narrow converted home on a quiet residential street.  

Entrance to Casa Coupage

We rang the doorbell and were greeted at the door by the hostess who presented us with a glass of chilled sparkling wine and then escorted us up a flight of stairs to the main dining area which is situated in a bright, narrow rectangular room with a long dining table that seats 12, taking up most of the space.  

As we were the first to arrive, Kim and I sat across from each other at one end of the table.  We sipped our wine and snacked on an appetizer as the rest of the guests joined us.

The Casa Coupage team

Santiago introduced himself and gave us a bit of background on himself and the restaurant.  He went over the menu and wines that we would be enjoying and emphasized the importance that both taste and smell have in the overall dining experience as well as how the wines express themselves in different ways when paired with various dishes.   We also participated in several scent smelling exercises.

Wine introduction

Our tasting consisted of 7 different wines (including the sparkling wine we had when we arrived) paired with a 7-course menu.   

Wine tasting

While most of the wines that were served were reds, including a couple of different Malbecs from Mendoza, a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Noir, one of the wines was a very aromatic and flowery Torrontés, the most famous white wine from Argentina.  Because Kim prefers whites, she was able to substitute her reds for additional Torrontés and Sauvignon Blanc.  

One of the food courses

The Casa Coupage was a wonderful way to spend an evening and is particularly enjoyable in a small group setting where there is always a lively conversation with people from different places.  The wine tasting and food pairing is a great way to discover, in just a couple of hours, the best wines and foods that an area has to offer

Cafe Tortoni

Cafe Tortoni is reputed to be the oldest cafe in Buenos Aires, having been established in 1858.  It got its name and was inspired by the famous Tortoni in Paris – a place that attracted authors, artists and fashion designers.  

Cafe Tortoni has emulated its namesake and, for over 150 years, has been frequented by famous intellectuals, musicians, and artists from Argentina.  Tables bear plaques with the names of famous guests who have visited the cafe.

Cafe Tortoni

It is considered a “must see” spot in Buenos Aires, but if you are going to go for a visit, be prepared for a long wait.  We attempted to visit on our last day in Buenos Aires, but to our dismay, when we arrived shortly after 2:00pm, there was a long queue of people.  The wait for a table was estimated to be 1.5 hours, and unfortunately, we couldn’t make that work.  Maybe next time!

Floreria Atlantico

The Floreria Atlantico is a unique little flower shop that is also the entrance to a fabulous Speak-Easy bar hidden in its cellar below.  It is located in the northeast sector of Buenos Aires.

You enter the flower shop, which is located on Arroyo Street, and, once inside, you are led down a flight of stairs to a long narrow room with a bar on one side and seating on the other.  

Floreria Atlantico
The stairway to the speak easy

The bar serves a wide selection of cocktails including some that are exclusive to the Floreria Atlantico.  Most of the cocktails are made from locally sourced gins and other spirits as well as indigenous aromatics that are used to flavour the drinks.  

The bar

This Speak-Easy is a very popular place, especially in the evenings so it is best to make a reservation.  We actually stopped on our way to dinner at another restaurant and were lucky enough to get a high-top table, but we were told that we would have to vacate it by 7:00pm as they had a reservation for that time.  

Inside Floreria Atlantico

This worked out perfectly for us and we were able to order some drinks and linger for about 45 minutes before the other guests arrived.  

The featured drinks are all named after and inspired by the stories of the native peoples of Argentina.  Kim ordered a Yacurmana, which consisted of Pan Vodka, Giovannoni Dry Vermouth, rose wine, alkaline stones, citrus leaves, and juniper.  

Denis ordered a Negroni Balestrini which consisted of Principe de los Apostoles, Campari, Amaro, water from the Atlantic Ocean and Eucalyptus.

Drinks at Floreria Atlantico

Both drinks were very flavourful and totally different from anything we had ever had before.  

Floreria Atlantico is definitely worth a visit especially if you are into local places of interest that offer something a little different from the norm.

Neighbourhoods

Palermo

Palermo Soho, along with Palermo Hollywood, is one of the trendiest and most visited places in Buenos Aires.  While many tourists and locals alike come here for the exclusive boutiques and chic restaurants, we came for something different.  

