30 Things to Do in Buenos Aires

30 Things to Do in Buenos Aires

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If you’re thinking of heading to Buenos Aires soon, first of all, I’m jealous. It’s perfect either solo or with a friend and partner, and there are so many things to do in Buenos Aires. It’s such a vibrant, culturally rich city, you could easily spend weeks here without getting bored. 

With that said, if you’re able to, plan to spend at least a week here. This will allow you to get a good feel for the city, explore a fair amount of its neighborhoods and main tourist attractions, plus try some of Buenos Aires’s best food. 

This guide is packed full of sightseeing, cultural activities, museums, and more, but let’s get some of the basics out of the way first. (If you’d rather read this later, save this post on Pinterest.)

What to Know Before Traveling

Language spoken 

You probably already know that it’s Spanish. However, you’ll find that Argentinians use their own distinct slang and pronunciation. For instance, “y” and “ll” are typically pronounced like the English “sh” sound, which is different from other Spanish-speaking countries. Check out this helpful resource from Rosetta Stone if you’re interested in more information about Argentinian Spanish.

Currency 

The Argentine peso. At the time of writing (February 2024) 1 Argentine Peso equals 0.0012 USD. Argentina deals with a lot of inflation and economic instability, meaning the U.S. dollar goes far there, and is even accepted at lots of places. (Long story short, because the peso’s value shifts so much, the dollar’s value is consistent, making it worth more to locals.)

Keep in mind that with Argentine currency, you’ll be carrying around large bills a lot, but there’s a shortage of small change in Buenos Aires, meaning if you don’t have exact change, you may have a problem. While it’s also good to have a credit card on hand, not everywhere will accept cards, so having a mix of U.S. dollars, pesos, and a card will be your best bet.

a window of a plant shop, civered in green plants and flowers. The sign says " ~ Floreria~ "Oscar" "
A flower shop in Buenos Aires

Weather

I visited in January, which is summertime in Buenos Aires, meaning super hot, and super humid. Personally, that doesn’t bother me at all, but fall (March to May) and spring (September to November) are considered the most pleasant weather-wise. During the winter, temperatures can range from the 40s to 60s.

Timing

Buenos Aires is a city all about the nightlife. And by that, I mean dinner time for most locals starts around 9 p.m. Don’t feel like you have to rewire your entire schedule here, but keep in mind that many places can close during the afternoons into evenings and not open until later for dinner service, so plan accordingly if you like to eat dinner on the earlier side.

close-up of pink building with sculptures
Casa Rosada in Monserrat, Buenos Aires

Where to stay in Buenos Aires

America del Sur Hostel Buenos Aires

I could not speak more highly about my experience at this hostel. My stay included breakfast, which was always filling and included a good number of options (no serving toast and coffee and calling it “free breakfast” here). The hostel was also the perfect starting off point for daily walking tours that allowed me to explore every neighborhood on my list. There were also daily social activities which made it easy to experience other cultural activities such as attending a tango show. 

I opted for a private room, and it was really spacious, had a nice bathroom, a television, and air conditioning.

It felt super safe but was also extremely conveniently located in the San Telmo neighborhood. This hostel was within walking distance to a bunch of other must-see destinations, like Plaza de Mayo and Puerto Madero.

Check them out on HostelWorld here.

a mural that says Bienvenidos a San Telmo
San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Okay, now onto the best part. What to do and see! This guide is organized by neighborhoods moving in order from north to south, to make your time here super easy to navigate. 

Palermo

Lets start off off with Palermo, the largest neighborhood (or barrio) in Buenos Aires. Palermo is also known as the “hippiest” district by some, thanks to its plethora of boutiques, restaurants, and street art. 

While here, check out the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, or MALBA, which is home to over 400 paintings, sculptures, photography and more by prominent 20th century Latin American artists like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. (Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, C1425CLA Buenos Aires)

You can also find a number of interesting museums worth checking out if you have the time — the Museo Evita, about controversial former first lady Eva “Evita” Perón and the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (Museum of Decorative Arts) are both popular options. The Bosques de Palermo, the city’s largest park is also a prominent landmark and worth visiting if you’re in need of some nature.

Recoleta

This upscale neighborhood is fondly dubbed the “Paris of Argentina,” and it’s not hard to guess why thanks to its heavily European-influenced architecture. In my opinion, it has an entirely different ambiance than the rest of Buenos Aires.

