Buenos Aires combines faded European grandeur with Latin passion. Sexy and alive, this beautiful city gets under your skin. It is known as the “Paris of South America” and lives up to its nickname with an overwhelming café culture to rival its European counterpart. The city is the second largest in South America (after Rio de Janeiro) and is a hot spot for those who love music, food, dancing, and just all-around beautiful people. The nightlife is fantastic, particularly if you like clubs that open at 2am. Buenos Aires has a very distinct European feel to it and a growing international expat community in the Palermo district. The quality of life is very high here and explore the markets, the many bookshops and cafes, and just relax!
What to do in Buenos Aires for 24h to 48h?
Places of Interest
It might seem a bit morbid to visit a cemetery for pleasure, but Recoleta is one of the city’s most visited attractions. The cemetery is the final resting place of many of the city’s most notable citizens, including Eva Perón and the Paz family. Also worth seeing is the tomb of Rufina Cambaceres, who was tragically buried alive according to legends. It’s open daily from 7am-5:30pm.
Argentina is known as the home of Eva Perón or Evita, and this museum explores Evita’s life from childhood through her career as an actress, onto her role as the First Lady and ultimately, ending with her death. Admission is 40 ARS (3 USD). It’s open 11am-7pm daily except for on Mondays.
A perfect way to while away an afternoon and get some priceless pictures of the country’s indigenous animals is by visiting the Gardens. Polar bears, flamingos, pandas, and tigers, oh my, are residents of this 45-acre city zoo. Admission is 7 ARS (less than 1 USD). It’s open daily, 10am until dusk, except for on Mondays.
National History Museum
Formerly the Lezama family home, this palatial building encapsulates Argentina’s history from the 1500s to the early 1900s. Most of the exhibits focus on the Argentine War of Independence fought against Spain from 1810-1818 and the May Revolution which also took place in 1810. It’s open from 11am-6pm and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
This is the former home of the Paz family, the wealthy owners of the La Prensa newspaper. As one of Argentina’s most beautiful buildings, this is definitely an essential stop on your city tour.
Falkland Islands War Memorial
Under the military dictator Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentina declared war on Great Britain in 1982. The museum contains a monument inscribed with the names of all the Argentines killed in the four months of conflict over the Falkland Islands (or “Islas Malvinas,” as they’re known in Argentina).
Dominating the city’s Plaza de Mayo is Casa Rosada, arguably the city’s most notable landmark. The building has played a starring role in the country’s history, quite literally. Open weekends from 10am-6pm.
Tour this landmark building of Argentina (themed around Dante’s Inferno) and take in the amazing history and panoramic views of Buenos Aires. This building has fascinating architecture and offers the best viewpoint of the city. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-8pm. A guided tour costs 200 ARS (13 USD).
This is a high-class, fashionable neighborhood, lined with various boutiques, cafes, and galleries. There is also a street fair every weekend. As a central location in the city, it’s a great area to check out and explore while catching your breath.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
This fine art museum is host to many significant works, from European masters to pre-Renaissance days. Additionally, there is an expansive collection of 19th and 20th century Argentinian paintings and sculptures that make up one of the most impressive collections in the country. It’s open 11am-8pm daily but closed on Monday.
Dubbed “The Undeveloped Venice” with its plentiful canals, this city is only 45 minutes away from central Buenos Aires. It’s green and lush and seemingly a world away from the chaos of the city — which is likely the reason why it’s a common retreat for Buenos Aires’ more affluent residents.
Country-hop over to Uruguay by going to Colonia del Sacramento, which is just one hour from Buenos Aires via ferry. It’s the perfect town to meander about as you’ll find tons of quaint houses, plazas, and cobblestone roads. Make sure to see the lighthouse while you’re here. The ferry cost can seem steep at more than 2,000 ARS (130 USD) round-trip, but you can save money by taking the slower one that gets you there in three hours.
Where to Shop?
It is the most trendy part of Buenos Aires, so you can expect the shopping to be quite good. Full of boutiques shop and name brands catering to men and women alike, the streets of Palermo Soho are a shopping Paradise and you will find that most shopping can be done within a few blocks in Palermo Soho.
It is the place to go if you are looking for antiques. San Telmo also has a good amount of boutique clothing stores that cater to the bohemian vibe of the neighborhood.
The downtown of Buenos Aires is filled with all different kinds of stores, but nothing too specific. It is worth it to take a stroll down calle Florida, which is a walking street catering to shopping. You will be able to find all kinds of stores and they tend to be on the cheaper side.
It is the most upscale neighborhood of Buenos Aires, so you can expect the shopping to be pricey, especially the upscale and luxury shops that line Avenida Alvear near the Alvear Palace hotel.
Where to Eat?
For a Quick Breakfast: In Bocca al Lupo
Head directly to the inner courtyard and order one of the simple breakfast specials like the Il Rustico, which includes a coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, and a prosciutto and cheese sandwich on a toasted baguette. The cornetto smothered with Nutella is also a major winner.
For the Finest Street Meat: Parrilla de Freddy
Parrilla de Freddy is where the meat magic happens. Located beside the San Telmo market entrance, the tiny space consists of a grill, a counter with some bar stools. The barbecue smoke will hit your nose and you lay your bedroom eyes on that plump Argentine chorizo sausage.
For the Steakhouse Experience: Don Julio
At Don Julio, a classic Palermo Soho steakhouse popular amongst locals and travelers alike, each cut of grass-fed beef is cooked over an iron grill by an expert asador (grill master).
A Fast Empanada Snack: La Cocina
La Cocina, just blocks away from the Recoleta cemetery serves homemade empanadas hailing from Argentina’s northwestern region, Catamarca. The unassuming empanada shop features only two items: locro, a hearty stew packed with different cuts of meat, vegetables, and hominy, and eight different types of baked empanadas.
Affordable Local Specialties: El Obrero
El Obrero, a fútbolthemed lunch and dinner spot located in the working class La Boca, means “the worker” in Spanish, is a local institution without any affected touristy kitsch.
Nightlife of Buenos Aires!
The tango is Argentina’s national dance, and you wouldn’t leave with the true local flavor without hitting the dance floor while in Buenos Aires. There are plenty of places offering lessons, and you can even chase down a Milonga, or tango event, that begins in the afternoon and carries into the wee hours of the night.
La Bomba Del Tiempo
Take a bus/uber/taxi to this grungy Villa Crespo/Palermo hybrid neighborhood for this awesome live drum performance. There’s drums, there’s alcohol, and there’s other banned substances. It’s been an ongoing tradition for many years and definitely something you don’t want to miss.
La Biblioteca Cafe (Recoleta)
If Bomba left you feeling kinda hippy, it’s time to get classy. Waltz over to this awesome Recoleta bookstore during the day, jazz bar at night, for some top-quality live jazz and open-mic style performances. It’s intimate and usually filled with regulars who are there every week.
Cafe San Bernardo (Villa Crespo)
It is a lively bar with pool tables, ping pong, and great vibes. Tuesday nights are the most popular. You can play, eat, drink, watch – whatever you want as long as you order the fries.