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Buenos Aires

day day BY

1st Edition

by Neil E. Schlecht
Contents
15 Favorite Moments 1
1 The Best Full-Day Tours 7
The Best in One Day 8
The Best in Two Days 14
The Best in Three Days 20

2 The Best Special-Interest Tours 25


Historic Buenos Aires 26
Where Else But Buenos Aires? 32
Buenos Aires for Tango Aficionados 40
Buenos Aires Architecture & Design 44
Buenos Aires for Kids 50
Buenos Aires for Art Lovers 56

3 The Best Neighborhood Walks 59


Avenida de Mayo 60
Retiro to Recoleta 64
San Telmo 68
Palermo Chico 72

4 The Best Shopping 75


Shopping Best Bets 76
Shopping A to Z 79

5 The Great Outdoors 87


Palermos Parks & Gardens 88
Costanera Sur 92
Buenos Aires by Bike 94

6 The Best Dining 97


Dining Best Bets 98
Buenos Aires Restaurants A to Z 101
7 The Best Nightlife 109
Nightlife Best Bets 110
Buenos Aires Nightlife A to Z 113

8 The Best Arts & Entertainment 119


Arts & Entertainment Best Bets 120
Buenos Aires Arts & Entertainment
A to Z 124

9 The Best Lodging 131


Lodging Best Bets 132
Buenos Aires Hotels A to Z 136

10 The Best Day Trips & Excursions 145


El Tigre & the River Delta 146
Uruguay: Colonia del Sacramento 150
San Antonio de Areco: Gaucho Country 154

The Savvy Traveler 161


Before You Go 162
Getting There 164
Getting Around 165
Fast Facts 166
A Brief History 169
Useful Words & Phrases 172
Recommended Argentine Wines 174
Toll-Free Numbers & Websites 175

Index 177
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dor mentioned in this book.
ISBN 978-0-470-16011-4
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1 2 3 4 5 RRD 13 12 11 10 09
A Note from the Editorial Director
Organizing your time. Thats what this guide is all about.

Other guides give you long lists of things to see and do and then
expect you to fit the pieces together. The Day by Day guides are
different. These guides tell you the best of everything, and then
they show you how to see it in the smartest, most time-efficient
way. Our authors have designed detailed itineraries organized by
time, neighborhood, or special interest. And each tour comes with
a bulleted map that takes you from stop to stop.

Hoping to learn tango at one of Buenos Aires famous milongas or


dine on its world-renowned beef? Planning to visit the final resting
place of Evita Pern, take in a ftbol match, or sip coffee at one of
the citys historic cafs? Whatever your interest or schedule, the
Day by Days give you the smartest routes to follow. Not only do
we take you to the top attractions, hotels, and restaurants, but we
also help you access those special moments that locals get to
experiencethose finds that turn tourists into travelers.

The Day by Days are also your top choice if youre looking for one
complete guide for all your travel needs. The best hotels and res-
taurants for every budget, the greatest shopping values, the wild-
est nightlifeits all here.

Why should you trust our judgment? Because our authors person-
ally visit each place they write about. Theyre an independent lot
who say what they think and would never include places they
wouldnt recommend to their best friends. Theyre also open to
suggestions from readers. If youd like to contact them, please
send your comments our way at feedback@frommers.com, and
well pass them on.

Enjoy your Day by Day guidethe most helpful travel companion


you can buy. And have the trip of a lifetime.

Warm regards,

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director


Frommers Travel Guides
vi
About the Author
Neil Edward Schlecht has seen Buenos Aires through its ups and downs
in the last three decades. He first traveled there in the late 1980s, while
living in neighboring Brazil; as Argentina spiraled into hyperinflation, he
found himself in a public hospital strapped for supplies, needing local
friends to secure x-ray film on the black market. Hes happy to report that
since then hes witnessed the city come back from the dead a couple of
times and transform itself into one of the hottest places on the planet.

A freelance writer and photographer, and the author of Frommers Peru,


Barcelona Day by Day, Mallorca & Menorca Day by Day, and many other
travel titles, Schlecht resides in rural Litchfield County, Connecticut (USA).
He is a huge fan of Argentine wines, but cant dance tango to save his life.

Acknowledgments
To Uisce, who was always waiting for me on my return home. Y para mis
amigos Lau y Sebi. Sin vuestra amistad y ayudaadems de la gentileza
de prestarme vuestro hermoso apartamentohubiera sido mucho menos
divertido este proyecto. Gracias y un abrazo muy fuerte.

An Additional Note
Please be advised that travel information is subject to change at any time
and this is especially true of prices. We therefore suggest that you write or
call ahead for confirmation when making your travel plans. The authors,
editors, and publisher cannot be held responsible for the experiences of
readers while traveling. Your safety is important to us, however, so we
encourage you to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Star Ratings, Icons & Abbreviations


Every hotel, restaurant, and attraction listing in this guide has been ranked
for quality, value, service, amenities, and special features using a star-
rating system. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, shopping, and nightlife are
rated on a scale of zero stars (recommended) to three stars (exceptional). In
addition to the star-rating system, we also use a = icon to point out the
best bets for families. Within each tour, we recommend cafes, bars, or res-
taurants where you can take a break. Each of these stops appears in a
shaded box marked with a coffee-cup-shaped bullet P .

The following abbreviations are used for credit cards:


AE American Express DISC Discover V Visa
DC Diners Club MC MasterCard
vii
Frommers.com
Now that you have this guidebook to help you plan a great trip, visit our
website at www.frommers.com for additional travel information on more
than 4,000 destinations. We update features regularly to give you instant
access to the most current trip-planning information available. At Frommers.
com, youll find scoops on the best airfares, lodging rates, and car rental
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Online travel message boards with featured travel discussions

A Note on Prices
In the Take a Break and Best Bets sections of this book, we have used a
system of dollar signs to show a range of costs for 1 night in a hotel (the
price of a double-occupancy room) or the cost of an entree at a restaurant.
Use the following table to decipher the dollar signs:

Cost Hotels Restaurants


$ under $100 under $10
$$ $100$200 $10$20
$$$ $200$300 $20$30
$$$$ $300$400 $30$40
$$$$$ over $400 over $40

An Invitation to the Reader


In researching this book, we discovered many wonderful placeshotels,
restaurants, shops, and more. Were sure youll find others. Please tell us
about them, so we can share the information with your fellow travelers in
upcoming editions. If you were disappointed with a recommendation, wed
love to know that, too. Please write to:

Frommers Buenos Aires Day by Day, 1st Edition


John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd.
6045 Freemont Blvd. Mississauga, ON L5R 4J3
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Previous page: Couple practices tango in an outdoor milonga.


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15 Favorite Moments
uenos Aires has become one of the hottest destinations
in the world. After yet another economic crisis and currency
devaluation made it almost absurdly cheap for non-Argentines,
visitors rushed in to discover the most European-looking of South
American capitals. And with it, Porteos (as the locals are called)
penchant for massive steaks, fine malbec wines, old cafes, and chic
boutiques and a resurgent national dance, the tango. The follow-
ing are some of my favorite experiences in the Argentine capital.

1 Reveling in la milonga. Only


recently out of fashion, tango is
once again the soundtrack to life in
Buenos Aires. Chic youngsters and
wizened veterans gather at late-
night milongas in time-worn ball-
rooms, and whether in jeans or
stylish skirts and pumps, they
embrace and move to a passionate
rhythm unique to Argentina. Its
intoxicating to watch, but tangos
precise, stylized moves are likely to
tre Rios
make novices feel ridiculously
clumsy. There are a half-dozen great
milongas, but one of the best is El
Nio Bien. See bullet 9, p 118.
u
2 Reliving Evitas cult of person- Young Argentines have embraced the
ality. Evita Perns (19191952) tango.
fame hasnt dimmed nearly 60 years
after her death. She rose to unex- Peronista party, and became a tow-
pected power alongside her hus- ering national figure, inspiring a
band, trade unions, and the Broadway play, a Hollywood movie,

La Recoleta is the resting place of Evita Pern


4
15 Favorite Moments

Caf La Perla is one of the citys classic bar notables.

and legions of fans. The city is home you cant miss an opportunity to
to her discrete tomb in Recoleta attend a match featuring one of
Cemetery, the Casa Rosada Buenos Airess two top teams. Don
scene of her famous speeches to war paint in blue and yellow, and
Argentine workers and now the root for Boca Juniors at La Bombo-
wonderfully personal Evita Museum. nera stadium; or wear red and
See bullet 0, p 38. black, and scream for River Plate.
Of course, if ftbol seems too low-
3 Joining the masses or the
brow, you could always join the jet-
elites. If youre a ftbol (soccer) fan,
set at their favorite springtime
or just a student of group behavior,
diversion, a polo match. See bullet 1,
The top of Palacio Barolo has stunning
p 24.
panoramic views of the city. 4 Tiptoeing through a city of the
dead. Stunning La Recoleta Ceme-
tery is the final resting place of Bue-
nos Airess most elite citizenry, from
Presidents and Generals to one
Evita Pern. The elaborate tombs
are monuments to their achieve-
ments and immense family wealth,
mausoleums dripping with neo-Clas-
sical, Art Nouveau, and Baroque art,
topped by somber marble angels
and cherubs gazing skyward. See
bullet @, p 28.
5 Getting your expat on. Buenos
Aires suddenly became the new
Prague after the peso devaluation in
2002, and though the city is no
5

15 Favorite Moments
longer as dirt-cheap as it once was, views of all of Buenos Aires. See
its still a value destination full of for- bullet 9, p 48.
eigners living beyond their normal
9 Loading up on boutique shop-
means. Hang out at the most exclu-
ping. Leather is king in Buenos
sive restaurants and clubs, such as
Aires, of course, so luxurious, hand-
Casa Cruz where its fashionable
made bags and shoes are the hot
to speak English, Italian, or French
items to score. But you might also
and live it up for a fraction of the cost
come back with a sheepskin rug or
of New York, Rome, or Paris. See
gaucho-cool cowhide, bought for a
bullet %, p 102.
fraction of what they might cost at
6 Drinking in history at a bar home. Trendy boutiques in Palermo
notable. Buenos Aires is renowned Viejo, such as Humawaca, are some
for its cafe culture, and many of the of the chicest and most visually cre-
citys classic bars and cafes reso- ative youll see, meriting a stroll
nant with a patina of age and events even if youre not buying. See
both momentous and small date bullet %, p 84.
from the late 19th and early 20th
0 Riding the A train. Buenos
centuries. The government has pro-
Airess subway line is the oldest in
tected 53 of them including the
South America. The A line, which
legendary Tortoni from develop-
retains the original 1913 cars that
ments onward march. Theyre
rumble beneath Avenida de Mayo,
places to sip a cortado and take in
from the Plaza in front of the Casa
life at an institution held dear by
Rosada to the House of Congress, is a
locals, young and old. See bullet 7,
charming relic, a wood-paneled ride
p 105.
back in time. See bullet 2, p 52.
7 Leaving the city behind.
! Attacking Argentine grass-fed
Besides its wide avenues and Belle
beef. In this land of cattle and wide-
Epoque architecture, Buenos Aires
open spaces, Argentines live for red
overflows with green spaces. Just
meat, which many wolf down at
behind the towering skyscrapers
every meal. And thats something in
still going up in Puerto Madero is
a place where steaks tend to be the
the Reserva Ecolgica Costanera
Sur, a reserve of marshland leading The A line still has original subway cars
down to the muddy Ro de la Plata. from 1913.
The residential neighborhood of Pal-
ermo is distinguished by extensive
parks and gardens, where Porteos
go to show off their toned bodies on
a track around a pair of lakes. See
bullet 1, p 95.
8 Zooming to the top of Palacio
Barolo. Mario Palantis spectacular
1923 neo-Gothic skyscraper is
impressive and unique from the
street, but if you pop inside, youll
get a treat few Porteos have even
experienced. Beyond the sumptu-
ous lobby and gorgeous old-fash-
ioned elevators are upper-floor
terraces with stunning panoramic
6
15 Favorite Moments
midst at an uber-cool boutique
hotel like Hotel Home Buenos Aires in
Palermo Viejo. See bullet 1, p 141.
$ Playing gaucho at an estancia.
Argentinas famed gaucho culture
reigns not more than an hour out-
side Buenos Aires, in the unendingly
flat pampas. Visit a country estate
(estancia) for the day or spend the
night; chow down at a big-time par-
rilla; and visit the tranquil town of
San Antonio de Areco, a charming
throwback full of exquisite silver
craftsmen, colonial buildings, and
antique country grocers built
around a stately plaza and cobble-
stoned streets lined with orange
trees. See p 154.
% Going under the knife. Buenos
Jacaranda trees line the citys streets in Aires is full of ridiculously beautiful
springtime. people, many of whom have been
given an assist by plastic surgeons.
size of the family pet. Parrilladas
The citys become a world capital for
grilled-meat feasts encompassing
aesthetic enhancement, so why not
virtually every cut of meat youve
get a nose job or breast enhance-
ever heard of and some youd never
ment while youre down here or
consider eating are the backbone
perhaps a tummy tuck after all that
of the Argentine diet and something
beef? (Im mostly kidding, though
carnivores have to experience at a
you wouldnt be the first to build a
parrilla restaurant like La Cabrera.
vacation to Argentina around, er, a
See bullet 0, p 105.
theme of self-improvement.)
@ Taking in springtime down
south. Hit Buenos Aires in spring, An antique grocer in San Antonio de
the onset of the dead of winter in Areco.
the northern hemisphere and one of
the best times to visit the city. It
turns redolent with the fragrance of
jacaranda, jasmine, and magnolia.
Wherever you look, trees blossom
with the brilliant lavender color of
jacarandas and deep-red ceibo, the
national flower of Argentina. The
scenes the best in the wide-open
green spaces of the Parque Tres de
Febrero. See bullet 5, p 90.
# Hob-knobbing with la gente
bella. Buenos Aires teems with
beautiful people, and restaurants,
bars, and shops in the most fashion-
able districts are the runways where
they strut their stuff. Stay in their
1 The Best
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Previous page: The neighborhood of La Boca is one of the most colorful spots in the city.
9

