Visiting Argentina and looking for things to do in Buenos Aires? I combined the best things to do in one list. A wide choice of what to do in Buenos Aires. Many attractions are free but I will give you some tips to get the most out of them. After all, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Did you know that you can visit the presidential palace for free or have a magnificent view from the sky in Buenos Aires?
20 Best Things to Do in Buenos Aires
The first on my “things to do in Buenos Aires” list. It’s my personal favorite. Palacio Barolo is located in Avenida de Mayo. The construction of the eclectic style building was finished in 1730. Palacio Barolo was designed based on the Divines Comedy. It measures 100m high and has 18 floors. At that moment some offices are located inside the building.
Palacio Barolo is open to visitors. Follow a guided tour that ends on top of the building, the lighting beacon. I suggest going when the sky is blue and one hour before sunset. A breathtaking view will mesmerize you. My absolute number one on the list of things to do in Buenos Aires. Book your tickets in advance because the tickets just before sunset are popular.
Enjoy the colorful houses in Caminito (little walkway in English) and see how local painters bring their area to life on a white canvas. Caminito is located in the neighborhood “La Boca”. La Boca was in the mid-19th century the home of Spanish and Italian immigrants. The colorful houses came by the leftovers of painting that they could get.
Some say that the Tango was first danced here between two men. You will see some Tango shows while having lunch in one of the bars.
You can visit the houses for free in La Boca. Enter the galleries where you see all the shops and take the stairs up. This is how you can see how life before was and where they lived.
And, are you a Boca Juniors fan? Then, don’t miss the tour in the La Bombonera stadium and visit the La Boca Museum. You can book your tickets in advance.
3. Evita Museum
In the ban of Eva Maria Duarte Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) or want to get to know more about the life of Eva Perón? The Evita Museum guides you through the lifetime of the famous first lady of Argentina. Some surprising facts will give a better look at how life was at that time. Before there was the Evita museum, the Fundación Eva Perón was there in the early 1950s, a temporary home for women and children.
Entrance fee for non-residents: USD 5
4. Cementerio de la Recoleta
The cemetery of Recoleta is called one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. With the graves of Evita Perón (Eva Maria Duarte Perón), Noble prize winners and the daughter of Napoleon. The cemetery was created in 1822 next to the church Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Pilar. It contains 4691 graves all located in a 5,5 ha area. The beautiful mausoleum gives the cemetery that special look. Explore the history of deceased loved ones.
Because the history of the cemetery is so rich in info, I suggest taking a guided tour. Most of the tourists walk directly to the mausoleum of Evita and are missing a lot of info about the cemetery of Recoleta. A tour cost only USD 10 / €9. Worth the money.
Entrance fee for non-residents: USD 11
You will find Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, in front of Plaza de Mayo in the neighborhood of Montserrat. Plaza de Mayo went world famous because of the silent protest of grandmothers since 1977. Still now, every Thursday around 15u30, the grandmothers walk around the plaza to keep the subject alive.
Casa Rosada is the executive office of the president. But every weekend you can visit Casa Rosada for free. In the article, I explain to you how to get a free ticket. During the tour, you will be able to stand on the famous balcony of Evita and other presidents of the nation.
Also, every day at 7pm / 19h the flag is lowered along with an official ceremony.
6. Tango shows in Buenos Aires
My Argentine friends never had the urge to see a tango show in Buenos Aires because for them it was too touristic. By surprise – during a visit with my family- I went to see a tango show, even accompanied by an Argentino. The level of dance skills that I saw was amazing. Tango dance and music at a high level. There are many companies that offer tango shows in Buenos Aires. Therefore, I made a list to help you. Sure, check it out.
7. Feria San Telmo
A must-do thing to do in Buenos Aires: Feria de San Telmo on Sundays.
San Telmo, the smallest area and oldest of Buenos Aires, hosts every Sunday an antique market. The market starts from Av. San Juan until Plaza de Mayo. Wander around between all the small trinkets and maybe find historical items. Go also to San Telmo during weekdays and enter San Telmo Mercado, have a coffee, or taste the local cuisine.
Perfect for somebody that stays for 1 or 2 days in Buenos Aires. With a guided bike tour in Buenos Aires, you can visit the most popular places in one day. There are plenty of bike tour companies active in Buenos Aires. You can make a choice depending on how long you want to bike, kind of tour, with an electric bike, and more. Really one of the best things to do if you want to visit Buenos Aires differently.
I made a list and compared all the companies. So, you can make a choice easy and fast.
9. Puerto Madero
This is the area where the first European immigrants set foot in Argentina. During the 19th century, Puerto Madero was booming because of imports and export. After the 2nd world war, trade decreased tremendously and the hangars and cranes went into decay. Until a new government set a new goal for Puerto Madero. Lofts, hotels, museums, and luxury apartments are giving Puerto Madero the look of today with Puente de la Mujer bridge as the eyecatcher. Go with a sunset to Puerto Madero and enjoy a lovely walk while you see the sun going down. A perfect view.
