Buenos Aires goes way deeper than the tired “Paris of South America” cliché. Sure, it’s got lively cafés spilling onto the sidewalk, a wealth of Belle Epoque architecture, and grand leafy avenues leading to flowering urban parks. But Buenos Aires wouldn’t be the dynamic capital city it is without the native Argentines and immigrant Portenos who call it home and make it distinctly Buenos Aires. Local passions run deep, whether it’s for asado, tango, literature, art, or fashion. By
Argentina Standard Time
Best Time to Go
Buenos Aires is a lively metropolis, and there’s something to see and do all year round. Futbol (soccer) season runs from January until May and August until mid-December. Argentina’s La Triple Corona, triple crown, runs from September until the end of the year. Travel might be tricky during Semana Santa, the Holy Week of Easter, when Argentina all but shuts down while residents travel to visit family and attend religious services. The city hosts an international tango festival in mid-August.
Things to Know
Currency: Argentine Pesos (check the current exchange rate)
- I don’t speak Spanish: No hablo Espanol/Castellano. (Argentines call their Spanish Castellano to specify its regional roots in Castilla, Spain.)
- I’m lost: Estoy perdido.
- I would like…: Me gustaria…
Calling Code: +54 (Argentina) 11 (Buenos Aires)
How to Get Around
Buenos Aires has a dependable metro/subway called Subte. Six lines connect commercial, tourist, and residential areas in the city. Trains run every three to 10 minutes depending on the line. To travel by bus or subte in Buenos Aires, you’ll need to get a rechargeable SUBE travel card. Buenos Aires has 40,000 licensed taxis and Uber access. The city is also walkable, though construction and dog droppings can make some streets difficult to pass. Want to go by bike? Buenos Aires has a free bike-share.
Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires
The Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires does the chain proud. The luxury hotel is housed in a Belle Epoque mansion and connected by immaculate gardens and two swimming pools. Sophisticated suites can feature stand-alone soaking bathtubs and glass chandeliers. The real action is down at the polo-inspired Pony Line bar. Oh, and Madonna stays here.
Address: Posadas 1086/88, Buenos Aires 1011 ABB Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4321-1200
Faena Hotel Buenos Aires
Faena Hotel Buenos Aires (or The Faena, as the locals call it) is the most distinct hotel in Buenos Aires. Designed by Phillipe Starck of the Delano in South Beach and The Mondrian in Los Angeles, the Faena is eye-catching on every level. Expect arabescato bathrooms and hand-embroidered throws in rooms punched up with red details. The chic urban-style pool is styled with sculpture art in the water. Downstairs, El Cabaret presents a sultry tango show in the red velvet bar.
Address: Calle Martha Salotti 445, Buenos Aires 1107BDA Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4010-9070
Alvear Palace Hotel
Old-school luxury that has charmed Presidents, Hollywood celebrities, and rock stars since the hotel opened in 1932 has been updated for the tastes of this century. Expect Hermès bath products, Louis XV furniture, and Buenos Aires’ best views from the rooftop bar. Don’t miss afternoon tea at L’Orangerie with monogrammed teacups and all the edible trimmings.
Address: Av. Alvear 1891, Buenos Aires 1129AAA Argentina
Phone: + 54 11 4808-2100
Palacio Duhau – Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
Built by an English Argentine railway executive, this Tudor Revival mansion dates to the late 1800s and underwent a USD 74 million (INR 5,42,40,89,000) renovation when Hyatt bought the building. Thank the Duhau family for the additional Neoclassical building modelled after Le Château du Marais. Today, the property is the definition of luxury with travertine marble bathrooms, crystal chandeliers, and Belle Epoque gardens.
Address: 1661 Alvear Avenue, Buenos Aires C1014AAD Argentina
Phone: +54 11 5171-1234
Home Hotel Buenos Aires
Ever imagined what it would be like to live like one of Argentina’s coolest artists? Book a room at Palermo’s biggest boutique hotel: the Home Hotel. Formerly a private mansion, today the upgraded style includes Scandinavian design, vintage French wallpaper, and Saarinen furnishings. The solar-power heated swimming pool is one of the city’s best outdoor spaces. Home writes an in-house city guide for guests.
