Caballito, a neighbourhood located in the geographical center of Buenos Aires
, is a bundle of delightful contradictions. Historically, it was a weekend escape for the wealthy denizens of the city, whose glorious mansions still stand. Today, it’s also the site of the University of Buenos Aires’ Faculty of Philosophy
and Letters, the students injecting liveliness to the neighborhood. Caballito, often overlooked, has much to offer; read on for ten of the best things to do and see there.
Explore Parque Centenario
Constructed in 1910, this large urban park fell into neglect in the mid to late 20th century, a Juan Perón-built amphitheatre destroyed by arson in 1959, a Perlotti sculpture stolen in 1989, and the entire park suffering from decay. Fortunately, the park was restored several years ago, ending in 2009, and it has been restored to its original glory. Take some time out of a busy day to relax by the swan lake or check out the new amphitheatre, which has seen performances by the City Tango Orchestra.
Parque Centenario, Angel Av. Y Marechal, Leopoldo s/n, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Check out the market at Parque Rivadavia
Admire the English District
Caballito’s historic mansions, primarily built in Fin de Siècle style, remain impeccably preserved to this day. Take a stroll along the verdant streets of the barrio to get a good look at the gorgeous architecture. One particularly notable home is the mansion of wine baron Ambrosio Plácido de Lezica, on Avenida Rivadavia.
Catch a match at Locos por el Fútbol
This sports-themed resto-bar on Caballito’s main thoroughfare is the prime location to take in a big football match; things get lively, and when the match is over, the bar transforms into a popular disco. Seem incongruous? Perhaps. But it’s fun.
Locos por el Fútbol, Rivadavia 4751, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4901-3310
Have a beer at The Oldest
Whilst most likely not actually the oldest pub in the city, The Oldest has been around for a while. With good food, beer on tap as well as a selection of cocktails, and a cheerful and welcoming atmosphere, this is a perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring.
The Oldest, Juan B. Ambrosetti 31, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4902-3188
Do a food shop at Mercado del Progreso
A walk through this indoor market feels like a blast from the past; originally built in 1889 as an open-air market, it was given art deco-style roofing in the 1930s but otherwise has not changed a bit. Many of the stands hawking produce and meat have been family-owned since the market’s inception. The market is such a draw that it brings in shoppers from all corners of the city who are keen to snag fresh and tasty groceries.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday 7.30 am-2 pm and 5 pm-8.30 pm, closed Sundays.
Mercado del Progreso, Av. Rivadavia 5430, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4901-3038
Get cultured at Cobra Libros
More than just a bookshop, Cobra Libros does indeed offer a well-curated selection of local and independent books which can be bought or even rented, but it also serves as an art space, offering everything from exhibits to workshops to film screenings and concerts. In the summertime, they even offer a bike rental service.
Opening times: Monday-Saturday 2 pm-8 pm, Sundays 4 pm-8 pm
Cobra Libros, Aranguren 150, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Learn about science at the Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales
Head over to the western edge of Parque Centenario to visit this museum, open since 1937, which houses exhibits on various species of plants and animals that currently and historically have lived in Argentina— but the highlight, of course, are the dinosaurs. Schedule in advance to book an English guided tour.
Opening times: 2 pm-7 pm
Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales, Ángel Gallardo 490, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4982-6670