Palermo Soho is one of the best places to appreciate the incredible murals and street art that cover many of the stores, cafes and restaurants that line both sides of the narrow, mostly cobblestone streets in and around Calle Santa Rosa.  

Mural in Palermo

It is like walking through a vast outdoor art gallery.  Usually, this area is teeming with people, especially on the weekends.  Because it was Sunday and we had arrived before noon, the streets were still relatively quiet, which allowed us to roam the neighbourhood at our leisure and take our time to admire the more detailed and elaborate works.  

Street art in Palermo

To make the experience even more enjoyable, the temperature was quite comfortable at 25 degrees celsius under bright blue skies.  

Street Art in Palermo

After spending a couple of hours exploring the different alleys and side streets, we found a local outdoor cafe to rest for a bit and enjoy some of the local food.  Because Kim had arranged for us to have dinner at a private wine-tasting and pairing club later that evening, we decided on a light lunch consisting of a local quiche dish that came with a mixture of fresh greens.  

La Boca

The La Boca neighbourhood in Buenos Aires is in the old port area where Italian immigrants arrived from the late 19th to the early 20th century.

These immigrants built very humble houses in the area and honoured their original culture through the generations.  

Colourful buildings in La Boca

The Italian influence is evident everywhere with colourful buildings, shops, and restaurants, many decorated with artistic graffiti and murals.  

Murals in La Boca

The area has become a popular tourist attraction, and it is quite a bustling neighbourhood.  People are chatting and walking and even dancing tango in the streets.

Shopping area in La Boca
Eateries in La Boca

One of the major venues in La Boca is the football (soccer) stadium – la Bombonera.  It is unique because the stadium and the area surrounding are all painted blue and yellow, the team colours.  

La Bombonera football stadium

La Boca is a lively area and most enjoyed during the daytime hours.

FAQs

What Is Buenos Aires Famous For?

As the capital of Argentina, one of South America’s richest countries, Buenos Aires is the epicentre of great food, excellent wine, fine culture, and a rich and dramatic history.

It is famous for its exciting nightlife, cafe culture, street art and lush, green parks and gardens.  

Buenos Aires has been immortalized by the heroic story of Eva Peron in the hit musical “Evita” and her presence is felt everywhere in the city, even today.  For proof, just check out the Ministry of Public Works building which features murals of Eva Peron on two of its sides.

Eva Peron mural

Is Buenos Aires Worth Visiting For A Week?

How long to spend in Buenos Aires really depends on what you want to do.  The city is big and beautiful and has a very diverse culture with lots of history, great food and wide-open space.

We’ve been to Buenos Aires twice and spent a total of 5 days there and we still didn’t take in all that there is to do in the city, although we did cover quite a bit. 

So how many days is enough in Buenos Aires?  If you just want to hit the highlights of the city, including taking in a tango show, visiting the key monuments/buildings, and sampling a couple of the city’s great restaurants, then 2 to 3 days would probably work.  

If you really want to enjoy all the city has to offer, including visiting a couple of the fabulous museums, getting a tour of the Teatro Colon, visiting the Recoleta Cemetary and spending time in some of the wonderful green parks in the city, then we suggest you consider 1 week.  

No matter how much time you decide to spend here, from our experience, you will definitely want to come back.

Best Time to Visit Buenos Aires

Situated about two thirds of the way down the eastern coast of South America, Buenos Aires has a climate that makes it accessible year-round.  

Keeping in mind that the seasons in Southern Hemisphere are opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, the most pleasant temperatures tend to be in the spring (September to December) or in the fall (April to June).

Both of our visits were in January, the middle of the Argentine summer and the temperatures were quite warm, reaching the low 30’s Celsius (86 F).  The winter in Buenos Aries is cool, but not cold with temperatures averaging 15 C (59 F).  

Because there is so much to do in this marvellous city, no matter what time of year you are here, there is no bad time to visit Buenos Aires. 

Where To Stay in Buenos Aires

We have stayed in several properties in Buenos Aires.

