- Museo Histórico Nacional: A former colonial mansion is today site of the National History Museum, which addresses Argentine history from the 16th through the 20th centuries. On display are items recovered from Jesuit missions and artifacts instrumental in the War of Independence against Spain, including the first Argentine flag, flown in 1813. Among the highlights is the bedroom of General José de San Martín (1778–1850), brought here from his last home and reconstructed.
- Plaza Dorrego: The second-oldest square in the city, and a National Historic Monument, Plaza Dorrego is where Porteños formally declared their independence from Spain in 1816. A market square in the second half of the 19th century, since 1970 it has been the site of a lively antiques fair every Sunday, with high-quality 19th-century silver and glass pieces among the offerings. Other days, visit some of the nearby antiques stores dealing in colonial religious art, chandeliers, and 18th- and 19th-century furniture and silver.
- El Zanjón de Granados: Underground tunnels once ran beneath much of Buenos Aires, and when this 1830 residence, in ruins, was being restored, workers discovered a massive cistern that led them to extensive passageways where water was channeled from the river. What was to become a restaurant was transformed into an archaeological dig. Excavations revealed that the house was built on top of foundations that date to Buenos Aires’s official founding in 1580, and the underground tunnels were part of a labyrinth said to have once reached as far as where Avenida 9 de Julio is currently. It is thought that the tunnels were built starting in 1730 and then sealed by the late 19th century. They and the house have been meticulously restored, and sections of original foundations and brick vaults, as well as tools and ceramics, are handsomely lighted and displayed.
- Plaza de Mayo: The heart of the casco histórico, the oldest square in Buenos Aires, was established in 1580, the date of the city’s second founding. It was the site of the 1810 May Revolution, which led to Argentina’s independence; the Pirámide de Mayo in its center commemorating that event was the first monument built in the city, in 1811. At the east end is the Casa Rosada, which dates to 1884; at the other end, on the north side, is the Catedral Metropolitana, completed in 1882 after nearly 150 years of work (the city’s first cathedral occupied the same spot in 1622). Inside the cathedral is the tomb of General San Martín, the “father of the nation,” whose remains were moved here in 1880. Across the street is the Cabildo, the old town hall, on the spot where the town council met beginning at the end of the 16th century, and the only public building on Plaza de Mayo remaining from colonial days.
- Librería de Ávila: The first bookstore in Buenos Aires, dating from 1785 (when it was called Librería del Colegio), was a companion to the university, and more than 2 centuries later, it remains in operation, with current and rare titles available and a downstairs literary cafe.
- Manzana de las Luces: On this historic Block of Enlightenment, the oldest collection of buildings in Buenos Aires and the intellectual heart of the city, the Jesuits settled in 1633 and remained until their expulsion from Argentina in 1767. Underground tunnels from the 18th century (which may have had a military purpose or been used in contraband) run beneath the block. In 1686, the Jesuits lay the foundations for Iglesia de San Ignacio, the oldest existing church in Buenos Aires (finished in 1734).
- Avenida de Mayo: This grand, European-style boulevard, inaugurated in 1894, is the most historic in the city, lined with Belle Epoque architecture. The axis of Argentine political power, connecting the Casa Rosada (the house of the president) to Congreso (the seat of the congress), it is most representative of the city’s golden age. By 1910, 18 hotels had been erected here, along with the city’s most popular cafes and theaters.
- Cementerio de la Recoleta: Opened in 1822, this stunning necropolis—Buenos Aires’s first public cemetery—is the final resting place of military generals, presidents, and aristocrats, including Bartolomé Mitre (1821–1906), the first president of Argentina; José Paz (1842–1912), the founder of La Prensa; and, of course, Eva Perón (1919–1952), buried in 1976 (after her remains were finally recovered, in 1971, after being missing for 16 years) in a mausoleum indicated by her father’s surname, Família Duarte.
- Alvear Palace Hotel Bar: Within this standard-bearer for luxury hotels in Buenos Aires, inaugurated in 1932, is a rich, old-world bar that’s the perfect place for a cocktail after visiting the city’s most historic sights.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.