Perhaps no city on Earth is as identified with an indigenous art form as Buenos Aires is with tango. For decades, it was considered passé by all but its aging practitioners, but tango has become cool again, especially la milonga dance halls, and young Porteños and international travelers flock to the tango circuit around the city. Besides taking in a milonga, you can also visit tango’s important landmarks in Buenos Aires.
- Café Tortoni: This venerable cafe, which has welcomed tango giants like Gardel and artists of every persuasion, is a beloved institution. In back is a cool, small theater featuring nightly tango performances.
- El Querandí: This historic 1920s Monserrat restaurant offers a quite good and intimate dinner-theater program that tells the story of tango’s birth and evolution. If you’re more in the mood for a glass of wine, the restaurant has a wine bar next door.
- Abasto barrio: This neighborhood is intimately identified with tango. Carlos Gardel, the greatest star tango produced, frequented it and lived the last years of his life here. Today, the barrio is pulling out all the stops to make its tango connection colorfully appealing (much as La Boca has with Caminito), with entire streets enlivened by fileteado painting.
- Milonga circuit: Whether you’re a practiced tango dancer ready to strap on your dancing shoes, or just want to watch others—both natives and groups of foreigners who’ve moved to Buenos Aires to join the informal circuit—you’ll find classic old-school milongas every night of the week (they start around 11pm and go as late as 6am). The principal dance halls, each with their own night of prominence and dedicated followers, include El Niño Bien (perhaps the most famous of its kind), Salón Canning, Club Gricel, Sunderland, and the outdoor pavilion at La Glorieta in Belgrano.
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