The Best in One Day


This very full one-day tour takes in the best of historic Bue-
nos Aires, and its neighborhoods Monserrat and Retiro, giving you a taste
o of its beginnings and recent past as one of the wealthiest places on Earth:
its famous European-influenced architecture, old-world cafes, and wide ave-
nues, squares, and parks. Youll need walking shoes. START: Subte to Plaza
de Mayo (A) or Catedral (D).

1 Casa Rosada. Americans admission. MonFri 10am6pm (free


have their White House, Argentines guided visits 11am & 3pm); Sun
their Pink House. At the east end of 26pm (free guided visits 4pm). Pal-
the Plaza de Mayo, the Argentine ace tours suspended until comple-
presidential palace, where the presi- tion of renovations. Subte: Plaza de
dent works but does not live, is Mayo (A), Bolvar (E), or Catedral (D).
known for its distinctive color (the
2 Plaza de Mayo. The
reason for that hue is a matter of
heart of the historic Monserrat dis-
debate and speculation, with some
trictand indeed, the entire city
asserting that it was originally
this is the spot where Buenos Aires
painted with cow blood). The asym-
had its second founding in 1580.
metrical building, erected in 1885, is
The square has been ground zero
where Evita Pern (19191952)
for virtually every momentous
addressed her adoring masses
political event in Argentinas mod-
(though not from the front balcony,
ern history, from presidential proc-
as is usually assumed, but from one
lamations to mass protests by
on the south side, at Balcarce). In
Perns blue-collar workers (the
the basement is a presidential
descamisados, or shirtless ones) to
museum containing official artifacts
mournful demonstrations by the
once belonging to Argentine presi-
Mothers of the Disappeared,
dents over the decades. @ 30 min.
whose children were kidnapped and
Plaza de Mayo (museum entrance
murdered by the military govern-
at Yrigoyen 219), Monserrat. y 11/
ments of the 1970s and early 1980s.
4344-3802. www.museo.gov.ar. Free

The Argentine presidential palace has a distinctive pink hue.


10

4 Cabildo. The blindingly


The Best Full-Day Tours
white old town hall rests on the spot
where the town council first met at
the end of the 16th century, and
where Argentine independence
took root during the May Revolution
of 1810. It is the only public building
on the Plaza de Mayo remaining
from colonial days, and inside is a
moderately interesting museum of
colonial paintings and furniture. Its
worth a quick look inside to see
whats left of the original building
and its views of the Plaza and Ave-
nida de Mayo. @ 30 min. Bolvar 65
(at Rivadavia), Monserrat. y 11/
Catedral Metropolitano was completed in
1836 after more than 90 years. 4343-4387. Admission: AR$1 adults.
TuesSat 10:30am5pm; Sun
Today, there are still sometimes fre- 11:30am6pm. Free tours Fri 3:30pm
quent protests and occasional & Sat 2pm. Subte: Plaza de Mayo
appearances by the aging Madres (A), Bolvar (E), or Catedral (D).
(mothers)whose ownership of 5 = Av. de Mayo. This
the plaza is marked by the heads- wide and graceful tree-lined avenue
carves, their symbol, painted on the is the most historic thoroughfare in
tiles around the 1811 obelisk in the the city. Modeled after Pariss grand
center. @ 15 min. Av. de Mayo, boulevards, it is a showcase of
Monserrat. Madres de la Plaza de impressive office buildings, hotels,
Mayo: every Thurs 3:30pm. Subte: cafes, and theaters; a smorgasbord
Plaza de Mayo (A), Bolvar (E), or of Spanish, French, English, and Ital-
Catedral (D). ian Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau
3 Catedral Metropolitana. influence. A highlight is Casa de la
Over the centuries, beginning in Cultura, the 1889 headquarters of
1622, a half-dozen churches have the newspaper La Prensa, with its
occupied this spot. The present Versailles-like interior. Running
cathedrals long construction beneath the avenue is the historic
period, from 1745 to 1836, is A line of the subte, or subway, the
reflected in its inconsistent appear- first built in South America; the Peru
ance, with an austere neo-Classical station, with its retro-style posters
exterior fronting a gilded, baroque and kiosks, is the most authentic of
interior. A mausoleum inside con- the original 1913 stations. @ 45 min.
tains the remains of General Jos Av. de Mayo (between Per & Senz
de San Martn (17781850), the Pea), Monserrat. Subte: Plaza de
national hero and Father of the Mayo (A), Bolvar (E), or Catedral (D).
Nation known as El Libertador for
his campaigns to free the southern Caf Tortoni. The old-
nations of South America from
6
est, as well as most famous and
Spanish rule. @ 30 min. San Martn atmospheric, cafe in Buenos Aires,
(at Rivadavia), Monserrat. y 11/ little has changed at this institution
4331-2845. Subte: Plaza de Mayo since 1858 except for the attire of
(A), Bolvar (E), or Catedral (D). its patrons. Although it looks like a
11

The Best in One Day


museum piece, with its rich woods,
huge mirrors, ornate light fixtures,
and stained-glass ceilings, it
remains an essential gathering
place for locals, as well as hordes of
visitors. Politicians, artists, and intel-
lectuals through the years, including
Carlos Gardel (18901935), Jorge
Luis Borges (18991986), and Fed-
erico Garca Lorca (18981936),
have all held court at Tortoni. In
the back is a cool theater hosting
nightly tango performances. Av. de
Mayo 825. y 11/4342-4328. www.
cafetortoni.com.ar. $$.
The Avenido 9 de Julio is home to the
Obelisco monument.
7 = Av. 9 de Julio/
Obelisco. Whether or not it is in to commemorate the 400-year anni-
fact the widest street in the world, versary of the citys initial founding.
as Porteos love to tout Av. 9 de Major national sporting events are
Julio, is a matter of dispute. Devel- frequently celebrated here, though
oped in 1937, and widened in the one year, to mark International AIDS
1960s to its current 16 lanes, the Day, the monument was draped
avenue is home not only to some of with a giant condom. Another two
the citys most important office blocks north is Teatro Coln, the
buildings and a healthy share of its renowned opera house that recently
automobiles, but also to some lov- celebrated its 100-year-anniversary
ingly landscaped garden areas. Four (but didnt open in time to celebrate
blocks to the north (at Corrientes), after lengthy renovations). When
rising from the middle of the ave- again open, its essential to visit for
nue, is the towering Obelisco, the a concert or tour. @ 20 min. Av. 9
symbol of Buenos Aires built in 1936 de Julio (at Corrientes), Centro.

Caf Tortoni is the oldest and most famous caf in Buenos Aires.
12
The Best Full-Day Tours
Subte: Carlos Pellegrini (B), Diagonal
Norte (C), or 9 de Julio (D).
8 = Palacio Barolo.
One of the most distinctive buildings
in the city, this 22-story palace
was the tallest in the city when com-
pleted in 1923. The Italian architect
Mario Palanti built it for a local tex-
tile magnate and curiously styled
the building to closely reflect
aspects of Dantes The Divine Com-
edy (see p. 48). The lobby is gor-
geous and the old-school elevators
enchanting, but little prepares one
for the breathtaking panoramic
views from top floors. Tours are
offered two days a week, but a visit
to the tango clothing shop Tango
Moda on the 16th floor also affords
dramatic (free) views of the palaces Plaza San Martin is one of the citys
cupola and all of Buenos Aires from favorite parks.
two terraces. @ 45 min. Av. de
Mayo 1370 (at San Jos), Centro. 0 = A Line Subte. A
y 11/4383-1065 (15/5027-9035 for great way to experience the still-
tour information). www.pbarolo.com. running, antique subway is to hop
ar. Admission: AR$15 adults. Tours aboard the A line back from Con-
Mon & Thurs on the hr. 27pm; Eng- greso. You can ride it all the way to
lish & Spanish. Subte: Senz Pea (A). Plaza de Mayo, although Estacin
9 Palacio del Congreso. Peru retains the most period charm,
At the end of Av. de Mayo, forming with turn-of-the-20th-century post-
a bookend with the Casa Rosada, is ers and charmingly old-school
the imposing Greco-Roman Con- kiosks, tiles, and lamps transporting
gress building, constructed in 1909 commuters back in time. The origi-
of gray granite and topped by a nal wood-paneled cars, introduced
greenish copper dome. Tours of the in 1913 as part of the first subway
Congresss opulent interior take system in South America, still run
visitors to the Saln Rosado, now the line, even though some newer
renamed for Eva Pern, who chris- cars have been introduced; if youre
tened the room as a place that riding as much for the experience as
women, newly granted the right to the transport, wait for one of the
vote, could discuss issues without older cars. @ 20 min. From Con-
the interference of men (Evita lay in greso to Plaza de Mayo, Peru sta-
state at Congreso for 2 weeks of tion, Av. de Mayo 500, Monserrat.
public viewing after her death in www.subte.com.ar. Admission
1952). @ 1 hr. Yrigoyen 1849, Cen- AR$0.90 adults.
tro. y 11/4370-7100 or 11/6310- ! = Plaza San Martn.
7100, ext. 3725. Free guided tours in This handsome park in the Retiro
English on Mon, Tues, Thurs, & Fri district is one of Buenos Airess
11am & 4pm; in Spanish Mon, Tues, treasured green spaces. Palm trees,
Thurs, & Fri 11am, 4pm, & 5pm. palos borrachos, and (in spring) the
Subte: Congreso (A). abundant lavender flowers of
13

The Best in One Day


jacarands frame views of an shopping mall with real pedigree;
imposing skyscraper, the 1935 Edifi- its even a National Historic Monu-
cio Kavanagh, and two stunning ment. The 1891 building is enliv-
early 20th-century aristocratic man- ened by a central dome with
sions: the Palacio San Martn (for- colorful, expressive frescoes
mer home to the Argentine Foreign painted by five Argentine muralists
Service), and Palacio Paz, a mas- in the 1940s. Other exquisite build-
sive and extraordinary palace reminis- ings on Calle Florida include Centro
cent of Versailles, with a miniature Naval (no. 801); Galera Guemes (no.
gilded opera house within and one 165), drab on the outside but with a
wing housing the Crculo Militar, a gorgeously restored back entrance
weapons and military museum. @ 30 on San Martn 170 and glorious
min. (90 min if touring Crculo Militar). glass dome; and Bank of Boston (no.
Palacio Paz: Av. Santa Fe 750 (at 99). @ 45 min. Florida (between Av.
Maip), Retiro. y 11/4311-1071. Alvear & Av. Corrientes), Centro.
www.circulomilitar.org. Admission: Subte: Florida (B) or San Martn (C).
AR$15 adults. Crculo Militar tours in
Spanish Tues & Fri 11am & 3pm, Wed
# Florida Garden. A classic
& Thurs 11am & 4pm, Sat 11am; Eng-
cafe from the days when Calle Flor-
lish Tues & Thurs 3:30pm. Subte: San
ida reeked of elegance and every-
Martn (C).
one from politicians and bankers to
@ Calle Florida. A pedestrian- student activists and artists gath-
only street that was once Buenos ered here. Its still a revered spot for
Airess most glamorous is today its coffee, chocolate cake, sandwiches
most commercial. Its swank build- (including the house specialty,
ings, somewhat difficult to appreci- pebete de pan negroham and
ate amid the hubbub, attest to cheese on house-baked brown
Floridas erstwhile elegance and sta- bread), and in the bar at the back, a
tus as the citys most famous shop- stiff drink at the end of the day. Flor-
ping promenade. Some of that, ida 899. y 11/4312-7902. Daily
ironically, is still on view within 6:30ammidnight. $$.
Galeras Pacfico (no. 737), a

The Galerias Pacifico shopping mall is a National Historic Monument.


