“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 :).
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”.
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
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!
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
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
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) :).
Latest posts by Emily Moyer (see all)
- Off the Beaten Path: Eating Through El Pitilall - August 17, 2015
- Go Local: Taco Tour with Vallarta Eats - August 10, 2015
- Going Deeper: Advanced Adventurer with Roctopus Dive in Koh Tao - June 1, 2015