Rich in culture and art, Buenos Aires is full of life and thrillful opportunities to explore. Famed for its tantalizing tango dancing scene and thriving nightlife, you will never get bored in the capital of Argentina. Its historic and lively streets are endless, like Avenida Corrientes, known as “the street that never sleeps.”
And don’t forget architectural landmarks such as El Zanjón de Granados, discovered to have a series of underground tunnels that date back to the early settlers of this lavish city. These are only some of Buenos Aires’s many enigmatic finds and tourist attractions.
Among the most fun things to do in Buenos Aires is exploring its culinary scene that often adapts from its strong European heritage. Parrillas, or “steakhouses,” are found at almost every corner, along with other high-end culinary scenes serving Italian and French-inspired cuisine.
Pair with Argentina’s famous wines, such as Syrahs and Torrontés, at local wine bars, clubs, and cafes. The options are endless in the city known as the “Paris of the south”!
See also: Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
23. Calle Defensa
A boisterous destination full of shopping, dancing, and eating in San Telmon, Calle Defensa is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Argentina.
To this day, Calle Defensa still preserves its original architecture, including cobbled stone streets. These same streets are frequently full of people, including artists and performers presenting their passions. It’s not uncommon to see tango dancers showing off their skills or living statues perfecting the ability to surprise onlookers by blending in as a statue.
Finding food on Calle Defensa is an easy thing to do. From cafes to street vendors offering traditional specialties, filling your stomach with savory and fresh-cooked foods is easy so you can eat while watching the many diverse street performers. At the end of Calle Defensa is Plaza Dorrego, one of the city’s oldest squares, home to a famous Sunday market and weekly antique market with various local goods.
22. Palacio Barolo
Palacio Barolo is a historic landmark found in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires, Argentina, constructed to house the ashes of poet and scholar Dante Allerghiri. It stood as the tallest building in Buenos Aires for over a decade until the Kavanagh Building was finished in 1936.
The twin of the Palacio Barolo is the Eclectic-style Palacio Salvo, located in Montevideo, Uruguay, designed by the same Italian architect, Mario Palanti.
The design of the Palacio Barolo was inspired by the cosmology of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. Following this inspiration, the Palacio Barolo has 22 floors. The two underground floors symbolize “hell,” floors 1-14 are “purgatory,” and floors 15-22 represent “heaven.”
The Palacio Barolo is 100 meters tall to coincide with each canto, or subsection, of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the number of floors, 22, coincides with the number of verses per song. At the top of the Palacio Barolo is a lighted beacon that represents the nine choirs of angels, and the small, ornamented spire symbolizes the Southern Cross constellation.
Touring the lobby adorned with statues, Latin verses, and archways is free. Still, it is recommended to reserve a guided tour on the 1920s elevator to ride up to the rooftop lighthouse offering up panoramic views.
21. Evita Museum
Dedicated to presenting the life of Eva Perón, the former First Lady of Argentina, the Evita Museum is housed in an early 20th-century mansion. The building features Plateresque and Italian Renaissance styles. It was designated a National Historical Monument in 1999 for refuging women and children in need in 1948.
Now established as the Evita Museum, it one of the most popular attractions in Buenos Aires, forming part of the cultural tourist trail of the city. The Latin American Art Museum, the Decorative Art Museum, the Palais de Glace, and the National Fine Arts Museum are also on this trail.
The museum has interactive exhibits and an expansive collection of dresses and mementos that once belonged to Evita. Each aspect of the museum presents the life of Evita, her life as an actress and First Lady, and her impactful involvement in political and social work.
20. Casa Rosada
The office of the President of Argentina and seat of the national government, Casa Rosada, stands in the Plaza de Mayo. Casa Rosada translates to “pink house.” Its catching coloring draws the eye as one of the top emblematic landmarks in Buenos Aires.
The Casa Rosada was established on the site of a fort built by the Spanish in 1580. After Argentina gained independence, the fort was reconstructed into a customs house and, later, the seat of the government. President Roque Sáenz Peña is the only president to have lived in the Casa Rosada from 1910 to 1914.
On the balconies of the Casa Rosada, President Juan Perón and First Lady “Evita” Perón, an icon during her time, addressed the masses during their time in office from the late 1940s to early 1950s.
Behind the palace is the Casa Rosada Museum. The museum explores Argentina’s history, homing the original walls of the former customs house and an acclaimed mural by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Entry to the museum is free.
The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), or the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, was founded by Argentine businessman Eduardo F. Constantini, who donated much of MALBA’s impressively large collection of 20th-century Latin American art.
