Things to Do in Buenos Aires

“What is there to do during the day in Buenos Aires? ” – Naaz from Seattle

Buenos Aires absolutely comes alive at night. Dinner begins at 9:00p and if you’re young and fearless, you can stay up until 6:00a dancing with the horizon. When I make recommendations about Buenos Aires, they’re typically after-hours focused, but there’s so many wonderful things to do in Buenos Aires! This is not a comprehensive list, just a start of fun ways to spend a day in night-owl Buenos Aires (day meaning until 9:00p). Below you’ll find daytime activities in Buenos Aires. 

 

Drink Yerba Mate in the Park like a Local

So you want  to do something the locals do? Grab your mate, gourd and hot water with a group of friends and head to a park to drink some mate! If you’re just stopping by Buenos Aires, ask the person where you bought your gourd to teach you how to drink mate – and if you’re really ballsy, make some friends in the park. There are some definite rules to the game (group shares one gourd, say thank you when you don’t want anymore, don’t touch the straw – aka bombilla). If you find yourself succeeding at this activity, you’ll truly be experiencing daytime Buenos Aires like a local :).

Drinking mate in the park | Photocredit: jetsettimes.com

Drinking mate in the park | Photocredit: jetsettimes.com

 

Wander through a Festival 

Festivals combine my favorite things: food, art, and people-watching and they’re also inspiring photo-taking opportunities! In any city, I always seek out festivals (can’t wait for Chicago’s summer full of festivals!), but there are few that beat the “ferias” of Buenos Aires. My absolute favorite is the San Telmo festival. This weekly tradition brings locals, expats and travelers together to celebrate the old (antique shops, tango dancing) and the new (modern art, boutiques). When living in Buenos Aires, I always spent all of Sunday in San Telmo: I began the day wandering through the festival, headed for a cocktail in one of the old-school bars, ate dinner at Cafe San Juan and then headed back to Plaza Dorrego for live music and tango dancing. Check out the weekly festivals in Plaza Armenia in Palermo or Plaza Francia in Recoleta on Saturdays if you’re looking for souvenir shopping. Don’t forget to bring your mate to sip in the park in Recoleta!

 

Hear Live Music

Like festivals, I am constantly seeking out live music. Festivals and concerts = my happy places. In Buenos Aires, there is no shortage of creatives. To check out gallery openings, concerts and all around interesting things to do – head to whatsupbuenosaires.com.  My favorite places to listen to live music were on Sunday night at a bar in Plaza Dorrego (I cannot remember the name of it – does anyone out there know it?), the famous drum circle, La Bomba del Tiempo on Monday nights at the Ciudad Cultural Konex, and the alternative tango band, Fernandez Fierro, on Wednesday nights.

 

Watch (or Dance) Tango in La Boca

As a traveler, I tend to mix up my activities between well-traveled and off-the-beaten-path destinations. La Boca is famous for his painted houses and is filled with scammers trying to get your money. However, it is an absolute must when visiting Buenos Aires! You’ll love exploring the painted houses and the street performers. For a more authentic extension of La Boca, go eat lunch at El Obrero, Just make sure to take a cab as I’ve heard the walk there is not so safe. El Obrero is an old-school parillera still visited by local celebrities.

Get a Sushi Burrito in Chinatown 

When I first moved to Buenos Aires, I lived in beautiful Belgrano. This neighborhood is on the outskirts of the inner-circle of popular neighborhoods that expats tend to live in. While I loved it, I left to find a homestay with a more involved host. Belgrano is great to explore if you have some extra time in the city. My suggestion is to head to “Barrio Chino”, or Chinatown, located in Belgrano. Since I’m sushi-obsessed (and Buenos Aires is known for not having the greatest variety of the Japanese fair), I was thrilled that I could stop in and get a sushi burrito at any of the local markets while exploring the neighborhood.

Shop Palermo Soho

Palermo has a great mix of boutiques and freelance designer warehouses where you can find truly unique pieces. Shopping is not cheap, but depending on the exchange rate you can get some great deals. My favorite stores were Maria Cher for quality, simple styles and Las Pepas for leather. In 2008, it was the headband phase (thanks to Gossip Girl) so I definitely bought my fair share of “vinchas”.

Maria Cher | Photocredit: cloudfront.net
Maria Cher | Photocredit: cloudfront.net

People Watch in Plaza Serrano

Many expats refuse to spend time in Plaza Serrano – the tourist hub of Palermo. I loved heading back from time to time to have a beer and people-watch after a day of shopping in the neighborhood. What’s better than sitting outdoors on a beautiful day?

Plaza Serrano  | Photocredit: semiologiafio.wordpress.com
Plaza Serrano | Photocredit: semiologiafio.wordpress.com

 

March with Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo

Buenos Aires has a tragic history that’s not spoken about widely in the United States. From the  state terrorism in the late 70’s and early 80’s  to the devastating economic recession in 2001 that affected every single person in the country, Argentina is still wrestling with a difficult past. There’s much to learn and I’ll share more in an upcoming post for a quick history lesson, but many mothers and grandmothers who lost their children still march around the President’s Pink House. In the 80’s, the Madres began marching in demand of information about their missing children. After multiple attempts by the government and international community to make reparations, citizens still don’t feel closure. The Madres continue to march (and have actually split up into two groups) and are now a collective bargaining group. Head to the Pink House at 3:30p on Thursday afternoons to watch the Madres march.

