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Welcome to Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires blends distinctly European heritage and fiery Latin charm with cosmopolitan class. As the country’s political and cultural heart, Buenos Aires offers an introduction to Argentina’s many delights—this is the place to sample yerba mate tea at a local cafe, learn to tango, tuck into juicy asado (barbecued steak), and party until dawn. Visitors can find a good introduction to the city at Casa Rosada, a backdrop for much of the nation’s history, and the Metropolitan Cathedral, Pope Francis’ former cathedral. From there, heading south brings travelers to the lively street markets and atmospheric tango shows of San Telmo, and the colorful houses of La Boca neighborhood, home to La Bombonera soccer stadium. Smart travelers heading to La Boca use either caution or take a guided tour, as it can be unsafe to walk around alone. To the north of the city’s heart, the chic Palermo zone holds leisurely lunches and the opportunity to stroll through Bosques de Palermo, while nearby Recoleta is a popular stop on walking tours for those who wish to leave flowers at the grave of Eva Perón. Along the coast, the modern skyscrapers of Puerto Madero mark the city’s financial center, but for a ground-level look at the city, bike tours run through the adjacent ecological park. For a taste of the calmer surrounding area, escape to Tigre to cruise around its scenic delta, or ride a ferry over the Río de la Plata to Uruguay to explore the laid-back capital of Montevideo.

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Top 10 attractions in Buenos Aires

Plaza de Mayo
#1

Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo is Buenos Aires’ political heart, first mapped out in 1580. Today, the grassy, treed plaza attracts visitors with cameras and relaxing locals, and is also the venue for rallies and gatherings. The center of the plaza features an obelisk called the Pirámide de Mayo, erected to commemorate independence from Spain. Grand 19th century buildings line the plaza, but the colonial arches that once circled the plaza are long gone. Nearby are the city council buildings known as the Cabildo, the Casa Rosada government buildings and fine bank buildings....
Casa Rosada
#2

Casa Rosada

The eye-catching salmon-pink façade of Argentina’s presidential palace is one of the capital’s most iconic sights, standing proud over the city’s historic Plaza de Mayo public square. The aptly named Casa Rosada, or the ‘Pink House’, is the secondary mansion and office of the Argentine President, housing the government offices and providing the striking backdrop to Buenos Aires’ often-turbulent political history. Erected in 1862, the Renaissance-style palace was initially to be painted white and theories abound as to hoe it got its rosy makeover, from ox blood being mixed into the paint to the then-President blending the red and white colors of opposing political rallyists. Designated a National Historic Monument of Argentina, the pink palace is perhaps most legendary for its lower balcony, from which the beloved Evita rallied the working class crowds back in 1949 – a moment that was famously recreated by Madonna in the 1996 movie Evita....
La Boca
#3

La Boca

South of downtown Buenos Aires, by the port, the working-class enclave of La Boca has a strong Italian flavor and plenty of artistic flair. The barrio is strongly linked to the history of the tango, and it’s also home to one of the world’s major football teams, the Boca Juniors. The essence of La Boca can be found in Caminito, the brightly colored pedestrian street lined with painted tin houses and flaunting locally created art at every turn....
Puerto Madero
#4

Puerto Madero

Once a lackluster cargo port, the waterfront area of Puerto Madero is now one of Buenos Aires’ most fashionable districts, teeming with upmarket restaurants and glitzy nightclubs. Marooned from the mainland by the Rio de la Plata estuary, the largely pedestrianized island is celebrated for housing some of the city’s most architecturally stunning buildings. Luxury apartments, plush hotels and high-rise office towers dominate the area, encircling a stylish waterfront plaza and backed by an expanse of naturally preserved parkland. The barrio’s pièce de résistance is the iconic Puente de la Mujer, or the Woman’s Bridge, an artistic swing-bridge that connects Puerto Madero to the mainland hub of Plaza de Mayo. The futuristic design by Spanish sculpture Santiago Calatrava, is said to symbolize an abstract tango dance and casts a striking silhouette on the city skyline....
Caminito
#5

Caminito

With its brightly painted houses and funky atmosphere, Caminito is one of the most famous streets in Buenos Aires. It may not be a grand boulevard, but Caminito is a historic walkway that grabs your attention from the moment you enter. Founded by Italian immigrants from Genoa, the street is lined with haphazardly built homes constructed from corrugated metal and wood, painted in a plethora of gaudy colors. You’ll probably hear the dramatic foot-stomping strains of the tango as you stroll down this pedestrian walkway, and as you look around you’ll see works by local artists on the walls of this outdoor living gallery....
Alberto J. Armando Stadium (La Bombonera Stadium)
#6