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15

The Best in Two Days


n day two, we move south of the center to two historic
neighborhoods, La Boca and San Telmowhere tango was
born, nurtured, and lives onfollowed by a glimpse of forward-look-
ing Buenos Aires in Puerto Madero. And we finish in rarified Recoleta,
home to some of Buenos Airess finest apartment buildings, hotels,
and shops, and the stunning cemetery where Evita and other pillars of
Argentine society are buried. START: Taxi to Vuelta de Rocha (La Boca).

1 Fundacin Proa. Stand-


2 La Perla. This 1920 can-
ing in stark, gleaming white contrast
tinasaid to have been a brothel in
to colorful Caminito is this contempo-
years pastis about as cinematic a
rary art museum and foundation, one
cafe as youll find in Buenos Aires,
of the citys most interesting and pro-
chock full of worn wooden tables,
gressive art spaces. In addition to
walls covered in old photographs,
excellent exhibits (in past years, fea-
mirrors, and local artwork, and col-
turing Marcel Duchamp, Jenny Holzer,
orful seltzer bottles on the tables.
Sol LeWitt, and Sebastio Salgado),
Protected by law as a cafe notable,
the recently transformed building
the bar has long been a hangout of
an ingeniously converted Italianate
the artistic and politically motivated
mansion with a modern glass addition
set, though today its prices are
and nod to the areas edgy past
more likely to appeal to foreigners.
contains a cafe, library, wide terrace
Grab a seat by one of the windows
with great views of the port and bar-
for a great view of the port and
rio, and auditorium holding occasional
touristy goings-on at the start of
concerts and film series. @ 1 hr. Av.
Caminito. Av. Pedro de Mendoza
Pedro de Mendoza 1929, La Boca.
1899. y 11/4301-2985. $$.
y 11/4104-1000. www.proa.org.
Admission: AR $10 adults, AR$6 stu-
dents, AR$3 seniors. TuesSun
11am8pm. Subte: No access.

La Perla.
16

4 Port/Puente Transborda-
The Best Full-Day Tours
dor. Buenos Aires was founded
near La Boca for the first time in
1536 (though the settlement was
soon abandoned), and not for noth-
ing are the citys residents called
Porteos (people of the port). Today
the port, though, is anything but
picturesquein fact, its downright
malodorousbut its a crucial part
of the city, given its past maritime
and commercial importance. That
significance is perhaps best symbol-
ized by the 1914 iron transporter
bridge that carried trains and cargo
across the Rochuela (canal) until the
mid-20th century. @ 15 min. Av.
Pedro de Mendoza (at Almirante
The pedestrian-only alleyway of Caminito
is a magnet for tourists.
Brown), La Boca. Subte: No access.
5 = Plaza Dorrego.
3 = Caminito. Sure, its The heart of historic, bohemian San
one of the most touristy and colorful Telmo is this laid-back plaza with a
spots in the city, but the pedestrian- smattering of bars, cafes, and res-
only alleywayfull of wood-and-cor- taurants. On Sundays, however, the
rugated-tin tenement houses with renowned San Telmo Antiques Fair
rickety balconies that used to house takes over it and the surrounding
new immigrantsis so brightly streets, transforming the square
painted and perfect for pictures into the shopping and tourist epi-
with tango dancers and street per- center of Buenos Aires. Sellers and
formers that you cant very well skip shoppers crowd the plaza, the
it completely. La Boca, the old port
area, is where Italian immigrants The port is a critical part of the history of
who worked the shipyards settled, Buenos Aires.
and locals claim the tango was born
among the working-class (and sail-
ors and prostitutes) in the late 19th
century. Part of one of the citys old-
est residential neighborhoods, the
local artist Benito Quinquela Martn
(18901977) conceived of the street
in 1959 as a way to give other local
artists a massive outdoor canvas
outlet and to feel proud about their
rundown barrio. While it hasnt
transformed the districtjust ven-
ture a couple streets off Caminito to
see the plain brown reality of La
Bocait has converted it into a
tourist magnet. @ 30 min. Av. Pedro
de Mendoza (at Vuelta de Rocha), La
Boca. Subte: No access.
17

The Best in Two Days


San Telmo never fails to entertain.

second-oldest in the city, while 6 Casa de los Ezeiza. Few


tango dancers and orchestras fight places so succinctly sum up San Tel-
for space on the packed streets mos past and present. This sprawl-
leading to it. Its worth planning ing, Spanish-style mansion was
your trip to Argentina to include a constructed in 1850, just before yel-
Sunday morning in San Telmo; low fever would drive wealthy local
whether its people-watching or residents to (literally) higher ground
serious silver and glass antiques in Recoleta. It later became a con-
youre interested in, this busy ventillo, or tenement house occu-
square cannot fail to entertain. pied by several families, and then a
And be sure to check out the superb school and warehouse before its
permanent antiques dealers and current function housing antiques
art galleries on the cobblestoned dealers and assorted shops. With its
streets radiating out from the plaza two interior patios, faded walls, and
(principally along Humberto I and worn black-and-white tiled flooring,
Defensa). @ 1 hr. Defensa (at Hum- the house is a shadow of its former
berto I), San Telmo. Subte: Indepen- grandeur and looks a bit like a multi-
dencia (C). family dwelling in Havana, but it

The Real Caminito


Caminito (little alley) was inspired by the classic tango of the
same name, not the other way around. The famous tango Cami-
nito, by Juan de Dios Filiberto (18851964) and Gabino Coria
Pealoza (18811975), might appear to be an homage to the little
street in La Boca, but in fact, the song dates to 1926 and has noth-
ing at all to do with it, La Boca, or even Buenos Aires: Rather, it
speaks nostalgically of a flower-bedecked path in Argentinas far-
off La Rioja province.
18
The Best Full-Day Tours
seems perfect for todays bohemian
and antiques-crazed San Telmo.
@ 20 min. Defensa 1179, San Telmo.
Subte: Independencia (C).
7 Coleccin de Arte Fort-
abat. The nearby district of Puerto
Madero, the site of recycled 19th-
century warehouses and the citys
most rampant new development, is
also home to its newest art
museum, garnering a great deal of
attention for its avant-garde design
by Rafael Violy. In spectacular
style, it houses the art collection
including some of the biggest
names among both Argentine and
international artists of the last 100
yearsof one of Argentinas richest
women, Amalia Lacroze de Forta- The Baslica Nuestra Seora del Pilar is
bat. Inaugurated in November 2008, the citys second-oldest church.
the cylindrical building features fan-
tastic views of Puerto Madero, the The small religious art museum
yacht club, and the city beyond within the old convent is worth a
from the upstairs galleries. Previ- visit to see the original flooring, win-
ously best known for its office build- dows, and other period details
ings and upscale restaurants, where cloistered nuns once lived.
Puerto Madero is a good place to @ 30 min. Junn 1904, Recoleta.
grab lunch alongside politicians and y 11/4803-6793. Admission: AR$3
business folks. @ 1 hr. Olga Cosset- adults. TuesSat 10:30am6:15pm;
tini 141, Puerto Madero. y 11/4310- Sun 2:306:15pm. Subte: No access.
6600. www.coleccionfortabat.org.ar.
Admission: AR$15 adults, AR$7 stu- 9 = Cementerio de la
dents & seniors. TuesFri noon9pm; Recoleta. One of the most famous
SatSun 10am9pm. Subte: L.N. cemeteries in the world, and not
Alem (B). just because Evita is buried here,
this moving and beautiful city of the
8 Baslica Nuestra dead is one of the highlights of Bue-
Seora del Pilar. The Recoleta nos Aires. Many of the tombs and
neighborhood may not be as old as mausoleums of Argentinas wealthi-
San Telmo or La Boca, but it does est and most powerful residents are
have the second-oldest church in audacious, no-expense-spared
Buenos Aires, which was originally works of Art Nouveau, Gothic, and
part of a convent belonging to the neo-Classical art: small marble and
Padres Recoletos. This attractive granite houses with soaring angels
church, inaugurated in 1732, has an and crosses gracing tree-lined bou-
unadorned colonial exterior, though levards. Opened in 1822, Recoleta is
its current pristine whiteness is a even more exclusive than the neigh-
modern alteration (in colonial days, borhood that has grown up around
it was white and sun-yellow). Inside, it: the final resting place of military
youll find outstanding Spanish colo- generals, presidents, and aristo-
nial artwork and a baroque, silver- crats, including Bartolom Mitre
plated altar brought from Alto Per. (18211906), the first president of
19

The Best in Two Days


Argentina; Jos Paz (18421912), flavor, such as the exquisite silver-
the founder of La Prensa; and, of smith Juan Carlos Pallarols (no.
course, Eva Pern, buried in a rela- 1883). @ 45 min. Av. Alvear
tively modest mausoleum indicated (between Schiaffino & Montevideo),
by her fathers surname, Famlia Recoleta. Subte: No access.
Duarte. @ 1 hr. Junn 1790 (at Plaza
Francesa), Recoleta. y 11/4804-
7040. Free admission. Free English- ! La Biela. One of the citys
most famous and pedigreed cafes,
language tours Tues & Thurs 11am.
with a history that goes back to the
Subte: No access.
mid-19th century, La Biela is where
0 Avenida Alvear. Recoleta Recoletas elite come to sip coffee
drips with glamour and wealth, and nibble on petit-fours on the
something one can get a taste of by broad terrace, under umbrellas and
strolling along this swank residential massive omb branches. Its a clas-
and commercial avenue. Home to sic, European-style cafe inside,
elegant apartment buildings and where the Argentine author Julio
two of the citys most famous and Cortzar (19141984) and other
elite hotels, the Alvear Palace (no. illustrious figures settled in over the
1883) and Park Hyatt/Palacio Duhau years, but outdoors is where the
(no. 1661), it is also the site of luxu- practiced art of people-watching,
rious digs for high-end fashion second only to polo season among
stores, including Herms (no. 1981), this crowd, goes on. Quintana 600.
Valentino (no. 1923), Ralph Lauren y 11/4804-4135. www.labiela.com.
(no. 1780), and Emporio Armani (no. $$$.
1750), as well as shops with local

Cafe La Biela is a great place for sipping coffee and people-watching.


lisario Rold
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20
The Best Full-Day Tours
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21

The Best in Three Days


oving northwest for a more relaxed third day, we visit
Palermo, a sprawling neighborhood of upscale apartment
buildings, expansive parks and gardens, and several of the citys
most interesting museums. Palermo Viejo, a formerly rundown area,
has become the citys hottest zone for restaurants, boutique shops,
and chic little hotelsand its cobblestoned streets and chic venues
are perfect for an afternoon of window shopping. START: Taxi to Av.
Libertador (at Pereyra Lucena).

