10 Amazing Things To See & Do In Retiro, Buenos Aires
Retiro is home to several historically significant buildings that will blow the minds of history buffs and architecture nuts. Retiro is also one of the trendiest shopping areas in Buenos Aires, so plan to spend a few days here if you love both history and shopping. Here’s our list of our ten favorite things to do in Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Torre Monumental is Retiro’s most astonishing site. You can see the clock tower from most spots in the neighborhood, but it’s better up close in the Plaza San Martìn. Visitors can go inside the tower and climb to the top for a wonderful view of Retiro and Buenos Aires. Plan to spend around 30 minutes here.
A Creative Commons Image: Plaza San Martìn | Brian Allen/Flickr
The Kavanagh Building is an imposing art-deco skyscraper with 105 unique luxury apartments (each apartment has a different layout). The building itself is steeped in legend. The creator of the building, Corina Kavanagh, commissioned the building to take revenge on Mercedes Anchorena. Corina had a relationship with Mercedes’ son, but Mercedes despised the newly rich and foreign Kavanaghs and managed to end the affair. The building is an act of revenge because Mercedes intended to build the Anchorena mansion in the lot so that her home could be across from the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament, a resting place for her ancestors. Corina purchased it instead and built the skyscraper, blocking any view of the Basilica.
Plaza San Martìn is the central park in Retiro, and most of the sites on this list either border the plaza or are inside of it. Torres Monumental is on the north end of the plaza, creating a fine counterweight to the Kavanagh Building to the south. The plaza is a great place for a midday stroll and it is kept quite clean. Buy a coffee or tea and sit around the great fountain at the center.
The San Martìn Palace was originally known as the Anchorena Palace because it was commissioned by Mercedes Anchorena, a famous and rich Argentine aristocrat. In 1936 the palace was bought by the state and became a monument to General San Martìn. It is built in Beaux Arts style and is modeled after a hotel in Paris.
A Creative Commons Image: Florida Street | Pedro Angelini/Flickr
The Estrugamou Building is one of the first testaments to the notion that Buenos Aires is the capital of a thriving independent nation, instead of a colony from Europe. Ironically, it is designed in French Baroque and Second Empire style, featuring four wings and an interior patio. Architecture buffs should inquire about a tour.
Florida Street is the main vein of shopping in Buenos Aires. Florida Street is a pedestrian street that begins in Retiro and continues south. Even if you aren’t interested in shopping, Florida Street is worth the walk, as you will see street performers, various styles of architecture, and a few historically significant landmarks. There are also several cafes and restaurants with outside seating available.
Estación Retiro is the reason why Retiro has become such a popular neighborhood, as it is the gate to the city. The station services most of the bus routes in and out of the city, as well as a significant amount of trains that come to Buenos Aires. The grand building was opened in 1915, and you can’t help but feel you’re going back in time when you walk into it.
Retiro is home to a number of theaters but Teatro Colón is the grandest of them all. The acoustics inside the theater make it perfect for the opera or any of the musical acts that play here. While Teatro Colón is a traditional theater, over 100 years old, the managers do not reject new styles of theater and operate an experimental theater where new artists can develop original plays, operas, and unique modes of theater.
Galerías Pacífico may be one of the most beautiful malls in the world, and instead of window shopping, you’ll probably be staring at the ceiling. The mall was declared a national landmark because of the breathtaking murals painted onto the ceiling. Besides being a work of art, Galerías Pacífico is a magnificent mall with over 150 shops, some of which are world-renowned and others native to Argentina.
Patio Bullrich is Retiro’s other large mall, and what it lacks in history and artistic touches it makes up for with great attractions for the whole family. Retiro isn’t the best place to take the kids, but if you are in Retiro with the family then this movie theater and mall is a great place to spend a few hours.