10. El Ateneo Bookstore
Did you know that Buenos Aires has the highest bookstores per capita? El Ateneo Bookstore wasn’t always a bookstore. Before there was a marvelous theater with 1.050 seats in the eclectic-styled building. In the ’20s the theater was rebuilt into a cinema and in 1929 the first movies with sounds were played here.
The Guardian placed El Ateneo in second place for the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Worth a visit and put it on your list of things to do in Buenos Aires.
More things to do in Buenos Aires
11. Torre Monumental
In front of Retiro train station, you will see Torre Monumental also known as “La Torre de Los Ingleses”. It has a balcony on top of the tower that was built in 1916. Secret: you can visit Torre Monumental by going up the balcony. I will give you a nice view of the city (Puerto Madero, the train station area, and Recoleta). The entrance fee is around 3 USD. So many reasons to just step inside and visit Torre Monumental in Retiro.
12. The Congress
Visit the political heart of Argentina, Congress. Argentinians are very passionate about politics and talk about it every moment that they can, sometimes with a lot of passion. From the outside, you will be impressed by the architecture. Sometimes visits to the Congress are available. Especially during the Night of the museums. If to opportunity takes place, go and visit.
13. Café Tortoni and other famous bars
The first time I visited Buenos Aires I saw a long waiting line and busses parked at a cafe. That cafe was Café Tortoni. It was opened in 1858 by a French immigrant and many famous Argentines went there for a coffee or merienda. It’s a great location to get into the atmosphere of Buenos Aires 19th century. However, sometimes too crowded. After some years I discovered many other “bar notables” with the same vibe and sometimes more authentic.
14. The Rose Garden – El Rosedal
In Palermo, you can find The Rose Garden as part of Parque Tres de Febrero. More than 18.000 roses are planted in this beautiful part of the park. Ideal to take a break and relax.
The best moment to visit is in November when all the roses are in bloom. It’s my favorite place to end a day walking around in the city.
15. The water palace – Palacio de aguas corrientes
Imagine a water pump station in a beautiful palace. Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. The water pump station is dated from 1984 and still now provides the city with water. On the outside, it’s covered with over 300.000 glazed terra-cotta tiles. Inside the water company palace, you can visit the water museum. The main exhibits of the museum is devoted to the history of water and you will see hundreds of urinals and toilets. The entrance is free.
16. Teatro Colón
One of the buildings that will trigger your interest will be Teatro Colon. It’s located near the Obelisco. Teatro Colon is an opera house that opened in 1908 and rumored as one of the best opera houses in the world. The acoustic is magnificent they say. I went a couple of times to watch the Philharmonic orchestra of Buenos Aires. Truly, a wonderful experience.
You can book your tickets here in advance and enjoy a beautiful night out.
A museum little bit in the shadow of the bigger ones but definitely worth visiting. I suggest you visit the monetary museum (Museo del Banco Central) at the beginning of your stay. Ask at the desk if there is an English guide available. They will show you – with a lot of passion – the monetary history of Argentina. Behind the different currencies that Argentina had, is a great story about how Argentina became how it now is. For example, did you know that a note had kangaroos on it? Even though Argentina doesn’t have kangaroos. All because of … 😉
18. Obelisco and 9 de Julio
The most famous landmark of the city and perhaps the symbol of the city is the Obelisco. It was built in 1936 as a monument to the 400th anniversary of the city of Buenos Aires. In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza set foot here in the city.
The Obelisco is located in the middle of the widest street with 16 avenues, 9 de Julio. I and many others barely managed to cross the street in one go.
In front of the Obelisco, you will also find two large letters “BA” decorated with flowers. A nice place to take a picture. Go early in the morning to be able to take a photo without many people.
19. Visit San Martin monuments
The national hero of Argentina is José de San Martin. You will see him on banknotes, in honor of him there is a national holiday and there is are important monuments in the city.
San Martin was born on February 25th, 1778 in Corrientes (province in Argentina). He joined the Spanish army but later San Martín came into contact with supporters of South American independence.
In 1812 he sailed to Buenos Aires and offered his services to liberate South America from Spain. In 1813 there was the battle of San Lorenzo. Where he weathered the Spaniard from the land.
He crossed the Andes in 1817 via Mendoza and together with Bernardo O’Higgins he liberated Chile. Later he liberated Peru with Simon Bolivar. Afterward, he moved to France.
In his will he wanted to be burried in Buenos Aires. His grave is in the Buenos Aires Cathedral. You can visit it for free.
You can also visit the national history museum in Parque Lezama. You will discover the complete history of Argentina’s foundation. Including the original sword of José de San Martin. You can also see the very first flag of Argentina in the museum.
Visiting is free. An English-language paper guide is available.
20. Floralis Genérica
The Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano designed the aluminium flower in 2002. As a counterbalance to the popular landmark Obelisco. The flower opens every morning at 8am and closes again in the evening. The hydraulic system was broken for a long time, but after a few years the flower blossoms like never before. During the evening the flower has a beautiful purple glow. A beautiful new landmark.
Continue things to do in Buenos Aires
There so many other things to do in Buenos Aires. Such as the Japanese Gardens, riding the historic tram in the city, MALBA museum, eating a choripan near the river, the national liberary, Planetarium Galileo Galilei, Plaza Serrano, EcoParque,…