Local Things to Do in Buenos Aires
Argentina is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. I absolutely love Buenos Aires and got to spend six months living there.
Like other Latin American countries, the main language is Spanish and there isn’t a lot of English. Within the tourist areas there will be some English, but I want to share some local sites!
As well in South America, the countries aren’t exactly handicap friendly, but here is my list of local things to do that anyone can access!
1. Artisan Markets
One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires are all the artists’ markets! Every Sunday in a variety of places around the city are street markets dedicated to artists.
You can find some lovely and creative items plus people watch and enjoy the sun as you walk around. Some of the markets are in some classic traditional parts of the city such as Recoleta and San Telmo.
If you are interested in leather products, you can find some good quality leather products for a cheaper price than what you would get in North America or Europe. Of course there are artists who make jewelry or household items.
2. Fine Arts Museum
The Fine Arts Museum is free to enter and has amazing art by artists from around the world. It is housed in a beautiful mansion that in itself is something to see.
There are a variety of parks throughout the city. They all have a pathway to walk around and absorb some fresh air.
There is one park that is ecologically protected and you can wander around there and feel like you are outside the city. It is in the section called Puerto Madero.
One of the famous parks for tourists and locals to wander is actually a cemetery. In Recoleta, there is an old cemetery that is the final resting place for very rich Argentines such as Evita who was a renowned First Lady. Their tombs are pieces of art.
The pathway is clear and easy to move around though there are some tight spaces. You will find families picnicking with loved ones or simply enjoying the artistic beauty.
4. Tango Show
Tango originates in Buenos Aires and locals and tourists alike go see shows and even participate.
In the street market of San Telmo or in the touristy section of La Boca, you can see dancers perform in the street. In San Telmo, locals take to the street with the dancers to perform their beloved dance.
If you are feeling up for it, be sure to check out some tango classes.
5. Fileatado Class
Fileatado is the style of painting in Argentina. If you have an eye for color and design, check out the different street art around the city or take a class. Through my travels, I haven’t seen an equivalent anywhere else.
6. Picnic by the Metal Flower / Floralis Genérica
Another tourist spot that locals flock to see is a robot sculpture. This Metal Flower opens and closes with the sun. Often it is broken, but it doesn’t stop locals from going and hanging out in the grass with some food and drink.
7. Stuff Your Face!
Argentina is home to a wide variety of foods. As a mixture of many cultures, the food also is diverse. Keep in mind, dinner is around 9pm or 10pm. They do have a snack around 5pm called merienda.
Here are some of the top foods you need to try while you are in Buenos Aires!
Empanadas are different in every country that makes them. I personally love the empanadas in Argentina and I find them less bready and more of what the filling is either meat or vegetarian. There are even some dessert options!
The local hole in the wall shops are the best! Keep your eye out when wandering around.
Asado / Choripan
Asado, barbecue meat, is a bit more difficult to find in hole in the wall places as the true traditional way to make it requires a few hours over a fire. So, a restaurant is your best bet.
Choripan is a fancy hot dog. It is some meat in a bun and can be found with street vendors. One of my favorite spots to get it is next to the river and the ecological park.
There are a few little stands that sell them. These options are of course not for vegetarians, but it is an essential Argentine traditional meal.
Alfajores / Dulce de Leche
Argentines love this sugary treat. One can think of it similar to a French macaroon. 2 biscuit type cookies and in between is a good helping of dulce de leche so it looks like a big Oreo essentially.
Dulce de Leche is like a caramel spread, think Nutella, but caramel. They can be small or rather large and a variety of places sell them. The best, of course, is to go into any bakery rather than a tourist shop.
If you are adventurous enough or have a local friend, be sure to try mate! This is a highly caffeinated tea that is drank in a special cup and metal straw. One cup and straw is shared among a group of no more than 5.
How you drink it is you pour some hot water into the cup and sip on it until there is no more water left. Then you refill it with water and pass it to the next person.
It is definitely an experience and many Argentines use this as bonding time. It is mainly drank during merienda, but one can see a variety of Argentines carrying their mate throughout the day.
Buenos Aires is just like New York in the sense it has it’s own Broadway section of the city. There are multiple plays and musicals happening at the time.
For the most part it is in Spanish, but there are also some blind theaters as well! This is truly an experience as everything is based on sound and touch rather than sight since everything is in total darkness.
9. Festivals in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires hosts many festivals and activities throughout the year. Each weekend over the summer, time frame of November to April, is dedicated to a foreign country and street vendors sell traditional food from that country.
For example, Mexico Festival and vendors sell tacos. Besides these festivals, there also are a variety of music and national type festivals to celebrate great moments in Argentine history like when they got rid of their dictator.
10. La Casa Rosada, the Pink House
The Pink House is the government building, where the President works and it is a site to see due to its color.
The plaza in front, Plaza de Mayo, has been the site for many protests and to this day you can see paintings of the bandannas the mothers used to wear during the dictatorship on the floor.
The mothers would protest in this plaza to know what happened to their kidnapped, and murdered, children and grandchildren.
11. Puente de la Mujer / Woman Bridge
While you are in Puerto Madero, be sure to check out this bridge in honor of women. The bridge is designed to look like a woman dancing tango.
If the weather is nice, take a stroll around the canal and check out the fancier restaurants that grace this newer section of the city.
12. Palermo Nightlife
If you are looking to experience the nightlife, be sure to check out Palermo. It has a variety of bars and clubs for all ages and preferences of music. Nightlife is later in Argentina, bars and clubs open at 11pm and most people enter around 2am until 6 or 7 am.
13. 9 de Julio Street
One of the biggest streets in the world is in Buenos Aires! With a lot of lanes and a big Obelisk structure in the middle, it is worth walking around the avenue to see the hustle and bustle of the average working day in this city.
The walkways are a bit cobblestone/tile like so careful where you walk because a tile might be loose and will splash old rain water on your shoe.
I hope this helps in your adventures through Buenos Aires, Argentina! There are so many things to do and see, but here are some of the things that even locals partake in and are quite accessible!
AUTHOR Bio : This article was contributed by Marinella Yule of myopenpassport.net. She has traveled to over 40 countries and has even bicycled around North America (about 6K miles in total). She is currently working on improving her third language (French) while she works in both English and Spanish. You can see more of her work at marinellayule.com. Be sure to connect with her via Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest! All photos are sourced from Marinella at myopenpassport.net
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