Getting to Know Buenos Aires, Argentina's Largest City
Like it? Share it on your Pinterest board!

Before I visited Buenos Aires, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the largest city in Argentina. I’d heard that it was a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, but until I experienced it for myself, I didn’t fully understand its captivating and electrifying personality.

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. 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. Make sure you experience as much as possible of this incredible city.

Top Things to Do in Buenos Aires

Tango Porteno Buenos Aires
Tango Porteno 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, but your 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 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.

Where to Eat in Buenos Aires

Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Photo by Derek Oyen

Argentinean Steak

Aside from Tango, the second most well known aspect of Argentina is its world-class steak. You can’t to go Buenos Aires without having at least one meal at a top-notch Parilla, and 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.

Fine Dining

If you prefer fine dining, 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. 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.

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.

Argentina Experience Cooking Class

There are three other eating experiences I highly recommend in the city. First is the Argentine Experience, where you’ll meet up with other guests to learn about Argentinean food, maybe cook up an empanada or two, eat and drink great food and make new friends.

⇒ Book the Argentina 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.

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 with Viator.

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires

Alvear Palace Hotel
Alvear Palace Hotel (Photo by Wally Gobetz)

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

18 thoughts on “Getting to Know Buenos Aires, Argentina’s Largest City

  1. Natasha Amar says:

    I love Latin American music and dancing and the capital of Tango sounds like a place I’d love. I think I’d also enjoy the dance shows, I don’t get it when sometimes these shows are referred to as touristy- I still think they can be spectacular and there must be a reason why they’re so popular.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      They are touristy, in that it’s pretty much only tourists who go to them, but so what. We are tourists, after all. The dancing is still incredible and well worth it.

  2. fadi says:

    cool short guide to the city, the basic info. that each one need plus to recommendations. i didn’t been yet in Latin america, but it would be someday.

  3. Stefan says:

    Steak…a pink parliament…hot guys everywhere…tango…what’s not to love? BA remains one of my favourite cities – up there with Barcelona and Cusco. I was really pleasantly surprised by just how gay friendly the city (and country generally) is.

  4. Jackie says:

    What a great post! Buenos Aires sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I’ve only transited through it. It does sound very much like Santiago, Chile, though. They both have the European vibe mixed with Latin American culture. Gritty edges, cosmopolitan city, etc… I’d love to do a wine tasting of malbecs. I am a wine lover, but it’s one of the grapes that I haven’t been able to truly embrace.

  5. Mags says:

    I’m so jealous! Argentina is next on my to do list. I absolutely LOVE tango! I’m sure the shows are great, but I want to check out some of the tango clubs and get in on the action!

  6. Brenda Tolentino says:

    I love to dance so Argentina is high on my travel list! Tango is a good way to burn off all the meat we eat! I’ve always wanted to stay at the Alvear Palace. Buenos Aires is calling me….

  7. antonette says:

    I’m not a big fan of BUE, but that’s also because, unfortunately, I’ve seen it become more and more criminal over the past years. However, it’s still a very nice city if you know where to go and where to stay away from and I love Recoleta for sure!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      I can understand that. Cities do change rapidly sometimes, and not for the best. There are still some great places like Recoleta that make it a wonderful city.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      There are many great places to take tango lessons. I would recommend La Viruta, but you should also look into social clubs. We went to a Tango performance that also included a short lesson before the dinner and show started – I think that’s a fun way to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *