Be dazzled by the romance and passion of Buenos Aires, nicknamed the Paris of the South. This city is an electric capital city with some many things to do and a place you can truly become a local for a few days. Getting lost in the neighborhoods and soaking up the vibe of the people and culture are some of the best things to do in Buenos Aires. The Argentine’s unique traditions date back centuries, their passion towards their heritage makes it a fascinating and highly exciting place to visit.
Capital cities can be dauntly, knowing what to do in Buenos Aires is important and coming with a loose plan is always a great idea! Some of the best things to do in Buenos Aires include learning how to tango, discovering the colourful neighborhoods and enjoying a world famous steak with a bottle of Argentine Malbec. If you’re short on time, you can do these activities within three days plus much more. Follow our 3 days in Buenos Aires itinerary to get a taste for what the city has to offer.
La Perla de Caminito cafe in La Boca.
Day One – Explore La Boca & San Telmo
Begin your Buenos Aires holiday by taking a ride to one of the oldest working-class neighborhoods, La Boca. Located close to the old shipyards, this neighborhood was first settled by the Italians who worked in the yards and built their homes with leftover tin scraps in an array of colours. A wander down the vibrant streets of La Boca is a definite must see in Buenos Aires. Many travelers explore this area during the day through a free or paid walking tour. Don’t forget to snap pictures in the colourful streets of Caminito and visit the Boca Juniors football stadium on your visit.
Catch the local bus (with your SUBE card) or take a cheap UBER to San Telmo Market for a late lunch and an afternoon wander. Locals visit the market to buy fresh cured meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables but the market also houses stalls offering a range of delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner options. Stop by the empanada stall for a great selection of savoury pastry stuffed with your favourite toppings, or dine in at La Choripanería for an authentic meat feast. After lunch, stroll the cobbled-stone streets taking in the colonial architecture and the oldest neighborhood of BA.
*Note if visiting on Sunday, the famous San Telmo Sunday Fair will be lining the streets with stalls of antiques, crafts and everyday flea market items. It’s another must see and best thing to do in Buenos Aires!
San Telmo is the heart and soul of tango so stick around to see the streets come alive with dancers. If you visit on a Sunday head to Plaza Dorrego to see locals dancing in the square, you’re welcome to join in. On other nights there are usually one or two couples performing for the crowds.
Tango is the number one thing to do in Buenos Aires so plan to visit a milango or tango show on your trip. There are many milangos, traditional tango halls, in San Telmo. Some even provide tango lessons before the frequent crowd arrives. For a more professional performance, get tickets to a tango show, some in the area include La Ventana and El Viejo Almacen.
La Recoleta Cemetery features the graves of notable figures like Eva Perón.
Day two – Recoleta Cemetery & Historical area
After an Argentine breakfast including some kind of pastry or bread dipped in Dulce de Leche, make your way to one of the richer neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Recoleta, to visit the famous cemetery, another must see attraction in Buenos Aires. There are walking tours that describe the stories of the famous deceased buried in this impressive cemetery. It easily explored independently with the helpful map provided on entrance. The forever-loved Evita Peron is buried here and her tomb is always covered in flowers – follow the crowds and you’ll find her grave.
For those history buffs head over to the city’s core and visit some of the historical buildings around the Obelisco. One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires is walk past the important Buenos Aires landmarks – the Argentine Congress, the Casa Rosada, office of the President and the Teatro Colon, the main opera house. Don’t forget to grab an empanada at Pizzeria Guerrin, an establishment that’s been baking empanadas since 1932.
If you haven’t been told, Argentines eat very late compared to other cultures. Most restaurants don’t open their doors until 8pm and most Argentines will start eating around 10pm. Tonight head out on a speakeasy bar crawl. The city’s secret bar trend has boomed in the past five years and people seek out those bars (and eateries) that are behind disguised or passcode doors. For our favourite, find your way to Uptown, a NYC style bar found behind a traditional Subway station. There’s also Frank’s, a more traditional speakeasy bar styled to the 1920’s prohibition swank, with a telephone booth and code required to gain access. It’s a fun way to spend the night before hitting Buenos Aires nightlife around Palermo. This area, Palermo Soho, is a great place to stay in Buenos Aires. It’s close to all the action and most nightclubs, bars and restaurants are within walking distance.
Don Julio has been rated as the No. 1 restaurant in Argentina and featured as one of the best Latin American Restaurants by various publications.
Day three – Stroll around Palermo
Start off with a strong espresso coffee at Ducca Cafe in Palermo Soho before a leisurely morning stroll through the colourful alleyways, tree-lined streets and boutique shops of this hipster neighborhood.
Head over to the Burger Joint for lunch one of the top rated places to eat in Buenos Aires. The juicy beef burgers are topped with your favourite country’s toppings, think jalapenos and salsa for Mexico and bacon and cheese for America.
Only steps away from your lunch, you’ll be able to join the free or low priced Palermo Graffiti Tour. On the tour explore the streets filled with colourful murals and learn about the art’s meaning, the neighborhoods love of street art and more about the artists.
For your last taste of Bueno Aires and one of the best things to do in Buenos Aires, treat yourself to a fancy dinner at one of Argentina’s famous parrillas, traditional Argentine barbeque. Don Julio is one of the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires, located in the swanky neighborhood of Palermo Soho. You know you’ve arrived when you see the queue out the door waiting for a table. It is one of the best places to visit in Buenos Aires. You can either book ahead or show up early at 6:45 – 7pm and join the line. They serve Champagne to help the wait go faster and it’s well worth a visit!
Other important things to know about traveling in Buenos Aires
Where to stay in Buenos Aires:
Palermo Soho or San Telmo are the most popular places to stay. Both neighborhoods have different appeals but have great atmosphere, fabulous entertainment and plenty of restaurants.
The underground network of Buenos Aires, SUBE, is efficient and easy to navigate. Pick up a SUBE card and add credit to it, so you can quickly zip in and out of train stations. SUBE cards can be purchased and recharged at convenient stores. Uber is also in Buenos Aires and it is a cheap alternative. You can either pay on credit card through the app, or request to pay ‘efectivo’ in cash. Some uber drivers prefer cash so make sure you check when you get in so there is no confusion at the end of the journey.
Argentina use the Argentinian Peso. The Peso is very volatile and changes every day. Use the XE Currency Converter App to ensure you know the current exchange rate. Also, the banks have small withdraw limits ($4,000 – $6,000 peso) and often high ATM fees. Changing USD can often save you money and hassle.
It’s easy to stay connected in Buenos Aires, sim cards can be picked up from Claro or Movistar and loaded with 1, 5, 7 etc day packages. Apps such as Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp usually are data free with these packages.
Onward travel in Argentina:
If you plan to travel around Argentina the bus system is very popular and reliable. There are usually plenty of different bus companies to choose from depending on your next destination. Most buses leave from the main terminal of Buenos Aires, Retiro.
If you are heading to other cities within Latin America and need some helpful tips, explore our other guides for inspiration. For a place to stay, explore and connect, learn more about the Selina philosophy and way of traveling.
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