The Top 10 Things To See And Do In Recoleta, Buenos Aires

El Ateneo Grand Splendid © Nico Kaiser/Flickr
El Ateneo Grand Splendid © Nico Kaiser/Flickr
Photo of Maria Angelíca Maia
9 February 2017

Recoleta’s name originates from a Franciscan Order that established itself in this neighborhood in the 18th century. Later, Buenos Aires‘ rich and powerful began to flood into Recoleta, defining the barrio as we know it today. Recoleta is one of Buenos Aires’ most pleasant neighborhoods. We list the must-sees here.

La Recoleta Cemetery | © Liam Quinn/Flickr

Recoleta Cemetery

In this well-known Buenos Aires landmark, you’ll find beautifully designed and grand tombs for the city’s famous dead, including that of Eva Peron, whose tomb is frequently visited and always full of fresh flowers. The greatest characters from the history of Argentina are buried in Recoleta Cemetery, and the site was declared a National Historic Monument in 1942. You can take a tour of the more famous residents, but perhaps it is better to just explore the maze of alleys that wind between the various mausoleums, many of which feature wonderful architecture, and are anything but morbid. The quality and diversity of art nouveau sculptures make this cemetery an open-air museum that invites walks and serene meditation.

Cementerio de Reocleta, Junín 1760, 1113 Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Isla

In a small industrial area is the chic and affluent hill of La Isla. When the area was urbanized in 1906 by French architect Joseph-Antoine Bouvard, the municipality’s goal was to create a garden city. So up until 1930 La Isla was only covered by mansions, and only after the 1940s were they replaced by taller buildings. The area’s parks are tranquil and beautiful, and there is good shopping on the Avenida General Las Heras. Don’t miss the beautiful Plaza Mitre overlooking the Avenida Libertador.

La Isla, Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Libreria El Ateneo Grand Splendid

The library was originally a theatre that could accommodate up 1050 spectators, before it was turned into a cinema and then a bookstore. The Grand Splendid Theatre was built under the orders of Max Glucksmann and was inaugurated in May 1919. The theatre is now considered to be one of the best and most beautiful bookstores in the world. But this is more than a visit to a bookstore, it’s also a way to discover a different time.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Av. Santa Fe 1860, 1123 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

Map View
There are Argentinian artists to discover here, certainly, but also a vast array of talented artists from across the world and many different epochs. The MNBA, with its carefully amassed collection, is a great place to visit for art lovers. There are Italian paintings from the 19th century, an impressive collection of bronze statues (the Degas are particularly fine), several Rodin and also a Rembrandt from 1635.

Plaza Francia

The trees in Plaza Francia are exceptional and beautiful: ombus, araucarias, palm trees and many others with unfamiliar names, typical representations of the local flora. The plaza is close to the monumental Recoleta Cemetery. On weekends there’s a artisan market, where you can buy leather goods, hand-crafted jewelry (sometimes decorated with local precious stones), woven items and ingenious wooden toys. This is a tourist spot, of course, but it is also where the local porteños often go to shop for gifts.

Plaza Francia, Av. Hipolito Yrigoyen 1300/1350

Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar

The Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar (‘Our Lady of the Pillar’) is located close to the Recoleta cemetery, and its beauty and intimacy mean that many young couples choose to marry there. Regardless of belief, the church plunges the visitor into a beautiful atmosphere of silence and serenity. Thanks to its architecture and the wonderful colors (its chapels on the side walls contrast with the immaculate white walls of the nave) the aesthetic experience is also remarkable and lingers in the mind.

Basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, Junín 1998, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Parque Thalys

This park was designed by French landscape architect Carlos (Charles) Thays, who eventually became an Argentine citizen. Carlos Thays did perhaps more than anyone to embellish Buenos Aires with trees, and he also left his green footprint in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital. Thays promoted the planting of trees along the boulevards of Buenos Aires, and demanded more were put on sidewalks and public squares. Visit Parque Thays and detox yourself from the buzz of urban life. A picnic on the grass is a welcome pause in your day.

Parque Thays, Av. Del Libertador y Avenida Callao, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Floralis Genérica

The Floralis Genérica is a metal flower-shaped sculpture that follows the sun in the same way as a sunflower. The sculpture was designed and paid for by the Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano, who then dedicated it to the city.It is set above a reflecting pool in a garden next to the University of Buenos Aires’ Facultad de Derecho, and near the National Museum of Fine Arts, and is made from aluminum and steel. This massive structure became an instant attraction, with its six giant metallic petals reaching height of 23 meters and weighing 18 tons. The sculpture has a clock that controls the opening and closing of the flower. The Floralis Genérica opens at 8am and closes at sunset.

Floralis Genérica, Av Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 2263, 1425 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Formerly a refuge for the retired, this building was reborn as a cultural center and it puts on various exhibitions, spectacles and cultural events of a high quality. Buenos Aires is renowned for its rich cultural life, and this place definitely ratifies the city’s reputation; check out the program for the latest performance details. We recommend following a visit here with a walk to La Biela, an historical café, for a coffee and some traditional Buenos Aires pastries.