The first time in Buenos Aires can be overwhelming, but the charm is just around the corner
The first time in Buenos Aires can be overwhelming, but the charm is just around the corner. Its buildings, barrios, parks and monuments have stories to tell that always end up surprising locals and strangers.
With these options it is possible to have a general view of this great city -and its surroundings- that has so much to give.
The journey may start in the Congress of the Nation, the seat of the Legislative Power. This historical building, Greco-Roman eclecticism style, dates from 1906, although it was inaugurated about 40 years later. Its dome has a copper cover, but over time it acquired a greenish color due the weather. It is 80 meters high and is one of the largest in the City. There are six salons, each one with its imposing style; and two precincts, where both legislators and deputies meet. There are guided tours that take place in Spanish and English on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 12:30 pm and at 17:00, to access, you have to go to Hipólito Yrigoyen 1849 street and reach the security windows, with an ID or passport.
Next, the emblematic Mayo Avenue appears, which was inspired by the great street of Madrid, dating from 1894. Some of the must-sees of this wide street are: the Inmobiliaria Building -which stands out for its red domes; the emblematic Avenida Theater; The Barolo Palace- which has symbols related to Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy; the Tortoni Café; and the London City bar -one of writer Julio Cortázar's favorites-. Next, we have the historic Plaza de Mayo. This is a main meeting point for the people of Buenos Aires, since in the surroundings of this site, there are important buildings where a large part of the population works; but also, the Plaza is a political and social symbol for Argentines. Around it are the Cabildo de Buenos Aires, which was the seat of the old government. Although it underwent several modifications with the passing of the years, in its interior historical documents related to the May Revolution are still preserved. To the right of the Cabildo is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, which impresses with its Greco-Roman facade. For those interested in Christian culture, on this site Pope Francis gave his last masses as the Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. In the backside of the Plaza you can visualize the Casa Rosada, where the National Executive Seat is based. The building dates from 1886 and still retains part of the building structure of the time, with a touch of modernity. Its large patio and rooms can only be visited on Saturdays with prior reservation.
You can continue the tour visiting the barrio La Boca, in which Caminito is your place to visit. It is possible to walk through its cobbled streets with their colored plates -which were part of the conventillos (projects)-, to the rhythm of the 2x4 because if there is something that is never missing, is tango. This neighborhood, formerly chosen by immigrants, also lives soccer. In almost all its streets there is a reference to blue and yellow, which are the colors that represent to Club Atlético Boca Junior, whose stadium -La Bombonera- and its museum are located four blocks from Caminito. There are guided tours both to know the court and the museum. If you want a unique postcard, do not forget to visit the terrace of the Fundación Proa, from where you can see the old bridge of La Boca.
Later you have to stop at Puerto Madero, the latest barrio in the city that rises between levees where the River Plate passes. It stands out for its modern architecture that intermingles with the facade of the old port. In addition, its gastronomy is one of the strong points so it is ideal to enjoy the local cuisine. Later, you have to make time to appreciate the different details that make the place so special. All its streets are named after women, in homage to the most outstanding of the country. The art also invades the place with sculptures or the collection of Amalita Fortabat -who was the richest woman in the country- that includes works by Dalí and Andy Warhol.
Puerto Madero can also be enjoyed for its nightlife, which has a different aspect to the one appreciated during the day. The Puente de la Mujer -which represents a couple dancing tango- stands out above all for its lighting and great structure which makes it an unforgettable postcard.
At last, it is mandatory to enjoy one or more of the many Tango Shows offered by the City of Buenos Aires. BuenosAiresToGo.com recommends Madero Tango, Señor Tango and Tango Porteño. For the most demanding looking for a more intimate and glamorous experience we recommend the Rojo Tango show at Faena Hotel (one of the 5 most important luxury hotels in Buenos Aires)
And if we talk about tango, the night of San Telmo also lends itself to that. The Viejo Almacén is one of the recommended options to enjoy an excellent show with orchestra included, in one of the oldest places in the neighborhood with more than 170 years of history. Later you can tour some of the cobbled streets of the place, so the night could end in the best way possible.
BuenosAiresToGo.com recommendation: Take a half-day City Tour (or full day) to get to know the main tourist locations with a specialized guide (includes stops at La Boca and Plaza de Mayo). At the end of the City Tour, you get lunch and, in the afternoon, take a trip to the tourist locations that you liked the most.
The Obelisk and its 9 de Julio Avenue must be part of the itinerary of someone who doesn’t know Buenos Aires. This is another of the most important location for the people of Buenos Aires -it is known as Microcentro- and its pace is dizzying. The wide avenue stands out as one of the widest in the world, due to its 140 meters. While the Obelisk, with its 65 and a half meters, can be seen from several blocks.