1 Museo Nacional de the building that houses the current


Arte Decorativo. Calling this the U.S. embassy. The English Tudor
National Museum of Decorative two-story Grand Hall, with its mas-
Arts does it a bit of a disservice, sive fireplace, is extraordinary, as is
since it is in fact an extraordinary the Louis XVstyle dining room. The
private residence with a tremen- art collection includes works by El
dous art collection, and the only Greco (c. 15411614) and Manet
early-20th-century French-styled (18321883), as well as 17th- and
mansion in Buenos Aires open to 18th-century Flemish tapestries.
the public. The Palacio Errzuriz @ 1 hr. Av. del Libertador 1902, Pal-
itself is as rich in architectural detail ermo. y 11/4801-8248. www.mnad.
as the collection of 4,000 Euro-cen- org. Admission: AR$2 adults, AR$1
tric decorative arts objects it students; free on Tues. TuesSun
holds, donated to the state by the 27pm. Guided visits in English
familyChilean diplomat Matas TuesSat 2:30pm. Subte: No access.
Errzuriz and his wife, Josefina de
Alvear, who possessed one of the
citys great fortunes in the early 2 Croque Madame. Just
inside the massive gate to the Museo
20th centuryin 1937. The massive
Nacional de Arte Decorativo is this
home was designed in 1911 by the
charming, and surprisingly elegant,
French architect Ren Sergent
cafe-restaurant, in a sweet little
(18651927), also responsible for

The Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo houses a tremendous art collection.

UR
22
The Best Full-Day Tours
lunch spot of many professionals
house with a sweeping staircase,
who work in the area. @ 1 hr. Av.
chandeliers, and relaxing outdoor
Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Palermo
terrace. Its the perfect spot for a
Chico. y 11/4808-6500. www.
late breakfast or full tea service,
malba.org.ar. Admission: AR$15
but the very complete menuwith
adults, free for students & seniors;
pizzas, salads, namesake croque
free admission on Wed. ThursMon
madames and croque monsieurs,
noon8pm; Wed noon9pm. Subte:
risottos, and even fish dishes
No access.
makes it a great stop for lunch or
dinner, too. Av. del Libertador 1902. 4 = Parque Tres de
y 11/ 4806-8639. $$. Febrero. Buenos Airess answer to
New Yorks Central Park is the citys
most prized green space, often
3 MALBA. The Museo de called the Woods of Palermo by
Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos locals. The sprawling park, decreed
Aires, occupying a dramatic modern by President Sarmiento in 1872, fea-
stone-and-glass building, is in fact tures over 1,000 acres of gardens,
the private contemporary art collec- three lakes, walking paths, and
tion of Eduardo Costantini, a local woods. Its the citys lungs, the
businessman. Major Latin American place Porteos hit on weekends to
artists are represented, including run, bicycle, go inline skating, rent
Diego Rivera (18861957), Frida paddle boats, sunbathe, and stroll.
Kahlo (19071954), Roberto Matta Dont miss El Rosedal, a lovely rose
(19112002), and Wilfredo Lam garden with more than 12,000
(19021982), as well as top Argen- plantings, designed by the French-
tine painters such as Antonio Berni man Carlos Thays (18391934),
(19051981) and Xul Solar (1887 responsible for the landscaping on
1963). In addition to the estimable Av. 9 de Julio and other parks in the
collection, the building is distin- city; or the immense statue Monu-
guished by its abundant natural mento a los Espaoles, a gift from
light, a two-storey central atrium, the Spanish government in 1910
and a terrific cafe-restaurant (Caf (Av. Libertador at Av. Sarmiento).
des Arts; y 11/4808-0754) with a @ 1 hr. Av. Libertador (between Av.
pretty outdoor terrace, a favorite

Youll find major Latin American artists at MALBA.


23

The Best in Three Days


personal belongings, the museum
explains the reasons underlying Evi-
tas iconic status, reminding us of
her work in health care, getting
women the right to vote, facilitating
access to education for marginal-
ized millions, and increasing wages
for union workers. More than a half-
century after her death, she contin-
ues to divide Argentines, still largely
along class lines. The attached res-
taurant-cafe (J.M. Gutirrez 3926;
y 11/4800-1599) has a beautiful,
verdant outdoor terrace and is an
excellent stop for breakfast, lunch,
The Museo Evita helps explain the pivotal or dinneror just tea or a cocktail.
figures iconic status. @ 1 hr. Lafinur 2988 (at J.M. Gutir-
rez), Palermo. y 11/4807-0306.
Casares & Av. Dorrego), Palermo. www.evitaperon.org. Admission:
Subte: Plaza Italia (D). AR$12 adults. NovApr TuesSun
5 = Museo Evita. Eva 11am7pm; MayOct TuesSun
Pern became a surprisingly pivotal, 17pm. Subte: Plaza Italia (D).
and lasting, figure in Argentine life 6 = Jardn Botnico Car-
for someone who was the wife of los Thays. Also conceived by the
the president and died at the young landscape designer Carlos Thays in
age of 33. This intimate museum 1898, and named in his honor, the
dedicated to her lifein a lovely botanical garden is a delightful ref-
Renaissance-style residence on a uge from the city. Although in recent
quiet Palermo street, which Pern years it became abandoned and
herself appropriated and trans- overrun by a population of feral cats,
formed into a shelter for it has been slowly nursed back to
women and children health and is again a lovely place to
goes a good way stroll amid indigenous flora, massive
towards explaining trees, and cacti, as well as fountains,
the enduring fascina- statuary, and a charming wrought-
tion with Evita. iron greenhouse. @ 30 min. Av.
Adored by Santa Fe 3951, Palermo. y 11/
throngs of 4831-4527. www.jardinbotanico.
Argentine work- gov.ar. Free admission. Nov
ers and women, Mar 8am8pm; AprOct
her remains 9am6pm. Subte:
took a long and Plaza Italia (D).
convoluted way to
reach their current
resting place in Recoleta
Cemetery, a tale of
intrigue and caper, retold
in a short film on Evitas
life. Through it and other The botanical
exhibits, including garden is a
remarkably preserved delightful refuge
dresses, jewelry, and from the city.
24
The Best Full-Day Tours

Modern Bar 6 boasts excellent cocktails, DJs, and free WiFi.

7 Palermo Viejo. A for- Viejo is Plaza Serrano (also called


merly forgotten area of rundown, Plaza Cortzar); look for the quiet
squat buildings, this neighborhood pasajes (alleyways) Soria, Russel,
has gotten a makeover in the last and Santa Rosa. Cool cafes, restau-
few years, and now its Buenos rants, and hotels abound. @ 2 hrs.
Airess coolest barrio, where the Bordered by Av. Corrientes, Av. Scal-
chicest boutique hotels, shops, res- abrini Ortiz, Av. Santa Fe, & Av. Dor-
taurants, and hipster bars have rego. Subte: No access.
taken root. While the concentration
of places to spend your pesos is
8 Bar 6. A modern, but relaxed,
daunting and the residential towers
high-ceilinged space with cement
have moved in with a vengeance,
floors, couches, and comfortable
the area hasnt lost its charm. On a
sitting chairs, this restaurant is per-
late afternoon, its a joy to wander
fect for a leisurely coffee or great
the cobblestoned streets and small
fruit batido (shake), as well as sand-
alleyways, and take in the shops,
wiches, quesadillas, and more ambi-
many of which are so chic and visu-
tious fare such as ceviche and grilled
ally creative that they practically
lamb. Plenty of folks come early for
dare you not to step in. Whether
breakfast and others late for the
youre shopping for one-of-a-kind
excellent cocktails, DJs, and free
handbags and shoes, sheepskin
Wi-Fi. Armenia 1676. y 11/4833-
rugs, silver-and-horn trays, or uber-
6807. www.barseis.com. $$.
trendy clothes, youll find it here.
The epicenter of life in Palermo

Palermo Cmo?
As Palermo Viejo has grown in popularity and become the
center of all things hip, it has been unofficially subdivided, some-
what annoyingly, into districts known as Palermo Soho, Palermo
Hollywood, and even Palermo Queenssignaling that Porteos,
despite their city having been lauded as the hippest spot in South
America, still look beyond their borders for inspiration.
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13
3 Alvear Palace Hotel BarConstitucin Brasil
1

Previous Page: Signs of Porteos love of ftbol are everywhere in the city.
27

Historic Buenos Aires


eep historical roots lie just beneath the surface of mod-
ern Buenos Aires. This tour delves into San Telmo, where the
city was first settled, and Monserrat, the historic quarter and site of
the citys second (and lasting) founding in 1580, as well as the piv-
otal events that jump-started the May Revolution in 1810 and the
road toward independence. Finish in Recoleta, where aristocratic
families fled after the yellow-fever epidemic wiped out much of the
neighborhood in the late 19th century. START: Taxi to Parque Lezama
(San Telmo) or subte to Constitucin (C).

1 Museo Histrico Nacio-


nal. Begin tracing the citys history
with a visit to the former colonial
mansion of the Lezama family, today
site of the National History Museum,
which addresses Argentine history
from the 16th through the 20th cen-
turies. On display are items recov-
ered from Jesuit missions and items
instrumental in the War of Indepen-
dence against Spain, including the
first Argentine flag, flown in 1813.
Among the highlights is the bed-
room of General Jos de San Martn
(17781850), brought here from
his last home and reconstructed.
Lezama Park is said to be the spot
where Pedro de Mendoza (c. 1487
1537) first settled in 1536, as well as
the headquarters of the Company of
Guineas slave operations in the
18th century. @ 30 min. Defensa
1600 (Parque Lezama), San Telmo.
y 11/4307-4457. Free admission. This 200-year-old church took 70 years to
TuesSun noon6pm. Closed Jan.
complete.
Subte: Constitucin (C).
2 = Plaza Dorrego. Gil Antiguedades and Cndido Silva)
The second-oldest square in the city, dealing in colonial religious art, chan-
and a National Historic Monument, deliers, and 18th- and 19th-century
Plaza Dorrego is where Porteos for- furniture and silver along the cobble-
mally declared their independence stoned streets Humberto I and
from Spain in 1816. A market square Defensa, and peek into Casa de los
in the second half of the 19th cen- Ezeiza (Defensa 1179), an 1850
tury, since 1970, it has been the site Spanish-style mansion that later
of a lively antiques fair every Sunday, became a conventillo, or tenement
with high-quality 19th-century silver house, occupied by several families
and glass pieces among the offer- after yellow fever swept the district.
ings. Other days, visit some of the @ 1 hr. See bullet 5, p 16.
superb antiques stores (such as
28
The Best Special-Interest Tours

Underground tunnels that run beneath the city were built in the 18th century.

3 Nuestra Seora de of a labyrinth said to have once


Beln. Begun in 1735 by the Jesuit reached as far as where Av. 9 de
architect who also built the old town Julio is currently. It is thought that
hall on Plaza de Mayo, this church the tunnels were built starting in
(also confusingly called San Pedro 1730 and then sealed by the late
Telmo) retains colonial elements, 19th century. They and the house
even though it took some 7 decades have been meticulously restored,
to complete. In 1767, the Bethlem- and sections of original foundations
ites (an extinct English order of and brick vaults, as well as tools and
monks) took it over. The organ and ceramics, are handsomely lighted
oil paintings are from the 18th cen- and displayed. @ 1 hr. Defensa 755,
tury, while the impressive pulpit San Telmo. y 11/4361-3002. www.
dates from 1805. @ 20 min. Hum- elzanjon.com.ar. MonFri 11am
berto I 340. y 11/4361-1168. Subte: 2pm; Sun 16pm. MonFri 1-hr. tours
Independencia (C). on the hr., AR$36 adults; Sun 30-min
tours (required) every 12-hr., AR$15
4 = El Zanjn. Under-
adults. Subte: Independencia (C).
ground tunnels once ran beneath
much of Buenos Aires, and when
this 1830 residence, in ruins, was 5 Bar El Federal. A law-
being restored, workers discovered protected bar notable, this 1864
a massive cistern that led them to cafe-restauranta former grocer
extensive passageways where with a long, original wood-carved bar
water was channeled from the river. and antique cash registersreso-
What was to become a restaurant nates with history and makes a great
was transformed into an archaeo- stop for coffee or a good lunchor
logical dig. Excavations revealed perhaps a wee-hours meal and drink
that the house was built on top of if youre stumbling out of a club or
foundations that date to Buenos tango show in the neighborhood.
Airess official founding in 1580, and Carlos Calvo 599. y 11/4300-4313. $.
the underground tunnels were part
29

