Things To See in Buenos Aires, Argentina

There are now few reminders of the city's glorious past, although the immense Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral), which contains the remains of San Martín, Argentinas liberator, is a notable exception. So is the famous Teatro Colón, the world's largest opera house (with a capacity of 2500 seats), which occupies an entire block on the massive Avenida 9 de Julio, the city's major thoroughfare with its Obelisco (obelisk) at the intersection with Avenida Corrientes (the traditional theatre, cinema and nightlife district).

Also worth a visit is the Isaac Fernández Blanco Museum of Spanish-American Art, which houses an important silverware collection and is located in a beautiful neo-colonial mansion; the Ambrosetti Museum; the Museum of Colonial History; and the Basilica of Luján, which attracts millions of pilgrims every year. The old artists' quarter of La Boca, home of the tango, is located along a narrow waterway lined by meat-packing plants and warehouses.

Attractions in Buenos Aires

  • La Boca

    , Buenos Aires, Argentina

    More than any other barrio in Buenos Aires, La Boca flaunts its uniqueness. Known as the "República de la Boca", one of the first things you may notice is the local habit of walking on the road rather than the pavement. This is probably partly due to the disastrous state of some of the pavements (many of which are raised because of frequent flooding) but many porteños would claim that it was an example of boquenses refusal to play by the rules. But Boca is most famous for its brightly coloured wooden and corrugated iron houses, a tradition started by Genovese immigrants and encouraged by Bocas most famous artist, Benito Quinquela Martín who, in the 1930s, donated the land to build the Teatro de la Ribera and Museo de Bellas Artes de La Boca (Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 1835; Mon-Fri 8am–6pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Jan; free). More recently, Boca has acquired one of the citys best art galleries, the Fundación Proa (Avenida Pedro de Mendoza 1929; Tues-Sun 11am-7pm; US$3/US$2 students). Housed within a strikingly converted mansion, Proa has no permanent collection but hosts some fascinating and diverse exhibitions ranging from pre-Colombian Argentine art to twentieth-century Mexican painting. The gallery is topped by a tiny roof terrace which is one of the few places where you can get a view over La Boca.

  • Recoleta Cementery

    Avenida Junín 1760, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    If there is one place in Buenos Aires that is synonymous with serious wealth it is Recoleta, the name given both to the barrio to the North West of Retiro and to one of Buenos Aires most astonishing tourist attraction,many of the suburbs and motorways in the city are named after those who lie in its elaborate mausoleums. The tomb that most people go to see, of course, is that of Evita. Simple in comparison with the flights of marble fantasy that surround it, the mausoleum is marked by her maiden name "Duarte" and a small plaque inscribed with her most celebrated phrase "volveré y seré millones" ("I will return and be millions").

  • 9 de Julio and the Obelisco

    , Buenos Aires, Argentina

    With its neon signs, swirling traffic and the strangely anonymous Obelisco (built in 1936), the intersection of Corrientes and 9 de Julio could have been created by a film director to represent a city anywhere in the world. Yet thanks to the iconic status conferred on this junction by the citys postcards, it has become one of Buenos Aires most recognizable sights. Its giant scale and strategic location also make it a natural magnet for carloads of celebrating fans after a major football victory.

  • Avenida De Mayo

    city centre, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Heading west from the Plaza de Mayo takes you along Avenida de Mayo, which was the first avenue of high rise buildings in Buenos Aires, built in 1894. Take a look at Perú station, the second stop on Línea A of the subterráneo (the subway), which has been refurbished with old advertisements and fittings to reflect the history of the line and its wonderful old carriages. At no. 829 is Buenos Airess most famous confitería, the Café Tortoni. You will find the 36 Billares, another café, at no. 1265, but the real attraction here is the billiards salon and games room where an almost exclusively male crowd whiles away the day playing chess, dice, pool and truco, the complex Argentine card game. Once the tallest building in Buenos Aires, the elaborate and top-heavy Edificio Barolo in the 1300 block symbolizes the awkward, grandiose and slightly faded elegance of this unique avenue.

  • The Islands Of Parana Delta

    , Buenos Aires, Argentina

    A wonderfully seductive maze of rivers and streams, and only an hours train journey from the city centre, the Delta del Paraná offers one of Buenos Aires most unexpected experiences. The first section, made up of three thousand isleños, is easily accessible by boat (from the Estación Fluvial across the road from the train station). A trip along its waterways takes you past traditional houses on pilotes (stilts) which peep out behind screens of sub-tropical vegetation and are served by boats that function as shops and petrol stations. The areas fauna includes the carpincho, or capybara (a large aquatic rodent) as well as notoriously ferocious mosquitoes, as testified by the huge billboard advertising the mosquito repellent "Off" at the mouth of the Río Sarmiento. The Delta can be visited on a day trip but it is also a great place to stay overnight if the idea of drifting off to sleep listening to crickets and the gentle chugging of boats appeals to you.

  • San Telmo

    , Buenos Aires, Argentina

    It is impossible not to be seduced by the crumbling ornamental façades and cobbled streets of San Telmo, one of the citys most picturesque neighbourhoods and many travellers favourite place to stay. It is a great area for informal sightseeing - just wander its streets and you will come across beautiful old houses, traditional bars, antique shops (particularly along Defensa) and even a thriving food market, the Mercado de San Telmo, in the block bounded by Defensa, Carlos Calvo, Estados Unidos and Bolivar. One of the areas oddities is the Casa Mínima (Pasaje San Lorenzo 380), which has the narrowest façade (under 2.5 metres) in Buenos Aires.

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