Adorned with park side restaurants, cafes, and art galleries, Recoleta is one of the most fashionable and popular neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. Tourists and locals alike are drawn in by the European-style architecture, outdoor street fairs on the weekends, and multitude of upscale boutiques and bars. Make sure to check out the beautiful and lavish Cementerio de la Recoleta, as well as the enormous Plaza Francia.
The magnificence of the Teatro Colon is well known in the music world. Touted to be one of the best opera houses in the world, it is a combination of architectural and technical excellence. Inaugurated on May 25, 1908, with the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi, the theater's architecture reflects the sheer beauty of the Italian Renaissance. The early construction of the theater was finished in 1908 under Charles Pellegrini. For 30 years, it took the western classical music world by storm with its perfect acoustics. Once the theater started declining, massive efforts were undertaken to restore it. Today, the elaborate plaster, the chandelier, and the staircases of the intricately carved foyer manage to capture the hearts of art and music lovers. The world's finest ballets and operas including those of Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Puccini have been performed here at numerous times. Ranked among the top five performance venues in the world in terms of acoustic excellence, Teatro Colón defines unparalleled beauty.
After an exhaustive and careful restoration of this beautiful 1919 theater, the biggest bookstore in Latin America opened in what used to be the old Grand Splendid cinema. Without altering the old structure—twinned with the Opera de Paris theatre—it still has its original features and magnificent friezes, like the one on the spectacular dome. There is now a cafeteria in place of the stage, where you can read books taken from the bookshelves. There are also reading places on the corners of the main floor and in the old balconies on the first floor, furnished with tables and comfortable armchairs, computers for searching or online purchasing and an area dedicated to children, 'El Ateneo Junior', with interactive games and storytelling. There is also a small music stage, CDs and DVDs for sale, art exhibitions on the third floor and facilities for watching DVDs.
Opened in 1896, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes has 32 exhibit halls with state of the art technology for both traditional and multimedia shows. Its permanent collection—the oldest piece dating from the 12th Century—includes European masters such as Goya, Renoir, Van Gogh, Rodin and Bourdelle. Works by Argentine masters from the 19th and 20th Centuries, including Juan Carlos Castagnino and Benito Quinquela Martín are also featured. There is a library open to the public and workshops for art restoration and editing of audio-visuals.
Founded in 1937, the National Museum for Decorative Art is the former palatial mansion of the wealthy Argentine Errázuriz Alvear family. The interiors of this lavish building retain the French-inspired architectural floor plan and embellishments. The expansive underground coach house and storage area, antechambers, bedrooms and servant's quarters comprise the exhibit spaces for over 4000 pieces of European and Oriental objects of art. The reception and main halls on the ground floor are adorned with renaissance-style windowpanes, sculpted corbels and a fireplace which dominates the space for its sheer size. The decorative objects on exhibit include exquisite furnishings, tapestries, silverware, porcelain, ivory, paintings, sculptures and European miniatures from the XVI to XX centuries. There is a gift boutique and the elegant Croque Madame restaurant/bar is an ideal way to enjoy a drink, snack or high tea.
La Recoleta Cemetery, once a church graveyard, was opened for the public in 1882. Located in one of the most affluent areas of Buenos Aires, the cemetery is a surprising contrast to the conventional ideas of graveyards around the world. Touted to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, La Recoleta houses over 6,000 final resting places, including those of some of the most notable people. While the neo-classical gates open to the poignant premises, the architecture of some of the mausoleums is intricate and varied. From Baroque to Art Deco, several mausoleums and graves line the path. Former Argentine presidents, actors, writers are interred inside the mausoleums of this cemetery. Tombstone of Eva Peron, one of the most influential First Ladies of the country, lies in the cemetery and it is also one of the most visited graves.
BuenosTours is a private guided walking tour specializing in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Their tours are given by native English speakers now living in Buenos Aires. They focus on the history, culture, politics and urban legends of the capital city of Argentina. You will see the city up close and personal as a local does, walking and via public transport. This is not a big group tour since only the people you book for are on the tour.
Learn about the booming Buenos Aires street art and graffiti scenes from this unique cultural and historical tour. Founded by UK natives Jo Sharff and Marina Charles, this three-hour urban city tour is led by knowledgeable guides who are experts on the BA art scene. Graffittimundo is a non-profit organization that works together with artists to promote the local community. Explore the city's best street art while stopping by artist's studios and visiting the only street art gallery and bar in Buenos Aires. Group tours, bike tours, private tours and collector's tours all can be arranged. Make sure to sign up in advance to book a spot. - Alexandra Lazar
This isn't your ordinary touristic city excursion: Foto-Ruta, an interactive photography tour, brings Buenos Aires to life in a very unique way. Professional Canadian photographer Jocelyn Mandryk and British photography lover Becky Hayes created this tour as a way for both foreigners and locals to experience the city on an intimate and artistic level. Discovering a new neighborhood each week, tour goers undergo a brief orientation, covering the basics in street photography techniques, before they are sent out into the field. Camera in hand, whether it's a professional, amateur or iPhone, and guided by a set of clues and a map, participants embark on a self-guided exploration of Buenos Aires to capture their own interpretations of the city. - Alexandra Lazar
An important cultural centre in Buenos Aires, the Centro Cultural Caras y Caretas was set up to promote arts and culture. It organizes many artistic and cultural events all throughout the year, mostly plays, exhibitions, workshops as well as theatricals. This center does all it can to promote the culture and history of Argentina. The Centro Cultural Caras y Caretas also has forums set up to debate on various arts and cultural topics. Check the website for more details.
Comfortable rooms with shared or private bathrooms are offered in a typical San Telmo house in Buenos Aires, only 200 metres from 9 de Julio Avenue. The guesthouse is located in the historic and bohemian San Telmo district, has free WiFi access and a modest daily breakfast is included. Tango lessons can be booked. Guests staying at Lina's Tango Guesthouse can relax or socialize in the patio decorated with plants and enjoy an outdoor breakfast in the seating area. Run by its owner, this guesthouse offers luggage storage and local tips for getting around the area. Lina's is 800 metres from Avenida de Mayo and from the trendy Puerto Madero district. The Natural Reserve is just 700 metres away, where guests can walk and exercise while exploring the city's large green area, filed with native vegetation. Jorge Newbery Airport is 8 km away.