You often hear Buenos Aires, Argentina referred to as the Paris of South America and you can see why. Grande boulevards, cafes and neo-classical buildings on every corner. Buenos Aires has an air of luxury, of authority and once it captures you, you’ll never want to leave. Buenos Aires is all about atmosphere and a trip here is all about soaking in that atmosphere, getting lost in local culture and living like a local. Whether you’re interested in getting under the skin of the culture here, dancing tango all night, watching a football game or just gobbling down a few too many pizza slices, Buenos Aires has something for everyone. Here is my guide to the top things to do for a perfect 3 days in Buenos Aires to get you soaked in that vibrant atmosphere and rubbing shoulders with locals in this beautiful city.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Buenos Aires is actually a great city to visit throughout the year however the most popular are spring (Sept-Dec) and autumn (March-June). The weather at these times is relatively warm and ideal for walking around and exploring a city, however, March and April can be fairly wet. Summers in Buenos Aires are very hot and humid with temperature often exceeded 35° C/95°F and also wet. Winters are dry and chilly, yet not that cold as you might think, so if you don’t mind exploring a city in temperatures of about 5-15° C/40-60°F, winter might be a great time for you to visit.
WHERE TO STAY IN BUENOS AIRES
Buenos Aires has so really gems to stay in from small Airbnb apartments to lavish, 18th Century style hotels. There’s something for every budget which make it a very affordable city to visit for 3 days.
The best areas to stay in In Buenos Aires are Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood, San Telmo, Puerto Madero and Recoleta. There are a few others too but these four are the most popular with travellers and they have the best mix of just about everything; cafes, sights and restaurants. I would personally avoid Centro and La Boca. Centro is the commercial part of town I feel doesn’t really have that such atmosphere and vibe as in some other areas. While La Boca is a must-visit neighbourhood for anyone spending 3 days in Buenos Aires, it can be dangerous at night, so it’s not the best places to stay- especially if you’ll be coming back to your hotel late at night.
Here are so of my favourite places to stay in Buenos Aires:
CasaSur Recoleta – Stay in the heart of Recoleta in this speakeasy-style hotel with fantastic modern decor with an old-world twist. Rooms here are spacious, clean and comfortable with lots of natural light. Apartments are also available for those wanting to self-cater or at least prepare coffee in the morning. Check rates and availability here.
Hotel Madero Buenos Aires– If you’re after modern functional simplicity then this is the perfect choice for you. Located in the happening, new neighbourhood of Puerto Madero with so many new restaurants on your doorstep, this is a great place to stay if you’re here for the nightlife. There’s also a pool, excellent breakfast, bar and wine cellar- you won’t run out of things to do here. Check rates and availability
Ara Homes Buenos Aires – for those looking for a home away from home, Ara Homes rents small apartments perfect for couples or families wanting to do Buenos Aires their way. All the apartments are modern, stylishly furnished with plenty of natural tones, there’s all you need to be self-sufficient during your stay. It’s a great option for long term travellers too. Check dates and availability here.
Palermo Soho Square– the perfect small apartments for your stay in Buenos Aires! Opt between a one-bedroom apartment or studio in a building that has its own pool, fitness centre and balcony in the heart of Palermo Soho. These apartments are super comfortable and contain all you need to have a great stay in the city- the perfect budget stay in Buenos Aires. Check dates and availability here.
WHERE TO EAT IN BUENOS AIRES
Argentina’s food culture revolves around meat, empanadas pizza, mate and wine, leaving little room for alternative however this is definitely diversifying, especially among the young who are starting to see the importance of a healthy diet and also plant-based eating. Buenos Aires now has over 60 vegetarian and vegan restaurants and many more that offer a plant-based option on their menus. The vegan eating scene here is diverse, forward-thinking and quick frankly, delicious. Check out the best restaurants for plant-based eating:
Wellbar – A very trendy spot in Palermo based on healthy, gluten-free food. Dishes include banana waffles, avocado toast and chia pudding. Great breakfast option. Not exclusively vegan but has many vegan options.
