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The Queen of the Plata' is how the capital of Argentina has been called by musicians and writers thanks to its port on the most important river in the country. Still, the city could also be a queen of culture. It has about 700 bookstores, 74 museums, 31 film festivals, 200 art galleries and 288 theaters; an indisputable bohemian destination.
Its streets and its history move to the rhythm of tango, recognized as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009 by Unesco. This musical genre, product of the ethnic diversity that settled in the region, has traveled the world with great exponents such as the singer Carlos Gardel and the bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla.
At the end of August, the Tango World Cup and Festival is held: around 600 thousand people attend in a city of 3 million people in the urban area and 15 million in the metropolitan area.
Buenos Aires, founded in 1534, also has a culture of sport, to the point of having been the headquarters of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. Soccer, however, is the city's favorite: the sport is played in every corner and admired throughout the city's 36 stadiums. In addition, Buenos Aires is the setting of one of the best-known rivalries of this sport in South America: the 'superclásico' between Boca Juniors and River Plate.
The city of culture, tango and football must always be part of any visit to Argentina, which in 2017 dethroned Brazil as the country that receives the most travelers in the region, with 6.7 million visitors.
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library," said Buenos Aires native Jorge Luis Borges, perhaps inspired by his hometown. Yet, the city’s charm comes not only from its libraries; its bookstores are also appealing: of the 1,598 bookstores in Argentina, almost 700 of them are located in Buenos Aires.
Founded in 1785 in the apothecary Colegio Librería, this is the oldest bookshop in Buenos Aires, specialized in history, anthropology, sociology and Latin American literature. In addition, since 1993 (when it changed its name), the place sells outdated, old and rare books.
In 2015, the British newspaper The Guardian named this bookshop as the second most beautiful in the world. The Grand Splendid Theater, built in 1919, was originally located in this building. There, protagonists of the tango scene such as Carlos Gardel, Roberto Firpo and Ignacio Corsini performed.
In 2000, the Yenny-El Ateneo chain installed the current bookstore, respecting the original architecture and turning the galleries into book-themed shelves.
Librería Norte specializes in poetry. It was founded in 1961 by the poet Héctor Yánover, who published Memorias de Un Librero in 1984: a non-fiction book about his craft. Writers such as Julio Cortázar, Adolfo Bioy Casares and Fabio Morábito have been some of its most important visitors.
This library, created in 2016, is named after the moth or 'night butterfly'. At first glance, it’s not easy to identify the place, since it is located in a brick house with no showcases. Upon entering, however, there is a hall with a fireplace and about 6 thousand books organized by countries, covering the great classics, travel books, philosophy, art and fiction.
This highway is 140 meters wide and has 22 lanes. It is the second widest in Latin America and is considered the road of protests and celebrations in Buenos Aires.
It is named in honor of the celebration of Argentina's independence, declared on July 9th, 1816. It passes through some of the most emblematic places in the city. Here are five of them.
Its construction took 18 years and was inaugurated in 1908. Its architectural style is eclectic and has an area of 58 thousand square meters, one of the largest in Latin America. In the restoration works carried out for the building's centenary, 1,500 people worked.
On its stage, great figures like the sopranos Monserrat Caballé and Birgit Nilsson, as well as famous directors like Arturo Toscanini, have performed.
This icon of Buenos Aires was on the verge of being demolished shortly after being built, as the people of Buenos Aires did not understand its usefulness at the time. The Obelisk measures 67.5 meters, weighs 170 tons and was built in 31 days by a crew of 150 workers in 1936. Today, it is a meeting point on the 9 de Julio Avenue.
This two-story café was opened in 1894. On the first floor there is a cafe restaurant where 40 varieties of pizzas, different types of pasta and traditional Argentine empanadas are offered.
In the basement there are 11 billiards tables, 6 pool tables and 1 snooker. These tables are 120 years old. Los 36 billares is part of the 92 notable bars of the city, declared cultural heritage of Argentina.
The monument by sculptor Alejandro Marmo and designer Daniel Santoro is recent (2010), but the building in which it rests is one of Buenos Aires's historic constructions. When it was still the Ministry of Public Works in 1951, the open council of Peronism was founded. Here is where Eva Perón, the first woman aspiring to a public position of importance, was made official.
The mural was conceived in 2009 as a tribute to Eva Perón for being considered the woman of the Argentinian bicentennial.
