|Clearly defined in a Tango song, Buenos Aires
is the Queen of Cities. Perhaps its secret lies in having everything:
culture, architecture, art, music, and non stop nightlife. Together, it
all combines to form a fascinating city, worth discovering block by block.
Buenos Aires was born mimicking Europe, copying characteristics from both Madrid and Paris. To many, this cocktail of styles turned out better than the originals. However, Buenos Aires also created its own heritage, adding to the mix some sultry tangos, ubiquitous "colectivos", quaint cafés and most of all, the flair of its residents, the proud "porteños". And what can be said about B.A. at nightfall, Porteños favorite time to celebrate their city and interact with each other in a myriad of restaurants, coffeehouses, discotheques and bars open until the wee hours.
LA BOCA: This heavily toured, picturesque district attracts visitors to the bright yellows, reds and blues prevailing on the exterior paint of its unique houses. These colors are also encompassed in the classic Genoese "conventillos" or tenements, and in the paintings by artist Benito Quinquela Martin which immortalize the district. In La Boca, you can eat lunch in any of its local eateries while watching a couple dance the tango. For additional enjoyment, there are the many exhibitions organized by the Proa Foundation, and the Cera (wax) Museum. Traveling down the street, up to Vuelta de Rocha area, one will encounter the famous street "Caminito" that inspired the namesake tango song. Every weekend Caminito is the chosen site for a craft fair where you can purchase anything from a painting to a typical Argentine mate drinking gourd.
PUERTO MADERO: Continuing down the coast of the river we find the newest district in the city: Puerto Madero. Its official inauguration was in September of 1998. Before this time, it remained as a section of the port that has fallen in disrepair. Today, luxurious restaurants, offices, and movie theaters have replaced the ancient silos, and all of the streets carry female names. This district has clearly been converted into the most exclusive of the city. The Boulevard Azucena Villaflor directly connects the city to the river. The other street of interest is Vera Peñaloza. Every Saturday and Sunday it is closed to motorists so that visitors can skate, ride bicycles, and take a stroll.
SAN TELMO: This district reveals much of the past century as it preserves its small colonial homes with forged iron gates, and its skinny paved streets lined with lanterns. In San Telmo, one breathes the history of Buenos Aires. The beautiful Santo Domingo church is open to visitors, along with the city's museum. The Bohemian character of the district stands out every weekend at the antique fair held in Plaza Dorrego. There, one can buy anything from a wedding dress to a 1900 table setting, or drink coffee in one of the cafés that outline the Plaza. Another point of interest is the charming Pasaje de la Defensa and Balcarce street.
MONSERRAT: This is another historical district where memories of the past surprise visitors at every corner. In colonial times, Monserrat was the political, economic, social, and cultural seat of the city. There the locals defended themselves against the oppressions of the church. Today, the buildings, streets, and underground tunnels continue to reflect the past. The districts attractions include the Manzana de las Luces, the San Ignacio Church, the old Cabildo, and the Plaza de Mayo. Also, explore the area old cafés where you can unwind and time travel to the enchanting B.A. of yesteryear.
RECOLETA: Without a doubt, this is the citys most elegant district. The architecture of the buildings and palaces symbolize the splendor of the Argentine aristocracy. Here, tourists meet locals. Each weekend musicians, mimes, and other street artists, invade Recoleta´s Plaza Francia. At the adjacent Buenos Aires Design, the traveler can find souvenirs and a plethora of restaurants. Other areas of interest located around Plaza Francia include the Centro Cultural Recoleta, the Palais de Glace, and the "City of the Dead".
BELGRANO: During the middle of the last century, this was the summer hangout for many of the local families. Today, it encompasses a great part of the citys many social and cultural activities. Attractions include the Sarmiento Museum, the Casa de Yrurtia, and the Enrique Larreta museum. And for those that desire the open-air activities, there is the Barrancas de Belgrano. Here, one can sunbathe or people watch in its four hectares of uneven grounds. Belgrano is one of the most trafficked areas, with people that come and go from trains, bars, and kiosks. If shopping is in mind, there is a wide variety of stores on Cabildo Ave, a true open street market. Another main attraction of the area is the expanding "Chinatown". In addition to the district restaurants, there is a Buddhist monastery, and a February celebration of the Chinese New Year.
PALERMO: In Palermo, there is something for everyone. In the area surrounding picturesque Plaza Serrano, Buenos Aires most charming restaurants intermix with bars. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Palermo Park and Rose Garden are ideal spots for walking, playing soccer, and for boat rides. Another option is to visit the zoo, the Galileo Galilei planetarium, or to sip tea in the Japanese gardens.
Fahrenheit temperature scale is used.