La Reverde Parrillita Vegana – Buenos Aires’ first vegan grill. Don’t miss out on the steak at the world’s steak capital. Great steaks, sandwiches and empanadas.
Pizza Vegana – fancy an Argentina style pizza? a great gluten-free vegan pizza.
Sablee Vegana– this is a small vegan pastry store where you can pick up a breakfast pastry or some cheeky little treats. They do vegan medialunas (croissants), doughnuts with dulce de leche and some great alfajores (Argentinian style biscuits). Located in Centro.
Bio Solo Organico – this is the first fully organic restaurant in Buenos Aires. Great, chilled vibes, vibrant colourful salads and a great shop to stock up on vegan snacks.
Hierbabuena– great salads and mushroom-based veggie burgers. Located in San Telmo.
Buenos Aires Verde – a lovely little place that has a great lunch time meal deal. Located in Palermo Soho.
If you are travelling to Buenos Aires in 2021, make sure to check these are still open. Many businesses have suffered a lot in Argentina due to very harsh lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic and some of these may now be permanently closed.
BEST THINGS TO DO WITH 3 DAYS IN BUENOS AIRES
If it’s your first time in Buenos Aires you won’t want to miss this extraordinary cemetery. La Recoleta Cemetery is a city within a city and it’s not just a graveyard. This is the city of the dead for Argentina’s rich and famous and it’s just immense. It’s easy to get lost in this vast space of huge catacombs, mausoleums, crypts, sarcophagi and coffins with elaborately carved angels on top. There are headstones taller than you could possibly imagine and obelisks every now and again. This cemetery inspires opulence and gives a glimpse at Buenos Aires and into its history and patronage.
Make sure not to miss the burial places of a few of Argentina’s most famous political figures. Eva Peron, probably the most iconic for example is buried here. It’s quite easy to find her grave using the directory at the main gate of Recoleta Cemetery.
PALERMO VIEJO & PALERMO SOHO
These two neighbourhoods that exist size by size are the Soho of Buenos Aires. They are chic places to be with cool boutiques, showcasing the best in local fashion and design. You’ll find delicious cafes ideal for that perfect Instagram shot, restaurants and hip bars on every corner. It’s a great neighbourhood to stroll around in, get a cocktail in the evening and just people watch. I’d highly recommend staying in this part of town during your 3 days in Buenos Aires but if you’re not, don’t miss spending the afternoon and evening here.
EL ATENEO GRAN SPLENDID
This is one branch of an Argentinian bookstore but it’s so much more than that. This comes close to being the grandest and most spectacular bookstore setting ever. It is over 100 years old and originally started as a theatre which later converted into a cinema and later still, a bookstore. The old theatre seating area now houses thousands of books on pretty much every topic imaginable. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything (the English language section is pretty limited), you can still come in and enjoy the splendour and opulence of this grand setting.
WATCH A TANGO SHOW OR DANCE IT
Tango is to Buenos Aires what salsa is to Colombia and a tango show is a must while in BA for a truly Argentine experience. Tango dancing got its roots in the port of Buenos Aires and it’s the typical porteños dance. There many different shows catering to all different budgets. You can expect to see many different couples dancing solo and as a group. Some shows also include dinner, but I found that the dinner wasn’t really worth the money especially if you’re plant-based. Go to the show with a drink instead…
…Or if you’re feeling adventurous and want to really get involved, head to a milonga. A milonga is a place where local people go to dance the tango and there are many authentic ones in the city depending on the day of the week. Some better milongas are La Glorieta and Salón Channing. It’s best to check local listings when in Buenos Aires as they tend to move around.
CASA ROSADA AND PLAYA DE MAYO
Plaza de Mayo and Avenida de Mayo, leading up to it is the centre of Argentinian politics. This area is full of huge colonial, classical-style buildings and gives it its European feel. From Baroque style wrought-iron balconies to classical columns, arches and friezes this part of Buenos Aires impress both historically and architecturally. Here you can check out the Casa Rosada, the government’s office, painted an unusual pink colour as well as Plaza de Mayo on which you’ll find protest banners, graffiti and graphic artwork.
