A mishmash of colonial splendor and modern architectural style, the vibrant city of Buenos Aires enchants hordes of visitors from around the globe each year. And given the monumental size of its greater metropolitan area—some 13 million and counting—it should come as no surprise that the city is composed of numerous colorful and energetic neighborhoods. Here are our favorites.
It doesn’t get much more colorful than La Boca, not in Buenos Aires nor elsewhere in the world. With technicolored buildings and tango studios galore, this vivacious suburb is a favorite among camera-toting tourists and local bohemian youth. Grab a meal at a traditional steakhouse and watch a sensual tango performance in the street before paying a visit to La Bombonera, home to one of Argentina’s most beloved football teams.
Once home to an army of working-class stevedores, Puerto Madero was remodeled in the 1990s to become the center of business in Buenos Aires. Reflective sky-high office towers compete for limited space while a plethora of upmarket restaurants and bars attract the city’s movers and shakers down below. The best spot to enjoy such splendor is from the famous Puente de la Mujer, a landmark bridge fashioned after a seductive tango-dancing woman.
Famous for its pastel-colored colonial-era edifices, San Telmo is among the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. And despite having many of Buenos Aires’ most historic buildings, the suburb is best known for its trendy and youthful vibe. Try to plan your visit on the weekend to enjoy a hodgepodge of color as San Telmo puts on its unmissable Sunday Fair.
A quiet, mostly residential neighborhood in the city’s north, Belgrano is characterized by its elegant whitewashed residences wedged between an abundance of shady trees. Chinatown is by far the most colorful spot, with its vibrant pedestrian thoroughfare full of brightly decorated restaurants, vivid bulb-shaped lanterns, and plenty of radiant neon signs.
Widely considered to be the city’s most upmarket locale, this trendy central neighborhood is the epicenter of Buenos Aires’ bourgeoisie. An eclectic mix of boutique designer stores and cafés do a roaring trade during the day, while some seriously upmarket bars, restaurants, and clubs create a buzzing vibe at night. Subsections include Palermo Soho, named after the ritzy suburb in New York, as well as Hollywood, home to the country’s impressive film industry. For a real splash of color, head to the expansive rose gardens of the Bosques de Palermo.
Home to a stupendous number of art galleries, parks, and museums, this exclusive northern neighborhood is among the most cultured in the city. Taking center stage is the Cementerio de la Recoleta, South America’s most renowned cemetery that features a smattering of colorful gardens in between its magnificent mausoleums.
A strong concentration of grandiose government buildings add some color to the bustling city center, the most significant of which is the presidential palace known as the Casa Rosada (Pink House), which is said to have gotten its name from when bull’s blood was painted on for added insulation. Elsewhere in the center, elegant theater houses abound, and the immense hustle of 9 de Julio Avenue is an assault on the senses.