Further on is the Colón Theater. This cultural icon stands out for its acoustics, and its impressive architecture; It is also a well famous building worldwide. There took place shows and events of renowned artists from different disciplines and countries. There are guided tours every 15 minutes, but also, depending on the theater listings, you can witness any of the shows.
About 20 minutes away, there is Alvear Avenue, which is another outstanding location. Here, part of the Argentine aristocracy society is reflected, something that can be seen in buildings inspired by French academic art, such as the Duhau Residence, the Alvear Palace, or the Álzaga Unzué Palace.
If you continue through Recoleta, don’t forget to visit its cemetery. Here are resting historical figures like Eva Perón, Victoria Ocampo, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Juan Manuel de Rosas, among others. The cemetery is also characterized by its architectural richness as it represents the Argentine aristocracy from the old days, when families "competed" to make the largest and most splendid pantheon. To the side is located the basilica Our Lady of the Pillar which belonged to the monks of Recoleta along with the land that today occupies the cemetery.
Right next, we find the Recoleta Cultural Center. Here young culture lives and is visualized both in its facade and in the artistic works that are exhibited inside the halls.
The National Museum of Fine Arts is another location that you must visit, it is a few blocks away on Libertador Avenue. In it there are different collections of Argentine art, as well as pre-hispanic and American colonial art, among other permanent exhibitions.
If the afternoon is good for shopping, you can go back to the Microcentro area and start at Galerías Pacifico -located on Córdoba and Florida Avenue- which not only stands out for its stores with a wide variety of high-end products, but also for its architecture dating from 1900 and its large murals made by Argentine artists. The Borges Cultural Center operates in the same building where you can see some of the exhibitions that take place there.
In addition, in the Florida Street, there is a large open-air shopping center. It was the first pedestrian street in Buenos Aires and has hundreds of places of all kinds where you can buy souvenirs, leather goods and local precious stones, clothes and perfumes of good quality.
BuenosAiresToGo.com recommendation: After enjoying the City Tour and touring the main touristic spots of Buenos Aires, it is time to choose a Tango Show with dinner included to enjoy the best tango shows in the world.
Contact with nature is also possible in Buenos Aires and one of the recommended locations is Tigre. As it is the last day, a half-day excursion is appropriate, since it starts early in the morning, to return after lunch.
The city of Tigre is located in the North Area of the province of Buenos Aires. One of the main characteristics of this place is the passage of the Paraná River Delta, with its 14 thousand km2 of extension, which makes it one of the largest in the world. There is the possibility of entering the Delta through a boat trip in which the different channels are crossed and a you get to know a little more about the people who lives on the islands.
Another possible tour in the town, is to visit the Puerto de Frutos, where the wicker objects are the most precious, since they are handcrafted. You can also buy some of the fruits of the area, to taste the local fruits.
The cuisine is very diverse, for all tastes. In addition, Tigre stands out for its gluten-free offer, so coeliac travelers those who are allergic to gluten, can enjoy without worries.
In this same excursion, a tour to the historic San Isidro oldtown is also made, a location close to Tigre, which has an incomparable architectural richness, related to colonial times. This is mainly seen in the houses surrounding the oldtown, which belonged to wealthy families who used them on weekends. The Cathedral of San Isidro Labrador, which is characterized by its neo-gothic style, is another place you can’t miss; as well as the historic Quinta de los Ombúes, which is a few meters away.
Back in the Buenos Aires, you can spend the afternoon visiting the barrio of Palermo, there you can some of its well-known neighborhood such as Soho and Hollywood. Both "divisions" belong to what was previously called "Palermo Viejo" and only the Juan B Justo Avenue separates them.
Palermo Soho is mainly characterized by the amount of author's clothingstores and unique designs. In addition, in its main squares (Armenia and Cortázar) craft fairs are held -during the weekend- where you can find good prices. There are also gastronomic venues for all tastes and beautiful views and sightseeing such as Russel, Soria, Cabrera and Santa Rosa.
Palermo Hollywood also has its charm, although it is a quiet neighborhood of particular houses ideal for walking in the afternoon, but it is mainly for its nightlife where young people go out for drinks in bars or clubs in the area, and also presents a wide gastronomic offer. As a side note, don’t stop paying attention to its walls, the street art surprises in every block.
BuenosAiresToGo.com recommendation: Once we toured the City of Buenos Aires and enjoyed the entire City Tour and the Tango Show (we recommend going to multiple shows as they are very diverse) it's time to get to know the City of Tigre and one of the biggest River Deltas in the world. The pick-ups (picked up by the hotel or meeting point in Recoleta) usually start at 9am, so we recommend getting up early to have breakfast and be prepared for the trip. If you select the half day option, when you return to the City of Buenos Aires, we can continue with the recommended itinerary: Visiting the barrio of Palermo...
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