Buenos Aires is a bit of an enigma, but in the best way possible. In part, it feels like a European city that just happens to be in South America. On the other hand, many aspects are decidedly Latin, but the two meld together to create an atmosphere that is totally unique to the city.
Known for amazing steakhouses, great shopping, and some of the best wine around (hello, Argentinian Malbec!), this city is one you’ll want to add to your bucket list.
When To Go
Remember, the seasons in Argentina are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere, so keep this in mind while planning your trip. Heading to Buenos Aires during their fall or spring season is your all-around best bet.
During January and February (Buenos Aires summertime), temperatures can be uncomfortably warm, and you’ll likely be sharing the streets with plenty of travelers. While Carnivale (an annual event in February) can be an exciting time, shops tend to shut down, and many of the streets are completely dead outside of the festivities—important to keep in mind.
Winters (June through August) can be very rainy and chilly, but you can score a good deal on hotels, as it’s off-season.
Where to Stay
Lodging in Buenos Aires is easy to come by, and there’s a beautiful scene of boutique hotels to experience. If you’re on a budget, Pop Hotel is an amazing bang-for-your-buck option with rooms under $50. The Faena Hotel is an obvious choice if you’re willing to spend a bit more for its whirlpool tubs and luxury spa.
For a great option that is equal parts affordable (rooms are under $100 a night), centrally located, and modern, head to the Hotel Pulitzer. The property is in the heart of the city, and has many great perks (free breakfast and wifi). A small pool and a cocktail bar inspired by 1970s New York round out the property.
You’ll probably fly into the Ministro Pistarini International Airport, (also known as Ezeiza) when arriving in Buenos Aires. From there, your best bet is taking a white taxi into the city center. Fares to get there run from $30-$40 so it’s not a bad deal, especially if splitting with a few friends.
Once you’re in Buenos Aires proper, you’ll find the city to be very walkable. You can easily tackle a few neighborhoods in a day, and getting around on foot is one of the best ways to see the city. For longer journeys, the city has a subway system (called Subte) that is easy to use, and cab rides are relatively cheap as well.
Where to Eat
This is the perfect city for foodies on a budget with its reasonable prices, big entrees, and wine aplenty. You’ll likely be able to order an appetizer, entree, and a good bottle of Malbec, spending just $20 each for an incredible meal. Buenos Aires is known for great meats, empanadas, and, of course, their world renowned Malbec wine—so come with a good appetite!
Considered one of the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires, La Cabrera is a great spot for an authentic Argentinian meal. If you go during happy hour, you can score a fantastic deal on both food and drinks.
This classic steakhouse is a well-loved spot in Buenos Aires. The steaks and garlic fries are incredible and their empanadas are some of the best in the entire city.
Siamo Nel Forno in Palermo
This restaurant is a quaint, family-run establishment with exceptional service and delicious pizza and wine.
The Argentine Experience
While this is a bit of a splurge at $89 per person, it’s a fun night out if you enjoy cooking and socializing with other travelers. The price includes lessons on empanada and dessert making, unlimited wine pairings, and a deeper look into the food and culture of Argentina. They place groups together based on language preference so you won’t run into any communication barriers.
Where to Drink
What was once a mansion is now Milion, and the result is a great bar with a fun vibe. The mood is upbeat and trendy—the perfect spot for a girls’ night out.
A flower shop with an underground bar sounds too quaint and quirky to be true, but it exists in Buenos Aires. The drinks are creative and delicious, and there’s a good food menu if you also want snacks.
This bar is somewhat hidden, but once you’re inside, great cocktails and a cool vibe await. While cocktails are the main draw, there’s also food and coffee available.
What to See
Palermo is a lively part of the city with rows of cafes and restaurants as well as some can’t-miss museums. It’s a great part of the city to experience on foot, and you can easily spend a day here roaming through the cafes and museums.
Start your day with an iced coffee and pastry at Oui Oui before heading to MALBA, one of the city’s most famous art museums. Paul French Gallery is a must-visit shop for interior design fiends, with beautiful pieces just waiting to be snapped up.
Round out your Palermo excursion with a meal at Olsen, a pretty Scandinavian-inspired spot. Lunch includes an appetizer, entree, side, and glass of wine for just $14! It’s a little different from the typical Argentine cuisine, so a good option if you want something a little different.
If you want a slice of Paris in Buenos Aires, head to the Recoleta neighborhood for a healthy dose of French inspiration.
La Recoleta Cemetery is a breathtaking sight and one of the highlights of this area. Evita’s gravesite is here, along with nearly 5,000 other vaults. Nearby, there are also markets to browse through making for a fun atmosphere to explore.
El Sanjuanino is also in this neighborhood, and while tourists frequently laud this restaurant as having some of the best empanadas in Buenos Aires, we far prefer those at La Brigada.
San Telmo is one of the oldest areas of Buenos Aires, so if you want great antique shopping, head straight here for some of the best in the city. Sundays are typically very crowded, but if you go on a weekday, you can browse at your leisure and without fighting the crowds.
Aside from the markets, there are also great brick and mortar shops here, making this a good spot to nab a few trinkets to take home with you.
Alice’s is a good spot in the neighborhood for a quick bite to eat after a day of shopping. The prices are low and the food and drinks are fantastic and filling.
This area is famous for its art and colorful buildings, as well as the fútbol stadium (La Bombonera), which is also located in this region. Quite popular with tourists, La Boca gets very crowded, but the area is still very much a working class neighborhood.
Beyond the tourism of La Boca, the area is an important part of history for Buenos Aires as new immigrants would often establish themselves here upon arriving in Argentina.
- Communicating is quite easy as many residents of Buenos Aires speak English, but, as always, be sure to learn a few key phrases prior to your trip.
- Things happen later! Don’t be surprised about a 10:00 p.m. dinner so plan ahead to avoid hunger.
- Wine is relatively cheap and very, very good. We highly recommend saving room in your bag to bring some home with you.
- The city is generally quiet during holidays so plan around them to avoid closed restaurants and empty streets.
- Argentina is an absolutely enormous country, so plan day trips from Buenos Aires accordingly! If you’re there for more than a weekend, head to Mendoza, home to some of the best wines in all of Argentina. Casa De Uco is a stunningly beautiful resort that serves as a great jumping off point, especially if you’re looking to explore the wider region.