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What Is Buenos Aires Known for & Famous For?

As Argentina’s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires is a popular tourist attraction and offers plenty of exciting things for visitors. So, why is Buenos Aires famous?

Buenos Aires is known and famous for its beautiful architecture, rich culture, thriving arts scene, and exciting nightlife. It is also known as the tango’s birthplace, one of its most important cultural elements.

Read further to discover why this unique city is on many people’s bucket lists.

1. Capital of Argentina

Buenos Aires is the country’s bustling and vibrant capital city. It offers delicious cuisine, multiple exciting art galleries, and exquisite architecture. With its humid subtropical climate, the city has fantastic weather year-round, and it’s always fun strolling through the many lush parks and open-air plazas. In the early evenings, you can admire one of the many impromptu tango sessions outdoors.

Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city with a strong Spanish influence. But you can also see its Italian and French heritage in some of the grander buildings’ classic architecture.

2. Recoleta Cemetery

Recoleta Cemetery is no ordinary cemetery. Instead of gray headstones, it has ornate monuments, elaborate pillars, and exquisite statues to pay homage to the deceased buried there. With over 6,400 graves, Recoleta Cemetery is vast, and (as its name suggests) you can find it in Recoleta, a hilly suburb.

Some of the most famous people buried in Recoleta Cemetary include:

  • Eva Perón (a famous revolutionary)
  • Isabel Walewski Colonna (Napoleón Bonaparte’s granddaughter)
  • Luis Angel Firpo (a famous Argentinian boxer)
  • Tomás Guido (a famous Argentinian army general)

3. Teatro Colón

If you’re an opera fan, you’ll love Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón, one of the best opera houses in the world. Enjoying an opera show, ballet, or music concert at Teatro Colón is an absolute treat because the acoustics are phenomenal and the architecture beautiful. It has a large, central chandelier, and the seats are arranged in a horseshoe shape for the best viewing experience.

The best way to explore Teatro Colón is with a guided walking tour or watching a music or dance performance.

4. Malba

Malba (or the Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires) is one of the city’s newest museums, having opened in September 2001. It showcases a wide range of art by talented Latin American artists and always has temporary exhibitions around a particular theme. Malba is the best place to go if you want to gain a deeper understanding of Latin American art.

In addition to its impressive art displays, Malba regularly hosts film exhibitions and other cultural celebrations, and there’ll probably be an exciting event at Malba when you visit.

5. Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo is widely known as the center of Buenos Aires. As the city’s oldest public square, its name commemorates Argentina’s 1810 May Revolution, which sparked the country’s move to independence from the Spanish. Over the years, there have been countless political demonstrations at Plaza de Mayo, and it’s worth a visit because you’ll get the opportunity to admire its monuments and the gigantic Argentinian flag.

If you’re looking for decent souvenirs, there are many curios shops near Plaza de Mayo. 

6. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (or National Museum of the Fine Arts) is a must-see place for any art lover visiting Buenos Aires. This famous museum is located in Recoleta (close to the city’s iconic cemetery) and features works from renowned artists, such as:

  • Van Gogh
  • Renoir
  • Manet
  • Goya
  • Degas
  • Fontana

The museum has over 12,000 pieces of art, so it’s worth allocating at least half a day to explore its fascinating contents.

7. Casa Rosada

Casa Rosada is one of Buenos Aires’ most iconic buildings. Located close to Plaza de Mayo, you’ll easily recognize it by its pink facade. Although Casa Rosada is the presidential palace, the Argentine president doesn’t live there but in the suburb of Olivos. Casa Rosada houses official government offices, and you can tour inside for free over the weekends. However, advance booking is recommended.

When you look at Casa Rosada from the Plaza de Mayo, you’ll see the balcony from which Eva Perón addressed her supporters.

8. Caminito

Caminito is a delightful street museum in La Boca and features brightly-painted houses resembling those occupied by recent immigrants to Buenos Aires in the 19th century. Some buildings have realistic-looking paintings of famous people, such as Che Guevara and Eva Perón.

