No length of time ever seems like enough in a city as wonderful as Buenos Aires. This itinerary takes you through 5 days in the capital -- ideally a Wednesday to a Sunday. The route guides you through the best features of various neighborhoods. I've scheduled in plenty of downtime, too, in case you want to tango all night long and take it easy the following day (Buenos Aires, like New York, is a city that doesn't sleep).
1. Relaxing & Settling In
More than likely, you've arrived early in the morning after an all-night flight. Before you head out for the day, make reservations at Cabaña Las Lilas for dinner tonight. Afterward, head to Calle Florida to check out the shops at Galerías Pacífico and have a snack at Il Gran Caffe. Wander down to Plaza de Mayo and take a look at historic sites such as the Cabildo, Buenos Aires's original city hall, the Catedral Metropolitana, and the Casa Rosada, with Evita's famous balcony. Head back to the hotel for a much-needed nap before heading out to Cabaña Las Lilas for dinner. Certainly you've admired the view of Puerto Madero from your table, so have a wander dockside.
2. Historical Buenos Aires
I recommend exploring the historic center of Buenos Aires with a professional guide. As they lead you through the historic center of Buenos Aires, past the Plaza de Mayo and the turn-of-the-20th-century marvel Avenida de Mayo to Congreso, they'll explain how centuries of history and culture are reflected in the streets of Buenos Aires. Ride the wooden trains of the A line subte to station Avenida de Mayo. Have a coffee and medialunas at Café Tortoni, one of the city's most historic and scenic cafes, and try to catch the conversation of Buenos Aires locals discussing the latest issues. If it's a Thursday, return to Plaza de Mayo at 3:30pm for Madres of Plaza de Mayo, a weekly protest held by the mothers of the 30,000 young people who disappeared during the military regime between 1976 and 1982. Then head back to the hotel. In the evening, have dinner in the glorious gilded dining hall of Palacio Español.
3. A Day in Recoleta
Sleep in and have a late breakfast at your hotel. Have your hotel make dinner reservations at La Bourgogne, a fine French restaurant in the Alvear Palace Hotel. Then head to Recoleta Cemetery to pay homage to the most famous tomb in the city, Evita's. Be sure to wander around and see many of the other tombs, all glorious works of art. Around the corner from the cemetery, head to the Centro Cultural Recoleta and check out the newest art exhibit. If you've brought the kids along or you're feeling young at heart, don't forget to visit the children's section with its interactive science exhibits. Afterward, head across Plaza Francia and grab a coffee at La Biela, one of the most famous cafes in the city. After this much-needed break, it's time to do some shopping along Avenida Alvear. Stop into such stores as Polo Ralph Lauren, built into a grand mansion. If you've been shopping for hours, you're just in time for your reservation at La Bourgogne.
After breakfast, head to Plaza Italia and take a walk around, enjoying the contrast of the green trees against the white-marble buildings lining this part of Avenida Santa Fe. Head to the Zoological Gardens and check out the animals, after buying special food to feed them. Afterward, wander the parks along Avenida Libertador, heading toward Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Swing by the hotel, freshen up, and head out again for dinner at Casa Cruz, in Palermo Viejo, one of the city's best places to be seen on a night out. Then visit Bar Isabel next door, a watering hole popular among models.
5. San Telmo & Tango
Head to Plaza Dorrego for the Sunday San Telmo Antiques Fair, one of the most enjoyable highlights of Buenos Aires. In this open-air bazaar, you can buy small antiques and souvenirs to bring home, while watching live tango performances. (Keep an eye on your pockets while you watch.) Then grab a late lunch at the atmospheric Bar El Federal. Head up Calle Defensa to take a look at more antiques in the numerous shops lining the street, such as Galería El Solar de French. Head back to the hotel and freshen up. You're having dinner tonight at El Viejo Almacén. Watching their show is a great way to end your 5-day stay in Buenos Aires.
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.