The collection donated by Constantini has received renowned admiration from local and international scholars. The artworks have been loaned, by popular request, to be exhibited in shows worldwide, from the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro to the Fundación “La Caixa” in Madrid.
At the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires, visitors can take in temporary exhibitions featuring international collections and collaborations with other museums and permanent contemporary Latin American and Argentinian art exhibitions. The museum is constantly updating its collection and interactive cultural experience with an archive that continues to grow and explore the diversity of art.
18. Centro Cultural Kirchner
The Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK), or Kirchner Cultural Centre, is the largest cultural centre in Latin America and one of the largest in the world.
Established in the former Buenos Aires Central Post Office, the idea proposed by former president Néstor Kirchner, the building itself is a National Historic Monument. The former central post and telegraph office is a stunning example of French second empire architecture, which French architect Norbert-Auguste Maillart designed.
The Centro Cultural Kirchner includes nine floors of attractions dedicated to the arts. The most prominent attraction is the La Ballena Azul, or “Blue Whale,” the three-story symphony hall famed for its acoustics and the Klais Orgelbau pipe organ. Other popular interests of the Centro Cultural Kirchner include the blue sphere, made of 3,000 pieces of blue acrylic that hang from the ceiling near the building’s entrance, and the two rooftop terraces that offer refreshing views of Buenos Aires.
17. El Zanjón de Granados
Located in the colonial San Telmo district, El Zanjón de Granados is a mansion almost 200 years old that was transformed into a museum. It is situated over a series of underground tunnels that offer historical value, dating back to Buenos Aires’ earliest settlements.
El Zanjón translates to “the hole.” Within the underground ravine, visitors will find a water cistern, a slave cell, and artifacts, like English china and African pipes discovered, on display. Buenos Aires’s early settlers established a series of underground tunnels, but they were soon forgotten when the city above continued to expand. This resulted in the construction of the 23-room mansion in 1830, which was then abandoned by the 1970s and used as a dumping ground by locals.
El Zanjón de Granados was purchased, and its historical value was saved by Jorge Eckstein when he bought the building. Unfortunately, it took 20 years to restore the underground network and the mansion before it was opened as a museum.
16. Mercado de San Telmo
The Mercado de San Telmo, or San Telmo market, was established in 1897 and is the oldest market in Buenos Aires. It is five minutes from Plaza Dorrego and a 15-minute walk from Plaza de Mayo, where Casa Rosada is located.
A hot spot for locals and tourists thanks to its lively scene, Mercado de San Telmo offers chances to watch tango dangers practice, fresh produce and meat, food bars, and antique shops. So, grab a coffee, settle down, and watch as the open-air market comes to life.
Explore the different antique and local shops. Fill up on fresh local foods or buy groceries to stock up during your trip. Buy souvenirs to take home to remember your trip, or gift them to friends and family.
15. Palermo Hipodromo
Palermo Hipodromo, or Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo, is a renowned French-style horse racing course in Argentina, hosting 1,400 races every year, and is considered to have one of the best dirt courses in the world. Races are hosted three days a week, with around nine races running per day.
Established in 1876, Palermo Hipodromo now features a horse racing course, a casino, multiple French restaurants, and an area for shopping. The facility often hosts music concerts by big names like Katy Perry and David Bisbal, culinary fairs, and running training events by Adidas. In fact, the first automobile race in Argentina was hosted in 1901 at Palermo Hipodromo.
The French-inspired architecture and design of the facilities feature an elegance that pleases the eye. Palermo Hipodromo is only a five-minute walk from downtown Buenos Aires. An easy stop for exploration, Palermo Hipodromo is free of entry for guests to adventure the property.
14. Avenida Corrientes
One of the most well-known streets in Buenos Aires, Avenida Corrientes, begins in Puerto Madero’s neighborhood and reaches Chacarita.
Avenida Corrientes is often referred to as Calle Corrientes, after the city of Corrientes, the first city beside Buenos Aires that supported Argentina’s independence. The street has seen impactful moments in history, such as the prime years of tango, and is familiarly referred to as the “street that never sleeps.”
The nightlife scene of Avenida Corrientes is boisterous and eventful, though it’s as prevalent during the day. Avenida Corrientes is speckled with cafes, bars, theatres, bookstores, and more to satisfy a wide range of interests. Some points of interest include the Teatro San Martin, the Rojas cultural centre, the Lugones cinema, and Porteño pizza, Buenos Aires’s take adapted from the Genoese.
