Things to Do in Buenos Aires: When it comes to what Buenos Aires has to offer, it’s absolutely impossible to scratch most of the surface during one visit to the city. From shopping boutiques to watching operas and dancing to tango, you’ll find a little bit of everything here. Some of the items on this list are admittedly touristy (looking at you here, El Caminito), but there’s a reason travelers still go there. Balance the tourist trap with a little local flavor by exploring unique species and tranquil nature trails. Be sure to fuel up for the manic pace that Buenos Aires moves with a questionable-yet-traditional diet of Malbec wine, dulce de leche gelato, massive cuts of red meat, and café con Leche.
15 Things to Do in Buenos Aires
- See Eva Perón’s Grave (and Some Cool, Creepy Cats) at Recoleta Cemetery
This is not just an ordinary cemetery. Recoleta Cemetery is the final resting place for Argentina’s richest, most famous, and most powerful figures. It’s so big that they even give you a map to navigate the maze of ornate tombs. By far the most popular site is the tomb of the beloved Eva Perón, the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 to 1952. While the graves are quiet, there are some strange stray cats roaming around that give the cemetery an extra haunting vibe.
- Chow Down on the Best Steak of Your Life
Red meat – and the act of getting together for an Asado, or barbecue – is a central part of Argentine culture. Popular places to eat your first Argentine ojo de bife (ribeye) include Don Julio, La Cabrera, and La Brigada. Don’t expect to dine before 9 or 10 p.m., and be sure to pair your meal with Malbec from Mendoza for the perfect dining experience. Argentines generally like their meat quite well, so if you like yours less cooked, order it just or bien jugoso.
- Kayak Through Lesser-Known Channels of Tigre
Buenos Aires can be overwhelming, so sometimes a nearby escape is welcome. There are convenient train lines that go directly to Tigre, an area about an hour outside the city center that has the largest delta system in the world. The best day to visit is Sunday when you can see the area’s Puerto de Frutos, a huge market with affordable crafts and food. It’s easy to rent a kayak here—right at the main dock there is a line of agencies that can help you. If you are not feeling ambitious enough, book regular boat trips and relax while enjoying the peace and quiet.
- Get Passionate About Tango
Consider booking a dinner-and-tango-show at Rojo Tango at Hotel Faena—it’s pure sexiness and perfect for a romantic date. Want to get in on the action? Check out a milonga, a place where people go dancing the tango. Sunday night is Milonga in San Telmo’s Plaza Dorrego, the perfect way to end the day after hitting up the San Telmo Antique Fair. The salon also offers classes in addition to canning shows.
La Glorieta is an open-air milonga in Belgrano that hosts free events on the weekends, but one of the most welcoming places to learn dance is La Viruta, located in the basement of the Armenian Cultural Center. The crowd is a mix of tourists, expatriates, and locals. Sign up for a lesson earlier in the night so you’ll be ready when more experienced dancers show up after midnight.
- Get Cultured for Free at Museo Nacional de Bellas Arte
The grand National Museum of Fine Arts is easily one of the best in the world, featuring Latino artists and big names like Vincent van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. the best part? It’s free and easy with public transportation.
- Sip on Café con Leche and Eat Medialunas at Café Tortoni
Tourist maximally but somehow still charming, Café Tortoni is a great place to sit down and have breakfast. Opened in 1858, this café has over the years been a meeting place for renowned writers, artists, and musicians, including José Luis Borges, Alfonsina Storny, Carlos Gardel, and Benito Quinquella Martín. While it’s a bit more expensive than most, do other cafes have Tiffany glass ceilings?
- Buy Super Cool Antique Knickknacks You Don’t Really Need at San Telmo Market
This colorful and crowded Sunday Street Fair attracts over 12,000 people each week. Along Defense’s pedestrian street, you’ll find stalls hawking antiques, artwork, knickknacks, and other treasures. If antiques aren’t your thing, grab a glass of wine at one of the restaurants and people-watch, or wander within a 10-block radius for some of the best street performer shows.
- Feel Swanky As You Try to Understand Polo
Established in 1928 and known as the “Cathedral of Polo,” the Palermo Hippodrome hosts some of the most important events in the polo world, including the annual Argentine Polo Tournament. The stadium holds 30,000 spectators, but be aware that tickets for big matches can be expensive. If you’re on a budget, go at a time when local clubs are competing.
Want to learn to play? An hour out of town many estancias offer “polo days,” where you can get a lesson or two and try your hand at a real match.
- Dance ’til Dawn (and Then Some)
If tango isn’t your thing, party with the locals at the city’s boliches (nightclubs). Don’t bother arriving before 2 pm, or you will be awkwardly sitting alone at the club. Most people leave after sunrise and don’t drink much – while locals dance the night away and appreciate a good discussion, most are not meant to drink. Check out Pacha, check out the big-name DJs at Crowbar, or hit up the ever-popular Niceto for a packed dance floor.
- Get Cultured and Feel Fancy at Teatro Cólon
One of the most important opera houses in the world and a Buenos Aires landmark, the history of the Teatro Colón goes back to 1857. Now completely restored to its former glory, tourists come here to see orchestral symphonies, operas and ballets. If you can’t make it to a show, you can always sign up for a guided tour of this gorgeous seven-story building.
- Embrace Your Inner Hippie at La Bomba de Tiempo
Every Monday at around 7 pm. (and sometimes after a while), all the hippies come out of the woodwork to go to this huge weekly percussion event at the Konex Cultural Center. You must be 18 years old to enter and not notice the smell of marijuana. The union is real – by the end of the event, everyone is dancing together to the beat.
- Get Gaucho at Feria de Mataderos
This lively folk market and gaucho (cowboy) fair is located in the very blue-collar neighborhood of Mataderos. Happening on a Sunday, it is the perfect place to try regional foods such as loco (a meat and corn stew), empanadas, and humita (a cheese and corn concoction wrapped inside a husk). Dancers, folk singers, and horse riders are there to entertain, and you can shop for leather goods, silver jewelry, knives, and lots of gourds.
- Drink Yerba Mate in the Botanical Gardens
The Botanic Garden in Palermo is the perfect place to relax. There is a butterfly hall, a 100-year-old greenhouse, a small lake, a few fountains, and a herbal garden. There’s also plenty of shade, so bring a blanket, snacks, and a thermos to spend the afternoon lounging like a local to Yerba Mate.
- Sip Cocktails at a Speakeasy
Buenos Aires loves its species, so there is plenty to choose from. Arguably the most famous is Floreria Atlántico, which poses as a simple flower shop. If you’re looking for a chill ambiance, check out Victoria Brown Bar in Palermo. Hidden behind two simple wooden doors is also the romantic and exclusive Bar 878 in Villa Crespo.
- Go on a Street Art Tour
Graffiti Mundo offers some of the best walking tours in town, with many artists leading the way to guide themselves. They know the most efficient way to see more in less time. Tours end in a studio where you can assist the artists by buying prints to take home.