Untraditional Sightseeing in Buenos Aires
It would be an understatement to say there is a lot to see and do in Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires. Not only is it the largest city in Argentina but it is the second-largest metropolitan area in South America. Buenos Aires is a cultural melting pot, famous for its delicious food, thriving art and fashion scene, and of course, Tango. For travelers who want an unforgettable experience, we have put together a list of sightseeing options that are a little more off the beaten path while still highlighting the features that have helped to make Buenos Aires South America’s most-visited city.
1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid – This gorgeous bookstore is a must-see for any bibliophile. Originally the store was a theater, the “Teatro Grand Splendid,” which opened its doors in the spring of 1919. The building was designed by architects Pero and Torres Armengol and is an excellent example of the Eclecticism architectural style. Over a million patrons visit the store each year and in 2008 it earned the number 2 spot on The Guardian’s list of the world’s top ten most beautiful bookshops.
2. La Boca – Travelers won’t want to leave Buenos Aires without visiting one of its most vibrant neighborhoods. View all the colorful buildings and houses by strolling through Caminito, or as it translates to in Spanish, “little walkway.” This street museum served as the inspiration for the famous tango by the same name, composed in 1926 by Juan de Dios Filiberto. In addition to viewing all the brightly painted buildings, guests can also browse nearby stands of local artists selling their work.
3. Tigre – When travelers have had their fill of fast-paced city life and are ready to slow things down, the scenic town of Tigre makes for the perfect daytime excursion. Located north of Buenos Aires, it is about one hour by train and is peaceful as it is lush. Tigre is the perfect starting point to explore the Parana Delta by boat.
4. Teatro Colon (Columbus Theatre) or Teatro General San Martin – Buenos Aires is the theatre capital of South America with 300 active theatres staging plays (that’s more than New York, London, or Paris). Of the many venues throughout the city, the most famous is certainly Teatro Colon, an internationally-rated opera house. National Geographic ranked it as the third best opera house in the world. It closed in 2006 for renovations and was reopened to the public in May of 2010. Another notable venue in the city is Teatro San Martin which was officially opened in 1960 and features three different performance halls.
5. All Things Tango – A trip to Buenos Aires would not be complete without a chance to experience the traditional South American dance in its most authentic form. Grab a partner and head down to one of the many thriving Milongas, or tango clubs, throughout the city. For those who are too shy to get out on the dancefloor themselves but still wish to see live dancing, there are plenty of showcases and live performances such as We Are Tango and Tango Porteno. To learn more about the history of the dance, travelers can visit The World Tango Museum (located within the National Academy of Tango). An array of colorful rooms and displays detail the evolution of Tango from its creation.