“La Noche de las Liberiars,” which translates to “night of the bookstores,” is hosted annually at Avenida Corrientes. Most bookshops stay open later to host talks and launch books during this time. At the many theatres that call Avenida Corrientes home, a variety of shows sell out, from comedies to dramas, for a dramatic and inspiring experience.
13. La Bombonera Stadium
Popularly known as La Bombonera stadium for its “D” shape of three steep stands and a “flat” stand by one side of the pitch, Estadio Alberto J. Armando, or the Alberto José Armando Stadium is a football (soccer) stadium located in La Boca of Buenos Aires. It is situated near Caminito, a famous street museum featuring vibrant colored houses and tango dancers.
This legendary stadium is home to Maradona’s Boca Juniors, the professional football team that has won 73 official titles, with national title wins including 35 Primera Division championships and 16 domestic cups.
La Bombonera, translating to “the chocolate box,” is famously known for its passionate and invigorating atmosphere. The most famous event is the rivalry match between Boca Juniors and River Plata, another professional team. This match happens once every season and is considered one of the most intense sporting events in the world.
12. Floralis Generica
A gift to the city of Buenos Aires by Argentine architect Eduardo Fernando Catalano, the Floralis Generica is a stunning attraction that lures tourists and locals. The Floralis Generica is a giant stainless-steel flower-shaped sculpture crafted above a reflection pool in the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas.
The astounding mechanical structure was intricately designed to open and close its petals in tune with the sun. Its design uses a hydraulic system that is controlled by photoelectric sensors that are used to measure the sun’s intensity. Catalano created this unique structure to symbolize hope reborn every day.
Out of the year, there are four special days that the flower remains open all year round. The days are May 25 (May Revolution), September 21 (the beginning of spring), December 24 (Christmas Eve), and December 31 (New Year’s Eve).
11. Bosques de Palermo
Widely known as Bosques de Palermo, Parque Tres de Febrero is an enormous urban park in the neighborhood of Palermo, beloved for its rose gardens, lakes, scenic gazebos, and groves. The park features running paths, boat rentals to paddle out on the small lakes, a sculpture garden dedicated to famed poets such as William Shakespeare and Jorge Luis Borges, bike and rollerblade rentals, a planetarium, and picnic spots.
Bosques de Palermo was designed by architect Julio Dormal and urbanist Jordán Czeslaw Wysocki and further expanded by French Argentine urbanist Carlos Thays, who designed the Botanical Garden, the Rose Garden, the Zoological Gardens, and the Plaza Italia.
A popular place to enjoy the outdoors, Bosques de Palermo is the perfect place to have a picnic, paddle across the different lakes with the swans, or stroll through the various gardens for a peaceful time.
10. Museo Nacional de Belles Artes
Museo Nacional de Belles Artes is the most famous museum in Argentina for its vast collection of over 700 19th-century European masterworks by iconic names like Van Gogh and Manet. To find the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes, head to the upscale neighborhood of Recoleta on Libertador, one of the longest avenues in Buenos Aires.
Dating back to 1896, the museum primarily showcases 19th-century European art and holds the most extensive collection of Argentine art worldwide. This collection features pieces dating back to the Middle Ages to the present day.
Throughout the museum, there are more than ten rooms with permanent exhibits. They include sculptures that date back to 600 A.D. and other impressive displays. The museum’s temporary exhibits collaborate with other museums to display diverse masterpieces. Entry to the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes is free.
9. El Obelisco
El Obelisco is a much-loved attraction that stands 68 meters (223 feet) high over the city. It was built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city, naming the city as the national capital and as the site where the Argentinean flag first flew.
The flag actually first flew in 1812 at the church of St. Nicholas de Bari, which was demolished to build the obelisk. It reaches proudly into the sky where 9 de Julio Avenue intersects with Corrientes Avenue.
Said to be the widest street in the world, 9 de Julio Avenue is named after the 1816 date on which Argentina declared its independence from Spain.
8. Plaza Dorrego
One of the most fun things to do in Buenos Aires on a Sunday is visiting the market at Plaza Dorrego, especially if they’re looking for antiques and curios. The Plaza Dorrego is one of the oldest public squares in Buenos Aires, getting its start as a market in the 18th century when farmers filled wagons with produce to sell to locals on Sundays.
The present antiques market started in the early 1970s; visitors who can’t make the Sunday market might enjoy the plaza’s surrounding area, as San Telmo is the capital’s antique district. Tired shoppers can rest at an outdoor café and watch tango dancers perform or even take a few lessons themselves.
