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Top 10 Things for Creative Travelers to do in Buenos Aires

Updated on December 10, 2010

I recently got back from a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Having spent two weeks there, I was able to do a large number of different things. Of course, I did all of the different touristy things that there are to do in a large international city. But I also did some off-the-beaten path things. I particularly enjoy activities that allow me to indulge my creative side so I tried to do as much as I could in that vein. I thought other travelers might be interested in the creative opportunities available to enjoy in Buenos Aires as well.

Ten creative things to do if you’re visiting Buenos Aires are:

1.     Browse old bookstores. This is an amazingly literary city. There are bookstores around every corner. There are new bookstores and old bookstores. There are bookstores with tons of history and bookstores that are barely holes in the wall. It helps if you like to read in Spanish, of course, but just stopping in to see all of the different reading material can be inspiring for the creative traveler. The most famous of all of these bookstores is El Ateneo, a three-story bookstore that was once a theater and now has a café where the stage used to be.

2.     Visit the yarn district. I don’t know if there is any other city in the world that has a yarn district like Buenos Aires does. This is a two-block section of the city where you can find yarn store after yarn store after yarn store. Some have floor-to-ceiling yarn. Others have bins to browse through. Others mingle their for-sale yarn with boutique items handmade from the yarn. The yarn district is on Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz, around the 900 block, near the popular Palermo Soho neighborhood.

3.     Check out the art museums. There are many, many different art museums in Buenos Aires. The most well known of them is MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) but other good choices include the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Museo Xul Solar.

4.     See a show at Plasma Culture Club. I actually got invited to see a performance here and then had to pass up the chance because I had overextended myself for the day. It’s too bad because it looks like a really neat creative space that would have been awesome to check out. It has two different stages (one large, one small) where musicians and DJs perform. There’s also recording space, rehearsal rooms and a video bar here to enjoy.

5.     Take a day trip to see silversmithing. On our way to one of the well-known estancias in the Pampas, we stopped at Museo de Plateria Draghi. Technically this is a museum but what you’ll find when you get there is that there are silversmiths working by hand, apprentices that are being trained by world-renowned masters in the art. It’s truly amazing to see and a great experience for any creative person even if jewelry making isn’t your usual area of creativity.

6.     Have a drink at Post Street Bar. This bar in the Palermo neighborhood is the city’s only “stencil art bar”. The walls of the bar are covered in creative stencil art. On the first floor (which is what we in America would consider to be the second floor since the ground floor there is called the zero floor) is an art gallery called Hollywood in Cambodia where street art is on display.

7.     Photograph graffiti around the city. Speaking of street art, Buenos Aires has some of the most extensive displays of graffiti that I’ve seen in almost any city. Some of it is very detailed artistic and mural-like in style. Some of it is just words. A lot of it is political although by no means all of it is that way. It’s very interesting and creative and it’s really fun to walk around the city and take pictures of the art on the streets.

8.     Browse through the artisan fairs. The San Telmo Market and the Feria de Mataderos that happen each weekend are the best options for travelers. Here you’ll find a mixture of artists, craftspeople and folks selling vintage goods. This is the ideal place to go if you’re looking for inspiration for your own handmade items or goods to work into your found art creations! There are other art fairs that take place in various spots throughout the city. I stumbled upon several of them during the two weeks that I was there so just keep your eyes peeled!

9.     Go to the galleries. Another great place to see art is always inside of galleries. These are many, many different galleries throughout Buenos Aires so it’s difficult to put together a list. My friend made a purchase at EdeA art gallery on Defensa in the historic San Telmo neighborhood but that’s one of just many, many options. I would recommend just walking around all of the popular areas of the city and stopping in to the galleries that capture your personal interest.

10. Dance. I personally am not a huge fan of tango dancing. However, it’s all over the city and you just can’t help but get wrapped up in it in one way or another. Go to a milonga and dance there yourself. See a tango show on the streets or in a theater. There are many ways to enjoy this famous dance in the city and it certainly shouldn’t be missed during your creative trip to Buenos Aires.

Have you been to Buenos Aires? What is the number one creative thing that you would recommend to others?


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