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25 Best Things To Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina, an Expert Guide

If you’re looking for a destination where you can enjoy a mixture of trendy nightlife, old-world charms, fabulous foods, and unique arts and culture, look no further than Buenos Aires, Argentina! 

Known as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is a city where you’ll want to spend at least three days. During my first visit, it didn’t take me long to realize that “BA” is my new favorite place in the world, which is why I kept returning and spent a total of two months living there.

So read on for my expert guide to the best attractions, food spots, and activities in the beautiful Argentine capital city.

Known as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is a city where you’ll want to spend at least three days.

How to make the most of Buenos Aires

Although Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and a very large city, it has many safe and distinct neighborhoods to explore. To focus your exploration, I recommend you stay in the neighborhoods of Recoleta, Palermo or San Telmo

From these areas, walking to the main tourist attractions is easy, but ride-sharing apps like Uber and Cabify are equally efficient options. For a fraction of the cost, the subway (Subte) and bus systems are clean, safe and easy as well! 

To ride either, you need to buy a Sube Card in the subway stations. To understand the Subte and bus routes, download the app Moovit, and you’ll soon be traveling all over the city with ease.

When to visit Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a popular destination with moderate temperatures and mostly dry conditions all year round. That said, it can be quite warm and humid during the summer months of December through March, plus chilly nights during the winter months of June and July.

Argentina’s economy – 2024 update

The fluctuating state of Argentina’s economy is very complex. It is easy to use your credit card and get money from ATM’s all over the city. However, doing this may not give you the best exchange rate. At the time of this writing, US Dollars reign king.

So, if you are a traveler who can get US Dollars, bring some to exchange along Calle Florida. Another option is to send yourself money through the Western Union App and pick it up at any location throughout the city.

Now that you have the insider information, let me introduce you to all there is to do in Buenos Aires!

1. Explore Plaza de Mayo, the historic and political center of the city

Plaza de Mayo is the center of the city and home to the pink Presidential Palace, or Casa Rosada. Although the plaza is beautiful, it’s also a place heavy with political importance for the people of Argentina. Gatherings and demonstrations are common to witness here. 

The Argentinian Presidential Palace, the Casa Rosada (Pink House), located in Buenos Aires.
Plaza de Mayo is the center of the city and home to the pink Presidential Palace, or Casa Rosada.

As you stroll around the plaza, be sure to take a moment to enter the gorgeous Catedral Metropolitana and admire the Museo Histórico Nacional del Cabildo building, which was the epicenter of protests against Napoleonic rule in 1810, as well.

2. Dig deeper into Argentina’s past with a historical walking tour

If you’d like to learn more about the history of Buenos Aires, the time of Argentina’s Dirty War during their Dictatorship, and Argentina’s economy, I highly recommend taking a tour such as Guru Free Walking Tours

This tour starts in front of the capitol building, the Congreso de la Nación Argentina, and walks toward the Presidential Palace via the stately Avenida de Mayo, discussing Argentine history as it goes.

Even if you are not taking a tour, Avenida de Mayo is worth a walk to appreciate more of the grand architecture, especially the historic monument, Palacio Barolo.

3. Pass some time along Paseo Florida

A short distance away, you will find some of BA’s fanciest historic shopping galleries along the pedestrian street, Paseo Florida. Don’t miss Galerías Pacífico and Galería Güemes for their lavish architectural designs.

Insider tip: While you’re in the Galería Güemes, head to the 14th floor for a panoramic view. Take the elevator under the sign “Entrada Mitre”, pay a small fee, and enjoy this 360-degree rooftop view of Buenos Aires. 

4. Enjoy a quintessential tango show

While walking on Paseo Florida, you’ll be approached many times by representatives from tour agencies. This is THE place to book tickets for a hop-on/ hop-off bus tour around the city, or a fancy dinner with a tango show.

Tango in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
Tango on the streets of San Telmo, in Buenos Aires, one of the best cities in South America’s for dancing

Tango shows are well worth it, even though they’re definitely a tourist attraction than something for local Porteños (Buenos Aires residents). Most tours offer transport from your hotel, a steak dinner, and an hour-long show of stunning tango dancing!

If you’d rather buy your tickets directly with a theater and manage your own transport, visit the box office at Teatro Astor Piazzolla in the Galería Güemes.

5. Stop for a photo at the Obelisk

The Obelisk is the center-point of all roads and celebrations in this part of the city - and is a perfect meeting-place. Definitely add a visit to your Buenos Aires itinerary
The Obelisk is the center-point of all roads and celebrations in Buenos Aires.

The Obelisk is the center-point of all roads and celebrations in downtown Buenos Aires. It was here that millions celebrated Argentina’s 2022 World Cup Championship. The giant “BA” letters of the city are waiting at its base for your perfect city photo!

