5 tips for Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires National Congress Building
© Javarman | Dreamstime.com

Elegant yet always vibrant, Buenos Aires embodies the essence of Argentina. As the second largest city in South America, Buenos Aires is the political, economic and cultural capital of Argentina and the gateway to the rest of this great nation. Its compact, tree-lined center is reminiscent of Paris, with many charming corners where clean high-rises alternate with attractive 19th-century buildings. Most first-time visitors are surprised to find that this large city has preserved its old traditions. Each of the 47 “barrios” has its own character and you will never tire of exploring these delightful neighborhoods. Among the most popular are Palermo, La Recoleta and Belgrano with their wide boulevards lined with palatial mansions, luxurious high-rises and large parks and San Telmo and La Boca with their distinctive colorful artistic flair. In the center of the city, Plaza de Mayo is the traditional hub of entertainment and activity, while Avenida Santa Fe is the city’s most fashionable shopping district.

Tip 1: Plaza de Mayo

The heart of the Argentine capital is the Plaza de Mayo with many sights. The Plaza de Mayo is home to the country’s main church, which has a special significance for Argentine Catholics, the Buenos Aires Cathedral. The City Hall is also located right on the historic Plaza of the May Revolution. In May 1810, Argentina’s independence from Spain was proclaimed at the Plaza de Mayo.

Opposite the City Hall is one of the most famous sights of the metropolis, the Casa Rosada, the Argentine presidential palace with the typical pink wall color. This is where the incumbent president resides on representative occasions. In the building there is a museum that exhibits personal belongings of the former presidents. The main square of the Argentine capital invites you to stroll through its many green spaces and sights. From the Square of the May Revolution with the National Bank of Argentina follows the banking district of Buenos Aires. The financial center is also the modern business center of Buenos Aires, which is part of the San Nicolás district.

In the history of Argentina, the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires plays a special role. To this day, political rallies still take place here. In 1810 the independence of the country from Spain was proclaimed. The square became known in the media in the 1970s and 1980s, when mothers demonstrated against the disappearance of their children during the military dictatorship of General Jorge Rafael Videla.

Tip 2: Obelisco de Buenos Aires

The Obelisk of Buenos Aires in Republic Square was built in March 1936 to the design of Alberto Prebisch. With a height of 67.5 meters and the geometric simplicity of the structure, today it is considered one of the landmarks of the Argentine capital and a national monument, a meeting place for events and commemorations.

The obelisk in the Plaza de la Républica is considered the emblem of Buenos Aires. Those who are lucky enough to climb the 206 steps inside it on special days have an airy view over the capital.

Tip 3: Galerias Pacifico

The eventful history of the Galerias Pacifico shopping center began in 1880 with the aim of building a Bon Marché Argentina. The Vittorio Emanuelle Galleries in Milan and the Bon Marché in Paris were the models. In 1989, this market was declared a National Historic Monument. The entrepreneur Falak, an intimate of President Menem, opened the modern Galerias Pacifico complex in 1992. On three floors 160 fashion, leather, jewelry and other stores offer their goods. The murals in the dome are also worth seeing. They were painted in 1946 in the New Realism style and restored in 1968 and 1990.

The Galerías Pacífico shopping center is housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building in downtown Buenos Aires and is a great place for much more than shopping.

This prime location on the Florida Pedestrian Mall has changed over the years, but retains a nostalgic elegance that makes it a dazzling place to shop.

Tip 4: La Recoleta Cemetery

La Recoleta Cemetery is located in one of the most expensive neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and maintains a somewhat different tradition than the European cemeteries: it houses almost exclusively mausoleums arranged in rows and lined with tree-lined avenues. The impressive tombs were meant to demonstrate the wealth and position of the people buried there. Another peculiarity of the cemetery is that the plaques on the monuments show only the date of death of the deceased, but no date of birth. Many prominent Argentines are buried in the cemetery, most notably former presidential wife Eva Perón.

Founded in 1822, this cemetery is located in the wealthy Recoleta neighborhood of the same name. Numerous wealthy and prominent citizens of Buenos Aires rest here. In addition to a number of former presidents, Nobel laureates and writers, however, it is the simple grave of Eva “Evita” Perón that draws tourists here in droves. The president’s wife, revered by the people, died of cancer in 1952 at the age of 33.

A visit to this cemetery is simply part of a stay in Buenos Aires. You also get an impression of the culture of the country.

Tip 5: National Museum of Fine Arts

Located in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood, just a few blocks from the cemetery and situated on one of the city’s longest avenues, Libertador, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) is sure to attract art lovers.

The museum exhibition houses 24 exhibition halls on three floors. The museum’s collection is considered one of the best in Latin America and the most famous museum in the country.

The Museum of Fine Arts dates back to 1896 and focuses mainly on 19th-century European art, including 700 major works by artists such as Goya, Van Gogh and Toulouse Lautrec – although it can be recognized from afar by its pink exterior facade, which resembles that of Casa Rosada.

In total, the museum’s collection includes more than 12,000 works, but at the same time shows no more than 700, so the museum’s exhibition is constantly updated.

You can also visit a specialized library in the museum, where more than 150,000 volumes of books on art are represented.