Buenos Aires is the largest city in Argentina. It’s a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a captivating and electrifying personality. If you’re planning to visit Buenos Aires, you’ll need to be prepared with all the top things to do and see there, so you get the most out of your visit.
Buenos Aires is more than just a sprawling capital city. It’s a city with gritty edges, yet beautifully manicured parks everywhere you turn. It has a decidedly European feel, spiced with Latin-American sensuality, and it pulses with Tango dancing, late-night dining and nightlife that lasts until morning.
The key to discovering what Buenos Aires is all about is to dive into what makes it so unique. Exploring the city can be daunting because of its size, so you really need to narrow down what you want to do and make sure you’ve included a journey into some of the local neighborhoods, where the food, the nightlife and the people-watching are at their best.
Here’s a mini guide to getting to know Buenos Aires, Argentina, complete with all the top things to see and do. Make sure you experience as much as possible of this incredible city.
Top Things to Do in Buenos Aires
Go to a Tango Show with Dinner Included
Everyone knows that Buenos Aires is the capital of Tango, so an evening out at a tango show is practically a requirement. There are dozens to choose from, and they are all geared at tourists, so don’t be afraid to join the throngs and enjoy it for what it is.
The dancing is the main attraction, so don’t expect an incredible meal. Tango Porteño is a good option if you’re looking for a show. It’s the one we went to, and we really enjoyed it. The food wasn’t amazing, but it was very good and better than we expected, actually.
Your hotel concierge can also book you a seat at a popular show, even at the last minute, so do ask for recommendations.
⇒ It’s always good to book your Tango Show & Dinner in advance. They sell out fast!
Take a City Tour and Visit Fun Buenos Aires Neighborhoods
During the day, one of the best ways to become acquainted with the city is to walk through the neighborhoods. San Telmo, Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods each have a distinctive vibe that shouldn’t be missed.
A stroll along Avenue Libertador and Puerto Madero will give you a different perspective of the city, plus dozens of shopping and dining choices. Along the way, you’re sure to encounter one of the many parks in the city, which is one of my favorite things about Buenos Aires.
The city has dedicated a lot of space to building parks and recreational areas, so despite it being the 8th largest city in the world, it feels quite spacious and inviting.
⇒ Book your small-group city tour in advance.
See the Top City Landmarks
Some of the top Buenos Aires tourist attractions are the Recoleta Cemetary, where many of the city’s notable people have been buried in elaborate tombs, Plaza de Mayo, the presidential palace – Museo de al Casa Rosada, and the Museo Evita. All of these landmarks are worth a visit.
Eat Argentinean Steak
Aside from Tango, the second most well known aspect of Argentina is its world-class steak. You can’t go to Buenos Aires without having at least one meal at a top-notch Parilla.
- Don Julio is a perennial favorite. It’s exactly what you expect from an Argentina steakhouse: exceptional meat and a relaxed atmosphere. The food is rustic – large slabs of steak and your choice of sides.
- Fogon Asado serves exceptional food, but what you must do here is the Asado tasting menu, with optional wine pairings. The chefs have prepared a 6-course tasting menu that combines modern and traditional techniques to form the perfect tasting menu. You can watch the action in the kitchen from the kitchen bar stools. Definitely worth it!
- Calden del Soho is a classic style restaurant with fantastic service and really great food. Go for the Bife de Lomo (tenderloin) and a bottle of Malbec.. You won’t be disappointed.
- Hierro Parrilla is located in the Mercado San Telmo, so the experience starts the moment you enter the market. The food is outstanding. It might just be the best steak you eat in Argentina. Great atmosphere, delicious food, fantastic service.
Buenos Aires Unique Fine Dining Experiences
Michelin-star restaurants and artfully designed food & wine pairing menus can be found in abundance in Buenos Aires. They have one of the best dining scenes in the world.
One of our favorite food experiences in Buenos Aires was at Aramburu in the San Cristobal neighborhood. The 12-course menu is a gastronomic masterpiece. It’s truly one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had – anywhere.
You’ll also want to seek out i Latina, which has been at the top of TripAdvisor’s restaurant list for a very long time. It’s a true gastronomic adventure. The plates are stunning.
Closed-Door Dining Experience
One of the food crazes that took hold in Argentina is the concept of closed-door dining (puertas cerradas in Spanish). It’s a great way to dine, because you’ll meet other great like-minded eaters. But also because it’s a unique experience that you can’t have elsewhere.
It’s like you’re being invited over to someone’s house for a private dinner party. The restaurant is always run by a well-trained chef. The meal consists of multiple course, paired with wines, of course. It’s really a fun experience.
⇒ Book a dinner at a closed-door restaurant.
The Argentine Experience
The Argentine Experience is a super fun dining experience you must do when in Buenos Aires. You’ll meet up with other guests to learn about Argentinean food, cook up some empanadas, eat and drink great food, participate in a cocktail making demo, and make new friends. It’s a fun way to spend an evening in the city.
⇒ Book the Argentine Experience Cooking Class in advance.
Take a Parilla Tour
Second is to take a Parilla Tour, where a guide will take you to the San Telmo or Palermo areas to eat various foods made by local artisans. The tour will give you a great perspective on the city and the food that makes it unique.
⇒ Book a Parilla Tour in the Palermo neighborhood.
Wine Tasting in Buenos Aires
If you’re a wine lover, or just want to try some of Argentina’s rich and fruity Malbecs, book a small group wine tasting. You’ll try some of Argentina’s lesser-known, high-quality wines with food in a really nice and relaxing setting.
⇒ Book a Buenos Aires small group wine tasting in advance.
Go on a Buenos Aires Pub Tour
Visit some of the cities best pubs on a pub and nightlife tour. The city has a lot to offer in terms of places to drink and party. If you want to see what the Buenos Aires nightlife is like, a tour is the way to go. You can either pick a neighborhood and make your own crawl around between bars, or book an organized tour and let the professionals show you where to go. Either way, you’ll end up loving the nightlife in this vivacious city.
⇒ Book a fun-filled evening on a pub tour.
Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
In Buenos Aires, there are lots of great boutique and luxury hotels. The Four Seasons Hotel and Alvear Palace are located in the Recoleta, a high-class neighborhood with upscale shopping and dining, and it’s a very safe neighborhood for travelers.
The trendy Palermo district is make up of several smaller areas and offers lots of green space to play in. The popular Mine Hotel Boutique is located there, along with the Miravida Soho Hotel and Wine Bar.
San Telmo might feel more like the real Buenos Aires – where the locals live. You’ll have your pick of great parrillas and nightlife. A few choices for hotels include Hotel Babel, or the Circus Hostel & Hotel for budget travelers.
If you manage to see a tango show, eat at a parilla, walk through some neighborhoods and relax in a park, you’ve definitely done it right! There are so many things to see and do that getting to know Buenos Aires can feel overwhelming to try to get around to everything. The key is to get lost in the neighborhoods, soak up the vibes of the city and enjoy as much of the food and wine as possible. It is then that you’ll really feel like you’ve discovered something real about Buenos Aires.