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Fifteen things you seriously must see before leaving Buenos Aires

Updated: Dec 8, 2022


A white marble colonial-style building with a bell tower and clock on a foggy night with cars and buses zooming by.
Buenos Aires by night. ©AlonzoWright

What comes to mind when you think of Buenos Aires? Is it sensuous tango dancers, pressed together in a dimly lit parlor? Maybe you see cuts of perfectly marbled meat, dripping juices onto a cast-iron metal grate, flames licking each succulent piece. Or maybe it’s a raucous football game where you cheer shoulder to shoulder with the most passionate fans in the world. Whatever you envision, it’s so much more. Buenos Aires is one of the most visited destinations in all of Latin America, which should signal to you that people from all over the planet are flocking to this vivacious city for very good reasons. The history is palpable and diverse, the people are passionate, the food is tremendous, the architecture is inspiring, and there will be more things to do on any given night than most cities you’ve visited in the past. So what should you see on your trip to Buenos Aires? We’re glad you asked. Here are 15 of the best things to see in Buenos Aires.

 

don't forget to check out our Buenos Aires Travel Guide.

 

An antique wrought iron and glass dome in the center of an old market in Buenos Aires
The San Telmo Market retains much of its original character and still serves as a center of commerce in Buenos Aires. ©AlonzoWright

1. San Telmo Market

Every Sunday, hundreds of people flock to the San Telmo Market. Artisans from all over the region bring their hand-made goods, antique finds, artisanal foods, and so much more to this outdoor bazaar. If you’re here through the week, there are hundreds of indoor stalls to get lost in, lots of places to grab lunch and coffee, and just as many photo opportunities. The building dates back to the late 1800s and still retains a beautiful glass and iron ceiling in the center.

 

Check out Where you should & definitely should NOT stay in Buenos Aires.

 

A massive white bridge with a large fin and tension cords sits about the Rio de la Plata with skyscrapers in the background.
The contemporary Puente de la Mujer Bridge was a private gift to the city of Buenos Aires. ©AlonzoWright

2. Puente de la Mujer

The sleek and futuristic Puente de la Mujer bridge in Puerto Madero is a pretty stark contrast to the historically preserved architecture you’ll find in most neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and that’s exactly why you should see it. The 558 ft. long (170 meters) rotating footbridge was designed by a Spanish architect to encompass the city’s commitment to its thriving art scene.


If you're interested in taking a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Colonia del Sacramento, you'll leave from a port in this neighborhood.


A couple dance the tango upon a rugged wooden floor in a dimly lit parlor.
A tango class before a traditional Milonga at La Catedral in Buenos Aires. P.S. that's really us! ©AlonzoWright

3. A Milonga

You may think that tango dancing is just something Argentinians do for the tourists. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are milongas, or tango dance parties, virtually every night of the week in Buenos Aires. And if you have no idea how to tango, but want to learn, some of the milongas will host a class to teach you about an hour before the party starts. Try this one if you’re a beginner.


Location: Sarmiento 4006, C1197AAH CABA, Argentina


An ornate theater converted into a bookstore with red velvet curtains, and rows of books where seats once stood.
Named the most beautiful bookstore in the world by NatGeo, the Ateneo Grand Splendid still retains its old world charm. ©Jeison Higuita on Unsplash

4. El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Is this the world’s most beautiful bookstore? It sure looks that way. It opened as the Grand Splendid Theatre in 1919 with carefully painted frescoes on the ceiling, hand carved moldings and elegant private boxes along a stage that was curtained by heavy red velvet. Luckily for us, it hasn’t changed much, except maybe the addition of escalators and a hip coffee bar. You can practically trip over trendy bookstores in Buenos Aires, but this one in Recoleta really takes the cake.


Location: Av. Santa Fe 1860, C1123 CABA, Argentina

 

There's so much more to explore in our

South America travel guide.

 

A maroon and orange stained glass ceiling is lit up with hanging glass chandeliers, sconces and marble pillars.
The 19th century stained-glass Tiffany ceiling was installed in the Café Tortoni in the 1800s and casts a warm glow over the patrons. ©AlonzoWright

5. The Café Tortoni

This one is a bit of a touristy spot but only because it’s one of the most beautiful cafés in the city. The Porteño café opened in 1858 and is decorated with marble pillars, ornate crown moldings, and a $1.4 million Tiffany glass ceiling and matching lamps. Its rich history includes being the oldest café in Buenos Aires and hosting a who’s who of notable patrons and dignitaries over the last century, including Albert Einstein, the King of Spain, U.S. Secretaries of State, Hollywood elite, writers and musicians. And probably Robert DeNiro, because that guy’s photo is on everybody’s wall.


Location: Av. de Mayo 825, C1084 CABA, Argentina

A three-story presidential palace sits behind the wrought iron gates with security in Buenos Aires.
The Argentinian presidential office, La Casa Rosada, has retained its pink hue since the 19th century. ©AlonzoWright

6. La Casa Rosada

If this presidential palace looks familiar to you, it’s likely because you recognize it as the site of where beloved first lady of Argentina, Eva Perón addressed the nation (with her husband…the president) in the 1940s and 1950s. It is commonly believed that it was painted pink in order to represent each opposing political party, red for the Federals and white for the Unitarians. Today, it’s the site of the Argentinian president’s office and you can take free tours on the weekends.