Travels in Buenos Aires
San Telmo Market
The San Telmo Market, biggest on Sundays, is an amazing congregation of antiques and tiny quirky items from vendors throughout Buenos Aires. From rotary telephones to the cool hues of old water dispensers, the fair features a unique mix of old and new. For me, the market served as a window into the upbeat undercurrent around Buenos Aires; puppeteers were animating marionettes to a crowd of eager children while tango entertainers two-stepped with tourists for spare change. The smells and sounds of street vendors and musicians change from block to block, and it is a wonderful way to get lost in an afternoon.
For anyone who has seen the Washington Monument, the Obelisco de Buenos Aires seems like a younger sister. Built in 1936, the grand statue was a testament to Argentine Modernismo and the beauty of Cordoban white stone.
Avenida 9 de Julio
As silly as it seems, it is well worth visiting the widest avenue in the world, named after Argentina’s Independence Day. With 7 lanes running in each direction and side streets of 2 lanes each, the road also features the metro underneath and dedicated metro bus lines above. Pedestrian walkways are featured in the middle, and it runs through the Obelisk.
Just as US presidents take residence in the White House, the executive mansion of Argentina is the Casa Rosada, or Pink House. Both the interior and exterior of the Casa are beautiful, ornate, and well worth the visit. The grounds of the property are much more accessible than the White House in the US, so you can enjoy the views from lush, grassy fields.
Shopping at Gurruchaga
Gurruchaga was a fantastic little series of boutiques, just off of the Alto Palermo Shopping district. Argentinean fashion seems to emulate European styles, with many clothes and shoes reminding me of previous trips to Spain. Someone who does a lot of shopping at Zara will enjoy the styles of Buenos. The 90s influence in fashion is also interesting; platforms, bellbottoms, and babydoll dresses were all the rage.
Floralis Generica and the Plaza de Naciones Unidos
The gorgeous aluminum and stainless steel flower statue in the center of Buenos Aries is surrounded by some of the best greenspace I’ve seen abroad. Designed to move, the flower statue blooms in the morning and closes at night, with the idea that every day we reopen and are reborn. Weighing in at 18 tons, this work of art is highly reflective, and is a wonderful photo spot. The Naciones Unidos area is full of museums and sitting areas and is located just across the street from the popular recoleta district.
The Recoleta Cemetary was at the top of my “must-see” list for Buenos Aires. I spent a significant portion of my undergraduate studies focusing on Latin American history, and I was desperate to pay my respects to the infamous Ms. Peron. Her humble grave is worth the visit, but the cemetery itself is a somber yet peaceful way to pass a few hours. Filled with opulent mausoleums, beautiful stonework, tiny alleys, and neighborhood cats, the Recoleta Cemetary is an excellent jumping off point when learning about the true history of Argentina.
While I’m not a religious person by any stretch, visiting the home cathedral of Pope Francis was a wonderful experience. It is obvious that the people of Argentina respect and admire the pope, and during his time as Archbishop he earned himself many fans. From the outside, the cathedral looks like a courthouse, but the inside welcomes with very decorative altars, stone facades, and wooden pews.
By far my favorite part of the trip was visiting the Museo Evita. Walking through the home Eva purchased for her foundation, the museum offers a window into Evita – her memory, philanthropy, and rise to become one of the most popular figures in Argentinean politics to date. I visited on a weekday morning, and surprisingly had the museum to myself; it was a wonderful way to read materials at my pace and really take in the opportunity.
The Latin American Art Museum in Buenos Aires is fantastic! I went in to see the Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera Exhibit, but ended up spending hours in a plexi glass display. If you’re an art fan or enjoy bright colors, this was well worth the visit.
Kirchner Cultural Center
Kirchner is the largest cultural center in Latin America, and one of the most expansive in the world. The sprawling 9 story building includes a state-of-the-art performance hall and other art galleries, performance spaces, and exhibition areas. The building itself is a beautiful conversion of an 1800s post office. They had some fantastic displays while I visited, and this was one of the more family friendly atmospheres I experienced in museums.
Teatro Colon for the Filarmonico
We were so fortunate as to see the Buenos Aires Philharmonic perform at the historic teatro colon. This stunning opera house and music venue rivals those in Paris. For what two orchestra seats would cost in the states, we were able to sit in a front-facing balcony, where the sheet music from the 2nd violinists was easily legible. The performance was fantastic, and it is clear that Buenos Aires values top-notch artists.
La Boca, a tiny impoverished neighborhood quietly tucked behind the soccer stadium, was the only disappointment of the trip. Renowned on sites like pinterest for the vibrant colors and authentic culture, the saddening reality was that this tourist trap was full of low income residents begging for high-cost tango lessons, pandering cheap Chinese-manufactured products, or smoking. The vibrant buildings painted in bright, primary colors in internet photographs were really peeling, faded facades with shanties behind them. If you cross anything off of your list, it would be La Boca.