15 Must-Visit Attractions in Buenos Aires

Kristin Deasy

Contributor

Buenos Aires is not a slow-paced city. In fact, it’s all too easy to get swept up in the constant whirl of events popping up and suddenly find you haven’t even seen its most important landmarks! So here’s Culture Trip’s list of must-see attractions in Buenos Aires that will inspire you to make them a priority.

Recoleta Cemetery

If your first thought is, “oh no, not a cemetery!” – hold on. The Recoleta Cemetery is something quite distinctive. A maze of early 20th century tombs that stand above ground in tiny little stone houses or miniature churches, the cemetery holds an astonishing 6,400 statues, many of which were hand-carved and brought over from Italy. Supposedly, it’s haunted. Also, Evita Peron is buried here. Visitor information can be found here.

Recoleta Cemetery, Junín 1760, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4803 1594

The Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

The Costanera

Buenos Aires’ ecological reserve, the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve (Costanera for short), offers a flora-filled walk along the river that, depending on the time of year, can be full of butterflies. As you walk you will be looking out at a river, not a sea, although from a distance it does look like the sea. No crashing waves, just tranquil shores and cool plants. If you’re big into nature, try to ignore the skyscrapers in the background of the 865-acre reserve, or simply start planning your trip to Patagonia. There are numerous food stands around the Costanera praised by locals, so don’t be shy and try a choripán. Find more information on visiting the ecological reserve here.

Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, +54 11 4893 1853

2. National Museum of Fine Arts

Building, Museum

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
© Hans-Werner Rodrian / imageBROKER / Alamy Stock Photo
The fine arts museum Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a must-see because it contains the largest public art collection in Latin America. It also boasts a surprisingly robust collection of European impressionists. If the visit leaves you hungry for more art, check out this list of the best museums in the city.

3. The Sunday fair in San Telmo

Market

The flea market in San Telmo in Buenos Aires
© Gary Yim / Shutterstock

The flea market in San Telmo in Buenos Aires © Gary Yim / Shutterstock | © Gary Yim / Shutterstock

4. Palacio Barolo

Building

Argentina, Buenos Aires, Palacio Barolo
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Palacio Barolo is a mammoth work of architecture located in Buenos Aires’ historic city center. Based on Dante’s Divine Comedy and built by an Italian immigrant, the 1923 building’s rooftop (accessed by tour only) gives you an incredible panoramic view of the city. There’s also a lighthouse viewable all the way in Uruguay. The palace is exactly 100 meters (330 feet) high, one meter for each of the 100 cantos in the Divine Comedy. Classy! For more information go here.

Polo match

Polo is a hugely popular sport in Argentina. Matches tend to sell out quickly, in which case your other option is Argentina Polo Day. Their events – full day, half-day or nighttime – involve a polo match, lectures on the history of polo in the country, empanadas, and wine. Pretty Argentine! Check it out here.

5. The Water Company Palace

Museum

An imposing brick edifice taking up an entire city block, the water company palace in Buenos Aires is one of the most striking buildings in the city. Completed in 1894, the 300,000 bricks making up the Palacio de Aguas Corrientes were brought over over from Britain. The palace is located in the city’s elegant Recoleta neighborhood. More information and tour details are available here.

6. The Planetarium

Building, Museum

Galileo Galilei Planetarium of Buenos Aires. Palermo Town, Buenos Aires, Argentina.. Image shot 03/2009. Exact date unknown.
© Bernardo Galmarini / Alamy Stock Photo
You’re in a new hemisphere, so you should definitely check out the celestial change-up with a visit to the Jetsons-style Planetarium in Palermo. Currently closed for reconstruction, the space museum offers video tours of the night sky and other astrological events. Keep tabs on its reopening here.

7. Manzana de las Luces

Archaeological site, Building, Church, School, University

Complejo Histórico Cultural Manzana de las Luces, Buenos Aires
© Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina/Flickr
There’s a network of tunnels underneath Buenos Aires you can explore. The Manzana de las Luces, or “Block of the Lights,” was a project of uncertain intent carried out by the Jesuits. The city offers tours; check the times and get other details here.

8. The Rose Garden in Palermo Park

Park

The Rose Garden in Palermo Park, Buenos Aires
© Estrella Herrera/Flickr
If you’re visiting in October, November, March or April, head directly to the city’s beautiful rose garden in Palermo, which is so picturesque it looks like something out of a painting by Monet. If not, the Botantical Gardens are lovely year-round, as is the Japanese Tea Garden.

9. Chinatown

The Chinese community first started arriving in Argentina en masse in the 1980s, and since settled in various areas, the most notable being the northern Chinatown neighborhood. Barrio Chino, as it is called, starts with a large decorative arch, which you walk through to find several streets filled with shops and Asian restaurants. If you’re looking for a little something different to do, Barrio Chino is the place for you. More information is available here.

Barrio Chino, Buenos Aires, Argentina

10. La Bombonera

Stadium

Sports fans can’t come to Buenos Aires without visiting Maradona’s old stomping grounds. The Estadio Alberto J. Armando, home to the Boca Juniors team, is nicknamed the Chocolate Box (La Bombonera) for its distinctive size and shape. A tour of the stadium comes with a visit to the adjoining Museo de la Pasión Boquense, or The Museum of the Passion For All Things Boca, which is located in the neighborhood of La Boca.

11. Teatro Colón

Building, Concert Hall, Opera House, Theater

A shot of the inside of the Colon Theatre in Buenos Aires taken from the Presidential Box.
© Paul Gibson / Alamy Stock Photo
Buenos Aires’ gorgeous opera house is just as grand – if not more so – on the inside. It’s well worth catching a show here, or just taking a guided tour to get a peek inside. The tour will also give you a deeper understanding of Teatro Colón’s historic role as the leading cultural icon of the city. More information is available here.

Take a bus tour and see it all

Buenos Aires’ hop-on, hop-off tourist bus will take in many of the sights mentioned here. So if you’re too busy drinking wine and going to asados to do everything on this list individually, hop on the bus for a sweet sight-seeing afternoon.

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