It’s the perfect place to take Instagram-worthy photos and enjoy a drink or snack in one of the many bars or restaurants.

9. Obelisco

Obelisco is one of Buenos Aires’ most famous monuments. It’s a tall, white stone tower standing 221 feet (67.5 meters) tall and commemorates the 400th anniversary of Spanish settlers on the Rio de la Plata river. Obelisco is located at the junction of two busy and well-known streets: Avenida Corrientes and Avenida 9 de Julio.

As one of the most photographed places in Buenos Aires, the area around Obelisco is typically busy, but it’s worth a visit as Obelisco is impressive and a beautiful monument.

10. Palacio Barolo

The Palacio Barolo is an imposing building in downtown Buenos Aires in the neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque architectural style. With 22 floors, it was once the city’s tallest building but lost this distinction in the 1930s when the Kavanagh Building was constructed. The top of the building has a lighthouse, initially meant to serve as a welcome to visitors to Buenos Aires.

The building’s exterior is the most impressive part, but you can also enter it as it houses various businesses and stores.

11. La Boca

La Boca is an artistic neighborhood with a strong Italian influence, has many colorful houses, and is the best place to buy tango memorabilia. It’s widely regarded as the birthplace of the tango and you can often watch open-air tango shows in the alleyways and pedestrianized areas.

Other attractions in La Boca are:

  • Italian restaurants, taverns, and cafes
  • La Ribera Theatre
  • Open-air market stalls

12. San Telmo

If you want to visit the oldest part of Buenos Aires, head over to San Telmo, the city’s first settlement.

San Telmo is a beautiful part of Buenos Aires to explore on foot as there are many colonial buildings to admire and well-known landmarks to visit.

If you’re in San Telmo, you might be interested in:

  • Antique shops and fairs
  • Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
  • Dorrego Square
  • Tango shows
  • Cobblestone streets

13. Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur is a nature reserve in the heart of Buenos Aires’ city center. It has 865 acres (350 hectares), several walking trails, and is the perfect way to escape from the large Buenos Aires crowds. You can enjoy some cycling, a gentle walk, or a picnic at Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur while admiring the unique Pampas grass.

14. Fuente de las Nereidas (Lola Mora)

Fuente de las Nereidas is an intricate sculpture by Lola Mora erected in 1903. It shows the naked Greek goddess Venus sitting on a seashell with tritons and sea nymphs (or nereids) posing around her. You can view this unique sculpture in Puerto Madero, a modern part of the city with a beautiful river running through it.

15. Buenos Aires Central Post Office

Visiting a post office doesn’t fill most tourists with much enthusiasm. However, the Buenos Aires Central Post Office (or Carreo Central building) is an impressive neoclassical building with Second Empire and Beaux-Arts elements that’s one of Argentina‘s most important cultural landmarks.

Buenos Aires Central Post Office stopped functioning as a post office in 2005 and is currently the headquarters for the Argentine National Symphony Orchestra.

16. Galerías Pacífico

If you’re interested in doing a bit of shopping in Buenos Aires, and you want a beautiful and unique place to do so, Galerías Pacífico is your best bet. While Galerías Pacífico’s selection of stores may not be extraordinary, its atmosphere, architecture, and design are anything but boring.

Galerías Pacífico is one of the city’s largest shopping malls and was designed to resemble the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping mall in Milan. The interior and atrium showcase beautiful paintings, and a cultural center features exciting events throughout the year.

17. Tango

Buenos Aires is the birthplace of the famous tango — a passionate, sensual, and demonstrative dance.

You can’t leave the city without checking out at least one live tango show. Thankfully, these are easy to come by, with free lessons and demonstrations at the Barrancas de Belgrano park on Sunday evenings and many tango and dinner combinations.