Address: Calle Honduras 5860 Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires C1414BNJ Argentina
Phone: + 54 11 4779-1006
Sarkis is a family-style Middle Eastern restaurant that’s just the place to start a night out. Small plates of succulent lamb, marinated eggplant, and flaky nut pastries arrive willy-nilly, but it’s part of the charm. The wandering belly dancers and coffee ground readers are a good distraction between courses. Real Armenian coffee will keep you awake until the discotheque closes. Reservations are accepted one week in advance. Indoor and outdoor sidewalk dining.
Address: Thames 1101, Buenos Aires 1414, Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4772-4911
Casa Cavia La Cocina (Argentine fusion)
La Cocina is inside of Casa Cavia, a high-end retail/restaurant concept in Palermo, and one of the hardest reservations to book in Buenos Aires. In keeping with the creative vibes, La Cocina has an incredibly diverse and artistic seasonal food and cocktail menu. The interior alone is reason enough to visit. Inspired by 1920s cafes, it features white marble, brass, and antique mirrors — while still staying fresh and airy. If you can’t get into dinner, a breakfast of dulce de leche baked goods is almost as good. Dinner reservations are recommended. Indoor and garden seating.
Address: Calle Cavia 2985, Buenos Aires C1425DDA Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4809-8600
La Cabrera (Steakhouse, parilla)
There are lots of reasons Travel + Leisure named La Cabrera one of the best steakhouses in the world. The steak is just one of them. The asador (grill man) working a firebox filled with red-hot embers and racks of cow are another. Located in Palermo and overflowing with atmosphere, La Cabrera serves huge slabs of seasoned meat that are seared and cooked to perfection. Don’t skip the sweetbreads. The exact same menu is served down the block at La Cabrera Norte, a location built just to handle the overflow. Dinner reservations are accepted, but not always honoured. Indoor and outdoor seating available.
Address: Cabrero 5099, Palermo, Buenos Aires Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4832-5754
El Banco Rojo (Fast food, empanadas)
Don’t leave Buenos Aires without sampling an array of empanadas. Though hand-held street food is everywhere, finding empanadas with good dough texture and perfectly seasoned fillings can be a challenge. El Banco Rojo delivers both, with flavours like blood sausage, pancetta, and asparagus. Pair yours with a bottle of Rubia craft beer. This is a hip counter service casual spot with a picnic table and stool seating. Reservations are not accepted. Indoor and covered outdoor seating available.
Address: Calle Gral Simon Bolivar 866, Buenos Aires C1066AAR Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4040-2411
Presidente Bar (Bar, sushi)
If you want a glamorous night out in Recoleta, Presidente Bar is your spot. Every detail is carefully thought out to build a cosmopolitan vibe that’s very fun: the music, the lighting, the staff — it’s all on point. The glowing back-lit bar, high ceilings, and hanging chandelier evoke a classic era. Seba Garcia, the Creative Director, creates seasonal cocktail menus to match and make cocktail trends. The food is sexy sushi. Step through the bookshelves and back in time to the ’80s speakeasy bar. Reservations recommended. Outdoor seating available.
Address: Avda Presidente Quintana 188, Recoleta Buenos Aires C1014ACO Argentina
Phone: +54 9 11 4024-6376
Things to Do
La Recoleta Cemetery
Visiting Buenos Aires and not paying homage to Eva Peron’s grave in La Recoleta Cemetery is sacrilegious. Evita aside, wandering through the above-ground tombs and religious symbols in this National Historic Landmark is a memorable experience.
Address: Junín 1760, Buenos Aires C1113 Argentina
Rojo Tango Show
Okay, so a tango show is touristy. But the Rojo Tango Show inside the sexy Faena Hotel is touristy done right. It’s intimate, fun, and might inspire a tango lesson or trip to a local milonga.
Address: Calle Martha Salotti 445, Buenos Aires 1107BDA Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4952-4111
Strolling down historical and colourful Caminito (little path, in Spanish) is like visiting an outdoor art gallery, if tango dancers and bargain souvenirs hawkers frequented art galleries.
Address: Valle Iberlucea del Dr. and Magallanes, Buenos Aires 1065 Argentina
Estadio Alberto J. Armando Stadium (La Bombonera)
If you’re a soccer (futbol) fan, then La Bombonera is the church. Visit during the season to see a match, or just take a tour and visit the dedicated museum under the grandstand if the players are on break.
