Buenos Aires Activities
Paraná 1160, Recoleta
ArteBA was founded in 1991 in an effort to strengthen the city’s domestic art market. The foundation has evolved into one of Latin America’s most significant art fairs (last year drew more than 100,000 visitors), bringing Argentinian art to the international market and vice versa. Typically the fair takes place in May and features approximately 300 curators, collectors, and artists. The organizers also produce an excellent bi-annual magazine covering the domestic art scene for those who cannot attend, or are just interested in keeping up.
Bosques de Palermo
Av. Infanta Isabel 410, Palermo
An urban park that acts as effectively as a communal backyard for millions of Porteños with three artificial lakes for boating, trails for walking and biking, as well as that delightful fusion of culture and the outdoors that many Latin cities do so well. The 989 acres are teeming with pretty groves and rose gardens (home to over 12,000 roses), but our favorite is the Poet’s Garden, filled with bronze busts of famous wordsmiths from Pirandello to Shakespeare.
Magallanes 802, La Boca
The La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires has a reputation for being a little sketchy, however considering it's home to the Boca Juniors stadium, and many of the city’s best restaurants (Don Carlos, Patagonia Sur), the charming street is well worth the trip (and is walkable from quaint San Telmo). The caminito is just as described, a little walk through what was once an immigrant Italian neighborhood still called La Boca (or the mouth) thanks to it’s harborside location. The area’s charm lies in the mish-mash of brightly painted houses situated along the cobbled streets that are lined with artists and craftspeople. Many of the walls are covered in murals that delve into the social and political themes present in Porteño life. Go for a wander, take in the sights and—if you’re organized enough—book at table at one of La Boca’s restaurants for dinner.
Kirchner Cultural Center
Sarmiento 151, Microcentro
Aside from being the largest cultural center in Latin America, the Kirchner Center occupies a stunning, French-empire style historic building that was once the city’s post office. Spread across nine floors, the center is dedicated to music, theatre, dance, and art.
La Bomba de Tiempo
Vuelta de Obligado 3103, Belgrano
If there's one sweat-inducing, invigorating, authentic experience to be had in BA, it's this: A group of talented percussionists perform a mix of improvised drumming every Monday at Konex, the city's cutting edge, slightly gritty, cultural center. The music is loud and totally infectious–you'll find everyone dancing in the audience, which is an eclectic crowd—everything from local die-hard fans of all ages to tourists. The set runs for about three hours, but it literally flies by, leaving you wanting more. Head there early to get a spot near the crowd exterior (the middle can get rowdy) and wear sneakers and comfortable clothing–you'll be on your feet for hours.
La Ciudad Universitaria de Buenos Aires
Ciudad Universitaria, Belgrano
Universities are the often-overlooked, yet most ideal locations to really feel out the cultural and political pulse of a city. Buenos Aires’s Ciudad Universitaria is a sprawling campus based on an urban plan drafted by seminal French architect Le Corbusier in 1938. The buildings are fairly Brutalist is style (a change from the typically ornate structures that dominate the city landscape), and the campus is covered in graffiti, political banners, and cultural references—an unusual but authentic spot to walk around and really take in the civic undertones of the city.
Arévalo 3065, Palermo
We'd be remiss not to mention the all-important polo season when talking about Buenos Aires, or Argentina, for that matter. While there are three main events, The Tortugas Open, The Hurlingham Open, and The Argentine Polo Open Championship, the Polo Open Championship is the main event and happens in BA in what Argentinians call the 'Cathedral of Polo' in the Palermo neighborhood (typically from November into early December). Aside from all the action happening on the horses, polo events also come accompanied by some pretty serious food and late-night revelry. It's totally worth planning your trip to BA around this time of year. Trust.
Junín 1760, Recoleta
Built in 1822 around an existing convent, a walk through Recoleta Cemetery’s labyrinthine alleys reads like an Argentine history lesson—generals, presidents, citizens, and Eva Perón herself, are all buried here. This is truly one of the most dynamic and visually beautiful resting places in the world—covered in over 4,691 vaults and mausoleums so grand (a mixture of marble palace-like structures some perfectly maintained and some crumbling), many have been declared national monuments. The cemetery is arranged on a grid—like most modern cities—and the many thousands of decorative tombs cover all the architectural movements that have spanned the last two centuries from Art Deco to Neo Gothic.
San Telmo Market
Calle Defensa, Humberto
This market has served locals since 1897, when it was originally founded as a marketplace for the waves of European immigrants who flocked to the city during that period. Set indoors, take a moment to look up and note the original fixtures, columns, and beams that still adorn the space today. Most of the stalls—selling all manner of knick-knacks, antiques, records, and crafts—are open daily. A separate Sunday flea market happens every weekend in this same quaint plaza, oftentimes with live tango as an accompaniment. Stop by the charming Bar Plaza Dorrego for a post-flea pick-me-up.
Cerrito 628, Microcentro
Without question, Teatro Colón is one of the world’s most breathtaking opera houses, and has played host to all of the greats across ballet, classical music, and opera from Maria Callas to Margot Fonteyn. Whilst the building itself has gone through many incarnations amidst plenty of turmoil (an anarchist bombing in 1910, the murder of one of its architects), the latest refurbishment was completed in 2010. Architecturally, the Teatro is eclectic in style which reflects the structure's journey through the last century—the horseshoe-shaped hall (which creates an echo chamber-like sound effect), holds nearly 4,000 people and feels grand and celebratory with plenty of velvet, tapestries, and ornately carved wood. Take a tour—which includes the deep catacombs beneath the building—or dress up and attend a performance to take in the old-world grandeur and hear the incredible acoustics for yourself.
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