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Rambling Buenos Aires: A Guide

Wine, steak, mate, gelato, ornate historic buildings, creative boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife are my many favorites aspects of Buenos Aires.  We spent five weeks exploring the city, and I could have spent many more months sipping espresso in it’s numerous cafes, sampling grilled meat at nearby parrillas, and marveling at the impressive apartment facades and balconies as I walked Domino along shady, tree-lined streets.

The following rundown is not an all-encompassing list to the many facets of Buenos Aires, but are tried-and-true notes to my favorite places in various barrios throughout the city.  Each recommendation is also located on my Buenos Aires Google Maps Guide, which you can view at maps.google.com/?mid=1266607498.

I recommend buying a map of the city, marking restaurants and places you would like to see, and then setting out onto the pavement, exploring many of the barrios by foot.  Don’t be afraid to get lost – you’ll surely discover a funky shop, hole-in-the-wall bar, or local parrilla during your rambles.

::::  EATING ::::

Cabana Las Lilas |  Puerto Madero  |  Alicia Moreau de Justo 516
Touting a menu that features traditional Argentinian dishes and wine list that is long enough to be a book, Cabana Las Lilas is a dining experience that goes above and beyond the call of duty.  Prices are steep, but samples of appetizers, breads, desserts and even lemoncello will be happily served free of charge.  The restaurant overlooks the river, enhancing the cushy outdoor patio seating option.

El Desnivel |  San Telmo  |  Defensa 855 (between Independencia and Estados Unidos)
This famous parilla stays open late and has ample seating space.  Come to Desnivel for a traditional parilla experience on one of San Telmo’s most popular streets.

La Fabrica del Taco |  Palermo SOHO  |  Gorriti 5062
Great tacos with a colorful atmosphere  – what more is there to ask for?  Make sure to order a michilada (a spicy Mexican cerveza), and at least one taco al pastor.
(Pictured above)

El Hippopatamo |  San Telmo  | Avenida Brasil 401
This old-school restaurant, although not staffed by the friendliest of waiters, is a must see for even just a chopp in the afternoon.  Head across the street to Parque Lezama to watch dog walkers and bench sleepers.

Sushi Club |  Las Canitas   | Báez 268
Sushi Club fits right into Las Canitas, a posh suburb with hot nightclubs and high-end restaurants.  While the prices are no bargain, the modern decor, plush chairs, and great people watching are worth the expense.

::::  DRINKING ::::

878 | Villa Crespo  |  878 Thames (between Loyola and Aguirre)
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood in Villa Crespo, the only clue of 878 from it’s front doors is the bodyguard waiting patiently for customers to walk through.  Walking into this trendy bar will may take you by surprise, but the bartenders’ meticulous system of making drinks will be even more shocking.

Club 69 |  Palermo
*Nick’s pick*
Go on Thursdays for an ultimate club party – go-go dancers, pole dancers, and break dancers are just a few examples of the entertainment.

Milion |  Recoleta  | Parana 1048 (between Marcelo T de Alvear and Santa Fe)
*Rochelle’s pick*
This once private mansion is now an enchanting bar and restaurant, filling it’s ornate rooms and backyard patio with stylish young portenos.  The rooms, with over 14-foot ceilings and original decor, showcase captivating photography and modern artwork, perfect for strolling from room to room with a mixed drink in your hand.

(Pictured above left and right)

Plaza Serrano |  Palermo
This plaza, although a bit touristy, is filled with bars, people, and beer.  Offering ample outdoor seating, it is a great place to go after dinner for a bit of people watching and another round of drinks.

Thelonius Club |  barrio PALERMO | Jerónimo Salguero 1884
A small jazz club with a funky atmosphere and a variety of bands, Thelonius Club is the place to go for jazz enthusiasts.  Check out the website for a schedule of times and bands.

Unico Bar Bistro |  Palermo Hollywood  |  on the corner of Fitz Roy and Honduras
One of the most popular bars and open until 6 am, Unico Bar is considered the ultimate Palermo bar “scene.”  If you want a chance at sitting, go early.  Otherwise, be ready to enjoy your drinks while standing on the street curb (which is fun as well).

::::  SHOPPING ::::

El Ateneo |  | Avenida Santa Fe 1860 Books
Book browsing is even more fun in this theater-turned-bookstore.  Grab a cup of coffee and relax in the cafe, located on the stage behind the giant red curtains.

(Pictured above left)

Feria Plaza Francia |  Recoleta  |  Av. del Liberator and Pueyrredon
Visit this artisan fair on Sundays to buy homemade mate gourds, bombillas, clothing, and art.

Feria de Antiguidades (Antique Fair) |  San Telmo  |  Plaza Dorrego and calle Defensa
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Buenos Aires and a pleasant way to spend your Sunday afternoon.  Stroll through the stalls selling antique brass nic-nacs or grab an outdoor table to eat medialunas and listen to the variety of languages spoken about you.

