Thursday, July 3, 2014

Neighborhoods of Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a beautiful and diverse metropolitan city with every neighborhood offering something a little bit different.

El Recoleta: Considered the most affluent neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Recoleta has some of the most luxurious hotels, exclusive restaurants, chic cafes, and expensive shopping in the city. For those looking to see some sites in between shopping trips, fancy dinners, and decadent alfajores in the cafes, Recoleta is also home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery, the Cultural Center, the National Art Museum, the National Library, and more. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on weekends, there is a "hippy fair" selling handmade goods and a wide variety of street foods (think a lot of churros) in the bohemian park area of Plaza Francia.

  • What to do: Wander the beautiful, Parisian inspired streets, stop for a cortado at a cafe, stroll through the cemetery or take a tour, or walk through the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
  • Restaurants: Smeterling Patisserie Uruguay, 1308, Duhau Restaurante e Vinoteca Avenida Alvear, 1661, El Caurtito Talcahuano, 937
  • Shopping: Shopping Patio Bullrich Av. del Libertador, 750
  • How to get there: Taxi, walking from the Microcentro, subte along Av. Santa Fe and then walking.

La Boca: Most famous for the Boca Juniors' soccer stadium "La Bombonera" and the colorful artist haven of El Caminito, La Boca is in every guide book and for good reason. With an abundance of outdoor cafes, street tango, and colorful buildings El Caminito in La Boca is easy on the eyes but be weary as underneath the surface, this neighborhood can still be on the rougher side and petty theft is still an ongoing problem.
  • What to do: Catch a Tango Show, check out the colorful buildings and tourist attractions in El Caminito, go to a Boca Junior game at La Bombonera.
  • Restaurants: Patagonia Sur Rocha, 801.
  • How to get there: Taxi or bus.

Palermo: Palermo, one of the largest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, is usually broken down into 6 "sub-barrios"; Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Soho, Palermo Viejo, Alto Palermo, Palermo Chico, and Las Canitas.
  • Palermo Soho: The bohemian part of Palermo, Palermo Soho has wonderful cafes, boutique stores, fun, new and unique restaurants, and much more. While there check out the Boutique del Libro (Thames, 1762), a very cool little cafe/book nook. 
  • Palermo Hollywood: Palermo Hollywood is well known for it's classy bars and gastronomic delights. Head there later on in the day and stay for the night to check out the nightlife. Also in Palermo Hollywood, is the Argentine Experience.
  • Palermo Viejo: With many international students and expats choosing to live in Palermo, it's no wonder that you hear many different languages when walking the streets. To make the most of your visit, check out the many cafes that fill up the side walks offering sweets, pastries, and cortados. 

San Telmo: The oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires, San Telmo is graced with cobblestone streets, old buildings, and a famous street market every weekend. With a bohemian vibe, rich tango culture, and a long running, interesting history San Telmo is always on everyone's must-see list. If you're interested in seeing street tango and strolling through the street fair, head to Calle Defensa on Sundays for the morning or afternoon (just be very aware of your belongings at all times as always).
  • What to do: If you can't visit San Telmo on a Sunday for the famous street fair on Calle Defensa, try to catch one of the equally famous tango shows.
  • Restaurants: El Desnivel, Defensa, 855.
  • Shopping: The Sunday street fair has everything from touristy trinkets to handmade artisan goods to street food.
  • How to get there: Bus or Taxi.

Puerto Madero: What was once an old port for the city is now a luxurious and modern neighborhood that has you feeling like you left Buenos Aires completely. With high rise luxury apartments, internationally renowned hotel chains, and a plethora of restaurants, bars, and cafes Puerto Madero feels nothing like the rest of the city which has historic architecture and the feeling of an older, historic city. If you decide that you want to escape the concrete jungle, just head to the 864 acre ecological reserve for walking trails and bird watching.
  • What to do: Walk the trails in the ecological reserve and then grab coffee at one of the numerous cafes lining the water.
  • Restaurants: Sottovoce Alicia Moreau de Justo, 176.
  • How to get there: Taxi or Bus.

Microcentro: The business center of Buenos Aires, Microcentro is where the famous 9 de Julio avenue, the world's widest avenue, spans 7 lanes going in each direction as well as 4 central lanes designated for buses. Also in Microcentro on 9 de Julio avenue, is the Obelisk. If you are looking for shopping or places to eat in Microcentro there is a good chance you will end up on Florida street (running parallel to 9 de Julio) or Santa Fe street (running perpendicular to 9 de Julio).While you're there, check out the Galerias Pacifico to grab a quick alfajor or lunch while staring up at the amazing frescoes.
  • What to do: Walk down Florida Street for some shopping before heading to the world's widest avenue, Av. 9 de Julio to get a picture of the Obelisk.
  • Restaurants: Freddo multiple locations, Broccolino Esmeralda, 776, Havanna multiple locations.
  • Shopping: Galerias Pacifico Florida, 737, and El Ateneo Grand Splendid Av. Santa Fe, 1860.
  • How to get there: Subte, Bus, or Taxi.

Belgrano: Left out of most guide books, Belgrano is often overlooked by most tourists looking to take in the sites. One of the biggest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, Belgrano could be considered "off the beaten path" as it is a neighborhood best for wandering and strolling around as opposed to sightseeing. Belgrano is a great place to get a feel for what it is like to live in Buenos Aires as well as experience a little bit of the immigrant culture in Buenos Aires' China Town also located in this neighborhood.
  • What to do: Stroll through along the residential streets to see what life is like for the Portenos and then head to Belgrano C/Barrio Chino/China Town.
  • Restaurants: Jolie Bistro Conde, 2036.
  • How to get there: Bus, Subte, or Taxi.

Montserrat: Home to the famous Plaza del Mayo (think of Casa Rosada or the Pink House) and the Plaza del Congresso, Montserrat is steeped in Buenos Aires' rich history. On weekends the Government House (Casa Rosada) is open to the public for tours of the many meeting rooms, the president's office, and the museum like exhibits featuring important artifacts and unique art from the country's past. After a tour, if you are hungry stop into Argentina's oldest cafe/restaurant, Cafe Tortoni, for a bite to eat before heading down the Avenida de Mayo to the Plaza del Congresso.
  • What to do: Take a weekend tour of the Casa Rosada and then take a stroll along Avenida de Mayo.
  • Restaurants: Cafe Tortoni Avenida de Mayo, 825.
  • How to get there: Bus, Subte, or Taxi (also it is within walking distance of Av. 9 de Julio).

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