Buenos Aires is a city of complexities. Its large neighborhoods vary significantly in styles and classifications in part because of Argentina’s tumultuous history. There’s classic Recoleta where you’ll see grand European Renaissance inspired architecture, then there’s La Boca, the colorful, yet mostly deprived part of the city. Walk down the famous Avenida de Mayo from one end to the other and you’ll begin to understand the city’s transformation, albeit not necessarily in chronological order.
There are a number of sights and attractions to see in Buenos Aires and you’ll be pressed to limit your time if you decide to see them all. If it’s your first time, however, hit these top 10 Buenos Aires attractions first and then explore each neighborhoods a little bit more.
Top 10 Buenos Aires Attractions
El Obelisco or The Obelisk is the towering monument that stands in the middle of Avenida de 9 de Julio, right where it intersects with Avenida Corrientes. It’s a popular sight for massive rallies, political or otherwise, and a symbolic figure that represents the founding of Buenos Aires.
Plaza de Mayo
It’s Argentina’s most famous square. It’s where Casa Rosada, the famous “pink house” and seat of Argentinean government, resides. It is the center for politics and finance, and it also symbolizes rebellion and hope for many Argentines.
Café Tortoni is a French-inspired coffee house that continuously serves patrons since it first opened in the late 19th century. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and was once the hub of Argentine artists and intellectuals.
Definitely a place worthy of being part of the top 10 Buenos Aires attractions, this large cemetery in the city’s Recoleta neighborhood is somewhat a museum in itself. Grand mausoleums, elaborate burial plots, and picturesque streets make up this spiritual place. It’s also where a number of famous and infamous people are buried, including Eva Peron.
Palace of the National Congress
The neoclassical structure that caps the western end of Avenida de Mayo is the seat of the Argentine National Congress. Its striking green-colored cupola sits atop a white marble centerpiece featuring a four-horse chariot driven by Liberty and is considered the symbol of the Argentine Republic.
Museo Nacional de Belles Artes
This impressive fine arts museum located in the city’s Recoleta neighborhood is one of the most visited attractions in all of Argentina. It carries a large collection of contemporary art from local artists as well as thousands of international collections ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century.
Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo
Plaza Dorrego is the central square in the charming and historic neighborhood of San Telmo. It is a great place to sip a cup of coffee, observe the local life in Buenos Aires, and watch an impromptu performance of Milonga. On Sundays, it becomes a hub for antique sellers hoping to make a buck or two.
Literature lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to this famous opera house turned bookstore. El Ateneo is considered one of the largest and most beautiful bookstores in the world. The selection of English books is focused mostly on fiction and romance but it does have a wide variety of Latin American books varying from non-fiction to children’s literature. Take advantage of the box seats, which are now used as public reading spaces.
It’s the main opera house in Buenos Aires and one of the best performance venues around the world in terms of acoustics. Its elaborate interior and exterior architecture varies in style and reflects the architectural grandeur of many Buenos Aires buildings during the turn of the 20th century.
Caminito in La Boca
The colorful streets in Caminito are a good enough reason for tourists to flock to this part of La Boca but there’s more to the vibrantly painted community housing that line these streets. Venture outside of the main tourist area and you’ll find that La Boca is a stark contrast to the more affluent neighborhoods of San Telmo and Recoleta. Eventually, the streets will lead you to the neighborhood’s most famous landmark, La Bombonera, the worshipped home of the Boca Juniors.
Puerto Madero is the modern district of Buenos Aires adjacent to Rio de la Plata with plenty of restaurants, boutique shops, high-rise buildings and hotels. It is a great place to unwind particularly on a nice day. Visitors can stroll the pedestrian walkway and see great views of the docks and the relatively new skyline of Buenos Aires.
Have you visited any of these top 10 Buenos Aires attractions? Leave us a comment below!