The capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, has so many things to offer it may be hard to decide where to begin. Here are the top ten things you should plan on enjoying while visiting this dynamic city.
1. Watch and Learn Tango
Tango? Por supuesto! Of Course! Tango was born in Argentina and thrives today, partly to cater to tourists and partly because it is still beloved by the locals. You can pick your own level of involvement with this enchanting dance from taking tango classes, to dancing tango in a milonga, to watching a full-blown tango show production.
2. Enjoy the History
Argentina and Buenos Aires in particular have had an interesting and tumultuous history. The city itself is steeped in that history as apparent by its statues, memorials, plaques, and history museums. Turn your trip to Buenos Aires into the best history lesson you’ll ever get by going to the City Museum situated inside a historical building in Monserrat. You should also visit the Casa Rosada Museum, which is also called The Presidential Palace or Government House, and the Museum of the Cabildo.
3. Marvel at Architecture Old and New
From 1880 through the 1920s, Buenos Aires was one of the world's richest and fastest growing cities. The cityscape of Buenos Aires greatly benefited from this period and the mix of European and South American influences on architecture. From the French style houses in Recoleta and its neo-classical cemetery, to the art-deco style of the Kavanagh Building, to the modern Women’s Bridge in Puerto Madero the city is full of architectural wonders.
4. Eat a Great Steak
In a country esteemed for its rich, buttery, grass-fed beef you’d have to really put in effort to find a bad steak, although it could be done. Steak houses, called parillas, are around every corner but not all are equal. Just a few parillas of the many that have great reputations include, Don Julio (in Palermo Soho), Cabaña Las Lilas (in Puerto Madero), and Gran Parrilla del Plata (in San Telmo).
5. Go to the Art Museums
The famous and not-so-famous art museums of Buenos Aires will offer hours of visual delights. The better known museums include the MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires), National Museum of Fine Arts (MNBA), and Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (MaMBA). However, you’ll also find interesting art pieces at the La Boca’s Fine Arts Museum, Argentinean Puppet Museum, and National Museum of Decorative Arts
6. Visit the Gaucho Festival in Mataderos
Fieria Mataderos, the well-known Gaucho Festival, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2011. The fair is held in the barrio of Mataderos and celebrates all things gaucho, the traditional Argentine cowboy. With more than 300 stalls a visitor can easily find any piece of gaucho paraphernalia they desire such as mate gourds, dulce de leche, crafts, artisan cheese, bread, salami and hams. Traditional food and drink such as empanadas, locro, humitas, red wine, and mate are served as well. If you leave hungry, dry, or empty handed the fault is yours!
7. Nightclub Hop into the Wee Hours
The stamina of Buenos Aires’ party-goers and club dancers has gained world wide attention. Just ask the mix of foreigners and Argentines alike bumping to the beat of dance music, although they might not be able to hear you. This isn’t an affair left just for the weekend. There’s a club opening its doors every night of the week ready to accommodate until the sun pushes its way above the horizon.
8. Take a Bike Tour of the City
One of the best ways to see a city is on two wheels. Several companies offer Buenos Aires bike tours that go through the famous barrios in the southern part of the city, such as the Puerto Madero ecological reserve, La Boca, San Telmo. Others that take you to the famed areas of the north such as Retiro, Palermo and Recoleta. Still others have themes that will take you straight to parks and gardens, museums, or Porteno nightlife.
9. Listen and Learn Porteno Spanish
Looking to spend a few days, weeks, or months getting an introduction or refresher to Spanish? Buenos Aires has more than a few Spanish schools ready to accommodate everything from the hard-core student striving for fluency to the visitor who just wants to order their coffee or steak the correct way. Be sure to check if the school includes the materials in the price.
10. Go to a Festival
Buenos Aires hosts festivals all year around including festivals for jazz, music, books, mathematics, tango, gay pride, beef, film, and on and on. There are so many of them, the official government website for the city of Buenos Aires has a page devoted entirely to festivals.