San Telmo is the oldest neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Discover antique bargains at the Plaza Dorrego market, savor a La Brigada steak and watch a tango show at El Viejo Almacén, while visiting this bohemian corner of Argentina’s capital city.
Open-air art galleries and street vendors fill the cobblestone streets of San Telmo, giving the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires a modern, lively feel. The tree-lined streets, colonial architecture and busy plazas make this neighborhood the perfect place to spend an afternoon, whether you’re digging for treasures in an antique shop or watching pros dance the tango. Here are Culture Trip’s top picks of things to do while in San Telmo.
San Telmo’s largest park is Parque Lezama, named after a wealthy family who landscaped the gardens. It became a public park in 1894. Today, its leafy walkways and tranquil ponds make it a lovely spot for a stroll or picnic lunch. You’ll spot old men enjoying a game of chess, and groups of all ages sharing a mate (a traditional South American drink). The Museo Histórico Nacional is nearby as well as a stunning Russian Orthodox church; you can’t miss its striking blue roof, made with materials shipped over from Saint Petersburg.
This restaurant may be decked out in sports memorabilia, but don’t be mistaken: it’s a fine dining experience. La Brigada has made a name for itself in the neighborhood serving up the best parrillas in town – the word literally translates as “grill” in English, but refers to a classic Argentinian dish of grilled steak, sausages and other meats piled high. Plan ahead for dinner here, as reservations can fill up fast.
This 18th-century Dominican convent has been a central building in Buenos Aires’ history. It was under siege during the British invasions of the early 19th century and was used as a museum when the Dominican orders were expelled about 20 years later. It now houses the tomb of Manuel Belgrano, one of the country’s national heroes of independence. Due to the convent’s excellent location between Plaza Dorrego and Plaza de Mayo, it’s worth stopping by when walking down to San Telmo from the city center.
This is an updated version of an article originally by Bethany Currie.