So your spending your semester and or year abroad in Buenos Aires, having a good time, when you get the call. Family (or friends) will be coming to visit. Here are the essential tourist activities I would take my loved ones to, giving them a taste of the best the city has to offer.
This stunning cemetery has the most beautiful architecture I have ever seen in one space. As Recoleta is right on the coast of the Rio de la Plata, the dead cannot be buried underground, and as such all the graves are above ground, mausoleum style. It is home to the final resting place of many famous Argentineans, including Eva Perón, Argentina’s Jackie O-esque sweetheart, and is the most expensive real estate in the city.
Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur:
This stunning preserve of land is my personal favorite place in Buenos Aires. Breathtaking vistas, diverse bird life, and a tranquil vibe makes it perfect for long walks, enjoying a good book, or some old fashioned self-reflection. Away from the noise and bustle of the city, the reserve is peaceful and relaxing; one leaves feeling rejuvenated and renewed.
The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires showcases the work of modern Latin American artists. Although the museum is small, it is inexpensive to visit and the building itself is beautiful, in addition to the featured art. I went to see, among other exhibitions, one by Richard Prince, an artist who takes pictures of other people’s photographs and presents them as art questioning the idea of ownership and intellectual property within the art world. Thought provoking.
Museo de Bellas Artes:
The Buenos Aires Fine Art Museum is, in my opinion, the best art museum in the city. The collection is thorough, at least of the western artistic canon, without being overwhelming (get bent Louvre). Although I find the building itself to be rather tacky, with broad, undecorated, red stone columns it looks unfinished and cheap, it is cheap to get into and offers free days once a week, and I admire its ethos of accessible art. Here you can find Van Goghs, renaissance sculptures, Degas, El Greco, Picasso, and a welcome respite from the summer heat. Well worth a visit, even if your guests are running on limited time.
El Centro/San Telmo:
Apart from these specific locations, I recommend taking walking tours of various neighborhoods. A classic would be the El Centro/San Telmo barrio, where the best place to start is Plaza del Mayo. From here you can see La Casa Rosada (Argentina’s version of the White House, the Catedral Metropoliana, and stop by various historical museums. Fun Fact! Catedral Metropoliana contains the mausoleum of General San Martín, hero of the South American struggle for independence, who fought for the liberation of Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Stop by Avila Bookstore on your way to the San Telmo market (a massive open air market open every Sunday), and end the night by watching tango at a milonga like its 1939.
There’s an almost infinite amount of activities to do in the city, and family and friends could come for at least a week without a moment of boredom. Or. these key places can be hit in three days.