6. Eat your way along Avenida Corrientes

Avenida Corrientes is Buenos Aires’ Italian neighborhood and the street is packed full of bars, theaters, and restaurants serving the very best pastas and pizzas in South America, thanks to the city’s strong Italian heritage.

Consider yourself lucky if you get into Pizzería Güerrín, a local favorite for Mozzarella and Fugezza or Neapolitan pies. 

In the evening, Avenida Corrientes starts to sizzle when one side is closed off for street performers and pedestrians. Just wander around to enjoy their show!

7. Wander San Telmo for delicious Argentine specialties

As the oldest part of Buenos Aires, San Telmo features huge cathedrals, antique dealers, and sweet shops lining the narrow streets. Even though the area is a little quiet on weekdays, don’t be fooled, there’s plenty to do.

For the very best of Argentine specialties, pop into the Mercado San Telmo and choose from a variety of restaurants serving up milanesa, bandiola, choripan or locro. For a more mom-and-pop experience, head to El Argento de San Telmo for authentic dishes and traditional folkloric music.

For dessert, stop in one of the local sweet shops to try a traditional alfajor, a chocolate-dipped cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche (caramel sauce). It’s best to buy one for now and another for later!

Looking to eat your way around the city? Discover our complete list of the 24 best restaurants in Buenos Aires here.

8. Visit the colorful La Boca neighborhood

Whimsical houses awash in color await in the popular La Boca neighborhood – making it a perfect place to grab a selfie along the boardwalk, or with the street performers!

To appreciate the full story of this historic working-class neighborhood, known as the birthplace of tango, be sure to take a guided tour with Free Walking Tours.

Barrio La Boca in Buenos Aires, with its colourful housing.
Barrio La Boca in Buenos Aires, with its colorful housing.

9. Stroll the boardwalk of Puerto Madero

The new and beautiful riverside boardwalk in Puerto Madero offers great restaurants and photo opportunities with the Puente de Mujer, or Women’s Bridge. It’s especially beautiful lit up at night.

10. Take in the charms of old-world Recoleta

Recoleta, known for its old money, is a neighborhood dripping with charm. Truth be told, I can stay busy for hours just wandering the streets and gawking at the architecture.

The stunning architecture of La Recoleta, Buenos Aires is an example of the French influence from a rich history of European immigration

The heart of the neighborhood lies north of Avenida Santa Fe and east of Avenida Pueyrredón.

11. Explore into the opulent Recoleta Cemetery

The Recoleta Cemetery is a representation of Buenos Aires’ upper classes, having historically been the resting place of the richest Porteño families, who built opulent tombs for their dead. 

There are many famous war heroes and political figures who are buried here, including First Lady Eva Perón. 

Insider tip: The line to enter the cemetery is often long. You must pay with a credit card, or you can buy tickets ahead of time here.

12. Shop in Palermo’s chic boutiques

The hip neighborhoods of Palermo Soho, Plaza Serrano, and Hollywood Palermo are known for their chic boutiques and high-end shopping malls, such as Alto Palermo. Here’s your chance to take home some quality leather goods from Argentina!

A bustling street in Buenos Aires with market traders, locals and tourists alike.
A bustling street in Buenos Aires with market traders, locals, and tourists alike.

13. Soak up Palermo’s fancy nightlife

Palermo’s trifecta of neighborhoods are also known for their hoppin’ nightlife. Bars and restaurants surround Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia and line Gorriti and Honduras streets. 

Just keep your wits about you in these areas as pick-pockets frequent these streets as well.

14. Savor the flavors of an authentic Argentine asado

For the most famous Argentine steak experience, try Don Julio. However, if you can’t get reservations there, Palermo is full of respected restaurants including Calden del Soho Grill and La Cabrera.

15. Enjoy a day in BA’s parks and gardens

To see a more natural side of the city, head over to Plaza Italia which is the entrance for Ecoparque! The lush gardens of this environmental education park was once the city zoo. 

It is free to enter and is a beautiful walking route to get from Plaza Italia, and the bustle of Palermo, to the green spaces along the massive boulevard Avenida del Libertador.

Once on the other side of Ecoparque, beautifully manicured gardens await your attention. To your right, the Jardin Japonés, or Japanese Garden, is considered the largest and most beautiful Japanese gardens in the world outside of Japan.

The Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens (Jardin Japones de Buenos Aires) are a highlight of any visit to the city

To your left lies Parque 3 de Febrero which features a rose garden, paddleboat rentals on a lake, and several lovely restaurants.

16. Take advantage of free cultural arts centers

Almost every neighborhood features a cultural arts center with free exhibits and concerts to enjoy. Here are two of my favorites:  

Centro Cultural Kirshner is a huge and stunning cultural center near Plaza de Mayo. Scan the QR code at the entrance for an English schedule of events. I especially like to visit during a public milonga, or public tango dance.

