Buenos Aires: what to see

Here are all the things to do in Buenos Aires

Take tango lessons at a Milonga, visit Recoleta Cemetery, wait in line to dine at one of the restaurants in Asado most famous in the city, join a free tour of Boca, taste a Alfajor, rent a bicycle to ride on the banks of the Rio de La Plata at sunset, enjoy an ice cream at an Italian pastry shop, have a Malbec tasting, go see a tango show, get lost in the El Ateneo bookstore, visit the Malba Museum of Contemporary Art, spend a day in nature at the Palermo Botanical Garden.

What to do in Buenos Aires

Bueos Aires is a city to spend a few days in, a starting point for exploring Patagonia or northern Argentina and Iguazu Falls. It’s a metropolis, but you don’t feel the weight of millions of inhabitants, partly because it’s so sprawling, boasts a lot of diverse neighborhoods and offers a lot of opportunities, especially in terms of art, culture, theater and of course good food and wine.

I recommend arranging yourself so that you see the main attractions and thus have the opportunity to explore more neighborhoods. Not to be missed: the Recoleta Cemetery, the Obelisk and the Casa Rosada, which is the seat of the Argentine government, and the lively neighborhoods of St. Elmo and La Boca.

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I also recommend locating a couple of restaurants where you can have dinner, maybe one a little more elegant, the other a little more simple, even an aperitif is fine. All wine bars offer cheese and charcuterie boards and some hot dishes. I remember that eating Italian in Argentina is very normal, precisely because Argentines are our cousins, so don’t be surprised if in more traditional restaurants, there are dishes of Italian cuisine.

I also recommend that you choose a tango show you want to attend and find out where they do the Milonga, on the days of the week you are in Buenos Aires. Milonga means that non-professional dancers, dance the tango. They are the counterpart of our dance halls, and during the warm season Argentines dance in the streets or in Milongas, where you can enter as a spectator by paying a symbolic ticket or drinking a glass of wine.

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I would also shop at some of the markets, if you understand Sunday you can’t miss the Sant’Elmo market, and I would get lost in mine in Palermo with a Rapa Nui ice cream in my hand. Strictly at Dulce de Leche.

Buenos Aires neighborhoods

Buenos Aires is a huge city, with more than 3 million inhabitants and as many as 48 neighborhoods, all different from each other, rich in history, art, culture, music, food and good wine. That never fails.

In Argentina, in general, people eat very well and drink better. I chose to live a few weeks in Palermo, which is the expat neighborhood. My advice is to spend at least three full days in Buenos Aires, because there is so much to see. If you have a week to spare, you won’t be bored. And especially if your trip starts in Buenos Aires, you definitely need a day to recover from the trip if you are coming from Italy.


One of the most nominated neighborhoods is Recoleta, for its cemetery, with as many as 4,800 graves of famous people. Argentines are very proud of it and consider it an open-air museum. I am not a big fan of visiting cemeteries, but I must say that Recoleta is worth a tour of at least a couple of hours. I recommend taking a guided tour, with a Free Walking Tour. In all major cities there is this mythical organization that offers guided tours of downtown or a specific neighborhood.

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Tours are on a free-will basis for participants. Recoleta has a dedicated tour in English and Spanish on different days of the week. Usually history professors or tour guides give the tour, so the quality of the experience is high. In addition to the cemetery, I also recommend a walk through the elegant neighborhood, including museums, shopping, and cafes. Remember that one of the many things to do in Buenos Aires is to visit El Ateneo Gran Spledid, which is one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, inside an old theater.

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La Boca

Among the things to see in Buenos Aires, don’t miss a walk in La Boca. This is an area a bit away from the center, on the mouth of the Rio de La Plata. The first Italian immigrants, particularly from Liguria, settled right in La Boca, building the first sheet metal houses that are still the neighborhood’s characteristic cottages today. In fact, it was a place that was all gray and sad, because there was (and still is) a lot of poverty. Residents began to color the houses and express their art and melancholy by dancing the tango .

Buenos Aires, one of the neighborhoods to see is La Boca
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La Boca thus became one of the most visited neighborhoods, as well as a symbol of the city, in addition to the “La Bombonera” stadium, where Maradona also played in the early days of his career. Walking down El Caminito (the main street) means seeing everything you expect from Buenos Aires: tango, Maradona, color, and great food, given the amount of bars and restaurants. Watch your wallet.

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St. Elmo

Another historic and not-to-be-missed neighborhood is Sant’Elmo, where every Sunday there is a market for antiques and various objects, and it is also an opportunity to stop for lunch and a glass of Malbec. Like any Sunday market, the earlier you go, the better, because after that it becomes virtually impossible to walk. St. Elmo is famous for its historic theaters, where to attend a tango show, usually the formula is dinner plus tango.

These are professional dancers who perform for about an hour and a half, with constant scene changes. The show is worth more than the food, tickets sell out and are quite expensive.

The Mini-Guide of Buenos Aires

Where to eat, what to visit, where to dance salsa and tango, where to practice yoga, bars, cafes, restaurants, museums and attractions. Here is the mini-guide to Buenos Aires that I made for you. It consists of a link with Google Maps pins organized by me and a brief description.

Buy your mini-guide here

Remember to take a picture of yourself near the statue of the comic strip Mafalda, a satirical strip from 1970s Buenos Aires. Also in St. Elmo, pause to admire the performances of street performers, unfailing tango dancers.

