Buenos Aires Travel Guide
Buenos Aires Summary
- Beautiful parks and architecture
- Lively nightlife
- Many museums, including a handful that are kid-friendly
- The streets' grid system makes it easy to get around
- The metro system is easy to use, and stops at many tourist attractions
- Top-notch dining (especially the steak) and shopping (especially the leather)
- Significant pick-pocketing
- Many hotels are expensive
- Lots of traffic (and the metro system closes early)
- Can be hot and humid during the summer (North America's winter) and chilly during the winter
What It's Like
The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is home to many Argentine traditions and trademarks: The streets are lined by parrillas, or steakhouses, that serve up Argentina's famous beef; luxury boutiques sell leather clothing and pieces by high-end designers; the nightlife is dominated by the tango; and Evita's "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" balcony overlooks the central square, Plaza de Mayo.
Though there are plenty of museums to visit in the city, Buenos Aires is a great place to explore by foot and simply wander around (the streets' grid system makes it easy to explore). Known for its stunning architecture (gorgeous marble and bronze buildings line Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest boulevard in the world), Buenos Aires also boasts beautiful parks; the parks in Palermo are particularly noteworty and include a museum, a planetarium, and rose gardens. Outdoor markets are frequent occurences during the weekends and the cafe culture is a popular pastime -- Portenos (as locals call themselves) can be seen sipping coffee with friends until the wee hours of the morning. So if you're heading to Buenos Aires, be prepared to not get much sleep. Often referred to as the "Paris of South America," the city has a lively nightlife that doesn't get started until midnight, after locals and tourists have finished their late-night dinners.
Like in many big cities, there is significant crime in Buenos Aires, but most of it consists of pick-pocketing and other non-violent crimes. Tourists are simply encouraged to keep a close watch on their belongings and to travel in groups after dark. And it is clear that this petty crime has not discouraged visitors, as the city has experienced a recent tourist boom. Though their summer (North America's winter) can be hot and humid, it is the city's peak tourist season, and hotels can be particularly expensive at this time. Fortunately, tourists can save on transportation, as the metro system is easy to use and goes directly to many tourist attractions.
Where To Stay
Though there are many hostels in Beunos Aires, the city does not have as many mid-range options as some would like. Boutique hotels are becoming all the rage, although international brand hotels are also available. Palermo is a popular area to stay in, as it boasts some of the city's best restaurants, shops, and parks. Staying near Plaza de Mayo puts visitors in the center of the action, while Recoleta is a beautiful historic area. La Boca can be dangerous at night, so staying near that area is often discouraged.