The stretch of the accordion, the melancholy vocals, the sexy rhythm – nothing is quite as Argentine as dancing tango. Buenos Aires is full of milongas, or tango dance halls, and taking a tango class and getting up close and personal with a local tanguero or tanquera is one of the most memorable things you can do in the capital.
While not for everyone, perhaps, it’s a quintessential experience in the South American capital of sex. Going to a telo, or pay-per-hour sex hotel, is one of the best ways to experience Buenos Aires and its people. Go during the week for shorter waiting times and a cheaper turno, or slot.
A trip to the Reserva Ecologica on the southern coast of the city is one of the best outings you can have within the city limits. Formerly a bathing area for the rich porteños (inhabitants of Buenos Aires), it became a dumping ground for construction materials until nature worked its magic and reclaimed the entire coast. Now it is perfect for renting a bike and cycling on the paths that wind through wild grasses teeming with birds and local fauna. Get a choripán from one of the food stands nearby.
This one is best experienced with an Argentine friend who has a boat, but failing that, hop a ride on one of the water taxis and explore the incredible beauty of the Tigre Delta, at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. Only 45 minutes from the city by train, Tigre will stand out in your mind for years to come.
Topping many tourists’ to-do lists in Buenos Aires, taking a walk around the Recoleta Cemetery is up there for a reason. Located in an upscale neighborhood that has given Buenos Aires its reputation as the “Paris of the South,” the cemetery is almost a mini-Buenos Aires in itself. From the lovely architecture of the tombs to its famous inhabitants, including Eva Perón, the Recoleta Cemetery will stay with you.
If cemeteries are your thing and you weren’t satisfied with Recoleta, you can take a trip to the city’s northern neighborhood of Chacarita and explore this vast graveyard, which has a mix of colonial and modernist architecture, and was the burial ground for Argentina’s creative and bohemian classes back in the day. Go on a sunny day and spend a few hours; it’s well worth the trip.
One of the best ways to see Buenos Aires is on foot, exploring its different neighbourhoods, or barrios. Many compare it to New York in the way that each neighborhood has its own specific feeling, and the deeper into its neighbourhoods you get, the more you will come away with a sense of the city. Try out Once and Barracas to see some different sides of the city.
Perhaps nothing is more Argentine than getting your meat fix with some Argentine friends at an asado, or barbeque. An average Argentine eats more than 100 pounds (45 kilos) of meat a year, and the vast majority of this is consumed at asados. The meat is cut up and shared, so come hungry, and don’t expect vegetables.
Argentines love a bargain, and the best bargains are hunted at the city’s open air markets. These are especially vibrant at weekends, and you can find many treasures, as people here rarely throw anything out. You will find some gems to bring home.
Buenos Aires’ parks are things of beauty, and act as a buffer between the city and the river. The long stretch of city parks in Palermo, known locally as the bosques, is smattered with lakes and landscaped rose gardens, perfect for a picnic on a summer’s afternoon.
Nothing is more memorable than escaping the heat of the city without even leaving it. That is why Buenos Aires is heavily prepped for summer by having lots of rooftop pools adorning its apartment buildings. Consider yourself friended if you have a pool in summer, as friends will be hitting you up on the regular to come over and hang poolside.
Buenos Aires is renowned for its hedonistic nightlife, and this is epitomized by the superclubs that line the Costanera Norte, or the northern coast of the city. Stay all night and watch the sun come up from one of the terraces that overlook the river, and make sure and bring your sunglasses.
Forget the tourist bus: the colectivo, or regular passenger bus, is the way to go. Pick up a Sube card from any subway station and ride the streets of Buenos Aires like a local. Download the Como Llego app to avoid getting lost (but then again, that is half the fun).
The mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo occupy a mythical place in Argentine history and society. They began marching in the city’s main square in 1977 to protest the disappearance of their children under the last military dictatorship, and continue to do so to this day. Head to the Plaza de Mayo on Thursdays at 3.30 p.m. to see them march with their panuelos, or headscarves. A memorable sight indeed.
Buenos Aires is dotted with traditional cafés, or bares notables, which have been designated as part of the city’s cultural heritage. Meeting a friend for coffee is a typical porteño activity, and you are sure to feel as if you are experiencing the city like a local if you take some time out of the middle of the day to indulge in a cortado, or short coffee.