Alberto J. Armando Stadium (La Bombonera Stadium)

The beloved Boca Juniors soccer team plays its games at Alberto J Armando stadium, affectionately known as La Bombonera (Spanish for “the Chocolate Box”). It has a capacity of 49,000 and is known for vibrating when fans start getting too antsy – either from happiness or disgust – and start jumping in rhythm. A behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium is a fascinating look at the sport that that most Argentines live and die by and the Buenos Aires soccer team that was founded in 1905 by five boys living in La Boca neighborhood. Visit the interactive Museo de la Pasión Boquense, the first soccer museum in the Americas, and walk out on to the famous soccer field pitch, where you can close your eyes and imagine the roar of the passionate crowd....
Plaza San Martin
#7

Plaza San Martin

One of Buenos Aires’ oldest public squares, Plaza San Martin is a pocket of greenery sandwiched between the central Retiro train and bus station and the lively shopping hub of Florida Av. A popular spot for picnicking locals and fatigued shoppers, the majority of the plaza is parkland shaded by ancient jacaranda and magnolia trees and including a small dog park frequented by the city’s ubiquitous dog walkers (often seen on the city streets handling a dozen or more dogs). The focal points of the park are its many monumental statues, including the Torre de Los Ingleses (English Tower), gifted to Argentina by the British in celebration of the 1810 revolution; the grand Monument to General Jose San Martín, after whom the park was named; and a poignant monument to those who lost their lives in the notorious Malvinas (Falklands) War....
Parque Lezama
#8

Parque Lezama

While everyone else is walking around the antiques fair in San Telmo and picking up items that are too big to take home, head to Parque Lezama, a public park in the same district. The city of Buenos Aires was first founded here by Pedro de Mendoza (see his statue in the park) in 1536. In 1857 it was sold to Gregorio Lezama whose widow ultimately gave it to the municipality of Buenos Aires in 1894. The park borders a part of what used to be the Rio de La Plata, before its course was redirected and the neighborhood of Puerto Madero was created. And while Buenos Aires is almost completely flat, this park, along with the Plaza Francia and Barrancas del Begrano are on a rise that sets them higher than the rest of the city. There are rustic paths for walking and biking and a few lookout points over where the river used to be. Also in the park is the National Historical Museum of Argentina, established in 1897. It holds a collection of some 50,000 pieces....
Palermo
#9

Palermo

Buenos Aires’ largest barrio, the northern district of Palermo encompasses a number of city hotspots, favored by the city’s most cosmopolitan and fashionable residents. The ever-trendy Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood make up the old quarter of Palermo Viejo where grand residential buildings jostle for space with quirky boutiques and some of the city’s finest bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Palermo is also renowned for its parks and there are plenty of idyllic green spaces to choose from. The tree-lined Bosques of Palermo is a hugely popular picnic spot centered around a glistening lake and the family-friendly Zoological Gardens are surrounded by the lush Botanical gardens, Japanese gardens, the Evita Museum and the Galileo Galilei planetarium. Close by, the Palermo Hippodrome is situated next door to the legendary Campo de Polo sports ground, and the iconic Floralis Genérica art installation stands proud over the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas....
Recoleta Cemetery (Cemiterio de Recoleta)
#10

Recoleta Cemetery (Cemiterio de Recoleta)

While it may seem odd that one of Buenos Aires’ principal tourist attractions is a cemetery, the Recoleta Cemetery is no ordinary graveyard. Encircled by a towering perimeter wall and entered via a striking columned portico, Recoleta Cemetery is one of the world’s most exquisite necropolises; a glorious ‘City of the Dead’ that houses some of the country’s most prominent political, military and artistic icons. Over 6,400 tombs are found in the Cemetery, laid out in formal tree-lined avenues and punctuated with beautifully sculpted monuments, poignant marble statutes and grand, bronze-cast mausoleums. Notable burial plots include the vivid white stone tomb of newspaper founder José C. Paz, flanked by a pair of dazzling Rubenesque angels; the ostentatious tomb of former Argentine president Carlos Pellegrini, featuring an elaborate statue of the controversial leader atop the coffin; and the evocative statues of crying widows kneeling beside the tomb of Colonel Falcon....

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