Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of South America,” for its soaring architecture and rich European heritage. But the city and its people, known as porteños, are a study in contrasts: European sensibilities and Latin American passion; wide boulevards and cobblestone alleys; steamy tango and romping rock and roll; sidewalk cafés and soccer fanatics; bejeweled ladies draped in fur coats and children rummaging through garbage for cardboard scraps. Buenos Aires, which sprawls over 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) and has a population of about three million, is a patchwork of distinct, fascinating communities, from the frenetic downtown and working-class tanguero neighborhoods such as La Boca and San Telmo, to wealthy districts such as Recoleta and trendy Palermo, to middle-class barrios such as Belgrano and Caballito.
Places to Visit
Top tourist destination Palermo is the largest and trendiest neighbourhood for sightseeing in Buenos Aires. Restaurants and pubs surround the lively plaza Serrano, where craftsmen and urban designers market their goods on the weekends. The Bosques de Palermo and its surrounding area is one of the top places to visit in Buenos Aires, decorated with rose gardens, groves and lakes.
The wonderfully colourful neighbourhood right next to the old port of Buenos Aires, La Boca, is synonymous with both tango and football. With its multi-coloured houses and taverns, the neighbourhood maintains its tango tradition, football passion, and Italian roots. Today it is one of the most important cultural centres and tourist attractions in Buenos Aires. Caminito, named after a famous tango song composed by the renowned singer Carlos Gardel, Caminito - or little walkway - is an open air tango museum and arts market. Its cobbled streets, brightly coloured houses and original artwork throughout the neighbourhood are an unusual sight – something you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
Plaza de Mayo:
Plaza de Mayo has become the most important political landmark of Buenos Aires since the Independence of Argentina was declared in 1810. People with different political ideologies have gathered here in massive political demonstrations like those organized by Evita Peron or by the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo. Plaza de Mayo is also home to important local and national government houses such as the Casa Rosada (Presidential House), the Cabildo (which was the Government House during the colonial period) and the Metropolitan Cathedral, among other magnificent buildings.
This waterfront neighbourhood of Buenos Aires is the most modern part of the city. With towering glass skyscrapers, elegant restaurants and chic nightclubs, Puerto Madero is enjoyed by the wealthy and the trendy. It is a young neighbourhood that came out of the largest urbanization project in Buenos Aires’ history. In 1993, the city government remodelled the old docks that were part of the port, creating the opportunity for a new development in the city: a safe, beautiful area for leisure and luxury living. Puerto Madero is nowadays considered the most important business centre and also one of the must-see tourist attractions of Buenos Aires.
The oldest residential neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo, exudes a special historical vibe. As one of the most important centers during the 19th century, San Telmo has preserved many of Buenos Aires’ architectural landmarks, museums, antique shops and old churches that nowadays serve as a backdrop for business, cultural events and day to day activities. San Telmo is a great place to wander around on a Sunday afternoon. Enjoy the artisan's market, do some sightseeing and have lunch or coffee at one of the stunning cafés notables.
A classy residential and commercial district complete with French-style buildings and art nouveau constructions, Recoleta is one of the most expensive and elegant neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires and amongst the most popular for tourists. Its central square, Plaza Francia, is surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and other landmarks like the Del Pilar Church, the Palais de Glace and the University of Buenos Aires Law Faculty, beside which stands the famous Floralis Genérica -
an immense steel statue in the shape of a flower, whose petals open and close depending on the time of the day. Every weekend, exciting cultural activities and colourful craft markets take place. You can also enjoy exclusive high-end shopping with international designer brand names.
Buenos Aires Milongas
Buenos Aires offers a wide range of milongas, from traditional and formal to casual and alternative. There are also frequent performances by live tango singers and tango orchestras, such as Color Tango, Típica San Souci, and El Afronte, to name just a few. There are also many performances by world-famous tango couples to choose from.
During BA. Tango Evolution Trips, we visit a variety of milongas and are sure to catch some live music and performances as well. On past trips, we’ve seen performances by Chico Frumboli & Juana Sepulveda, Ariadna Naveira & Fernando Sánchez, and Los Totis Christian Marquez & Virginia Gomez, among other dancers, as well as late tango singer Alberto Podestá.
As the night in Buenos Aires is long and there’s a lot of dancing to be had, we typically catch 1-2 milongas per night, 3 or more milongas in one night has been done before! Here is just a selection of the milongas that we have enjoyed with our groups:
Lo de Balmaceda
Viva La Pepa