On Avenida de Mayo, among all the classical style building you’ll also find the grand Palacio Barolo, an eclectic office building which now houses a language school and other local businesses. It’s particularly famous for its unusual architecture particularly the rounded balconies.
Traveling beyond Buenos Aires? Check out Top Things To Do in Bariloche, Argentina
SAN TELMO MARKET
Knick-knacks and kitsch are what San Telmo is famous for and this Sunday market is a glimpse into the more bohemian side of BA. You can pretty much buy anything at this market from cool jewellery to mate cups to old coins and books. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the shopping, one of the best parts about the market is just walking around chatting to all the friendly locals, getting a drink at a quirky cafe and people watching.
You’ll also find a lot of live music going on around the market which you can just stand and listen to as you walk around. Even when the market isn’t on there’s always something going on in the San Telmo neighbourhood and a number of kitsch, vintage stores and antique shops are open here permanently. San Telmo market is open every Sunday from 10 am-4 pm so you might want to time your 3 days in Buenos Aires around a Sunday.
VISIT A MUSEUM
Buenos Aires is full of some great museums that showcase Argentinian and South American art throughout the centuries as well as having temporary exhibitions on loan from elsewhere. If you are feeling a bit cultural why not pop into one? Here are the two I would recommend:
MALBA ( Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires) What a name! You can see why they just call it MALBA. This contemporary museum is full of works from the 19th and 20th Centuries with hits by Frida Khalo, Diego Rivera, Wilfredo Lam among others. A great place to kill an hour or two.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. ( National Museum of Fine Arts ) This is a splendid museum with works from antiquity, and from the 12th century onwards as well as Latin art and Asian art. The permanent collection is free and it’s vast and engaging. I went on a rainy day and it was the perfect indoor thing to do.
EXPLORE LA BOCA
La Boca is probably one of the most iconic barrios of Buenos Aires due to its vibrantly painted houses and the La Bombonera stadium, home to La Boca Juniors. Although a bit touristy this neighbourhood is great for taking pictures, watching tango dancers in the street and seeing artists at work in the Caminito street. Check out La Bombonera stadium, one of Argentinas most famous with a fanatical fanbase. If you plan on taking photos here, make sure to visit early in the morning before tour groups arrive as it can get very busy.
STROLL THROUGH THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
The botanical gardens are one of the best green spaces in the city and the perfect place to relax in the middle of the hustle and bustle. The gardens are located in Palermo just near Plaza Italia and the entrance is free. Inside you’ll find a few fountains, a butterfly hall, a greenhouse and herb garden. It’s not the most amazing botanical garden I’ve ever been to but it’s an awesome place for a picnic. Bring some snacks, relax and get away from it all.
If you’re more interested in Japanese Gardens then the gorgeous Jardin Japones is just a stone’s throw away from the Botanical Gardens.
Pronounced mah-tay, this is the unofficial drink of Argentina that Argentinian’s simply can’t do without. It’s made from yerba mate- a herb which is crushed just like loose tea. It’s put into a gourd and hot water is poured on top. You then drink it through a metal straw. Typically Argentians all have their own gourds, straws and thermos which they take everywhere so mate isn’t something you’ll regularly see on a cafe menu but, if you do come across it, make sure to give it a try- it has a strong bitter taste.
VISIT PLAZA DORREGO
When in San Telmo make sure not to miss this influential and historical square. San Telmo used to be the largest residential area in Buenos Aires during the 19th Century meaning this square was a focal point for dance, communication and arts through the years. Nowadays, you’ll find many people out and about here, dancing the tango, performing street arts surrounded by many bars and cafes full of residents and tourist alike.
OBELISK & CORRIENTES AVENUE
The bustling Avenida Corrientes is the street that never sleeps in Buenos Aires city center. It passes through many historic neighborhoods of Buenos Aires such as Microcentro and the financial district and you’ll definitely come across it at some point in your stay. On it, you’ll find many shops, theatres, pubs and bars and of course the famous Obelisco in front of which are the Insta-famous BA letters. You’ve found your Insta location!