✦ Our first time there we stayed in the Palermo area of the city. This was a convenient location for many sights and the boutique hotel that we booked was a nice spot. This was the Duque Hotel Boutique and Spa. The rooms were very comfortable, the staff on site was super helpful and there was a nice pool in a private area for guests.

Bedroom at Duque Hotel
Lobby area of Duque Hotel

✦ We also stayed in the downtown area at the NH Buenos Aires 9 de Julio. This was a much larger hotel and was in a good location for exploring the city centre on foot. The rooms were very spacious and the breakfast was great.

The lobby of the NH Buenos Aires 9 de Julio
Room at the NH Buenos Aires 9 de Julio

✦ Another hotel we stayed at was the Hilton Buenos Aires. This is a huge property and is often used for groups. The rooms are enormous, amenities upgraded and the lobby bar very nice. The location is a bit farther away being on the water’s edge in the marina so you will require a taxi to get around.

Lobby of the Hilton Buenos Aires
Room at the Hilton Buenos Aires

Is Buenos Aires Safer Than Rio de Janeiro?

In general, based on travel advisories from the US and Canada, Buenos Aires is safer than Rio de Janeiro.  

Buenos Aires definitely has a more European vibe and if you practice the same due diligence in Buenos Aires that you would in any major European city, you should be fine.

We have been to both cities and while we enjoyed Rio de Janeiro, we definitely felt more at ease in Buenos Aires – particularly at night.  The only area that we were advised to avoid in Buenos Aires at night was the la Boca area.  

Is Buenos Aires Cheap or Expensive?

This is a question that we often get asked wherever we go.  For most people visiting from North America or Europe, we think you will find that Buenos Aires (and most of Argentina) is relatively inexpensive.  

Argentina has one of the strongest economies in South America, but the exchange rate of the Argentine peso to the American dollar is quite favourable.  It also fluctuates quite dramatically so it is important to know the value before you arrive.

On our first trip to Buenos Aires in 2020, one US dollar was worth 500 Argentine pesos.  On our most recent trip in 2024, one US dollar was worth 1000 Argentine pesos.  So it was half as expensive to spend time here on our second trip.

To put that in perspective, we used Uber to get us around the city when it was raining or too far to walk.  A 20-minute Uber ride was typically around $3.00 USD.  We were also able to get light meals and a glass of wine for 2 people for under $20 USD.

What Is The Blue Dollar Exchange?

The Blue Dollar exchange rate is the “unofficial” rate of the Argentine peso to the US dollar.  While not strictly legal, it is evident everywhere in the country, especially in Buenos Aires and used to offer the best conversion rate from US to Argentinian peso.  

On our most recent visit, the official conversion from peso to USD was 850 pesos to 1 USD.  The Blue Dollar rate was 1000 to 1. 

We found out that we didn’t need to convert our USD to pesos since most small businesses preferred to be paid in US dollars and provided the Blue Dollar rate.  We decided to not convert any money since we didn’t want to be left with pesos that would need to be exchanged before we left. 

We also found that most businesses, even in the markets, take major credit cards.  We have a credit card that does not charge a transaction fee for paying in local currency so we used that for most of our purchases.

If you do decide to convert USD to pesos and you want to get the Blue Dollar rate, you can ask your hotel concierge to direct you to the nearest one. 

However, you will find traders at nearly every street corner who will make the exchange for you.  They are not hard to find because as soon as they spot a tourist they call out “Cambio, Cambio” (which means exchange).  Just be sure you know what the best rate is before you change your money.

The Final Word…Is Buenos Aires Worth Visiting?

Well, if you haven’t been able to tell by now, we will come right out and say it – Buenos Aires is one of our favourite cities ever and one we wholeheartedly believe is well worth visiting!

It reminds us of many of the great European cities like Paris, Barcelona and Vienna for its great architecture, wide open spaces and lively nightlife. The culture is alive and well and there is so fascinating history here.

We love the great outdoor spaces with lots of parks, trees and greenery.  And because of the weather, you can go outside virtually every day of the year.

And, certainly not least of all, we love the variety and quality of the food and wine here.  This is certainly a place where you can find something to suit your taste, no matter what it is.

You should definitely put Buenos Aires on your bucket list!

Our selfie in front of the Casa Rosada