This Travel Guide features cool things to do in Buenos Aires, great restaurants, stylish hostels and recommendations to dance the night away based on my own experience of living there for more than 4 weeks.
I advice you to bring US$ due to the fact that the unofficial exchange rate (called “Blue Dollar”) is much higher than the official one. Please do not change money on the street, do some research by asking trustable locals or friends.
Moreover I highly recommend to learn at least some basic spanish before you go – I did it online and got along quite well.
This article is part of a whole series of free guides for Backpacking in South America.
1) Things to do in Buenos Aires & Tours
I really love this city but I know a few who don't – maybe it's because of it's size and hustle & bustle you have to deal with. Nevertheless there is a lot to discover here and it's worth spending at least a week in the capital of Argentina!
Regarding transportation I recommend using the SUBTE (metro) or the wide Bus network – make sure to purchase a prepaid SUBE Card otherwise you have to pay with coins. SUBE cards are available at special KIOSKs.
a) Plaza de Mayo
The central square of Buenos Aires and also starting point for many protests. Beside the palace of the president (Casa Rosada) you'll find the the oldest national monument in the City of Buenos Aires (May Pyramid), the “Cabildo de Buenos Aires” (museum), the town hall, the national bank of Argentina and the Catedral Metropolitana Santísima Trinidad de Buenos Aires (main Catholic church in Buenos Aires).
Due to it's location the square is well connected with the SUBTE and several Bus lines, therefore it's also a good starting point for walks through the inner city (please inform beforehand which areas to avoid at the reception of your hostel/hotel).
b) Teatro Colón and Obelisk
One of the worlds most popular and beautiful opera halls is located in Buenos Aires – the Teatro Colón. Nearby you can find another landmark – the Obelisk of Buenos Aires is located right in the middle of one of the widest streets in the world (Avenida 9 de Julio).
c) Palacio Barolo and Congress
If you take a little walk from the teatro you'll get to the Palacio Barolo which has been once the highest building in South America and the prototype for the Palacio Salvo in Montevideo (which is also higher). The building still is a hidden gem and a great opportunity to see Buenos Aires from above by taking part in a guided Tour.
Before or afterwards you should checkout the nearby park and the congress.
d) Recoleta & Cementerio
This district is one of the most expensive ones and home to private family mansions, foreign embassies, and luxury hotels. A walk through this area is highly recommended as it is very pretty. Moreover you should visit the outstanding cemetery where you can find the mortal remains of many figures in Argentine history like e.g. “Evita”.
e) Puerto Madero & Ecological Reserve
This part of the city reminds me actually of the Hafencity in my hometown Hamburg. Puerto Madero is propably the most modern and most recent urban rebuilding project down there. Beside the popular Bridge Puente de la Mujer you can find a nice promenade with some fancy restaurants and apartment buildings here.
The Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve is located right next to Puerto Madero and offers some trails to go for a walk or a bike ride, the entrance can be found on the southern end of Puerto Madero.
Because this part of town is a bit harder to access I recommend renting a bike – most hostels offer a bike rental service.
f) San Telmo
The place to go on Sundays is San Telmo – the flea and handcraft market has some cool souvenirs, handcrafts and weird things in stock for you. On the central square you can experience some live music and Tango performance. Don't miss it!
g) La Boca
Still one of the more dangerous places in the city but if you stay in the more touristic area and keep an eye on your belongings you should be fine. The colorful houses are great for photographs!
h) Parks in Palermo
Indeed! B.A. also has some green spots, especially the parks in Palermo are very pretty, big and great to relax. The Japanese Garden is highly recommended!
i) free city tour
If you want to see the most important landmarks in the city center in a short amount of time you can take the chance and participate in a free walking tour. BA Free Tour offer daily tours where you decide how much to tip at the end.
j) Street Art Tour
Matt is an institution for Street Art in Buenos Aires and well-known worldwide as he published one of the most important books about Street Art down here. Moreover he knows all important artists and is involved in numerous Street Art projects in this region. On his Street Art tours you are able to learn more about the scene, you'll see some great artworks and I'm sure Matt will answer all of your questions with a smile on his face. A great tour!
2) organized tours
If you want to attend other cool organized tours you can find free and paid ones with local tour operators offering their service through GetYourGuide. With this you experience more things to do in Buenos Aires in a short amount of time!