Other popular places to enjoy some live tango include:

  • San Telmo
  • Salón Canning
  • El Beso
  • La Viruta Tango Club

18. Cuisine

Buenos Aires has a strong Spanish and Italian heritage, and its cuisine reflects this. You’ll never go hungry in this city because there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The most popular meal is an Argentine steak with a glass of red wine, but there are many other dishes to enjoy:

  • Asado
  • Empanadas
  • Choripán
  • Matambre
  • Chimichurri

Buenos Aires cuisine isn’t particularly spicy but has plenty of flavor due to the high-quality herbal seasonings, meat, and vegetables.

In Buenos Aires, you’ll likely come across merienda, high tea, or teatime. Since locals like to eat dinner late, merienda is the perfect way to keep their energy levels up in the late afternoon.

Buenos Aires locals enjoy taking their merienda at around 5 pm, typically consisting of coffee and a pastry.

19. Barbecue

Barbecue (or Asado) is incredibly popular in Buenos Aires, and you don’t have to travel far to find an excellent barbecue spot. There are many popular barbecue restaurants in the city, but many locals prefer buying barbecued food from street vendors.

Whether you prefer barbecued steak, ribs, or chorizo sausages, you’ll certainly find something tasty from a local street vendor or restaurant.

Here are some popular barbecue places in Buenos Aires:

  • Secret Parrilla
  • El Tejano
  • Los Amigos de Juan
  • Bulls BBQ & Smoke House
  • Santos Manjares

20. Football

Buenos Aires locals are passionate about football (or soccer), the country’s most popular sport. The city has 24 football clubs, and there are often football games at the Estadio Monumental, the largest sports stadium in the country. Watching a football game at the stadium is the best way to experience Buenos Aires’ passion for the sport, but you can also catch live games at a sports bar.

21. Street Art

Buenos Aires is an excellent city for admiring classical art in museums, and it’s also one of the best places in the world to view incredible street art.

The city allows artists to use boundary and building walls as a canvas for artwork (as long as the owner agrees), and if you’d like to see Buenos Aires’ most extensive street art, check out these places:

  • Calle Lanín
  • Centro Cultural Recoleta
  • Caminito
  • Mercado de las Pulgas
  • Paseo de la Historieta

22. Architecture

If you love admiring beautiful architecture, Buenos Aires will be an absolute treat for you. The city’s architecture is dominated by the art nouveau, neoclassical, and art deco styles. However, there are also strong beaux-arts and colonial influences.

Strolling through any city street gives you the opportunity of taking in the architecture, but you may consider the following landmarks for their impressive architecture:

  • Casa Rosada
  • National Congress building
  • La Manzana de Las Luces
  • Palacio de Aguas Argentinas

23. Culture

Buenos Aires’ culture is quintessentially Latin American. At the same time, it’s unique from those of other South American countries. It’s difficult to describe Buenos Aires’ culture because it’s a delightful combination of various influences:

  • Indigenous
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • Jewish
  • Polish
  • German

Buenos Aires locals are passionate, artistic, friendly, warm, and try to live life to the fullest. Sipping mate, eating top-quality steaks, watching football, and dancing the tango are some common examples of Buenos Aires’ culture.

24. Theatres

Performing arts is one of the most important industries in Buenos Aires, and the city has over 300 theatres. Whether you enjoy listening to an opera, watching classical ballet, or enjoying a contemporary musical, you’re spoiled for choice in Buenos Aires.

These are the most popular theatres in Buenos Aires:

  • Teatro Colón
  • Teatro Nacional Cervantes
  • Teatro Broadway
  • Teatro Avenida
  • Teatro de la Ribera

25. The Colón Theater

The Colón Theater is Buenos Aires’ most well-known theatre. Here, you can enjoy a world-class opera experience and look at the stage that has accommodated some of the most famous opera singers like Maria Callas and Andrea Bocelli. Watching an opera show at the Colón Theater is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and booking your tickets well in advance is recommended.