Recoleta Cemetery 

While wandering through a cemetery may sound weird to you, Recoleta Cemetery is no regular cemetery. It’s where the iconic first-lady Eva Perón (Evita) is buried, as well as many other influential Argentinians from throughout history. Unlike most typical cemeteries, the graves are built above ground, and you can spend hours wandering through and observing the unique tombs. (Junín 1760, 1113 CABA, Buenos Aires)

large tombs
Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

I can never resist a book store no matter what, but even if you’re not a self-proclaimed bookworm, El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a gorgeous bookstore is worth checking out. I’m not exaggerating — it’s known as one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores. Formerly an old opera house that opened in 1919, it was converted into its current form in 2000. Its original architecture and decoration has been maintained, the highlight of which is a giant dome, which has fresco paintings. On the former stage is also a bar where you can grab a coffee. (Av. Sta. Fe 1860, C1123 Buenos Aires)

As you can probably tell by now, Buenos Aires is full of beautiful museums. The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is no exception. With paintings, photographs and sculptures, both by Argentine artists as well as from artists around the world, you could easily spend an hour or two here. Admission is free.  (Avenida del Libertador 1473, Buenos Aires)

The Floralis Genérica is a giant, metal sculpture shaped as a flower. Did I mention that its petals open and close? Yes, it is actually a giant, metal, moving flower sculpture. It’s 23 meters high and weighs 18 tons. Situated in the United Nations plaza, it has become an iconic part of Buenos Aires.

a large metal flower sculpture
Floralis Genérica, Recoleta

Pop into Centro Cultural Recoleta, a cultural center. There are often exhibitions, performances and other cultural events going on. Plus, it’s free to enter, and open until 10 p.m. every day except Mondays, when it’s closed. (Junin 1930, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires)

a blue building covered in colorful paintings, mostly of romantic moments
Cultural Center of Recoleta

Monserrat

Founded in 1858, Café Tortoni is the oldest cafe in Argentina. Back in its heyday, it welcomed prominent politicians, celebrities and international figures. While today it’s a somewhat pricey, always crowded tourist attraction, it’s worth popping in and checking it out. Behind the cafe is an area reserved for tango dancers and other artistic and cultural events. (Av. de Mayo 825, C1084 Buenos Aires)

large white buildings with columns
Plaza de Mayo

Plaza De Mayo and Casa Rosada, located in a famous city square in the financial district of Monserrat is full of political history. I’d recommend coming here on a walking tour to learn about the significance in more detail, but this is the site of mass political demonstrations, as well as Casa Rosada, a beautiful pink building where the president lives.

If you visit on a Thursday, you’ll witness the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, a group of mothers and other family members who have protested in front of Casa Rosada every week since 1977, for their children who went missing during the years of Argentina’s dictatorship.

Large group of mostly older people carrying blue flags and a banner that says "41 Años Pariendo Memoria Y Futuro" in Buenos Aires.
Mothers of Plaza de Mayo protest every week over the disappearances of their children during Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s.

Calle Florida, is a bustling pedestrian-only street full of shops and restaurants. It’s super crowded, and will be full of people offering to sell you tours, souvenirs, or asking you to exchange dollars, so just be alert and watch your belongings. Galerias Pacifico is also a gorgeous mall in this area that was originally built in the late 1800s before becoming the home to the National Museum of Fine Arts. 100 years later, in the 1990s, it was converted to a shopping mall.

San Nicolás

Next to El Centro is San Nicolás, which is another area where you can stop for a tango show, as well as one of Buenos Aires’s culinary highlights:

To be honest, before traveling to Buenos Aires, I didn’t realize it was such a pizza destination. But thanks to its large Italian population, Buenos Aires has established its own unique, and delicious, style of pizza. Be warned, Argentine pizza is super cheesy, but with that said, it is so worth indulging in. And when you do, Pizzería Güerrín is the place to do it. In the past nearly 100 years, this pizzeria has built a reputation for itself. Try the Especial Güerrín with mozzarella, ham, and green olives. This is another place that can get packed. But food comes out quickly so you most likely won’t end up waiting long. (Avenida Corrientes, 1368, Buenos Aires C1043ABN)

a pizza with a lot of cheese and onions from Pizzería Güerrín, a popular pizzeria in Buenos Aires
Pizza from Pizzería Güerrín

Puerto Madero

In walking distance from San Nicolás, Montserrat San Telmo and La Boca is Puerto Madero, a riverfront business and shopping district, worth a stop to wander around, explore, and maybe get something to eat.

​​Puente de la Mujer, a pedestrian-only bridge dubbed “Bridge of the Woman,” was designed to look like a couple dancing the tango. It even rotates 90 degrees to make room for ships. 

San Telmo

While this entire city is steeped in history, San Telmo is in fact, the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. With cobblestone streets, art galleries, tango halls, antique shops and more, this neighborhood is lively and so fun to explore. 

