Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and one of the most visited cities in South America is more than 400 years old and famous for its outstanding cultural life and European-like architecture. Buenos Aires is in the midst of a tourism boom and it was voted by various tourism publications as the second most desirable city to visit after Florence, Italy. Also regarded as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires features elegant architecture, exquisite cuisine, legendary nightlife and fashionable shopping. Regardless, this Argentinean capital has many things to offer visitors and if you choose to spend your holiday there you will have a guaranteed successful time. Here is our suggestion of ten top tourist attractions in Buenos Aires, and perhaps, some of the most famous ones.
Puerto Madero is perhaps the largest urban development project in the capital and it served as the main port of Buenos Aires during the late 19th century. The port fell into decay until 1989, when it was decided to turn the old, rusty warehouses into something grander: buildings that could be used as residences, restaurant, and shops. To give the project a different charm, all streets in the district were named after women. Strolling around the sleek buildings that line Rio de la Plata is a great way to spend a pleasant afternoon.
Museo Nacional de Belles Artes, or the National Museum of Fine Arts is located in the Recoleta district and earns high praises from visitors around the world, many comparing it to a mini-Louvre thanks to the outstanding collection of European and Argentinean artists. The museum opened in 1895 and moved to its present location, a renovated drainage pump station, in 1933. The collection of fine arts is the largest in Argentina and ranges from art in the middle Ages to the 20th century.
Teatro Colon was designed by a number of succession architects which explains the structure’s eclectic style. Inaugurated in 1908 with a performance of Verdi’s “Aida”, Teatro Colon has nearly 2,500 seats and standing room for 1,000 people, and it stood as the world’s largest opera house until the completion of Sydney Opera House in 1973. It still remains one of the top tourist’s attractions in Argentina and South America.
Carlos Thays Botanical Garden was named after Carlos Thays, a French landscape artist who arrived in Buenos Aires when he was 40 years old and proceeded to change the face of the city in the late 19th century. He supervised the development of a number of parks and renovated the existing ones. However, this botanical garden was his pet project. Located in the Palermo district near the zoo, this garden is home to more than 5,000 species of plants. Many visitors look for this park in order to escape the city’s crowds because it is a great way to find some peace and re-charge your batteries before stepping out in the rush of Buenos Aires again.
El Obelisco is a very popular attraction that stands 68 meters high over the city. Built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city, El Obelisco named the city as the national capital and celebrates the site where the Argentinean flag was first raised. The flag first flew in 1812 at the Church of St. Nicholas de Bari, but was later demolished to build El Obelisco. Proudly located at the intersection of Corrientes Avenue with what is said to be the widest street in the world, 9 de Julio Avenue, the street was named after the 1816 historical event which marks Argentina’s Declaration of Independence from Spain.
Café Tortoni is Argentina’s oldest and most famous café. Built by a Frenchman in 1858 who designed it after a Parisian café, Tortoni remains a popular place even today, where you can enjoy a coffee or some light snacks and socialize with friends, writers, painters and other artists that frequent the place. It is also a perfect place to see tango performed on the small stage by professional dancers. Café Tortoni is located on Avenida de Mayo so make sure you stop by when in Buenos Aires.
Plaza Dorrego is a must-see place in Buenos Aires. This place is the oldest public square in Buenos Aires, which started out as a market in the 18th century, when farmers filled wagons to sell their products to locals on Sundays. Today is famous for selling antiques, a business that started in the early 1970s, and also for terraces, outdoor cafes and performances by tango dancers.
Caminito, meaning “little street”, was originally a stream. After the water dried up, railroad track were built on the dry bed, and when the tracks were removed, it became a landfill. Today Caminito is considered one of the most colourful streets in Argentina and it is located in the neighbourhood of La Boca. Strolling around Caminito you might even encounter artists at work. The street is also famous for inspiring Juan de Dios Filiberto to write his famous tango, name after the street.
Recoleta Cemetery is not your ordinary cemetery, it’s the place where the elite of Argentina are buried, including former presidents, and even one of Napoleon’s granddaughters. Established in 1822, the cemetery contains more than 4,500 above-ground vaults, 94 of which have been declared national historical monuments. Although a bit morbid, Recoleta Cemetery is a good place to see marble mausoleums and statues, sculpted by notable artists, and frankly, is a very beautiful place.
Plaza de Mayo has been an important point of political life in Argentina since the revolution of 1810 which led to independence. Several major landmarks of the city are located around it, including the Cabildo, the city council during the colonial era and the oldest national monument in Buenos Aires, The May Pyramid. The square is also where the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo have protested with signs and pictures against the military junta (or dictatorship) in 1970s, because the children were subject to forced disappearance