6 Plaza de Mayo. The 7 Librera de vila. The first

Historic Buenos Aires


heart of the casco histrico, the old- bookstore in Buenos Aires, dating
est square in Buenos Aires, was from 1785 (when it was called
established in 1580, the date of the Librera del Colegio), was a compan-
citys second founding. It was the ion to the university, and more than
site of the 1810 May Revolution, 2 centuries later, it remains in opera-
which led to Argentinas indepen- tion, with current and rare titles avail-
dence; the Pirmide de Mayo in able and a downstairs literary cafe.
its center commemorating that @ 15 min. Alsina 500, Monserrat.
event was the first monument built y 11/4331-8989. MonSun 9am
in the city, in 1811. At the east end 6pm. Subte: Per (A) or Bolvar (E).
is the Casa Rosada, which dates to
8 Farmacia La Estrella. This
1884; at the other end, on the north
historic pharmacy, still dispensing
side, is the Catedral Metropoli-
antibiotics and toothpaste today,
tana, completed in 1882 after
dates to 1834. By todays standards,
nearly 150 years of work (the citys
its surprisingly grand, with carved
first cathedral occupied the same
mahogany columns, Carrara marble,
spot in 1622). Inside the Cathedral
Murano glass, and allegorical ceiling
is the tomb of General San Martn,
murals depicting health and medi-
the Father of the Nation, whose
cine. Above the pharmacy is the
remains were moved here in 1880.
idiosyncratic Museo de la Ciudad,
Across the street is the Cabildo,
with quirky quotidian objects, such
the old town hall, on the spot where
as toys, documenting the history of
the town council met beginning at
Buenos Aires. @ 30 min. Defensa
the end of the 16th century, and the
201/219 (at Alsina), Monserrat.
only public building on Plaza de
Mayo remaining from colonial days.
y 11/4343-4040 or 11/4331-9855.
Museum admission: AR$1 adults;
@ 45 min. See bullet 2, p 9. free Mon & Wed. MonFri 11am
7pm; Sun 37pm. Subte: Bolvar (E).

The wood-carved bar at Bar El Federal is part of the original 1864 construction.
30

! Baslica Nuestra Seora


The Best Special-Interest Tours
del Pilar. Recoleta grew up around
this colonial church, the second-old-
est in Buenos Aires, that harkens
back to 1716, when it was part of a
convent belonging to French Recole-
tos (Franciscan) monks. Inside, youll
find Spanish colonial artwork and a
baroque, silver-plated altar brought
from Alto Per. The old convent
houses a religious art museum
with original flooring, windows and
other period details. @ 30 min. See
bullet 8, p 18.
The Avenido de Mayo is lined with Belle
Epoque architecture. @ = Cementerio de la
Recoleta. Opened in 1822, this
9 Manzana de las Luces. stunning necropolisBuenos Airess
On this historic Block of Enlighten- first public cemeteryis the final
ment, the oldest collection of build- resting place of military generals,
ings in Buenos Aires and the presidents, and aristocrats, includ-
intellectual heart of the city, the ing Bartolom Mitre (18211906),
Jesuits settled in 1633 and remained the first president of Argentina; Jos
until their expulsion from Argentina Paz (18421912), the founder of La
in 1767. Underground tunnels from Prensa; and, of course, Eva Pern
the 18th century (which may have (19191952), buried in 1976 (after
had a military purpose or been used her remains were finally recovered,
in contraband) run beneath the in 1971, after being missing for 16
block. In 1686, the Jesuits lay the years) in a mausoleum indicated by
foundations for Iglesia de San her fathers surname, Famlia Duarte.
Ignacio (Bolvar 225), the oldest @ 1 hr. See bullet 9, p 18.
existing church in Buenos Aires.
@ 45 min. Per 272 (at Moreno), The Baslica Nuestra Seora del Pilar was
Monserrat. y 11/4342-6973 for built in 1716.
tours. www.manzanadelasluces.gov.
ar. Admission: AR $6AR$7 adults.
Guided visits (including tunnels) Mon
1 & 3pm; TuesFri 3pm; SatSun 3,
4:30, & 6pm. Subte: Bolvar (E).
0 Avenida de Mayo. This
grand, European-style boulevard,
inaugurated in 1894, is the most his-
toric in the city, lined with Belle
Epoque architecture. The axis of
Argentine political power, connect-
ing the Casa Rosada (House of Gov-
ernment) to Congreso (the seat of
Congress), it is most representative
of the citys Golden Age. By 1910, 18
hotels had been erected here, along
with the citys most popular cafes
and theaters. @ 2 hrs.; Av. de
Mayo & Bolivar. Subte: Per (A).
31

Historic Buenos Aires


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The 1889 headquarters of the Lorca (18981936). Garca Lorca


national newspaper La Prensa, spent most of the year he lived in
A Casa de la Cultura, contains a Buenos Aires (in 1933 and 1934) at
room that is a copy of a Versailles E Hotel Castelar, a stately 1929
palace salon. Buenos Airess sub- hotel. Lorca also frequented
way, opened in 1913, was South F Los 36 Billares, an 1894
Americas first, and the original institution that was the first cafe in the
wooden cars of Subte B city to feature billiards tables (still
Lnea A still run beneath Av. de popular, downstairs). Con- G
Mayo; C
Estacin Peru has gresos construction in 1909 meant
been returned to its former glory, the demolition of several then-new
with retro advertising posters and grand apartment buildings. Con- H
original red-and-cream-colored kiosks, fitera del Molino, a long-revered
tiles, and lamps. Buenos Airess oldest 1915 cafe, went belly up in the mid-
cafe, D
Caf Tortoniin con- 1990s and sits in the shadow of
tinuous operation since 1858was a Congress like a decrepit reminder of
hangout for Carlos Gardel (1890 the failures of the public servants next
1935), Jorge Luis Borges (18991986), door.
and the Spanish poet Federico Garca

# Alvear Palace Hotel Bar. bar thats the perfect place for a
Within this standard-bearer for lux- cocktail after visiting the citys most
ury hotels in Buenos Aires, inaugu- historic sights. Av. Alvear 1883.
rated in 1932, is a rich, Old World y 11/4808-2100. $$$.
Ra
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32

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33

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34

T
The Best Special-Interest Tours
his tour explores what makes Buenos Aires unique, quite
apart from the mega-wide Av. 9 de Julio and the touristy Cami-
nito promenade: From ftbol and polo horses to a personal museum
about Evita and the Malvinas controversy, these are places where
youll get a real taste of the Argentine people and their capital city
(for tango, another indelible feature of Buenos Aires, turn to the next
tour). START: Taxi to La Bombonera (La Boca).

1 = La Bombonera/ 2 Torre de los Ingleses/Mon-


Museo de la Pasin Boquense. umento a los Cados en Malvi-
Argentina perennially ranks as one of nas. Argentinas answer to Big Ben,
the elite national ftbol, or soccer, this clock tower was a gift from Brit-
programs in the world, and Boca ish immigrants to commemorate the
Juniorsone-time home to Diego centennial of the 1810 May Revolu-
Maradonais one of its most famous tion. (Take the elevator to the top of
teams. Bocas blue-and-yellow-clad the tower for panoramic views of
followers put the fan in fanatic. If you Retiro and sights as far away as
can catch a match at the massive Puerto Madero.) But the English
1940 stadium Estadio Club Boca Tower has been joined by a monu-
Juniorsbetter known as La Bombo- ment that reflects something quite
nerapreferably against crosstown different about Argentinas relation-
rival River Plate, it is likely to be the ship with the English. Placed deliber-
highlight of your trip. The museum in ately across the street, the somber
the basement of the stadium is a walk Monument to the Fallen in the Malvi-
through Boca Juniors history and par- nas pays tribute to the Argentine
aphernalia, especially fun for soccer- casualties suffered at the hands of
playing kids, followed by a visit to the the British in the 1982 Malvinas/Falk-
cavernous stadium. @ 1 hr. Brandsen land Islands War. The monument
805, La Boca. y 11/4362-1100. www. with names etched in black marble
museoboquense.com. Admission: much like at the Vietnam Memorial in
AR$20$AR30 adults. Daily 10am Washington, D.C.and its strategic
7pm. Subte: No access. location ensure that Argentines

Boca Juniors is one of Argentinas most famous ftbol teams.


35

Where Else But Buenos Aires?


The Monument to the Fallen during the regimes Dirty
pays tribute to those who War on its citizens. The
died in the Falkland courageous, deter-
Islands War. mined mothers
dont gather reli-
wont soon forget
giously as they
the conflict. @ 30
once did every
min. Torre: Av.
Thursday after-
Libertador 49,
noon in the Plaza
Retiro. y 11/
de Mayo, wear-
4311-0186. Free
ing their trade-
admission. Mon
mark white
Fri 10am5pm;
headscarves bear-
SatSun 10am
ing the names of
6:30pm. Subte: Retiro.
loved ones, but their
Malvinas Memorial: Av.
presence is still very
Libertador/Plaza San
much a part of Argentine pol-
Martn. Subte: San Martn (C) or
itics. Estimates of the missing still
Retiro (C).
unaccounted for range from 10,000
3 = Galeras Pacfico. This to 30,000; for many families, this
1891 shopping mall along pedes- gruesome chapter of Argentine
trian-only Calle Florida, once the history still has not been closed.
epitome of glamour in the Argentine @ 1 hr. Av. de Mayo (at Bolvar),
capital, is a formidable reminder of Monserrat. www.madres.org. Subte:
Buenos Airess early-20th-century Plaza de Mayo (A), Bolvar (E), or
wealth. The central dome of the Catedral (D).
19th-century building is painted with
5 Casa Rosada. Argentinas
several eye-catching frescoesa
unique Pink House, the presiden-
series depicting the history of man-
tial palace, is where Evita Pern
kind, painted in 1945 by five well-
gave her famous discourse to her
known Argentine artists, including
beloved supporters (immortalized
Antonio Berni (19051981). @ 45
min. Florida (at Crdoba), Centro. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo still
y 11/5555-5110. www.galerias gather weekly to protest lost family
pacifico.com.ar. Subte: Florida (B) or members.
San Martn (C).
4 Madres de la Plaza
de Mayo. Argentinas famed
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo
staged one of the most moving
political protests of the last cen-
turyat first silently gathering,
and then forcefully appealing to the
military and successive democratic
governments to investigate and
take responsibility for the disap-
pearances of their children and
husbands. Their families were
abductedand for some, tortured
and murderedby the military jun-
tas of the 1970s and early 1980s,
36
The Best Special-Interest Tours
as Dont Cry for Me, Argentina! in Buenos Aires, the citys most cine-
the Broadway play), and in the late matic tango hall (its not for nothing
90s, President Mnem allowed the that many of the most famous films
filmmaker Alan Parker to stage his set in Argentina, including Evita and
shot of Madonna in the role of Evita Tango, used it as a set). While it still
on the front balcony. @ 15 min. See operates as a cafe in the morning
bullet 1, p 9. and early afternoon, at all other
hours, its given over to la milonga,
tango dances in which everyone can
6 El General. Where else but
participate, and tango classes. Pop in
Buenos Aires could you sit down to
during the afternoon or evening to
lunch at a restaurant surrounded by
check out this hallowed tango shrine,
the Pern political dynasty? This
where veterans and newbies find
surprisingly good and elegant res-
themselves clasped in romantic,
taurant is a lunch-time and dinner
rhythmic embraces. @ 1 hr. Suipa-
memorial to the 19451955 era of El
cha 384, Centro. y 11/5265-8069.
General Juan Domingo Pern (1895
Daily 9am3am. Admission: Milongas
1974) and the Peronista political
AR$15AR$25 adults. Subte: Diago-
movement he and his wife Evita cre-
nal Norte (C).
ated. Its an unusual but atmo-
spheric place, no matter your 8 Cementerio de Reco-
political leanings. Av. Belgrano 561. leta. Buenos Airess glorious city of
y 11/4342-7830. $$. the dead is a place to wander aim-
lessly, taking in the Gothic, neo-Clas-
sical, and Art Nouveau elements of
7 Confitera La Ideal. the elaborate mausoleums that
This handsomely worn but still-ele- house the remains of the citys most
gant 1912 cafe is part Vienna and all

Recoleta cemetery is the final resting place of Eva Pern.