Next to the Recoleta cemetery is the vibrant Recoleta Cultural Arts Center with several rotating installations. Every Thursday through Sunday, an extensive artisan fair also fills the park out front.

17. Go to the theater

Teatro Colón is considered one of the ten best opera houses in the world due to its world-class acoustics and lavish interior. Wander into the ground-level passageway to buy tour tickets, which are run in both Spanish and English.

Enjoy a performance at the beautiful Teatro Colon, which has an interior as ornate as its exterior.

Insider tip: For just a few dollars more, you can buy tickets for a concert or theater production here. Even though you may not completely understand the production, the experience in this stunning historic theater will be worth it!

18. Pick a museum, any museum

Buenos Aires has a plethora of great museums. For art lovers, The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) and the Museo National de Bellas Artes are considered some of the very best.

For enthusiasts of early history and architecture, visit El Zanjón de Granados or the Buenos Aires Museum (BAM). Both museums provide guided tours or signage in English.

BA also features several political museums. For insights into first-lady Eva Perón, the English audio tour at the National Institute of Historical Research Eva Perón makes for an interesting afternoon.

Insider tip: To be able to read the Spanish-only signs, download a free app like Google Translate which allows you to aim your smartphone camera at a sign and the words will transform into the language of your choice. It’s not perfect, but it helps!

19. Don’t miss the San Telmo Street Fair

On Sundays, Defensa Street is overflowing with the San Telmo Street Fair. I highly recommend this experience as the area comes alive with music, street performers, and block after block of local artists selling their wares.

Insider tip: During the fair, restaurants along Defensa line up their tables to watch the street performers, so take a seat whenever you can.

20. Get competitive at a sporting event

Argentinians love their sports – especially soccer. La Boca is the home of Boca Juniors Fútbol Club. If they’re playing a home game, the stadium, La Bombonera, and the entire neighborhood, will be hopping.

Argentina soccer fans are known for being passionate about their teams! Enjoy one of the games at La Bombonera stadium.

For a completely different sporting experience, head to the Hipódromo de Palermo, which is considered one of the world’s best racetracks for horseracing. Races occur here year-round.

Another sport with a huge local fan base is polo. If you’re visiting from September through December, consider taking in a polo match at the historic Palermo Polo Ground.

21. Eat a factura

As you stroll the city, you’ll see many cafes advertising a factura, a sweet Argentinian croissant or pastry to enjoy throughout the day.

To experience these tasty delights in a local cafe, try Sasha Pasteles near the corner of Junín and Juncal in the heart of Recoleta. Go outside of meal-times to avoid the line!

22. Sip a part of history at a Cafe Notable

Cafes notables are historic cafes around Buenos Aires noted for their architectural and cultural importance. Taking time to enjoy a coffee or pastry in one of these establishments is like stepping back in time. Don’t miss one of the oldest and loveliest, Café Tortoni

Another popular option is the cafe in El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore, once a lavish theater.
For more options, check out this list of cafes notables around BA.

23. Be a gaucho for a day at a traditional estancia

Estancias are traditional Argentinian ranches where you’ll lunch on a delicious asada of assorted meats, listen to Argentine music and perhaps ride a horse like a real gaucho (cowboy). 
A day in the country awaits at several beautiful estancias a short distance outside of BA. Estancia El Ombu de Areco offers transport from the city and a full folkloric show.

24. Take a train to Tigre

North of Buenos Aires is the quiet tropical river-delta town of Tigre. From Terminal Retiro, it’s easy to catch a train for the scenic, one-hour trip.

Tigre delta in Argentina, north of capital Buenos Aires. Tigre delta is a great day trip from the capital, and is a great addition to any Buenos Aires itinerary
Tigre delta in Argentina, just north of Buenos Aires, is a quiet river-delta town.

The people of Tigre are unique, as many live on islands within the river delta. Be sure to take a boat tour to discover how they live.

Other not-to-miss sites include the Paseo Victorica along the Luján River, and the Puerto de Frutos, an interesting and busy port-side mercado.

25. Get a new passport stamp in Colonia de Sacramento, Uruguay

Using the Buquebus or Colonia Express ferries from Puerto Madero, it is easy to book a day trip across the river delta to the historic colonial town, Colonia de Sacramento. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is heavily influenced by its Portuguese history; its quiet, cobblestone streets, bougainvillea-drenched archways, and variety of local restaurants will not disappoint. 

But don’t forget your passport, because you will be passing through migration and will get a stamp from Uruguay!

Insider tip: Credit cards are welcome here so you won’t have to change money for your trip.

Are you ready for a trip to Argentina? Find out the best time to visit the country according to an expert, check out the best places to visit in Argentina whatever your travel style, and discover the coolest Argentinian national parks (and how to visit them) here.