If you only have one day to check out San Telmo, make it a Sunday, the day of its famous outdoor market, San Telmo Market. Located along Calle Defensa and Plaza Dorrego, grab something to eat and explore its endless options of antiques and unique items — perfect for a gift for others back home, or forget everyone back home and just get a souvenir for yourself. If you hang around in the evenings, you can usually see tango dancers here as well.

If you can’t make it on a Sunday, San Telmo also has an indoor market that’s open Tuesdays through Sundays, and is also a great place for shopping or perusing.

San Telmo is also one of the best places to grab a steak in the city, which is a must on your Buenos Aires bucket list if you eat meat. 

A large mirror that says "La Brigada Un clasico de Buenos Aires." Soccer jerseys and bottles are visible. La Brigada is a popular steakhouse in Buenos Aires.

La Brigada, a restaurant in San Telmo, has gotten a lot of worldwide recognition, and for good reason. First of all, for any soccer fans out there, this restaurant is completely decked out with soccer memorabilia. As in everywhere you look, there are soccer jerseys. But more importantly, its food and wine menu is out-of-this-world-good. One of the best meals I’ve ever had, for sure. 

I was by myself when I stopped by, and just had to wait 15 minutes or so for a table. But if you want to be on the safe side or are planning on visiting with others, reservations would be a good idea. (Calle Estados Unidos 465, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

La Boca

This neighborhood was originally home to a lot of Buenos Aires’ immigrant community, and is considered the birthplace of tango. Check out the historic street El Caminito, filled with multicolored buildings and oftentimes artists, musicians, tango dancers, and stalls of all kinds as well, displaying aspects of Buenos Aires’ iconic and distinct culture. 

This was one of the most unique neighborhoods I’ve ever visited. Just be sure to keep an eye on your belongings while you’re here.

If you’re a soccer fan, stop by La Bombonera, one of the most famous soccer stadiums in South America. 

In this area you can also find interesting museums like Colón Fábrica, which is full of amazing costumes and set pieces to check out and even touch. Entry is currently $4500 Argentine Pesos, which comes out to $5.34 USD. 

Must Eats 

Enjoy a steak

Buenos Aires is a steak destination. Go to a parrilla steakhouse to try traditional Argentine barbecue, which typically includes getting a mix of different cuts and types of meat.

Eat lots of empanadas 

While you can find empanadas or variations in a bunch of countries, Argentina claims to have invented them. I can’t confirm or deny this, but I will say they were good. They are perfect for an afternoon snack when most full-service restaurants close until dinner.

Grab a pizza

As previously mentioned, pizza is an Argentina staple. Pizza here is thick, doughy and super cheesy. Sliced ham is a common topping. But, you probably won’t see lots of other meat toppings popular in the U.S. like pepperoni or sausage. Tomatoes, garlic, dried oregano and green olives are also popular toppings here.

Order chicken milanesa 

Chicken milanesa is breaded chicken topped with marinara sauce and cheese. It’s another classic (and delicious, if I may add) Argentine dish served at many restaurants. 

Snack on alfajor cookies 

Traditional alfajores are two chocolate-covered cookies packed together in sandwich form with dulce de leche inside, but you can find other versions as well. These can typically be purchased from a kiosk, and are best when enjoyed either on their own or with a coffee. 

Caminito is a historic street in La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires
La Boca, Buenos Aires

Get a choripan (hot dog with chimichurri) 

This super flavorful snack is basically a mini hot dog nestled into a baguette and topped with chimichurri sauce, a delicious garlicky, herby green sauce.

Drink wine 

For the wine lovers out there, Buenos Aires is one of the best places to visit. If you’re not sure what to get, go with a Malbec. This is often said to be the best type of wine in Argentina. But honestly, you can’t go wrong.

Try mate

This drink is popular in several South American countries and has a number of variations, and you’ll find that it’s very culturally significant in Argentina as well. It’s a hot, herbal drink typically shared among a group of people that’s served in a distinct metal, glass, wood, or clay gourd. Despite its importance, you aren’t going to find it on most restaurant or cafe menus, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

What else would you like to know about traveling to Buenos Aires? And if you’re looking for all the best tips to plan the ultimate solo trip, check out my guide for planning while on a budget.

-Tess

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4 Comments

  1. March 2, 2024 / 12:51 pm

    I will be adding Buenos Aires to my bucket list! Love the photos and recommendations!

  2. March 2, 2024 / 2:04 pm

    So many cool things to do! I’d love to do them all one day lol!

  3. June 27, 2024 / 4:19 am

    Recoleta Cemetery looks so amazing! And thanks for the info on their dinner time- people like me who would have early dinner would have wondered where to eat otherwise

    • Tess
      Author
      June 27, 2024 / 4:34 am

      It was such an interesting place to visit! and of course! I definitely struggled a couple of days there when I was hungry and everywhere was closed 😂

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