 

Get a Coffee at Elementos Cafe After You Visit the Museo Evita

First visit the Eva Peron Museum. This icon of Argentine history is either hated or cherished by locals. Either way, it’s a fabulous museum in a gorgeous, European building. Then, et coffee at Elementos, the cafe outside of the museum. The vine-covered patio reminds me of France (though I’ve never been), so make sure you stop for a snack after your time exploring Evita and Argentina history. A relaxing spot in a bustling city is hard to find, so don’t miss this gem!

 Go to a River/Boca Superclasico

Terrifying? You betcha. Multiple people have been trampled after the winning team runs out of the stadium. Now, the teams are separated by space (no team seating can touch the other team seating) and are caged in by a SWAT team. The SWAT team also walks the visiting team’s fans out of the game before the home team’s fans are allowed to leave. THE MOST THRILLING SPORTING EVENT EVER? HELL YES! Get to a River/Boca Superclasico – one of the biggest sports rivalries of all time (and soccer fans are truly crazy).

Marvel at the Wealth in Recoleta Cemetery

I’ll never understand mausoleums – Jews bury simply and efficiently. My grandmother was cremated (definitely not the Jewish thing to do) and my father wants to be cremated because he’s afraid he’ll be buried alive. No matter, Buenos Aires is famous for the Recoleta Cemetery. Rumor has it that a plot of land in the cemetery is the most expensive anywhere in the city. If you’re not afraid of ghosts, go to the cemetery to marvel at the serious wealth that lays in each tomb.

Recoleta Cemetary | Photocredit: atlasobscuro.com
Recoleta Cemetary | Photocredit: atlasobscuro.com

 

Read a Book at El Ateneo

El Ateneo is a famous, massive bookstore built within an old theatre. For theatre- and book-lovers, spend an afternoon getting a coffee and reading a book in the famous bookstore. 

El Ateneo Theatre/Bookstore | Photocredit: mychubbyhubby.com
El Ateneo Theatre/Bookstore | Photocredit: mychubbyhubby.com

 

What do you like to do during the day in Buenos Aires? And what is the name of that bar in Plaza Dorrego???

If you liked this:

1. Places to Visit from Buenos Aires | Living in Buenos Aires and looking for an adventure? Sitting at home, wanting some inspiration for your next trip? Read here for suggestions on trips to take with Buenos Aires as your home base.

2. Best Restaurants in Buenos Aires | Here’s a roundup of what I think are timeless, fantastic restaurants in Buenos Aires.

3. A Perfect Week in Buenos Aires | Something fun to do every day of the week in Buenos Aires (tailored towards the night-0wl) :).

 

Mentioned in this post
  1. Plaza Armenia
    Restaurant in Buenos Aires City Argentina

    Costa Rica
    Buenos Aires City Argentina
  2. Plaza Francia
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    Buenos Aires Argentina
  3. Plaza Dorrego
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4114-5724
  4. Ciudad Cultural Konex
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    3151 Sarmiento
    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4864-3200
    http://www.ciudadculturalkonex.org/
  5. La Boca
    Attraction in Argentina

    Argentina
  6. Chinatown
    Attraction in Capital Federal Argentina

    Capital Federal Argentina
    http://www.barriochino.net/
  7. Milcien S.A.
    Attraction in Ciudad De Buenos Aires Argentina

    2439 Humboldt
    Ciudad De Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4772-8993
  8. Las Pepas
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    1516 Cucha Cucha
    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4582-8555
  9. Plaza Serrano
    Attraction in Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires Argentina

    1554 Serrano
    Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires Argentina
    http://www.plazaserrano.com/
  10. Plaza de Mayo
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    402-500 Hipólito Yrigoyen
    Buenos Aires Argentina
  11. Museo Evita Restaurante
    Restaurant in Buenos Aires Argentina

    3926 Juan María Gutiérrez
    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4800-1599
  12. Museo Evita
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    2988 Lafinur
    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4807-0306
    http://www.museoevita.org/
  13. Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti
    Attraction in Buenos Aires Argentina

    7597 Av Pres. Figueroa Alcorta
    Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4789-1200
    http://www.cariverplate.com.ar/
  14. La Bombonera
    Attraction in Buenos Aires City Argentina

    Buenos Aires City Argentina
    http://www.bocajuniors.com.ar/
  15. Recoleta Cemetery
    Attraction in Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires Argentina

    1790 Junín
    Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires Argentina
    011 4804-7040
  16. El Ateneo
    Attraction in Buenos Aires City Argentina

    Avenida Callao
    Buenos Aires City Argentina
    011 4811-6104
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I'm Emily - a twenty-something female travel-enthusiast - here to serve and inspire you. Need help planning your next trip? Email me at emily [at] letsroamwild [dot] com and tag your own travel pics to share with the world @letsroamwild.

3 Responses to Things to Do in Buenos Aires

  1. Emily April 6, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    Great list! We’ll be in BA in June so have a lot of things to do to add to our list!
    Emily recently posted…Crazy Lazy in CuscoMy Profile

    • Emily Moyer April 6, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

      Emilys Unite! I’m so jealous you’ll be there – I’m hoping to head back at some point in the Spring after a long time away. Have fun and let me know if you need any other recommendations.
      Emily Moyer recently posted…Photo Essay: Madison Farmer’s MarketMy Profile

  2. dan March 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm #

    Good write-up, some great tips here. Buenos is a really international city – ” the Paris of south america”.

    #1 on this list is an absolute must! Everyone drinks Yerba in Buenos.When I took a city tour my guide walked around the entire day with his gourd, bombilla, and hot water. Definitely a key part of the culture.

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