Once I convinced Melanie and Andrea to come with me to Buenos Aires, I knew that I was in for an awesome adventure. With only a couple of days to explore this very big, very bustling city, we started our mission to hit up all the awesome sites and suggestions from friends and former Argentina residents.
Welcome to City Hike: Buenos Aires.
If I’m being completely honest, this isn’t a totally true City Hike. It will probably take you two days, not one, and it will definitely require some public transit and/or cabs. Buenos Aires is just too big to cover all on foot. And night walking requires additional caution, so you might do better to just take a cab once it’s dark. Regardless, BA is BA. There is so much to do and see and eat. So let’s get started!
We opted to stay at a great hostel in Palermo – Hostel Suites Palermo. I highly recommend this spot for it’s cool architecture, great breakfast, and, most of all, its amazing location. It’s a great hub to explore a lot of the city and is in a relatively safe and very cool neighborhood.
For breakfast, stop at Lattente – a hipster’s dream coffee shop where they take coffee VERY seriously. My American friend Annie who lives in BA claims it’s the best latte she’s ever had. As you walk there, look around the cute streets and shops of Palermo. Like Chile, Argentina is slow in the mornings, so don’t expect much to be open.
Caffeinated and ready to go, walk back through Palermo toward the parks. There is a big green space in the city that includes the Japanese garden, the rose garden, and the botanical garden. This is a great place to explore and wander – and a beautiful spot to sit and read if you’re so inclined. There is also a running path if that’s of interest.
When you start to get hungry, walk to Nono Amigo for empanadas. In my world, empanadas are always a good choice, but when you can enjoy them alongside a salad with brie and avocado while people watching from a cute corner cafe? That’s a winner of a lunch right there.
From Nono Amigo, we walked back toward our hostel, stopping at Distrito Arcos – an outdoor outlet mall in the center of the city. There are some swanky shops if you are looking to purchase things, but for me, the more important destination was Guapaletas – a popsicle stand in the middle of the outdoor plaza. I am ALWAYS down for a gourmet popsicle.
Energized with popsicles and empanadas, hop on the green line Metra in Palermo and ride to Plaza del Mayo. This is the site of the Casa Rosada (the Argentinean equivalent of the White House and Evita’s old digs). It’s also where women protest the desaparecidos on certain days. It’s a great spot for photos, and it’s full of LOTS of history.
Next, walk around the Casa Rosada down to Puerto Madero to see La Puente de la Mujer (a really cool bridge). This area runs along the river and is full of cute restaurants, bars, and gift shops.
From Puerto Madero, walk up to the Obolisco – a tower that looks an awful lot like the Washington Monument. It’s honestly pretty underwhelming, but it’s a key site in BA and the walk there takes you through the arts district which is pretty neat.
After all of your walking, treat yourself to Argentina’s finest for dinner – meat! Find a parrilla and settle in for a big meal of assorted grilled meats and wine. We had the added bonus of eating with my friend Annie, making our meal that much more fun.
Enjoy a quick breakfast in the hotel, then catch the bus to Recoleta Cemetery. While it might seem weird to visit a cemetery as a tourist destination, go anyway. This place is so beautiful. I was super creeped out walking through rows and rows of graves, but the artistry is incredible and the history is amazing. You can hire a guide to show you around, or simply explore on your own.
If you, like me, are game for morning ice cream, then make a stop at Volta a few blocks away from Recoleta. This spot came as a suggestion from my friend Abbey and I see why – so delicious (but let’s be real, I’m cool with any ice cream, any time).
After your morning snack, hop back on the bus and head down to the San Telmo neighborhood. This artsy, trendy area was so fun to explore and walk around. I found a bookstore that would definitely be my place if I lived here. We had a couple of suggestions on lunch spots here, but ended up grabbing empanadas again from a little corner shop. When they are that cheap, easy, and delicious, how could you say no?
Grab a cab and head even further south to Camininto La Boca. This is definitely a tourist stop, but a beautiful and justifiable one. All the houses are painted a million colors and there are hundreds of artists showcasing their work. We met one artist who carves matches into tiny sculptures – amazing. The surrounding area is pretty dangerous so there are cops everywhere. You can probably make the walk to the Boca stadium and back without too much trouble, but just be careful.
Cab back up toward Plaza de Mayo, but this time walk over to the Teatro Colon. This famous theater is full of history and beauty – and the tour showcases both wonderfully. It still shows operas with regularity, but it has also become a historic site and a prime place to visit in BA.
Take the Metra back to the hotel to rest for a bit, then head to La Catedral for tango lessons! This amazing club is another recommendation from my friend Abbey – and it’s so cool. The environment needs to be experienced rather than explained, and the lessons do a great job of teaching even very beginners the basics of tango. Once you learn, you can stay for open dancing for the rest of the evening, so grab a glass of sangria and hang out for a while.
Finish the night with more ice cream on your way home. Because, like I said, ice cream is always a good idea in my book. Then crash after two long, amazing days being a BA in a BA!