Make sure to also visit 9 de Julio, the gigantic avenue that crosses Corrientes Avenue at the famous Obelisk. It’s one of the largest avenues in the world and here you’ll find many stores, business and shaded walkways. The avenue is lined with jacaranda trees, so if you visit during the spring when they are in full bloom don’t miss this avenue turn pink.
If you’ve been travelling around South America for a while you’ll know that empanadas are a big deal and in Buenos Aires, it’s no different. No 3 days in Buenos Aires are complete without trying them. Although veggie or vegan empanadas are hard to find in such a meat predominant country they do exist and I would highly recommend you get one. La Cocina Empanaderia is a superb place to grab an empanada to go and they do have a few veggie options.
RELAX AT BOSQUES DE PALERMO
Directly translating as Palermo Forest, this is one of the best green spaces in Buenos Aires full of lakes, rose gardens and many different species of trees. It’s one of the best places to relax in green space in Buenos Aires and at the weekends it’s filled with playing children and families catch up with each other. As its name suggests you’ll find it right in the heart of Palermo.
TAKE A FREE YOGA CLASS
You might want to make some time for yoga and exercise during your 3 days in Buenos Aires. You may have already heard about free yoga classes going on around many cities worldwide and the movement is strong here too. Why not take a free yoga class in the evening in a park? You can stretch out those aching legs, meet some locals and get some exercise, all for free. Check out this Facebook group for all the details. (It does help to speak a little Spanish) Yoga Gratis en Buenos Aires
This theatre is one of the cities most prominent landmarks and rightfully so. It looks like something that belongs in Paris rather than Latin America. Many are in awe of the beauty of this theatre, both inside and outside. Built-in 1889 and occupying a whole city block this theatre is more than impressive. The world’s finest ballet, operas and orchestras drop in regularly when on tour. The theatre offers guided tours when there isn’t anything on and if the doors are open you can always go in a have a look but you’ll need to book a guided tour to see past the main corridor.
WATCH A FOOTBALL MATCH
If you can squeeze it in on your last day then make sure to make the effort to see a soccer game. Argentinians are absolutely balmy about football so what better way to experience the local culture than to join in! Argentina’s two biggest teams are La Boca (Diego Maradona’s ex-team) and River Plate and if you can’t get a ticket to see a game at their stadiums then head to a local bar or pub where things will definitely get wild and passionate.
No Buenos Aires itinerary is really complete without pizza. With over 62% of Argentinians having some Italian roots, pizza here is a staple. Argentinians take pizza as seriously as their football and there are many top-notch pizza joints in town. Pizza here is more of the thick-crust, cheesy variety rather than the original Italian thin crust. The best establishments seem to be El Cuartito and De Rossa Pizzeria. If in doubt just head to Avenida Corrientes where around the Obelisco there are many great pizza places. Make sure to try Argentina’s most famous pizza La Fugazzeta- a stuffed cheese pizza with onion.
TOP TIPS FOR VISITING BUENOS AIRES:
↠ Buenos Aires is a huge city. In fact, some 17 million people call it home. If you want to get around easily and cheaply, get a SUBE card, a top-up card that will get you rides on the subway and bus system. You can buy it and top it up at any metro station or kiosk and go- it really is the best way to get around the city.
↠ Buenos Aires is generally a safe city but there are still areas you don’t want to go to. Avoid La Boca at night and take a taxi if you plan on coming back to your hotel late at night.
↠ if you’re on a budget you might want to check out a few different areas before deciding on where to stay as accommodation prices can vary. You can do this very easily on booking.com by just filtering your results by area and budget.
↠ Uber works in Buenos Aires
↠ 3 days in Buenos Aires is the perfect amount to see the whole city but if you do have more time make sure to head across the river ( Rio de la Plata ) to the beautiful Colonia de Sacramento in Uruguay or to Le Tigre, a riverside town perfect for a day trip outside of Buenos Aires
What did you get up to during your 3 days in Buenos Aires? Got any more great recommendations? Let me know below.
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