9 must-dos for your Buenos Aires bucket list
Planning a break to Buenos Aires? You won’t be disappointed. The Argentinian capital is a haven for foodies, football fanatics, budding ballroom dancers and everything in-between.
Throw in some stunning architecture, great food, a vibrant nightlife and you’ve got the ultimate holiday destination.
Here are nine things you absolutely have to do while you’re in Buenos Aires.
1. Enjoy a ‘parrillada’
No trip to Argentina is complete without sinking your teeth into some world-class beef. And there’s no shortage of it in Buenos Aires. Steakhouses, or ‘parrillas’ are on every street corner, offering up delectable barbecued dishes.
For some of the best grass-fed beef in the city, head to Don Julio. Here they serve up succulent cuts of Aberdeen Angus and Hereford beef, and a range of award-winning wines.
Another top place for carnivores is La Cabrera, in the Palermo district. Their ‘bife de chorizo’, a thick cut of juicy butterflied sirloin steak, is the stuff of legends. Order one with French fries and candied onions for a true Argentinian taste experience.
2. Drink Malbec
Malbec wine is the perfect partner for steak. Considering Argentina is one of the top Malbec producers in the world, there’s no better way to wash down your meal.
One of the best places to sip a glass or two is Oporto Almacén, a bistro, wine store and deli in the Nuñez neighbourhood. With over two hundred wines on offer, it’s a fantastic place to sample the local tipple.
If you’re thirsty for more, why not book yourself onto a wine tour? You’ll get to try some top wines at some of the best bars in Buenos Aires. Cheers!
3. Try tango at a Milonga
Buenos Aires is the tango capital of the world, so you can’t visit without giving it a whirl. If you have two left feet, you can ease yourself in with some private lessons, and then show off your new-found skills at a milonga, or an informal tango party. There are tons of them around the city, so there’s no excuse not to put your dancing shoes on.
One of the best milongas for beginners happens at La Viruta Tango Club in the trendy Palermo Soho neighbourhood. It’s renowned for being one of the most welcoming events for tourists to test out their tango talents, and a must for first time visitors to Argentina.
4. Take in a fútbol game
If there’s one thing Argentinians love as much as meat, Malbec and tango, it’s fútbol. If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, be sure to catch a match at La Bombonera stadium, home of the world-famous Boca Juniors. Even if you’re not a football fan, it rates as one of the most culturally intense experiences you can have in Buenos Aires, so it should be on your to-do list.
And if you’re fanatical about football, you can always go on a tour of the stadium, which also includes a visit to the River Plate team’s stadium.
5. Bag a bargain at San Telmo fair
San Telmo’s Fair started in 1970 as a small antiques market. Today, it attracts a whopping 12,000 people each week. It takes place every Sunday and you can easily spend an entire day browsing through the artwork, leatherwear, knitwear, trinkets and antiques. With anything and everything on offer, it’s the perfect place to pick up some holiday souvenirs.
If you get peckish during your bargain-hunting, make your way to La Continental to try an ’empanada’, a baked or fried pastry filled with vegetables, fish or meat. They’re heaven in a pastry case.
If you’re around Buenos Aires during Easter time, make sure to take part in the custom of eating tuna-filled empanadas.
6. Pay your respects to Evita
Recoleta cemetery is a Buenos Aires landmark and one of the world’s most extraordinary graveyards, with over 6,400 mausoleums resembling Gothic chapels, Greek temples, fairy-tale grottos and elegant mini houses.
It’s the final resting place of ex-presidents and prominent figures of Argentine history, including Eva Perón, better known as Evita. It’s a must-see when in Buenos Aires.
7. Visit the famous Obelisk
A trip to Buenos Aires wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a photo by the city’s most famous monument. Situated on the intersection of two of the most important streets in Buenos Aires, Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida Corrientes, El Obelisco is a symbol of pride and independence for Argentines.
The four sides of the 67.5 metre shaft each represent a defining moment in the history of Buenos Aires: its foundation in 1536, its second and definitive foundation in 1580, the raising of the Argentinian flag in the city in 1812, and the declaration of Buenos Aires as the country’s capital in 1880.
Since its construction in 1936, the Obelisk has also been a meeting point for all kinds of celebrations and public gatherings. If you’re lucky enough to be in Buenos Aires when Argentina wins an international event, you’ll see hundreds of people heading to the Obelisco with flags in their hands.
8. Head off the beaten track to a Puerta Cerrada
Want to do something a bit different? One of Buenos Aires’ best kept secrets is its community of closed-door supper clubs, or ‘puertas cerradas’ where the city’s top chefs invite people into their homes to enjoy world-class food.
One such place is Casa Saltshaker. If you book a place, you can expect a mouth-watering, five-course tasting menu of Andean-inspired dishes, fused with global cuisine. You’ll leave with a full stomach and a bunch of new friends.
9. Party all night
In some countries, people call it a night at 2am, but in Buenos Aires, the party’s just getting started. So be prepared for a late night.
Why not start the evening in style, with a spot of wine tasting? Pain et Vin in Palermo Soho is a great place to try some top Argentinian wines, with some dreamy homemade sourdough bread.
When you’re ready to hit the clubs, Kika is a great spot to dance your heart out. This much-loved club plays a variety of House, Dubstep, Reggaeton and Hip-Hop tunes.
If you’re in town on a Thursday night, be sure to hit Club 69 at Niceto Club. It’s a subversive DJ extravaganza featuring showgirls, futuristic video installations and crazy performance art. You have to see it to believe it.
Where to stay
With over five million visitors every year, Buenos Aires has no shortage of places to stay, with accommodation catering to every budget and taste. Here are our top picks:
Palladio Hotel Buenos Aires – MGallery by Sofitel*****
If you’re looking for pure luxury, check out the Palladio Hotel. It’s in a stunning location, overlooking a large leafy plaza in the affluent neighbourhood of Recoleta.
A cool lobby bar, top-notch dining and a heated pool and spa make this the perfect place to rest your weary head after a long day’s sightseeing.
Hotel Madero Buenos Aires****
Located in central Buenos Aires, right on the waterfront, Hotel Madero Buenos Aires comes complete with a swimming pool, rooftop terrace and full-service spa.
The area is ideal for taking a stroll along the river or riding a bike around one of the many parks. While you’ll need to catch some public transport to the main touristic sights, the area around this lovely hotel is littered with attractions for history buffs and art lovers.
Own Grand Palermo Soho****
If you’re looking for value for money, the four-star Own Grand Palermo Soho is a great choice. It’s located in the hip Palermo Soho neighbourhood, near the Serrano Square. The area is packed with chic bars, restaurants and boutiques, and you’ll also find plenty of cool nightlife spots here.