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Paradise Expert City Guide to Buenos Aires

Lovingly referred to as the Europe of South America, Buenos Aires is a bustling metropolis filled with culture, beautiful architecture, and a buzzy restaurant scene. A visit to the city provides the opportunity to wander quaint streets and experience vibrant Argentine culture—particularly in the heart of the Palermo Soho neighborhood, where cafes and boutique shops flourish. No matter where you roam, don’t forget to enjoy the incredible wine and famous Argentine beef throughout your stay. 

Where to Stay in Buenos Aires  

High-End Hotels

The posh Recoleta district is home to the most elegant neighborhood in Buenos Aires, known for its grand architectural displays, and the Park Hyatt Palacio is no exception. Originally a palace built in 1934 by French architect Leon Dourge, Park Hyatt Palacio was restored and renovated into a hotel in the early 2000s. This unique hotel is infused with the Argentine aristocratic style that dominated the 20th century. Stroll through the lovely garden that bridges the two hotel wings: a recently renovated contemporary wing, and the old historic palace wing. The immaculate service draws guests from all over the world, with staff that can arrange activities, restaurant reservations, and more throughout your stay. 

Image courtesy of Park Hyatt Palacio

The grand dame of Buenos Aires hotels, Alvear Palace is considered by many to be the most elegant hotel in Buenos Aires. Opened in 1932 and renovated in 2016, the decor and architecture is unparalleled. You’ll relish the high ceilings, beautiful windows, and modern French style. The newly renovated rooms on the upper floors have a more contemporary feel, while the original rooms are filled with statement-making period decor. Splurge for afternoon tea at L’Orangerie as you soak in the beauty of this hotel. 

Image courtesy of Alvear Palace

Estancias—traditional horse farms—are the place to experience the life of an Argentine cowboy, or gauchoEstancia La Bamba de Areco is one of the oldest 19th-century estancias in Argentina and was recently renovated as a boutique hotel. Located a 90-minute drive from downtown Buenos Aires, it’s the perfect place to escape the bustling city and have an immersive cultural experience. With its blend of colonial elegance and country charm, Estancia La Bamba de Areco is filled with history and gaucho spirit. While it’s a bit of a splurge, the all-inclusive nature of the hotel makes it worthwhile. Guests get to experience a traditional asado, or Argentine barbecue with the country’s famed beef, during their stay. Featuring only 11 rooms and suites, with each room named after a famous polo horse, this spot is among the best for an intimate and timeless cultural experience. 

Image courtesy of Estancia La Bamba

Boutique Stays

Legado Mitico is a stylish boutique stay within a restored three-story home. Each of the 11 rooms is imbued with culture, as each is dedicated to a famous Argentine, including Eva Perón, Carlos Cardel, and Julio Cortazar. The property is located in Palermo Soho, a vibrant part of Buenos Aires, and within walking distance of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Feeling adventurous? Take a trip to Salta, in northern Argentina, to visit Legado Mitico’s sister property, a similarly unique stay housed within a converted 1930s home. Enjoy a drink by the cozy fireplace and savor the Andean artwork. 

Image courtesy of Legado Mitico

In the stylish neighborhood of Palermo Soho, Home Hotel’s intimate 16 rooms and four suites don’t disappoint. Outfitted with chic, modern decor, this millennial hotspot boasts a lively, electrifying atmosphere. Each room is outfitted with vibrant colors and floral wallpaper alongside a blend of custom furniture and mid-century items. The lush outdoor garden and pool area are perfect for enjoying a morning coffee and relaxing in this quiet oasis. 

Image courtesy of Home Hotel

The no-frills boutique hotel Be Jardin Escondido is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s properties. An intimate hotel with just seven rooms filled with Latin American decor, Be Jardin Escondido makes for a peaceful and private escape in the bustling area of Palermo Soho. With vibrant red clay walls and a calming interior, this property provides a cozy, at-home feel. A beautiful pool area surrounded by trees and lush greenery is the ideal place to wind down after a long day in the city. The legendary filmmaker stays here when he writes to get inspired, and if that’s not a ringing endorsement, we don’t know what is.

