advertisement
On day two, we move south of the center to two historic neighborhoods, La Boca and San Telmo—where tango was born and nurtured, and still lives on—followed by a glimpse of forward-looking Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero. And we finish in rarified Recoleta, home to some of Buenos Aires’s swankiest apartment buildings, hotels, and shops, and the stunning cemetery where Evita and other pillars of Argentine society are buried. 
 
1. Fundación Proa
Standing in stark, gleaming white contrast to colorful Caminito is this contemporary art museum and foundation, one of the city’s most interesting and progressive art spaces. In addition to excellent exhibits (in past years, featuring Marcel Duchamp, Jenny Holzer, Sol LeWitt, and Sebastião Salgado), the converted Italianate mansion contains a cafe, library, wide terrace with great views of the port and barrio, and auditorium holding occasional concerts and film series. 
 
2. Caminito
Sure, it’s one of the most touristy spots in the city, but the colorful, pedestrian-only alleyway—full of wood-and-corrugated-tin tenement houses with rickety balconies that used to house new immigrants—is so brightly painted and perfect for photographs with tango dancers and street performers that you can’t very well skip it completely. La Boca, the old port area, is where Italian immigrants who worked the shipyards settled, and locals claim the tango was born among the working-class residents (and sailors and prostitutes) in the late 19th century. Part of one of the city’s oldest residential neighborhoods, the local artist Benito Quinquela Martín (1890–1977) conceived of the street in 1959 as a way to give other local artists a massive outdoor canvas. While it hasn’t transformed the district—just venture a couple streets off Caminito to see the plain brown reality of La Boca—it has converted it into a tourist magnet. 
 
3. Plaza Dorrego
The heart of historic, bohemian San Telmo is this lovely and lively plaza—the second-oldest in the city—with a smattering of bars, cafes, and restaurants (in warm months, “terrace” bars take over every inch of space). On Sundays, the renowned San Telmo Antiques Fair occupies the square and spills over onto surrounding streets, transforming the area into the shopping and tourist epicenter of Buenos Aires. Sellers and shoppers compete for space with tango dancers and orchestras. It’s worth planning your trip to Argentina to include a Sunday morning in San Telmo; whether it’s people-watching or serious silver and glass antiques you’re interested in, this busy square cannot fail to entertain. 
 
4. El Zanjón
Beneath an early-19th-century mansion is a labyrinth of tunnels once part of an elaborate and extensive system of transportation and strategic communications, dating to the city’s founding in the 16th century. 
 
7. Colección de Arte Fortabat
Puerto Madero, the site of 19th-century warehouses, is home to a thriving arts scene, including this museum that has garnered a great deal of attention for its avant-garde design by Rafael Viñoly. In spectacular style, it houses the art collection—including some of the biggest names among both Argentine and international artists of the last 100 years—of one of Argentina’s richest women, Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, who passed away in 2012. The cylindrical building features fantastic views of Puerto Madero’s canals, the yacht club, and the city beyond from the upstairs galleries. 
 
8. Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar
The Recoleta neighborhood may not be as old as San Telmo or La Boca, but it does have the second-oldest church in Buenos Aires, which was originally part of a convent belonging to the Padres Recoletos. This attractive church, inaugurated in 1732, has an unadorned colonial exterior, though its current pristine whiteness is a modern alteration (in colonial days, it was white and sun-yellow). Inside, you’ll find outstanding Spanish colonial artwork and a baroque, silver-plated altar brought from Alto Perú. The small religious art museum within the old convent is worth a visit to see the original flooring, windows, and other period details where cloistered nuns once lived. 
 
9. Cementerio de la Recoleta
Recoleta is perhaps the most exclusive neighborhood in Buenos Aires, but its choicest real estate is, curiously, where no one lives. One of the most famous cemeteries in the world, and not just because Evita is buried here, this moving and beautiful city of the dead is one of the highlights of Buenos Aires. Many of the tombs and mausoleums of Argentina’s wealthiest and most powerful residents are audacious, no-expense-spared works of Art Nouveau, Gothic, and neoclassical art: small marble and granite houses with soaring angels and crosses gracing tree-lined boulevards. Opened in 1822, Recoleta is even more exclusive than the neighborhood that has grown up around it: 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, buried in a relatively modest mausoleum indicated by her father’s surname, Família Duarte. 
 
10. La Biela
One of the city’s most famous and pedigreed cafes, with a history that goes back to the mid–19th century, La Biela is where Recoleta’s elite come to sip coffee and nibble on petit-fours on the broad terrace, under umbrellas and massive ombú branches. It’s a classic, European-style cafe inside, where the Argentine author Julio Cortázar (1914–1984) and other illustrious figures settled in over the years, but outdoors is where the practiced art of people-watching, second only to polo season among this crowd, goes on. 
 
11.Avenida Alvear
Recoleta drips with glamour and wealth, in great evidence along this swank residential and commercial avenue, ideal for strolling. Home to elegant apartment buildings and two of the city’s most famous and elite hotels, the Alvear Palace (no. 1883) and Park Hyatt/Palacio Duhau (no. 1661), it is also the site of luxurious digs for high-end fashion stores, including Hermés (no. 1981), Valentino (no. 1923), Ralph Lauren (no. 1780), and Emporio Armani (no. 1750), as well as shops with local flavor, such as the exquisite silversmith Juan Carlos Pallarols (no. 1883).

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.