Some popular Highlights are:
- Buenos Aires City Tour
- River Plate & Boca Juniors Stadiums: 5-Hour Tour
- Tango Porteño Dinner Show
- Greater Buenos Aires: 6-Hour Bike Tour to Tigre
3) good Restaurants & Heladerias
Hmmmm…Steak! This is propably the first thing which comes up if you think about food in Argentina, huh? Beside the “national dish” you can also eat a lot of food which has it's origin in Italy as a lot of Argentines have italian roots!
a) Las Cabras
Anyway – let's start with an insider tip for really tasty steak for a good price! The Las Cabras is well known amongst locals – if there you should order the “Gran Bife de Las Cabras”.
Especially in summer it's hard to get a table immediately therefore you have to get a spot on the waiting list. Mostly we had to wait around 30mins but it was totally worth it!
Adress: Fitz Roy 1795, Buenos Aires
b) Pizza Al Corte
As already mentioned you'll find a huge number of pizzerias in B.A. – though it's different from the Pizza you are used to I found it to be delicious. I'd like to highlight two places:
Adress: Pizzeria Güerrin, Avenida Corrientes 1368
Adress: El Palacio de la Pizza, Avenida Corrientes 751
c) El Mazacote
The empanadas and pizzas are worth highlighting this place – nearby my first hostel (Sabatico) I used to grab a seat here very often. Also amongst the locals it is a very popular spot!
Adress: Chile 1400, Buenos Aires
d) Heladeria Freddo
Another very important part of argentine culture is ice cream. Heladerias can be found everywhere and the locals love the chain called “Freddo”. My favorite flavor has been Tramontana!
Adress: Florida Street 628, Buenos Aires
e) Heladeria Iceland
This shop is pretty new and located right in the center of San Telmo – a good place to finish a walk through this area ;)
Adress: Defensa 1105, Buenos Aires
If I've learned something out of my 7 months in South America than this: Buenos Aires is a great place for smashing parties where you can go out every day but not before 2 am.
Therefore: get some sleep before and plan a detox afterwards somewhere else – like in Montevideo.
The Milhouse is the largest Hostel of the city and well know for it's party culture – therefore it's a good spot to warm up from 22h. I've been there quite often without being a guest – if you like to party a lot you should maybe consider to stay there as well as you'll find a lot of fellows there (see below) ;)
It's hard to highlight certain clubs as music, atmosphere and people are different in each club. In general I recommend going to Palermo where all good and popular clubs are located. Just ask local friends or at your hostel which party is most recommended for this night, some hostels even offer special discounts.
Be prepared: you are most likely not in bed before 6 am :)
Believe it or not: due to the fact that I visited Buenos Aires several times I had the chance to checkout 3 Hostels. My favorite one has been the Sabatico but also the others are recommendable for certain types of travelers.
As stated has been the Sabatico one of my favorite places throughout my whole trip because of the very nice staff and the great breakfast. I felt very much at home here and became good friends with the guys working there – moreover the atmosphere has been great and I got to know many fellow travelers who became good friends until today.
Good: breakfast, atmosphere, staff, pool
Downsides: location, sometimes problem with the WiFi
Prices: 4 Bed Dorm 10€ / Private 23€ p.P.
b) Hostel Suites Florida
The Hostel Suites is a pretty big hostel and therefore you won't find a familiar atmosphere – on the other hand the service is great. The Hostel Suites Florida has an own restaurant, offers tours and even has an own travel agency for tours in whole Argentina. I found it to be a bit impersonal and would therefore recommend it for groups or couples not for solo travelers.
Good: services, tours, good standard
Downsides: impersonal, location
Prices: 6 Bed Dorm 11,5€ / Private 27€ p.P.
As mentioned in “Nightlife” you can file the Milhouse within the category “Party Hostel” – very young guests and a program made for party animals. The design is pretty stylish, they have an own bar and dancefloor, some rooms even have AC and the parties are great fun. If you are in search for a more relaxed atmosphere you should consider staying in the Sabatico.
Good: modern, great program (city tours, walks…), good party
Downsides: focus on party, can be loud sometimes
Prices: Dorm 11€ / Private 22 €
Map with all Spots
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More recommendations for things to do in Buenos Aires?
Here you go! Checkout 10 budget friendly things to do in Buenos Aires – with some additional tips and a cool video!
If you have more recommendations feel free to share them in the comments!
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