26. Palermo

Located in northern Buenos Aires, Palermo is the largest neighborhood (or “barrio”) in the city. It lies along the iconic Rio de la Plata and is an excellent place to gain a general impression of Buenos Aires. It’s home to the Feria de Plaza Serrano, a bustling and bohemian square where you can enjoy street music performers, market stalls, and various bars, restaurants, and cafes.

Once you’ve had your fill of Palermo’s vibrant side, you can explore its calmer part and head to the botanical gardens or Parque Tres de Febrero. The botanical gardens boast countless exquisite flower species and lush garden trails, while the Parque Tres de Febrero is a romantic spot with a lake and a poet’s garden.

27. Shopping

Buenos Aires offers excellent shopping opportunities. Whether you’re looking for designer fashion, antiques, books, or home decor items, you’ll surely find a feast for your eyes in Buenos Aires.

The city’s main shopping areas include:

  • Pacífico, with its vast shopping mall
  • Avenida Santa Fe has many fashion stores featuring local designers
  • Microcentro is an open-air shopping area selling fashion, accessories, electronics, and leather goods.

If you’d like to visit the country’s largest and most beautiful book store, head to the Ateneo Grand Splendid bookstore in Recoleta, where you’ll be tempted to buy at least one book.

28. Buenos Aires Cabildo

When Buenos Aires was under Spanish rule, the Cabildo was its municipal seat and town hall. After Argentina gained independence, the Cabildo was kept on as an administrative building. Today, it no longer functions as a city building but houses a museum (the National Museum of Cabildo) showcasing various artifacts, documents, and paintings from the May Revolution.

After taking in the interesting exhibits, you can explore the old jail, browse the gift shop, and enjoy a drink and a snack at the cafe.

The Cabildo is in Monserrat, and close to the Palacio Barolo, and the Teatro Colón.

29. The Metropolitan Cathedral

Catholicism is the main Christian denomination in Argentina, and Buenos Aires’ Metropolitan Cathedral is its main Catholic church.

Visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral is convenient and easy to find off the Plaza de Mayo. Its external facade has several tall pillars, while the interior is decorated with intricate Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance statues and finishes. Visitors to the Metropolitan cathedral love its calm ambiance and cool interior.

Some highlights when visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral include:

  • The unique Neo-Baroque and Neo-Renaissance architecture
  • The tomb of the unknown Argentine soldier
  • The eternal flame to remember the departed
  • The Jesus statue

30. Nightlife

There is always something happening in Buenos Aires, and the city never sleeps. If you crave excitement and love enjoying a fun evening out, there are countless bars, nightclubs, and party spots in the city.

Some popular clubs include:

  • Jet Lounge
  • Senor Tango
  • Fiesta Plop
  • Ink
  • Salon Canning

Alternatively, you could enjoy a dinner and tango show or a Buenos Aires gastronomic tour.

31. Plaza Dorrego

Located in Buenos Aires’ popular San Telmo area, Plaza Dorrego is a historic neighborhood square that hosts a thriving antique and art fair every Sunday. During the rest of the week, it’s a great place to discover the many bars and cafes surrounding it. 

The atmosphere in Plaza Dorrego is always energetic, and you can often spot tango dancers and musicians spilling out from the bars and restaurants.

32. Paseo El Rosedal Garden

Paseo El Rosedal Garden (or the Rose Garden) is in the pretty Tres de Febrero park in Palermo. If you’re visiting Buenos Aires with your partner, it’s the perfect place in which to enjoy a romantic picnic and admire over 18,000 rose species.

The best time of year to visit the Paseo El Rosedal Garden is during the late spring or early summer when the roses are in full bloom, and there’s a riot of color and sweet floral fragrance in the air.

Conclusion

When visiting Argentina, Buenos Aires will probably be the first city you see. Although the rest of the country offers spectacular scenery and rich culture, it’s worth spending a few days in the capital to experience all the amazing things it has to offer.

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