Address: Brandsen 805 La Boca , Buenos Aires 1161AAQ Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4309-4700
Feria de San Telmo
Peruse leather goods, antiques, and souvenirs of all shapes and sizes at this massive street fair. Many artisans make their goods right at their stalls. It’s a cross between tourist attractions and serious shopping.
Address: Calle Defensa, Humberto I Plaza Dorrego, Buenos Aires 1065 Argentina
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)
If you have to pick one museum to see in Buenos Aires, MALBA is it. The modern building is known for its permanent collection of famed contemporary Latin American artists. Check out works by Frida Kahlo, Fernando Botero, and Antonio Berni. Talented curators also highlight local artists for seasonal exhibits.
Address: Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Buenos Aires C1425CLA Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4808-6500
Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (MAMBA)
This experimental modern art museum is housed inside a former tobacco factory and holds more than 7,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art. The focus is on modern art from an Argentine perspective.
Address: Av. San Juan 350 San Telmo , Buenos Aires C1147AAO Argentina
Phone: +54 011 4361-6919
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Located in the upscale Recoleta neighbourhood, the fine arts museum is home to an astounding collection of 19th-century European art — widely considered the most important collection in South America. Expect to see work from artists like Goya, Van Gogh, and Toulouse Lautrec.
Address: Av. del Libertador 1473, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone: +54 11 5280-9900
Galería Patio del Liceo
The shop-filled building brings designers and artists together in one of the hippest art and design spaces in Buenos Aires. Retailers include Greens for elevated men’s and women’s basics, and Little L for vintage clothes. Contemporary art galleries offer inspiration, and there’s a cute patio cafe for cafe chicos.
Address: Santa Fe 2729 Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires 1425 Argentina
This labyrinth boutique has specialised in early- and mid-century vintage clothing and homewares since 1937. It’s packed with everything from antique beaded necklaces to rare vintage crystal to lace wedding gowns.
Address: Humberto 1 412 San Telmo, Buenos Aires C1103ACJ Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4361-5019
After years of working in the Paris fashion industry, owner Maydi returned to her native Argentina and launched a free trade, high fashion knitwear label using native materials and dyes. The showroom (which doubles as her living room) is by appointment only.
Address: Hipódromo de Palermo Area, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Phone: +54 11 6483-9161
If you have leather on your Argentina shopping list, Las Cabrera is the place to buy it. No single piece is alike, and every purse, backpack, wallet, and bag is made by hand, and from high-quality Argentine leather.
Address: Ugarteche 3338 pb1, Buenos Aires C1425 EOE Argentina
Phone: +54 11 3094-2596
Visiting Fueguia 1833 is an Argentinian sensory experience. The perfumery is inspired by founder Julian Bedel’s travels throughout Patagonia. Pro tip: the handcrafted candles make perfect gifts.
Address: Av. Alvear 1680, Buenos Aires C1014 AAQ Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4311-5360
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Buenos Aires has a serious literary scene. Celebrate it at El Ateneo Grand Splendid, housed in a grand theatre built in 1919. The enormous space is now packed floor-to-ceiling with books and ornate original fixtures. The former stage now houses a cafe.
Address: Avenida Santa Fe 1860, Buenos Aires C1123AAN Argentina
Phone: +54 11 4813-6052
Neighbourhoods to Know
Recoleta and Palermo remain the reigning king and queen of Buenos Aires neighbourhoods. Palermo is hip and artsy with boutique hotels and trendy cafes. Recoleta is classic Argentina with luxury hotels, glamorous bars, and cosmopolitan culture. Villa Crespo, the barrio just southwest of Palermo, is the up and coming prince. The former shoe factory worker neighbourhood is now attracting artists and nightlife to its cobbled streets.
Buenos Aires has a warm and temperate climate. Remember, the seasons are opposite to that of the northern hemisphere. You won’t see snow, but expect about four days of rain per month. June is generally the driest month, and March is the wettest. January is the hottest month with an average temperature of 86 degree Fahrenheit (30 degree Celsius). July is the coldest with an average temperature of 44 degree Fahrenheit (7 degree Celsius). No matter the time of year, nights are always chillier.
Apps to Download
Porteno Spanish: Spanish language guide with local slang