48 Hours in… Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is my favourite Latin American city. It's vibrant and invitingly cosmopolitan; a 24-hour whirlwind of culture, night-life and great, great food. Follow my tips and you'll be able to make the most out of even a flying visit.
First things first - when you book, try to arrange to be in Buenos Aires on a weekend, as this is when the city is at its best.
Saturday morning is a good time to do a proper city tour in downtown Buenos Aires, starting in Congreso, walking down the Avenida de Mayo towards the distinctive Obelisk and the enormously wide Avenida 9 de Julio. Visit Teatro Colon and continue towards Lavalle y Florida to end up in the central square, the Plaza de Mayo, and the Casa Rosada - immortalised in the film Evita. To polish off the afternoon, head to Puerto Madero and enjoy a delicious asado (barbecued steak) in one of the main restaurants in the area. See the restaurant guide at the end of this article for some of my favourites!
The afternoon is the best time to head towards Palermo Soho, a bohemian area enjoying a resurgence. The neighbourhood is full of boutiques and bars and is a great place to experience Buenos Aires's European-style street culture, as well as the weekend craft market in the main square, Plaza Serrano. Drink a coffee or a glass of wine in one of the open air coffee shops or bars, or simply browse the elegant shops.
In the evening, head to one of the local restaurants, bars, nightclubs or go for one of the evening tango shows, depending on your interests. The city is at its best at night and porteños (Buenos Aires locals) certainly know how to party - you could easily stay up until breakfast the next day if you wanted to keep up with them! There are myriad options for every age and taste, and a stroll down one of the central boulevards will quickly reveal plenty of choices of entertainment.
The next morning, visit the famous Recoleta cemetery before the heat of the midday sun hits the city. With its gothic mausoleums laid out in blocks like a miniature city for Argentina's deceased elite, it's reminiscent of Paris's Père-Lachaise. Next door, the excellent handicraft market is always open on Sundays, and there's bound to be plenty else on in this cultural centre: photographic or art exhibitions, dance, music and so on.
Later head towards San Telmo, where there is a large antiques market. In my opinion the best way to spend the afternoon is to take a seat at a pavement cafe in Plaza Dorrego, drink a Quilmes beer and watch or even join in a dance with some of the best tango performers in Buenos Aires. If you have time, you might also like to wander through the painted clapboard houses of Caminito (the 'little street') in nearby La Boca, though it's best to avoid this area after dark.
In the evening head out for a meal to remember - try another restaurant from my list below and you won't go wrong.
Where to eat in Buenos Aires
I don't like eating in Argentina - I love it. My favourite spots to grab a bite in the capital are:
• “La Cabrera” in Palermo for parrilla (grilled meats).
• Another great place for parrilla is “Estilo Campo” in Puerto Madero.
• Try the rib-eye steak at “La Gran Parrilla del Plata” in San Telmo.
• “La Cabaña” in Recoleta is an exclusive steakhouse and a great place for meat lovers.
• I recommend the milanesa napolitana (bread-crumbed beef in a tomato sauce) at “La Poesia” – San Telmo.
• “Bar El Federal” in San Telmo for tasty tapas.
• “Sr Telmo” in San Telmo is the best place for pizza.
• “Freddo” is a chain of ice-cream parlours that you'll find all over the city, but it's not to be overlooked.
A taxi should be able to take you to any of the above. ¡Buen provecho!
Take a look at our range of holidays which visits Buenos Aires.
Last updated: 16 Jun 2017