37

Where Else But Buenos Aires?


elite citizens and some of the most you definitely dont want to miss;
important figures in Argentine his- see the mini-tour below. @ 1 hr.
tory. But there are several tombs See bullet 9, p 18.

Recoleta
on
ed
eyrr G
Pu ui
Av. do
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na

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The first constitutional president of coffinapparently, she had awoken


Argentina, _ Bartolom Mitre, is from her coma to discover herself
buried in a mausoleum guarded by buried alive. The tomb of Recoletas
three towering classical figures, a biggest draw, } Eva Pern, is
sculpture by Edoardo Rubino (1871 down a side alley and identified by
1954). Nearby, Wilfredo Viladrichs her fathers family name, Duarte.
(19231976) magnificent modern Her remains were stolen by the mili-
sculpture depicts a young woman, tary government in 1955 and only
+ Liliana Crociati, with her hand returned to her husband in 1971.
resting on her dogs head at the Since 1976, she has been buried
entrance to a small cathedral. A deep beneath the black marble
gruesome tale is behind the tomb of mausoleumto avoid attempts at
Restaurant Rufina Cambaceres. robbery. One of Recoletas most
According to legend, she suffered a grandiose tombs, a neo-Classical
heart attack, went into a coma and feast of black marble and soaring
was buried, but days later workers angels, belongs to | Jos C. Paz,
heard sounds coming from inside. the owner of the national newspa-
Her family discovered scratch marks per La Prensa.
on her face and the inside of her
38
The Best Special-Interest Tours
mansion that was expropriated by
the Pern government to serve as a
shelter for homeless women and
children. Dont miss a chance to
enjoy the museums excellent out-
door cafe around the corner.
@ 1hr. See 5, p 23.
! = Hipdromo de Pal-
ermo/Campo Argentino de
Polo. The Argentine fascination
with horses isnt limited to the great
expanse of the pampas and its
mythical gauchos. In the capital,
horses mean two things: races at
the elegant hipdromo (track) and
polo at the Campo Argentino, the
cathedral of polo since 1893. (Per-
haps its not surprising that the
international face of Ralph Lauren
Polo is a former polo player from
The El Ateneo bookstore occupies a 1919 Argentina.) The social upper-class
movie theater. aspect is very much part of the
anticipated spectacle at the annual
9 = El Ateneo Grand Abierto (Open) matches held in
Splendid. This is surely one of the November, but locals take the sport
most remarkable bookstores on the and their teams very seriously. @ 2
planet, and not because its some hr. Hipdromo: Av. del Libertador
dusty little antique place in a quiet 4101, Palermo. y 11/4778-2839.
nook of the city. Instead, this shop is
grand and splendid in every respect. Horse racing at the Hipdromo de
It occupies a 1919 movie theater, Palermo is very popular.
modeled on the Teatre de lOpera
de Paris, and now rows of books
occupy three levels that were once
box seats. The stage, still adorned
with a massive red-velvet curtain, is
the site of a cafe-restaurant. You
may think youve been cast in a play
as you sit sipping your coffee. Av.
Santa Fe 1860, Centro. y 11/4811-
6104. $$.
0 Museo Evita. Through
stage and film, and the fond memo-
ries of her many, many, followers,
Eva Pern has become an enduring
symbol of Argentina. The force of
her cult of personalityas well as
her political deeds aimed at disen-
franchised workers and women
are on view in this intimate museum
about her life, set in a former
39

Where Else But Buenos Aires?


Barbeque food carts along Costanera Sur are popular well into the night.

Races every Mon & Fri from 3pm; # = Carritos de la


check for additional times. Free Costanera Sur. Although much of
admission. Campo de Polo: Av. del Buenos Aires has gone upscale,
Libertador (at Av. Dorrego), Pal- with chic Palermo restaurants and
ermo. y 11/4576-5600 or 11/4777- glitzy parrillas, more democratic
8005. www.aapolo.com. Subte: eating traditions live on. One is the
Plaza Italia (D). colorful barbecue food carts parked
along the Costanera Sur, just blocks
from Puerto Maderos high-rise
@ = Heladera Sar-
apartments and tony yacht club.
piecco. Argentines eat dulce de
These amiable jointswhich seem
lechea rich, thick milk caramel
to be open 24/7are favorite
by the spoonful. You can do that,
haunts of late-night Porteos of all
too (or heap it on toast or try it in
classes, who, after several hours of
crepes), but my favorite way to get
working or dancing and drinking,
a dulce de leche fix is in ice cream
drop by to scarf down a choripn
(some shops offer a dozen or more
(chorizo sausage on bread) or bond-
flavors of dulce de leche). And my
iola (pork) sandwiches. Look for El
favorite shop is this timeless classic,
Parrilln and others with names and
which has been dispensing artisanal
smells that youll probably find
ice cream in the same spottoday
awfully difficult to resist. @ 30 min.
considered retro cool with its old-
Av. Achval Rodrguez/Boulevard de
fashioned counters and signsin
los Italianos, Costanera Sur (Puerto
Palermo since 1938. Av. Crdoba
Madero). Subte: No access.
4826, Palermo Soho. y 11/4773-
1829.$
Tucu Plaza
40
mn
Dr. Houssay Best Special-Interest Tours
Crdoba

Av. 9 de Julio
The Av.
San Luis D D CALLAO
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1 de Mayo
Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo

on A. R

Esparza
Alsina 5
3
g

Moreno
.
ia o

Adolfo Alsina MORENO


Av
(D Juli

Lima
Balcarce

Information

Alberti
Moreno

San Jos
C

Av. Entre Rios

Matheu
Av. Belgrano

Av. Ju
E

Solis

Catamar

La Rioja
Pichincha
Defensa

M Metro Stop Av. Belgrano BELGRANO


Azopardo

ca
juy
Combate de los Pozos
Av. Belgrano Venezuela

Gral. Urquiza

24 de Novie
Av. Paseo Coln

Point of Interest H VENEZUELA Venezuela


uela
Venez

Dan Fu
Mexico
Av. 9 de Julio
Piedras
Buenos Aires for Tango

mbre
Post Office

nes
Mexico

Virrey Cevallos
Chacabuco

SAN
Salta
Santiago Chile
Bolivar

Peru

Chile del Estero TELMO


Tacuari

Bernardo de Irigoyen

1 Confitera La Ideal 6 Abasto barrio INDEPENDENCIA


E C Av. Independencia
2 Tango clothes shopping (Calle Suipacha) 7
3 Pierino Av. Independencia INDEPENDENCIA
Estados Unidos
3 Museo Mundial de Tango 8 El Nio Bien
San Jos

0 1/4 mi
Pte. Luis Saenz Pea
4 Caf Tortoni 9 Esquina Gardel Carlos Calvo

Sanchez de Loria
5
3 El Querand 8 Primo
0.25
0Humberto km

Av. San Juan


41

Tango Aficionados
erhaps no city on Earth is identified with an indigenous art
form as Buenos Aires is with tango. For decades, it was con-
sidered pass by all but its aging practitioners, but tango has become
cool again, especially la milonga dancehalls, and young Porteos
and international travelers flock to the tango circuit around the city.
Besides taking in a milonga, you can also visit tangos important
landmarks in Buenos Aires. START: Subte to: Gardel (B), Abasto.

1 Confitera La Ideal. 3 Museo Mundial de Tango.


A classic, extravagant 1912 cafe A minor specialist museum for tango
given over to la milonga and tango fanatics, part of the National Acad-
lessons most hours of the day (and emy of Tango, features instruments,
featured in the films Evita and antique tango scores, Gardels
Tango)including matinee milon- fedora, and assorted tango outfits.
gasand every day of the week, @ 30 min. Av. Rivadavia 830, 1st
this is a must-visit for any tango fan. floor, Monserrat. y 11/4345-6968.
@ 1 hr. See bullet 7, p 36. www.anacdeltango.org.ar/museo.
asp. Admission: AR$3 adults. Mon
2 Tango clothes shopping.
Fri 28pm. Subte: Av. de Mayo (A).
If youre going to hit a milonga but
forgot to pack your spike heels or 4 Caf Tortoni. This ven-
sexy skirt, go shopping for authentic erable cafe, which has welcomed
tango duds along Calle Suipacha. tango giants like Gardel and artists
Top shops include Centro Artesanal of every persuasion, is a beloved
del Tango and Zapatos Flabella. institution. In back is a cool, small
@ 45 min. Suipacha 256 & 263, Cen- theater featuring nightly tango per-
tro. y 11/4326-5377 & 11/4322- formances. @ 30 min. See bullet 6,
6036. Subte: Carlos Pellegrini (B). p 10.

Confiteria La Ideal was featured in the movies Evita and Tango.


42
The Best Special-Interest Tours

Tango shoes.

5 El Querand. This historic listen to and contemplate, rather


1920s Monserrat restaurant offers than dance to), was a regular at this
a quite good and intimate dinner- family-run and photo-filled Italian
theater program that tells the story restaurant, which dates to 1909.
of tangos birth and evolution. If Lavalle 3499. y 11/4864-5715. $$.
youre more in the mood for a glass
of wine, the restaurant recently
opened a wine bar next door. Per 8 Milonga circuit.
302. y 11/5199-1770. $$ Whether youre a practiced tango
dancer ready to strap on your danc-
ing shoes, or just want to watch oth-
6 Abasto barrio. This neigh- ersboth natives and groups of
borhood is intimately identified with foreigners whove moved to Buenos
tango. Carlos Gardel, the greatest Aires to join the informal circuit
star tango produced, frequented it youll find classic old-school milon-
and lived the last years of his life gas every night of the week (they
here. Today, the barrio is pulling out start around 11pm and go as late as
all the stops to make its tango con- 6am). The principal dance halls,
nection colorfully appealing, much as each with their own night of promi-
La Boca has with Caminito. Neighbor- nence and dedicated followers, are
hood tours Sat at 4:30pm; meeting Nio Bien (Constitucin/San Telmo;
point Corrientes 3190. Free admission Thurs), which is perhaps the most
Reservations y 11/6311-4461. famous of its kind. Others sought
out by aficionados are:, Saln Can-
ning and La Viruta (Palermo Viejo;
7 Pierino. Astor Piazzolla
Fri and Sun), Club Gricel (San Cris-
(19211992), a bandonen player
tobal; Fri), Sunderland (Villa Urquiza;
and composer who revolutionized
Sat), and the outdoor pavilion at La
tango music with Tango Nuevo
Glorieta in Belgrano (Sun). See p 117
(which he described as music to
for listings.
43

Tango Aficionados
Abasto
San Luis

Agero
Tucum ABASTO
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na
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PUEYRREDON
0 1/8 mi

0 0.125 km

The T Subte Carlos Gardel (sub- tango lyrics and Gardels fedora-
way stop) in front of Mercado del topped visage. X Paseo del
Abasto is named for the tango leg- Fileteado is a solid block of file-
end, and murals in the station teado painting, with houses on
memorialize the singer. U Esquina either side of the street done up in
Fileteada is emblazoned with doz- colorful swirls. Y = Museo-
ens of fileteado illustrations, a Casa Carlos Gardel occupies the
native art form that is now a visual small chorizo-style house (long
expression of tango culture. One of and narrow, like a sausage) where
the citys top tango music-and- Gardel lived with his mother in the
dance shows, V Esquina Carlos 1930s until moving to Paris shortly
Gardel, inhabits the 1893 cantina before his death. Today, its a
Chanta Cuatro, where Gardel was a museum, with instruments, records,
regular. Abastos answer to La songbooks, and artwork. Jean Jau-
Bocas Caminito is W Pasaje rs 735. y 11/4964-2015. Admis-
Zelaya, a colorful street of squat sion: AR$1 adults. Mon & WedFri
pastel houses, adorned with famous 11am7pm; SatSun 10am7pm.

