Buenos Aires, Argentina has a special kind of magic that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. With quaint cafes, world-class art, and bottomless bottles of rich red wine, it’s got everything you need for the perfect getaway. If you’re visiting for work, here’s how to feel like you’re on vacation after hours.
Wander the streets of San Telmo and La Boca.
These artsy neighborhoods are known for bustling local markets, bohemian flair, and excellent people watching. Take in the work of the painters and tango dancers who take to the streets on the weekends, and be sure to walk along Calle Caminito to catch a glimpse of the most colorful buildings in the city.
Get your tango on.
In August, the city plays host to the Buenos Aires Tango Festival and Championship. Hundreds of top-notch tango dancers compete in the championship, and you’ll get to watch the competition play out in real time. In addition to the championship, the festival features all kinds of free classes, concerts, and events. Of course, if you miss the festival, you can still enjoy tango in Buenos Aires year-round. Pop into one of the city’s many milongas (the venues where the tango magic happens) to see talented tango couples dance it out.
Eat all the meat.
If you’re a meat eater, you’ll love asado, a tasty barbecue feast known as the national dish of Argentina. Argentine beef is some of the tastiest in the world, so you really can’t go wrong with any kind of red meat here. (Vegetarians and vegans, fret not: Buenos Aires has plenty of meat-free restaurants as well.) Eat at Cabaña Las Lilas for the best steak of your life, and wash it down with a generous glass of Argentine Malbec. Don’t forget to finish your evening with dulce de leche for dessert!
Explore the local street art.
Buenos Aires has a broad range of striking street art. Artists like Pum Pum, Jaz, and Nerf beautifully bring their messages to life on the walls and buildings of the city. Explore the neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood on foot to see some of the art up close, and consider bringing along a guide who can explain the social and political context of the work you’re viewing. You can also stop by Galería Unión, a gallery featuring South American street art.
Grab a cup of mate.
Caffeine addicts, rejoice: you’ll love mate, a traditional South American tea made of the herb yerba mate. Mate is caffeine-rich, energizing, and part of many locals’ daily routines. Be sure to drink it through a special bombilla straw!
Catch a show at Teatro Colón
For a sampling of the city’s thriving cultural scene, pay a visit to the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires’ world famous opera house. All of the greats have performed here, and to walk inside is to see a slice of history. You can grab a ticket to a show, watch a rehearsal, or take a backstage tour. Make sure you look up: the ceiling mural by Marcel Jambon and Raúl Soldi is a sight to behold.
Walk or jog along the waterfront in Puerto Madero.
Take in some fresh air as you walk along the Rio de la Plata waterfront, where you’ll get an excellent feel for the city and a view of Puente de la Mujer, a breathtaking suspension bridge. Along the way, stop into some of the art galleries and small shops that line the water. The riverfront is also dotted with restaurants and bars, so when you’re finished with your adventure, you can top off the day with a drink.