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Palermo Neighborhood Profile

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Plaza Serrano in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

Plaza Serrano in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires.

Photo courtesy of Omar Uran.

Palermo Neighborhood - History:

Some believe that Palermo was so named after the famous city in Italy, but this is not the case (at least not directly). There are two versions of how Palermo got its name. One is that the barrio was named after a still-existing Franciscan abbey of "Saint Benedict of Palermo" whose abbot, a patron saint of the barrio, came from Palermo, Sicily.

Another version of the story centers around an immigrant named Juan Domingo Palermo. The farmer drained the flood prone area to plant orchards and vineyards, renovating the area into what was known as "campos de Palermo" or the "Palermo Fields." President Juan Manuel de Rosas bought up the lands and built a mansion on the spot, which would be confiscated after his overthrow in 1852.

No major transformations occurred with the land until the 1890's, when Charles Thays, a french landscape architect, began laying out plans for what are now the beautiful green spaces of Palermo.

Palermo Neighborhood Subdivisions:

The subdivisions of Palermo are not official and as such guidebooks and websites differ on which names and divisions are the most widely accepted. Often the lines blue regarding which attractions belong where. For example, the zoo, Jardin Zoologico, has been seen listed in both Bosques de Palermo as well as Alto Palermo. As time goes on the subdivisions are distinguishing themselves more and more, embracing which ever neighborhood traits they've been assigned.

Palermo Chico:

This area is in the southeast corner of Palermo proper, between Avenida del Libertador and the train line. Bordering on Recoleta and home to embassies from around the world, this section of the barrio is known to house the very rich and aristocratic.
Attractions
- Museo de Arte Decorativo
- Museo de Arte Latinamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)
- Plaza Chile
- Museo de Arte Popular Jose Hernandex Parque

Alto Palermo:

This area may also be referred to as Southern Palermo. It is home to a grand mall by the same name: Alto Palermo. The museum that celebrates Argentines most talked about first lady, Eva Peron, is also in this neighborhood. You'll also find many sunbathers and dog walkers at Parque Las Heras, a few blocks east of the Museo Evita.

Attractions
- Museo Evita
- Alto Palermo Mall
- Parque Las Heras

Palermo Viejo:

To make things just a bit more complex, this subdivision is further subdivided into sections called Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood.
  • Palermo Soho takes its name from the swanky areas of New York and London, where design and style reign. In the confines of streets Scalabrini Ortiz and Juan B. Justo, this section of Palermo has blossomed with designer boutiques, selling all things artistic and bohemian from jewelry to couches.
  • Palermo Hollywood is the place to go if you're looking for a long night of dancing and mingling. Many bars, restaurants, and clubs are clustered around streets Honduras and Fitzroy. The 'Hollywood' moniker comes from the many radio, film, and television studios that were stet up in the area at the beginning of the 2000's.
Attractions
- Plaza Palermo Viejo
- Plaza Serrano (also called Plaza Cortazar)
- Many bars, cafes, and nightclubs

Bosques de Palermo:

Like Central Park in New York City, Buenos Aires has a spot to enjoy verdant greenery in Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Forests). This section of the city offers Parque 3 de Febrero, designed by french landscape artist Charles Thays. It is one of the biggest parks in the city, it covers three square kilometers up to the neighborhood's border with Belgrano. The park is a terrific spot to go and enjoy a sunny day. There is a boating lake where you can rent wooden rowboats, a well tended rose garden called the Rosedal. You can also enjoy the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan, the Jardin Japones, as well as a planetarium, Planetario Galileo Galilei.You may also visit the Jardin Zoologico, which is very close to Plaza Italia.

Attractions
- Parque de 3 de Febrero
- Museo de Artes Plasticas Eduardo Sivori
- Jardin Japones
- Planetario Galileo Galilei
- Jardin Zoologico

Northern Palermo (Las Canitas):

Northern Palermo, past the parks in Bosque de Palermo, includes the sub-barrio Las Canitas, which is gaining reputation for its up-scale eateries, large expat population and glamorous clientele. The city's horse track and polo grounds are here as well as the country's only Islamic cultural center, Centro Cultural Islamico Rey Fahd.

Attractions
- Upscale bars and restaurants
- Museo Nacional del Hombre
- Campo Argentino de Polo
- Hipodromo Argentino
- Centro Cultural Islamico Rey Fahd
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