7. Cafe Tortoni
A flavorful French-style cafe that offers the experience of seeing live tango by the elite, Cafe Tortoni has cemented its place as an iconic historical hangout.
Opened in 1858, Cafe Tortoni was founded by a mysterious French immigrant, Touan, and has since become an established historical attraction. Near Plaza de Mayo and located on Avenida de Mayo, the cafe has welcomed big names, including impactful scholars and famed artists for years, such as tango singer Carlos Gardel, poet Alfonsina Storni, Albert Einstein, and the King of Spain.
La Bodega, also known as the Quinquela Martin Room, is the 80-seat basement underneath the cafe. It was named after artist Benito Quinquela Martin, who designed La Boca’s Caminito Street and often met in the basement with the Arts and Letters Association during the 1920s. The 55-seat Alfonsina Storni salon, also located downstairs, is where tango shows, poetry readings, and live radio performances are held daily.
6. Puerto Madero
Sleek buildings line the Rio de la Plata waterfront at Puerto Madero, the largest urban development project in the capital.
Puerto Madero served as the main port of Buenos Aires during the late 19th century, but larger cargo ships soon made it obsolete. The port fell into decay until 1989 when it was decided to turn the aging warehouses into something grander: buildings that could be used as residences, restaurants, shops and other businesses.
To give the project a bit of flair, all streets in the district were named after women. Strolling through the Puerto Madero is a great way to spend a pleasant afternoon.
5. Carlos Thays Botanical Garden
Carlos Thays was a French landscape artist who came to Buenos Aires when he was 40 years old, and proceeded to change the face of the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Under his supervision, a number of parks were developed and existing ones renovated. But the botanical garden was his pet project.
Located in the Palermo district near the zoo, the botanical garden is home to more than 5,000 species of plants, many in organized displays and others not. Past visitors say the park is a great way to escape the capital’s hustle and bustle whether strolling winding paths or just sitting on a bench reading.
4. Teatro Colon
The main opera house of Buenos Aires, Teatro Colon or Columbus Theater, has been widely appreciated for its acoustics, architectural qualities, and prestigious history.
Named after Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, the theater has been recognized as one of the ten best opera houses by National Geographic. Teatro Colon has welcomed plenty of big-name artists, including tenor Beniamino Gigli, composer Igor Stravinsky, dancer Anna Pavlova, régisseur Nicolas Joel, and top orchestras such as The New York Symphony Orchestra and The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Opened in 1857, Teatro Colon’s original building was Argentina’s first iron frame structure. It became a centerpiece of culture, signifying Argentina’s efforts to establish itself. Then, in 1908 the new home of Teatro Colon, designed with Italian Renaissance-influenced Neoclassical tastes, was opened, featuring a live performance of Aida. And since then, Teatro Colon has welcomed people through its doors for unrivaled performances to be labeled one of the most established opera houses in the world.
3. Recoleta Cemetery
Recoleta Cemetery isn’t just an ordinary cemetery. It’s where the elite of Buenos Aires and Argentina are buried, including the country’s former presidents, Eva Peron and even one of Napoleon’s granddaughters.
Established in 1822, it contains more than 4,500 above-ground vaults, of which 94 have been declared national historical monuments. The cemetery is a good place to view fantastic marble mausoleums and best statuary, sculpted by notable artists.
The BBC called it one of the best cemeteries in the world while CNN ranked it among the world’s 10 prettiest cemeteries.
Located in La Boca, Caminito is a famous street museum and neighborhood full of vibrant colors and rich cultural significance.
Caminito, or “little path” in translation, offers a beautiful eye-catching display of colorful houses that became common for immigrant homes. This all began when artist Benito Quinquela Martin began painting the buildings of Caminito in the 1950s. The colors are said to have inspired the music for the famous tango “Caminito,” composed by Juan de Dios Filiberto.
Benito Quinquela Martin used the buildings as his canvas to attract life to Caminito. The street had been almost entirely abandoned in the 1950s after the river, Riachuelo, dried up and the railroad closed. And today, Caminito has become famous for its liveliness, featuring restaurants, folk and tango dance shows, performers, artists, and more!
1. Plaza de Mayo
Starting from the 1810 revolution that led to independence, the Plaza de Mayo has been a focal point of political life in Argentina. Several of the city’s major landmarks are located around the Plaza including the Cabildo; the city council during the colonial era.
Located in the center of the Plaza de Mayo is The May Pyramid, the oldest national monument in Buenos Aires. The plaza is also the square where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have congregated with signs and pictures of desaparecidos, their children, who were subject to forced disappearance by the military junta in the 1970s.