9 Tanguera. The Broadway big dinner musical productions. One


version of tango, these well-pro- of the best is Esquina Gardel
duced nightly music-and-dance (Abasto), although El Viejo Almacn
shows feature sleek, skin-baring (San Telmo), and Piazzola Tango
dancers and orchestras (though (Centro) also put on very fine shows.
purists deride them as tango for See p 129 for listings.
export). They vary from intimate to
ia
44

Ind
de
The Best Special-Interest Tours
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Gral. Urquiza

1 de Mayo
Alsina
Solis
Alberti

Matheu

Adolfo Alsina
Pichincha
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Moreno
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Av. Belgrano
H VENEZUELA
Dan Fu

1 ue7
3la Palacio Duhau
Sanchez de Loria

Virrey Cevallos

Biblioteca Nacional Venez


24 de Novie

Av. Ju

Pte. Luis Saenz Pea

2 Palacio Errzuriz 8 Plazoleta PellegriniMexico


nes

9
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3 Casa Victoria Ocampo Palacio Barolo Chile


10 Coleccin de Arte Fortabat
mbre

4 Palacio de Aguas Corrientes


Av. Independencia
5
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6 Mercado del Abasto 12 Faena Hotel and Universe
45

Architecture & Design


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Estados Unidos

Carlos Calvo
46

I
The Best Special-Interest Tours
n its heyday in the early 20th century, Buenos Aires was
wealthy and grand, the Paris of South Americawith the Belle
Epoque architecture and wide boulevards to back up that claim. And
while the city hasnt been known for its modern architecture, thats
beginning to change. Today, its an attractive mix of old and new,
European and Latin American. START: Taxi to Av. del Libertador (at
Agero), Palermo.

1 Biblioteca Nacional. Most 2 Palacio Errzuriz. The


Porteos disparage the National only early-20th-century French-
Library, moved to Palermo from its styled mansion in Buenos Aires
historic home in Monserrat, as an open to the public, this grand 1918
embarrassing eyesore. Though it structure by Ren Sergent (1865
opened only in 1992, the top-heavy 1927), the French architect who also
design by the Italian architect Clo- built the nearby U.S. embassy, is
rindo Testa seems emphatically late now home to the Museo Nacional
1960s or 1970s in its inspiration. de Arte Decorativo. It features an
And with good reason: Construction English Tudor Grand Hall with a mas-
actually began in 1971, but bureau- sive fireplace (which was to have
cratic snafus prevented it from get- been designed by Auguste Rodin
ting built, ensuring that it was [18401917], who couldnt agree on
already vintage upon inauguration. a price); baroque Louis XVstyle din-
@ 15 min. Agero 2502, Palermo. ing room; Regency-style ballroom;
y 11/4806-4721. www.bibnal.edu. and the sons Art Deco bedroom,
ar. Subte: No access. designed (paintings and all) by the
Catalan painter Josep Mara Sert
The Museo Nacional de Arte Decora- (18761945). All materials were
tivo is located inside an early 20th- shipped from Europe. @ 1 hr. See
century French-style mansion. bullet 1, p 21.
3 Casa Victoria Ocampo.
Standing out from Palermo Chicos
grand homes and embassies is this
stark 1929 home, considered the
first expression of modernism in Bue-
nos Aires. It was once home to Victo-
ria Ocampo (18901979), an early
admirer of Le Corbusier (18871965)
and a prominent intellectual who
founded the literary journal Sur here.
After she attended Le Corbusiers
series of lectures in the city, Ocampo
commissioned a less-than-enthusias-
tic Alejandro Bustillo (18891982) to
carry out her ideals. The home now
hosts the Fondo Nacional de las
Artes, a foundation featuring con-
temporary art exhibits and lectures.
@ 30 min. Rufino de Elizalde 2831,
Palermo Chico. y 11/4808-0553.
www.fnartes.gov.ar. Free admission.
47

Architecture & Design


TuesFri 37pm; SatSun 17pm.
Subte: No access.
4 Palacio de Aguas Corri-
entes. Another landmark building
whose opulent exterior camouflaged
prosaic goings-on inside, this impos-
ing and richly detailed, block-long
1894 building originally stored mas-
sive tanks with the citys water supply
and mechanisms for water purifica-
tion. Yet not for nothing is it referred
to as a palace. Today, behind the
eclectic exterior of 300,000 ceramic
and red brick piecesshipped from
England and Belgium, and pieced
together like a puzzleis a quirky
museum detailing the history of Bue-
nos Aires from the point of view of its
water supply, something few of us
probably give much thought to. If
nothing else, it contains perhaps the
most impressive collection of toilets
youve ever seen. @ 45 min. Rio-
bamba 750 (at Av. Crdoba), Barrio
The Palacio de Aguas Corrientes
Norte. y 11/6319-1104. www.aysa.
houses a quirky museum inside its
com.ar. Free admission. Tours daily
opulent exterior.
11am. Subte: Callao (D).

station. @ 30 min. Av. Corrientes


5 Rest. This outstanding 3247, Abasto. y 11/4959-3400.
small restaurant, with a young Subte: Carlos Gardel (B).
woman chef at the helm and open for
lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Palacio Duhau. This mag-
on Thursday and Friday, is the per- 7
nificent 1934 palace, now incorpo-
fect pit stop for an architectural tour:
rated into the Park Hyatt Hotel, is a
Its tucked within Buenos Airess Cen-
refined place for afternoon tea in
tral Society of Architects, so plenty of
the elegant Piano Nobile salons,
your fellow diners will have similar
overlooking the gardens, with fire-
interests. Montevideo 938, Barrio
place and original painted boiserie
Norte. y 11/4816-6711. $$$
(carved-wood paneling). Some men,
though, might prefer the hyper-
6 = Mercado del masculine Oak Bar for a drink and
Abasto. This landmark structure, a a Cuban cigar. Av. Alvear 1661.
46,452-square-meter (500,000-sq.- y 11/5171-1351. $$$.
ft.) Art Deco masterpiece from
1934, was originally the citys cen-
8 Plazoleta Pellegrini. Av.
tral fruit and vegetable market.
Alvear, Buenos Airess most elegant
Transformed into a modern shop-
avenue, has plenty of show-stop-
ping center in 1999, it retains its dis-
ping buildings, like the Alvear Palace
tinctive roofline of five arcs, which
hotel. But the far end, just before
gives it the appearance of a railway
reaching Av. 9 de Julio, is my
48
The Best Special-Interest Tours

This modern shopping center used to be the citys central fruit and vegetable
market.

favorite section. The lovely and 0 = Coleccin de Arte


quiet small square, Plazoleta Pel- Fortabat. A sparkling new art
legrini, looks as if it is straight out of museum in Puerto Madero, opened
Paris (no doubt the reason the in October 2008, is encased in Rafael
French embassy is located here, in a Violys stunning, technologically
beautiful Belle Epoque mansion). advanced, 557-square-meter
Also on the square is the Brazilian (6,000-sq.-ft.) design. The concrete,
embassy, and just around the cor- glass, and steel cylinder lies on its
ner, on Posadas, is La Mansin, an side and looks something like a
opulent mansion that now belongs cement mixerwhich might not be
to the Four Seasons Hotel. @ 30 unexpected, since the private art col-
min. Av. Alvear (at Cerrito), La Reco- lection on view belongs to a woman
leta. Subte: San Martn (C). who made her fortune in cement.
Upstairs, computer-controlled alumi-
9 Palacio Barolo. A
num shades open and close in
22-story palace on one of Buenos
Airess most distinguished avenues,
The 16th floor of Edificio Barolo gives
this neo-Gothic 1923 skyscraper (the
incredible panoramic views of the city.
tallest building in the city until 1935
and the first made from reinforced
concrete) by the Italian architect
Mario Palanti (18851979) is original
outside and sumptuous within. Take
a tour or ride an old-school elevator
to the Tango Moda shop on the
16th floor for incredible panoramic
views of the palaces cupola and
all of Buenos Aires (including, from
up here, the seemingly tiny Obelisco
on Av. 9 de Julio). Most curiously,
Palanti designed the building as
an homage to Dantes The Divine
Comedy (see p 49). @ 1 hr. See
bullet 8, p 12.
49

Architecture & Design


response to the position of the sun,
admitting an abundance of natural
light but protecting the works while
providing splendid panoramic views
of the port area and yacht club. @ 1
hr. See bullet 7, p 18.
! Puente de la Mujer. The
celebrated Spanish architect Santiago
Calatrava, world-renowned for his
transportation hubs and bridges on
several continents, contributed this
minimalist, 102-meter-long (335-ft.-
long) suspension walkway, called
Bridge of the Woman, to Puerto
Madero in 2001. The central portion
The Coleccin de Arte Fortabat has
of the asymmetrical bridge can rotate
shades that open and close in
90 degrees to allow water traffic to
response to the position of the sun.
pass. Some have interpreted the
design as an abstract homage to a study in white, with unicorn heads
couple dancing tango. @ 20 min. on the walls, while the pool barat
Dique (Dock) 3 (between Azucena Vil- the entrance to the hotelis where
laflor & Machacha Gemes), Puerto the famously beautiful hang out to
Madero. Subte: L.N. Alem (B). see and be seen. The staff can get a
@ Faena Hotel and Uni- little touchy about letting plebes in,
verse. The trendy fashionistas so head to the bar. Across the
hotel of choice is this chic hotel, street, a new hotel and apartment
owned by the Argentine fashion project is going up, the first in Latin
designer Alan Faena, housed in a America by Sir Norman Foster, and
1902 brick granary and enlivened by a partnership with Faena. @ 45 min.
Philippe Starcks daring interior Martha Salotti 445, Puerto Madero.
designs of dramatically lit hallways y 11/4010-9000. www.faenahotel
and whimsical rooms. The flamboy- anduniverse.com. Subte: No access.
ant restaurant is a monochromatic

A Divinely Inspired Skyscraper


If you gaze up at the Palacio Barolo and think, divine, well,
youre right on the money. The Italian architect, Mario Palanti,
belonged to the fraternal order La Fede Santa (Sacred Faith), of
which the legendary poet Dante Alighieri, centuries earlier, was
also a member. Palanti was quite evidently a fan of Dante; his build-
ing reaches skyward to embody Dantes epic poem The Divine
Comedy. The 22-storey skyscraper features three distinct sections,
as does the poem, representing hell, purgatory, and paradise. The
building height, 100 meters (328 ft.), is equal to the 100 cantos of
the poem. Each floor contains either 11 or 22 offices, just as
Dantes cantos had either 11 or 22 stanzas.
50
The Best Special-Interest Tours
Buenos Aires for Kids
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51

Buenos Aires for Kids


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52

B
The Best Special-Interest Tours
uenos Aires is a well laid-out and kid-friendly city, espe-
cially for an extremely large capital (more than 13 million inhabit-
ants). From ftbol to wide-open parks and a well-designed museum
for kids, it shouldnt be hard for families to keep the kids entertained.
And who knows? Maybe theyll take to tango. START: Taxi to Brandsen
805, La Boca.

1 Museo de la Pasin 3 Puerto Madero. The epi-


Boquense. Kids that play and love center of new office and residen-
soccer can visit one of the sports tial towers might not seem like
temples, the colossal 1940 stadium much of a draw for children, but
known as La Bombonera, home to the old warehouse and port dis-
Maradonas former team, Boca trict has several diverting features.
Juniors. The museum in the base- Two old docked wooden ships, the
ment of the stadium is an entertain- Fragata Presidente Sarmiento
ing stroll through Boca Juniors history and Corbeta Uruguay, 19th-
and paraphernalia, followed by a visit century vessels that sailed as far
to the cavernous stadium. If you away as Antarctica, now function
attend a match with kids, though, be as naval museums and can be
careful; Boca fans can get very boarded. Tall, brightly colored
rowdy. @ 1 hr. See bullet 1, p 34. cranes punctuate the entire zone;
though they make it look like
2 A Line Subte. Kids will
everythings under construction,
love this rickety ride through his-
these were erected as a playful
tory, on the original wooden cars
acknowledgment of the zones
(from 1913) of South Americas old-
building frenzy of recent years.
est subway. Grab a hand ring and
And the stark-white pedestrian
hold on; its the next best thing to a
bridge, Puente de la Mujer, is
rollercoaster. Families will appreci-
fun to crosscheck out the
ate the retro stylings at the Per
yachts and skyscrapers in the dis-
station, done up in authentic period
tance. @ 1 hr. Diques 3/4. Puerto
charm. (Note that some newer cars
Madero. y 11/4314-1090 or 11/
have been introduced on the line,
4334-9386. www.ara.mil.ar. Subte:
so wait for one of the older cars.)
No access.
@ 20 min. See bullet 0, p 12.
The museum inside La Bombonera is great for soccer lovers.
53

Buenos Aires for Kids


Kids can feed the fish in the Jardn Japons.