If after St. Elmo’s, you’re still wondering what to see in Buenos Aires, you can head downtown and visit the Teatro Colón, one of the largest opera houses in the world, where you can see a show and also book a guided tour to learn about the history of one of the metropolis’ main buildings.

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Palermo, perhaps is the least historic and most gentrified neighborhood in Buenos Aires, however, it is also one of the safest places in the city, where you can safely walk around with your cell phone in your hand. It is also the most popular place for internationals, all of whom live in Palermo.

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The neighborhood is divided into two: Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood, both are very interesting, full of clubs, restaurants, cafes, live music, milongas, theaters, cinemas, yoga studios, coworking. The ideal place if you want to live a few months in Buenos Aires, with all the services at your fingertips, hipster and innovative taste.


Downtown, meaning the financial heart of the city, I actually haven’t mentioned yet, because basically it is an area made up of stores, banks, offices. They call it Microcenter and it mainly houses Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada, which is the Argentine government building.

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Puerto Madero

I also mention Puerto Madero, although it is not really my thing, because it is typical neighborhood with tall, modern buildings. It is located on the Rio De La Plata, making it very quaint for strolling both during the day and dining in the evening. It is ideal to rent a bike to pedal along the river banks.

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When to visit Buenos Aires

The seasons in South America, are backwards compared to Italy. This means that the best time to go to Argentina is when it is winter here. The period from November to March is the ideal time. Consider that Argentines also have vacations at that time of year there, because it is summer for them.

So December, January and February may be the months when it is also more expensive to travel , and for the more organized, it is best to make some reservations if there is something in particular you don’t want to miss, such as a tango show or dinner at a famous restaurant. Also, Buenos Aires from December to February empties out because Argentines go on vacation, which can be good or bad depending on your taste.

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You will find them all over Argentina because due to inflation there are few who can afford to leave the country. Then in fact they have the opportunity to explore a state that offers so many different landscapes, so they prefer to visit Argentina first and then start exploring the world.

Where to sleep in Buenos Aires

You really are spoiled for choice. I recommend sleeping in Palermo, because there are so many clubs and restaurants and you can walk around undisturbed at 3 a.m. So it is the safest neighborhood, both day and night. Then if in the evening you want to go to the theater or see a tango show or have dinner in another neighborhood you can always move around by Uber which works very well.

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If your budget is tight or if you want to meet new travelers, I recommend the hostel, especially if you are traveling alone. Another interesting option is to sleep in Airbnb, there are beautiful ones and they have much more affordable prices than in Europe. Otherwise you can choose a hotel. I recommend you do a search on Booking.

How much does it cost to live in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is generally a cheap city, where you can use the metro or Uber to get around, you can eat and sleep cheaply or at least reasonably priced, and get great service. The food is really good, and for lunch you can get away with an empanada, a typical Argentine dish that you’ll find somewhat throughout South and Central America.

It is a bundle of dough, filled with meat or vegetables. In general, it depends a bit on your lifestyle and what you like to do. Buenos Aires is also a city where you can spend a lot, I’m thinking especially of dinners in the most famous restaurants, where you even have to stand in line, such as the famous Don Julio for those who want to eat an excellent asado (which is practically the equivalent of our barbecue).

Buenos Aires che cosa vedere. Paesaggio

Milan-Buenos Aires one way

One day I will be the protagonist of an epic adventure. I will take my backpack, my laptop, go around hostels, see the sun rise from volcanoes, stay for a long time in places I like, don’t have to think about what I leave behind, only what I find, learn to surf, and get to Machu Picchu by walking.” Cool, isn’t it? Too bad it didn’t turn out that way. Read the full article on Substack, it’s in Italian and in English.

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Tango shows can also cost a lot, as can other activities. In any case, know that Buenos Aires is suitable for any budget and how much to spend is mainly up to you. I slept in the hostel

Why is it called Buenos Aires?

About 650,000 Italians or people of Italian origin live in Argentina. Apparently, the first people who landed on Argentine soil were actually a group of Italians, from Cagliari specifically, who decided to name the city Buenos Aires, in honor of the Shrine of Our Lady Bonaria in Sardinia. In addition to having a strong Italian influence and of course, the city is often compared to Paris in terms of palace architecture, culture, and boulevards, such as the one that houses the Obelisk, a symbol of Buenos Aires, on Avenida 9 Julio.

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A curiosity: many immigrants in the late 1800s were originally from Naples and were therefore called “Napolitanos.” Hence the abbreviation “Tano” or “Tana” for an Italian or Italian. Don’t be surprised if they call you that in Buenos Aires, you are a tano or a tana to them and they say it in a very affectionate way.

Is Buenos Aires dangerous?

Buenos Aires is generally a safe city, but it is always best to be careful and adopt classic techniques such as: keep your phone in your pocket, don’t walk around with too much cash, keep a spare credit card in your hotel, and don’t wear jewelry. In general, try not to be too conspicuous. In South America they say “no dar papaya,” which means don’t give too much away.

Which is a bit difficult in such a welcoming country. Argentines, in particular, are really chatty, love to give advice and love Italians. So don’t be too wary either. I suggest you adopt some common sense and you will have no problems. I traveled for nine months alone from Argentina to Colombia and never felt in danger.

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