The first Europeans to try and inhabit Buenos Aires were eaten by the natives in 1516. This hurt the tourism industry for centuries to follow. But in the late 1700’s, immigrants from Spain and Italy poured in and created much of the city that exists today. Buenos Aires has survived dictators, democracy, inflation and devaluation over the last 200 years but still continues to be one of the most interesting and friendly cities in the world.
There is a tremendous amount to do in Buenos Aires. Here is a list of the top 10 Buenos Aires sightseeing attractions.
1. Buenos Aires Tango is the biggest cultural contribution Argentina has made to the world in the last 100 years and is currently enjoying a comeback. There is hundreds of Buenos Aires tango shows to view as well as large nightly tango dances called “milongas”. Tango lessons can be found in a variety of different forms and tango history is around almost every corner and city café. A Buenos Aires tango tour is the ticket to get the most out of the number 1 attraction in Buenos Aires.
2. Plaza De Mayo has always been the centerpiece of the city. Impromptu demonstrations are still held here weekly including the Mothers Of Plaza De Mayo who still mourn their children from the “Dirty War”. This public space is situated in front of the Casa Rosada, or “pink house”, where the president has his offices and Evita performed her speech to millions. The old Cabildo and the Metropolitan Cathedral also border the plaza and are worth a tour. The best way to see this attraction is on the daily Buenos Aires walking tours.
3. The Recoleta Cemetery in the elite neighborhood of Recoleta brings to life the history of its country like no other graveyard in the world. Presidents, dictators, legends, heroes and scoundrels are all buried side by side in a gorgeous display of sculptures and architectural masterpieces. Evita Peron is buried here after her corpse was stolen and copied and stolen again. The cemetery is 13 acres and it can be easy to get lost so a knowledgeable English speaking tour guide is a must.
4. San Telmo is the most unique neighborhood in Buenos Aires with vintage Spanish architecture, interesting restaurants and nightlife including tango shows. Also found along these cobblestone streets are antique shops and the history of Tango. On Sunday, Plaza Dorrego is filled with arts and crafts booths and in the evening, this historic square turns into a giant tango dance called a milonga. This is the arts district and bohemian area of Buenos Aires and although there are many tourists, it is a good idea not to dress too flashy.
5. Caminito is the world’s first outdoor museum and can be found in the working class neighborhood of La Boca, which is anything but a museum. Caminito has a strong Tango theme amidst the coventillos, or old dwellings of the Italian immigrants that came to the city and worked on the docks. An artist named Jaun Quinquela Benito painted these small houses many colors making this a vibrant and fascinating area of the city. Here you will find tango cafes, arts and crafts and many tourists. This area closes early at 6pm and can be a little rough after dark.
6. The Colon Theater is still one of the best opera houses in the world and has held that title for 100 years due to the acoustical design and beautifully constructed interior. The Teatro Colon also houses one of the most extensive costumes collections on the planet. Tours of this Buenos Aires attraction are currently Monday through Friday beginning at 11am.
7. Buenos Aires Restaurants offer some of the best beef and wine in the world. There is an entire district along the old port called Puerto Modero specifically for great restaurants. The befe de lomo and befe chorizo are the best cuts of the cow and go great with a Mendoza Malbec. Buenos Aires also has a café culture and the oldest and most interesting of them all is Café Tortoni.
8. La Boca Football Game – La Boca football is more than a religion and should not be underestimated. The fanatics you will find here truly give the word “a fan” its full meaning. The cheering section alone is worth the ticket however tickets can be hard to acquire on your own. Make sure you are cheering for the home team and confirm if your seat is actually a seat, or just a spot to stand in. Also, you should be careful when the game lets out because there has been a tradition of rioting. But if you manage to live through this experience you will never forget it.
9. Florida Street is a pedestrian street located in the center of the downtown and is always packed with beautiful people. There are countless shops for just about everything you can think of including Argentina leather, souvenirs, clothes and electronics. You may also witness free Tango demonstrations going on creating huge crowds. You will also find gigantic shopping malls on this city street including one of the most beautiful in the world called Galaria Pacifico. Make sure you hold onto your purse or wallet while strolling this attraction and prepared to be bumped into a few times.
10. Buenos Aires nightlife has a reputation of lasting until dawn and indeed it will on the weekends. There are some amazing nightclubs with laser light shows like Museum. You can also find excellent fashionable bars located in the trendy Palermo district. A sure bet for good people watching is in Recoleta near the Cemetery. And of course you must enjoy at least one tango show while in the unique neighborhood of San Telmo.