Image courtesy of Be Jardin Escondido

Eat & Drink

The Best Steakhouses in Buenos Aires

You can’t come to Buenos Aires without trying the famous parrillas, or steakhouses. Dining at one of these institutions is a quintessential experience, as beef is a core component of the local culture. Pablo Rivero’s family-owned spot, Don Julio, infuses Argentine culture into every dish. You’ll find tourists and locals alike lining up outside under the picturesque green-striped awning for their chance to dine. Each steak is cooked to the temperature of your choosing and served alongside a range of vegetable sides and accompanying sauces. The wine cellar is extensive, with a wide selection of local Argentine wines to pair with your dinner. We strongly recommend securing your reservation as far as three months in advance; otherwise, you might be able to snag a walk-in spot in the later hours of the evening. 

Images courtesy of Don Julio and El Preferido de Palermo

El Preferido de Palermo is another Pablo Rivero-owned establishment and was voted one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants in 2023. Set in a little pink building on a street corner in Palermo Soho, the classic Argentine cuisine won’t disappoint. The airy interior with its open kitchen makes for an inviting atmosphere that welcomes you into Argentine culture. The extensive menu has a variety of small plates, all conducive to sharing. Must-haves on the menu include the homemade charcuterie platter, shrimp scampi, and sirloin Milanese. Don’t miss out on a side of homegrown vegetables from the restaurant’s local garden.  

For the Pescatarians

Beef isn’t your thing? No problem. Buenos Aires has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, including La Mar, an upscale Peruvian seafood spot. It’s set in a restored early 1900s mansion in Palermo Soho. Known for an extensive ceviche list and fresh whole fish, the menu is packed with flavor. Enjoy a house-made pisco sour to round out your meal. 

Plant Powered

Started by two high school friends, Mica Najmanovich and Nico Arcucci, the modern vegetarian restaurant ANAFE is one of the hottest tickets in Palermo. It started as a pop-up restaurant but soon expanded to a permanent location to handle the growing demand. Each dish looks effortless and unassuming, yet is filled with extravagant flavors and creativity. The interior decor is neutral and minimal, all the better to allow the food to wow your senses. The blend of Asian, Italian, Middle Eastern, and French techniques makes for a foodie wonderland.  

Where to Grab Lunch

Argentine chef Julieta Caruso runs Casa Cavia, a former mansion converted into a Palermo Chico lunch hotspot. The revived 1927 building today houses a combined restaurant, floral shop, bookstore, and garden, which means every visit packs sensory punch. Casa Cavia serves modern dishes with seasonal ingredients and punchy flavors. Sit in the decadent interior space or enjoy the peaceful outdoor garden equipped with a pond. 

Images courtesy of Casa Cavia

La Cocina is known for offering some of the best empanadas in the city. This small, hole-in-the-wall spot in Recoleta is easily missed from the street but has become a popular spot among locals. This family-owned joint specializes in empanadas that are oven-baked, which makes them lighter than their traditional fried counterparts. Get here early before the line builds up! 

Coffee, Please

Moshu Treehouse is a charming coffee shop located in the Palermo neighborhood. Since Buenos Aires is such a hotbed for cafe culture, this spot is typically bustling in the afternoon and evening hours. While you can enjoy a delicious afternoon cappuccino, the main attraction is the mini cakes. With its eye-catching courtyard, this spot gives adult treehouse vibes—and we love it. Moshu was converted from a house to a restaurant, making it one of the most architecturally interesting cafes in the neighborhood. 

Image courtesy of Comparti Moshu

For an afternoon pick-me-up in Palermo, Cuervo Cafe is a laidback local coffee shop with both indoor and outdoor seating. Cuervo specializes in European-style coffee with creamier notes. With pour-over coffee and tasty treats like cinnamon rolls, Cuervo Cafe is both top-notch and under-the-radar. There are two locations in Palermo Soho, but visit the location on Costa Rica Street for prime people-watching. 