4 Reserva Ecolgica origami in the cultural center. @ 1


Costanera Sur. This wetlands hr. Av. Figueroa Alcorta (at Av. Casa-
preserve at the outer edge of res), Palermo. y 11/4804-9141.
upscale, still-being-built Puerto www.jardinjapones.com. Admission:
Madero is a place to leave the city AR $5 adults; AR$1 children ages
behind, with walking and bicycling 610. Daily 10am6pm. Subte: Plaza
paths that lead down to the wide Italia (D).
and muddy Ro de la Plata (though
7 Barbie Store. Buenos Aires
its a very long walk for small chil-
is the proud destination of the
dren). Theres good bird-watching
worlds first store dedicated to all
(with more than 250 resident spe-
things Barbie, and all pink, all the
cies), but dont dare let the kids go
time. It has a Barbie beauty salon,
into the polluted river. @ 1 hr. Av.
tea house, and Casa Barbie for birth-
Achval Rodrguez, Puerto Madero.
day parties. Little girls (or boys, as
y 11/4893-1588. Subte: No access.
19th-century ships now in Puerto Madero
5 Carritos de la Costanera Sur. sailed as far away as Antarctica.
These colorful, open-air barbecue
food carts parked along the
Costanera Sur are the perfect stop
for an Argentine version of the hot
dog: a choripn (chorizo sausage on
bread). Av. Achval Rodrguez/Boule-
vard de los Italianos, Costanera Sur,
Puerto Madero. $.

6 Jardn Japons. These Zen-


like, landscaped Japanese gardens
are a great place for kids to romp
around in a closed environment.
They can play on red bowed bridges,
leap onto rock islands, feed wide-
mouthed carp, and learn about
54

8 Jardn Zoolgico. Unless


The Best Special-Interest Tours
youre philosophically opposed to all
zoos, this one, which opened in
1888, is a good one, with buildings
supposed to represent the animals
native countries (like the elephants
Indian temple). There are polar
bears, big cats, and indigenous
South American species, including
vicuas and condors, as well as zoo-
keeper talks, guided visits in English,
and occasional night visits. @ 2 hrs.
Av. Sarmiento (at Av. Las Heras), Pal-
ermo. y 11/4011-9999. www.
zoobuenosaires.com.ar. Admission:
AR$9AR$16 adults; free for children
11 and under. MarDec TuesSun
10am6pm (last entrance 5pm);
JanFeb daily. Subte: Plaza Italia (D).
9 Planetario Galileo Gali-
Buenos Aires is home to the worlds lei. The geodesic dome in the midst
first Barbie store. of Palermos garden district isnt a
docked spaceship, its the planetar-
well) will go wild; its like they ium, built in the early 1960s and a
become Barbie (scary as that might charming throwback. It features
be for parents). @ 30 min. Scal- entertaining shows (in Spanish)
abrini Ortz 3170, Palermo. y 0810/ about the Southern Hemisphere
4444-BARBIE. www.barbie-stores. constellations and comets, as well
com. MonSat 10am8:30pm; Sun as telescope observations on Sun-
18pm. Subte: Plaza Italia (D). days. @ 1 hr. Av. Sarmiento (at Av.

The Jardn Zoolgico has many indigenous South American species.


55

Buenos Aires for Kids


Alcorta), Palermo. y 11/4771-9393.
www.planetario.gov.ar. Admission:
AR$4 adults; free seniors & children
2 and under. Shows TuesFri 5pm &
6pm; SatSun 2, 3, & 4:30pm. Tele-
scope: Sun 7:309:30pm. Subte:
Plaza Italia (D).

0 McDonalds Kosher. Within


the Mercado de Abasto shopping
center is a rarity: an all-kosher
Mickey Dsthe first such fast-food
restaurant outside Israel and a rec-
ognition of the barrios large Jewish
population. Av. Corrientes 3247 (2nd
floor), Abasto. y 11/4959-3709. $.

! Museo de los Nios.


Tucked away inside the Abasto Kids get to play at being grown-ups
Shopping Center, this childrens at the childrens museum.
museum puts the world of adults in
kids hands. They get to play at toilet, where they get to plunge into
grownup careers, from miniature the process of sewage. Eww. @ 2
dentists and doctors offices to hrs. Av. Corrientes 3247 (2nd floor),
working TV and radio stations. Bue- Abasto. y 11/4861-2325. Admis-
nos Aires is represented, too, with sion AR$15AR$20 adults; free for
miniature versions of the Casa seniors & children 2 and under; spe-
Rosada and Congreso. Scatalogi- cial pricing for families. TuesSun
cally-minded kids will love the giant 18pm. Subte: Gardel (B).

Out-of-Town Excursions for Families


Though theres plenty in Buenos Aires to entertain children of all
ages, a couple of excursions are great for families with additional
time in the city. The delightful Tren de la Costa that goes north to
Tigre and the River Delta (see p 146) is a fun trip for kids, as are the
boat trips to the islands in the Delta, but theres also a popular
amusement park, Parque de la Costa, right across from the train
depot. About 50 km (31 miles), or about 30 minutes, outside Buenos
Aires is Bioparque Temaikn (Ruta Provincial 25, km. 1, Escobar;
y 03488-436900; www.temaiken.com; admission: AR $35 adults,
AR$23 seniors and children ages 310; Tues half-price), an excellent
wildlife park with 200 species, including tigers, pumas, reptiles, and
penguins, living in open spaces. Kids will also enjoy a visit to an
estancia (country estate) and the opportunity to go horseback rid-
ing on the Argentine pampas (see p 154).
Au
top
ist
aA
rtu
Plaza ro
56
I llia The Best Special-Interest Tours
Seeber
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Buenos Aires for Art Lovers

Av. Crdoba Costanera Sur


Lav CALLAO Av. Crdoba
alle D D
Suipacha

0 1/2 mi
ABASTO Plaza Viamonte 3
FACULTAD Viamonte

Gallo
Lavalle 1
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San Martn

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TRIBUNALES D
Lavalle CARLOS FLORIDA
PELLEGRINI
57

Buenos Aires for Art Lovers


n art tour of Buenos Aires isnt the expected traipsing
through exhausting art museums with monumental international
collections. Buenos Aires offers a unique chance to discover Argentine
and Latin American artists in smaller and more personal museums
and one spectacular opera house. START: Subte to: Tribunales (D).

1 Teatro Coln. One of 3 Coleccin de Arte Fort-


the worlds great opera houses, abat. This stunning new museum
inaugurated in 1908, recently cele- houses the private art collection of
brated its centennial while still one of Argentinas richest women,
under wraps during a multi-year res- Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat. Her
toration. The worlds greatest artists extensive holdings include some of
and singers, including Callas, the biggest names among interna-
Strauss, Nureyev, and Caruso, have tional and Argentine artists of the last
performed at this gorgeous hall with 100 years, including Andy Warhol
renowned acoustics, luxurious (19281987), who painted Fortabat;
salons, and a painted dome. See a Rodin; Marc Chagall (18871985);
performance, if at all possible, or Salvador Dal (19041989); J.M.W.
tour the beautifully restored 3,000- Turner (17751851); and Berni, as
seat building, including backstage well as 4,000-year-old Egyptian
and costume areas. @ 1 hr. Liber- pieces. @ 1 hr. See bullet 7, p 18.
tad 621, Centro. y 11/4378-7344
4 Parque Carlos Thays. In hom-
or, for tour information, 11/4378-
age to the early-20th-century French
7130. Admission: AR$15 adults.
landscape designer instrumental to so
Tours weekdays 11am3pm; Sat
many green zones of Buenos Aires,
9amnoon. Hours may change after
this park of tall trees is distinguished by
reopening. www.teatrocolon.org.ar.
a large bust by the
Subte: Tribunales (D).
Colombian artist Fer-
2 Fundacin nando Botero (1932 ).
Proa. This progressive- @ 1 hr. Av. Libertador
minded art foundation (at Av. Callao), Palermo.
hosts excellent exhibits Subte: No access.
of contemporary inter-
5 Museo
national artists (such as
Nacional de Bellas
Marcel Duchamp, Jenny
Artes. Argentinas
Holzer, Sol LeWitt, and
most important art
Sebastio Salgado) in an
museum may not be
ingeniously converted
the Met, but it has a
Italianate mansion with
good roster of Euro-
a modern glass addition
pean art (Rembrandt,
and nod to the areas
Monet, El Greco, van
edgy past. @ 1 hr. See
Gogh, and Picasso)
bullet 1, p 15.
and the largest collec-
The Coleccin de Arte tion of 19th- and 20th-
Fortabat has some century Argentine
of the biggest names artall in a building
in international and that, prior to 1933,
Argentine artists of the was the pump station
last 100 years. for the citys water
58

supply. @ 1 hr. Av. del Libertador


The Best Special-Interest Tours
modern Latin American artists rep-
1473, Palermo. y 11/4803-0802. resented, including Diego Rivera
www.mnba.org.ar. Free admission. (18861957), Frida Kahlo (1907
TuesFri 12:307:30pm; SatSun 1954), Roberto Matta (19112002),
9:30am9:30pm. Subte: No access. Tarsila do Amaral (18861973), Fer-
nando Botero (1932), and Wilfredo
6 Floralis Generica. Candi-
Lam (19021982), as well the Argen-
date for new symbol of the city,
tines Antonio Berni (19051981) and
Eduardo Catalanos huge, 20-meter-
Xul Solar (18871963). @ 1 hr. See
high (66-ft.) steel-and-aluminum
bullet 3, p 22.
2002 sculpture of a generic flower
opens at the beginning of each day 9 Museo Xul Solar. The
and closes at sunset (though 4 days eccentric Argentine painter and
a year, it remains open: May 25, sculptor, who adopted the name Xul
Sept 21, and Dec 24 and 25). @ 15 Solar, lived and worked in this
min. Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, 100-year-old home, transformed into
Av. Figueroa Alcorta (at Austria). a handsome space and highly per-
Free admission. Daily 8am8pm. sonal museum of his work. Solar, a
Subte: No access. part-time mathematician and astrol-
ogist with wide-ranging intellectual
interestsamong other things, he
7 Caf des Arts. Within
invented two nonsense languages
MALBA (see below) is this terrific was a close friend of Jorge Luis
modern French bistro, a great (and Borges and himself a leading light of
unexpectedly sophisticated) lunch the avant-garde in Argentina. The
spot with a relaxing outdoor ter- collection is not only of his colorful
race. Av. Figueroa Alcorta 3415. work, which owes a debt to Paul
y 11/4808-0754. $$$. Klee (18791940) and Wassily Kan-
dinsky (18661944), but a variety of
8 MALBA. Local business- peculiar objects and instruments.
man Eduardo Costantinis extensive @ 1 hr. Laprida 1212, Palermo.
private collection carries the impres- y 11/4824-3302. www.xulsolar.org.
sive name Museo de Arte Latino- ar. Admission: AR $6 adults; AR$2
americano de Buenos Aires. Both seniors & students. TuesFri noon
the modern building and the collec- 7:30pm; Sat noon7pm. Guided
tion live up to the name, with major tours: Tues & Thur 4pm; Sat 3:30pm.
Subte: No access.

This huge flower sculpture opens at sunrise and closes at sunset.


3 The Best
Neighborhood Walks
60
The Best Neighborhood Walks

Av Tte. General J.D. Pern


.R

Libertad
( D oqu

Parana
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Tte. General J.D. Pern

Talcahuano
25 de Mayo
on Se

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Bartolome Mitre

Montevideo
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Bartolome Mitre

Av. 9 de Julio
MONSERRAT

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Av. Callao
Rivadavia CATEDRAL

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14 3 D
CONGRESO Av. Rivadavia 4 1
6 5 start dePlaza
Mayo A
A 9
3 Av. de Mayo A A
2
Plaza del A C PIEDRAS PER here PLAZA
finish A 8 7 AV. DE E BOLVAR DE MAYO
17 16 Congreso SAENZ
10
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PEA 13 12 11
Hipolito Yrigoyen 15
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Bolivar
Defensa
Balcarce

Lima

Combate de los Pozos


Salta
C
0 1/4 mi Av. Belgrano
E
BELGRANO

Previous Page: A painted horse outside the Alvear Palace Hotel.


Av. 9 de Julio
Av. 9 de Julio
0 0.25 km Av