Mi Handbags |  Palermo  |  on the corner of Armenia and Gorriti
This boutique may be small, but it offers bags whose designs vary by shape and color combination, combining different suedes, leathers, and stitching to create modern yet functional handbags.

(Pictured above right)

And if you’re REALLY ready to shop ’til you drop, here are some major shopping streets to hit:
Calle Florida, Calle Honduras, Avenida Santa Fe

Galerias Pacifico |  Microcentro  |  Florida 737, between Viamonte and Cordoba
Although it is just a mall, it is a beautiful mall.  Vibrant frescos adorn the ceilings, and detailed moldings flow along it’s corners.

:::: ACTIVITIES ::::

Cementerio de la Recoleta |  Recoleta  |  Famous for housing Eva Peron’s tomb, this enchanting cemetery holds mosoleums made of marble and rusty, delicate ironwork.
(Pictured above left)

Jardin Japonese |  Palermo  |  on the corner of Av. Casares and Berro
Many tour books recommend this garden, which is the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan, however, while the experience of exploring the grounds is a pleasant break from the city, it is not impressive.

Parque Lezama |  San Telmo  |  A green, leafy park lined with countless wooden benches filled with people of all ages.  Bring your dog to find new playmates or people watch from the graffiti-covered stairway.

::::  SLEEPING  ::::

San Telmo Loft and The Pad |  San Telmo  |  1131 Paseo Colón
Fun, hip vacation rentals in Buenos Aires’ most authentic neighborhood. Our apartments come with a cell phone, cable TV, speakers, WiFi, AC and heaters, linens and towels, a fully equipped kitchen (with a microwave), guidebooks, adaptors for electrical devices, and owners who love sharing their knowledge of Buenos Aires.

Tracey’s Apartments |  Villa Crespo (right by Palermo)  |  4323 Estado de Israel
Choose from a studio apartment with a roof-top patio, or a two bedroom apartment, also with an outdoor patio.  Tracey’s apartments are simple, comfortable, and artistically decorated, located in a neighborhood within just a few blocks from the restaurants, clubs, and boutiques of Palermo.  We enjoyed the parrilla and middle eastern restaurants right outside of our front door, and a subway stop is only about 5 blocks away.

:::: OTHER ::::

Car / Taxi Service – Alfredo
Arrangements can be made for Alfredo to pick you up anywhere in the city, and his car is pet-friendly (in fact, he will be quick to show you the pictures he carries around of his dogs and cats).
phone: 1568135572   or   46375176   |  646servicios@gmail.com

Flying home with your dog or cat from Buenos Aires?
STEP 1 See a veterinarian, who will inspect your pet and give you the necessary paperwork to bring to the Ministerio de Economia y Produccion.  The ministry requires:

  • A certificate that notes the breed, sex, age, color, and name, address, and passport number of the owner.
  • A document stating it is free of miasis, gusanera or bichera.
  • A copy of your passport.
  • A rabies certificate that proves its rabies vaccinations are valid.

At the vet I saw in San Telmo, I received 4 hand-written prescription slips after she inspected Domino.  The appointment, which also included flea medicine and de-worming pills, was $80 AR (about $20 USD).

STEP 2 Take your documents to the SENASA office in Lazareto, which is on the corner of Calabria and Rawson de Dellepiane. The paperwork costs about $76 AR and must be filled out within five days of flying out.

SENASA OFFICE phone: 4362-5755 or 4362-5757


If you are having trouble calling a Buenos Aires cell phone from Skype, try the following:

  • Make sure the Argentine code is 54
  • Dial “911”
  • If the number begins with “15,” delete the “15”

So, for example, if I am calling 15 6687 8899, then dial 54 911 6687 8899.

Carry change (coins) if you plan to use the bus – the machines to not take cash, and drivers do not give out change.

:::: RESOURCES ::::

A schedule to theater, music, art shows, and other cultural activities in Buenos Aires

Whats Up Buenos Aires is first and foremost a website connecting the emerging arts and culture scene in Buenos Aires to the rest of the world. Its aim is to utilize the power of the internet to communicate, inform and entertain.”  – from the Whats Up Buenos Aires website

A guide to the many restaurants of Buenos Aires

Learn more about Argentine wines at Vinos de Argentina

Top Ten Bars in Buenos Aires by the Guardian’s Vicky Baker
A great quick-read guide to drinking your way through Buenos Aires.

Time Out Buenos Aires guides are extremely thorough and provide cultural and historical details that would otherwise be unknown or overlooked by visiting travelers.

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One Comment

  1. Awesome guide, Rochelle (I especially love that we’re up there on top!). I agree with you about the TimeOut guides. The ones that are seasonal (magazine size, instead of a book) which are sold in the newsstands here are great. John’s still dreaming about following in your footsteps (or truck marks). You’re whole site is such a great resource…. maybe we’ll get the time to do it.

    1. Angela on March 7th, 2010 at 10:38 am

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