Where to Get a Drink in Buenos Aires

From the street, Floreria Atlantico may just look like an ordinary flower and wine shop. Walk to the back of the shop, however, and you’ll pass through a refrigerator door and descend the stairs into a quaint speakeasy. Floreria Atlantico’s intimate setting is home to some of the best cocktails in Buenos Aires. Bartender “Tato” is a renowned mixologist whose drinks pay tribute to some of Argentina’s historic indigenous communities. 

Images courtesy of World’s Best 50 Bars

Sleek and stylish, Bar Presidente serves up some of the most unique cocktails in Recoleta, with a focus on ingredients originating in Argentina. With a bright backlit bar, chandeliers suspended from lofty ceilings, and a lively atmosphere, Bar Presidente is a must-visit for the fashion-forward traveler. 

Image courtesy of Bar Presidente

If a brewery is more your speed, check out Strange Brewing. Located in an off-the-beaten-path part of the city near Palermo, Strange Brewing blends a great atmosphere, music, and innovative brews. The menu has an extensive local craft beer selection and bites to eat that include empanadas and suadero nachos. 

What to Do in Buenos Aires

Tango Time

Get a taste of the city’s rich culture with a tango show. Originating in Buenos Aires, tango is a centuries-old artistic practice. Visit Teatro Astor Piazzolla in the Galeria Guemes; the theater was built in 1915 and pays tribute to the work of Astor Piazzolla, a famous tango figure. Make it a big night out and enjoy a traditional steak dinner while watching the show. 

Image courtesy of Get Your Guide

Shop in Style

Stroll along the bustling streets of Palermo Soho—one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires—to take in the cafe culture, cobblestone streets, lively restaurants, and boutique shops. Check out Carolita Home for handmade accessories and home goods, all inspired by Argentine landscapes and design. This boho-lover’s paradise is stocked with cream and white items and has an airy ambiance. 

Images courtesy of Carolita Home and Nimes

Argentina is famous for its leather goods, so be sure to make a stop at Nimes in Palermo for top-tier Argentine leather. This small-batch line of vegetable-tanned leather goods was founded in 2016 and continues to be a staple for affordable, quality leather. Founders Clara and Santiago use quality ingredients to create timeless pieces for their collection, which expanded to include denim in 2019. 

Make an appointment at Anushka Elliot, a local designer with a private showroom. Drawing on inspiration from her travels, Elliot represents Argentine style with long, flowy linen dresses, ponchos, hats, and vibrant patterns. 

Relax & Recharge

Keen to find a relaxing sanctuary in the middle of bustling Buenos Aires? Visit Jardin Japonés, which comprises nearly five acres in the northeast corner of the city’s sprawling Parque Tres de Febrero. Inaugurated in 1967 to coincide with a state visit by then-Crown Prince Akihito of Japan and his wife Michiko, the gardens include a variety of Japanese plants, a koi pond, and peaceful music playing throughout. 

Image courtesy of Jardin Japonés

Wandering through a cemetery might sound like an odd activity, but Recoleta Cemetery is no ordinary example. Famous for its grand mausoleums and gravesites of iconic figures, Recoleta Cemetery is a place of both cultural and historic significance. It’s home to more than 6,400 burial sites, including those of some of the most celebrated figures in Argentina’s history—Eva Perón, the Paz Family, and Rufina Cambaceres, for starters.

Image courtesy of Travel Buenos Aires

Feria de San Telmo is an antique market that takes place every Sunday in Plaza Dorrego. Vendors in the 270-plus stalls peddle vintage items that range from old jewelry and toys to telephones and leather goods. The stalls open around 10 a.m. and operate until about 4 p.m., depending on the season. Tip: Bring cash and don’t be afraid to haggle on prices. After meandering through the market, explore the cobblestone streets and cafes of the San Telmo neighborhood and keep your eyes peeled for street art. 

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