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7 Buenos Aires Neighborhoods to Visit on your First Trip to Argentina
Buenos Aires, Argentina is a city of neighborhoods. It is like San Francisco in the United States or Paris in France. Each neighborhood is rich and vibrant, unique and clearly defined from the other neighborhoods that may lie just blocks away. There are a lot of little neighborhoods to explore in Buenos Aires but there are seven major neighborhoods that are must-see neighborhoods if you’re a first-time Buenos Aires visitor.
1. Congreso. This fairly large neighborhood is well known because a lot of the sights to see in Buenos Aires are located here. This is where the city’s theatre district is. The street named Avenida Correintes is dubbed “The Latin Broadway” and the highlight is Teatro Colon, a very famous theater that is currently in the process of revitalization. There are smaller theatres and many places to see tango shows. As the name suggests, this is also where you can find the congressional building. Here you’ll also find the Avenida 9 de Julio, a huge highway that many say is the widest street in the world. (It’s technically not but it’s very wide). You’ll also find the Obelisk that you can see from many parts of the city.
2. Microcentro. This neighborhood is essentially the city’s downtown Financial District. It is where you will find all of the major banking action of the city. It is where government activities take place. The Casa Rosada (or Pink House) is located here; that’s where the city’s presidential offices are located. This is also where the Plaza De Mayo is (a historic square that was formerly where city hall was located). As you might expect, the Microcentro is bustling with activity during weekdays but is fairly quiet on weekends and evenings. It is a great place to go to catch all of the subway lines in the city.
3. La Boca. The name of this neighborhood translates to “Mouth” which refers to its location near the mouth of the river. The neighborhood is well known for its colorful houses that are among the most photographed sights in the city. The three blocks of colorful houses are a touristy area where you will find souvenir shops, street performers, artists, tango performers and restaurants. The neighborhood was originally settled by Italians and is considered something of a Little Italy although it’s not as overtly Italian as the Little Italy areas of U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco.
4. Palermo. This is the best neighborhood to go to if you want to enjoy a bit of the natural world within the dense urban area that is Buenos Aires. Amidst the parks here you will find botanical gardens, Japanese tea gardens and the local zoo. As a Buenos Aires visitor you will quickly learn that there are many smaller areas around Palermo such as Palermo Soho (the popular shopping area) and Palermo Chico (an upscale residential neighborhood).
5. Puerto Madero. This neighborhood is the up-and-coming neighborhood on the water (the Rio de la Plata) just a short walk away from the Microcentro. This is where you can see skyscrapers and brand new buildings. It is also where you can find nationwide chains like Starbucks and fancy Westernized hotels. This is also the location of the city’s ecological reserve where you can hike short trails to the river, a very peaceful location with a nice view of the growing city skyline.
6. Recoleta. This biggest tourist attraction in this neighborhood is the famous Recoleta Cemetery. This cemetery sits in a beautiful plaza where you’ll find lots of other activities and art fairs. It is located within short walking distance of the luxury shopping area (Avenida Alvear) that is compared to LA’s Rodeo Drive.
7. San Telmo. This historic neighborhood located on the edge of the Microcentro is where you will find the infamous cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires. There are numerous museums here as well as old churches and historic landmarks. The street named Defensa runs through this neighborhood. This is where the Sunday San Telmo Market takes place, running from Plaza de Mayo all the way to Plaza Dorrego. Along this street can be found numerous antique stores, leather shops and art galleries as well as restaurants, bakeries and cafes.
Have you been to Buenos Aires? Is there another neighborhood that you think tourists should visit during their stay?