It is one of the oldest cafes in the city, founded in 1858 by the Frenchman Jean Touan. During the 20th century, this was a meeting place for artists and intellectuals such as the tango singer Carlos Gardel, the writers Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares, and the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca.
As well as Los 36 billares, it is an Argentine national heritage and one of the 92 notable bars of the city.
Palermo is one of the most important neighborhoods in downtown Buenos Aires and the largest in the city. Its name was given thanks to Juan Domínguez de Palermo, a Sicilian immigrant who was the first owner of his territory at the end of the 16th century. It was populated by European immigrants who arrived at the classic mansions that still remain today.
It is divided into several unofficial zones, which are already well-known in the city. Here are four of them.
The name is a playful recall on the fact that this is where the main producers of Argentinian cinema, theater and television are based. The first of the tv channels to be installed in the area was América, followed by four more companies. The Buenos Aires diva Moria Casán referred to the neighborhood as "Little Hollywood", due to the presence of local actors who did not succeed abroad.
This is the neighborhood of commerce. Between 2007 and 2013, vendors renovated its buildings and tried to make it more attractive. The name comes as a tribute to New York's Soho, since here is where you can find Palermo's bars, cafes and cultural houses, such as Plaza Serrano, known for its bars and handicrafts stalls.
Unlike most neighborhoods in the city, this one is characterized by breaking with the rectangular distribution in blocks. Instead, a radial organization was used for its urban planning. It was designed like this in 1912 by the European architects Carlos Thays and Mario Palanti, as an attempt to modernize the city.
It is also known as the "embassy district," for its neo-classical Victorian houses.
It is closely related to Palermo Soho, to the point that sometimes they are not differentiated. However, for the more traditional residents of low houses with cobblestone streets surrounded by trees, separation is necessary. The name emerged as a resistance to the renovation sought by the Soho merchants.
It is an area that seeks to preserve the neighborhood's historical essence. Its main attraction is the Julio Cortázar park.
Of the 48 neighborhoods in which the capital of Argentina is divided, Puerto Madero and San Telmo are not only two of the most traditional; they are also adjoining. Here are some of its features.
Specialty: jewish cuisine.
Chef Tomás Kalika calls it "the immigrant restaurant that does not compete with grandmothers." It was the first in 2014 to offer modern Jewish food in Argentina, in the Palermo neighborhood.
Kalika worked in Israel with Eyal Shani, one of the best chefs in that country, and brought back a menu inspired by Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The sous-vide fish—a traditional Jewish dish—, wrapped in a leaf of cooked carrots and served with horseradish and beet sauce, is an example of his creative proposal.
The modern Jewish gourmet cuisine, accompanied by live Klezmer music (traditional Eastern European genre), has allowed it to enter the list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America (according to the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2018 ranking).
Specialty: fusion cuisine.
Since November 1995, its philosophy is: "from the field to the plate". The merger of the brand Cabaña de las Lilas (cattle experts) and the Brazilian restaurant chain Rubaiyat has offered diners from Puerto Madero a combination of Argentine meats and Brazilian flavors.
Its chef, Juan Ignacio Caverzaschi, worked in the Canary Islands and adopted Latin, African, Mediterranean and Spanish flavors, which he introduced with modern methods and techniques, without losing the tradition of grilled meat.
Among its specialty of red meats, the rib eye, bife de chorizo and loin medallion stand out.
The wine list of Las Lilas has been awarded for six consecutive years by Wine Spectator.
Specialty: argentine cuisine.
In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, Felix de Álzaga Unzué married Elena Peña Unzué. As a wedding gift, the husband hired English architect Robert Prentice for the construction of the Álzaga Unzué Palace, located in the Retiro neighborhood. Since then, the place is an architectural icon of the city and Elena's current headquarters.
In 2008, the Four Seasons Hotel completed the Palace’s restoration and gave its restaurant the name of the woman who inspired its construction. For the past ten years, the place has positioned itself with a menu of Argentinian food with modern European influences.
Juan Gaffuri, the restaurant's executive chef, explains that it tries to evoke familiar flavors; that's why 80% of its diners are local. In 2018, it was selected among the 50 best Latin American restaurants.
Andean stew that includes corn, pumpkin (also known as calabaza or auyama), onion, white potatoes, green beans, beef or pork, bay leaf and cumin.
A combination of chorizo, veal, pork, beef, chinchulín and blood sausage. The meats are cut into strips and roasted with vegetables. It is usually accompanied with chimichurri.
Thin chickpea flour cake made with oil, water, salt and ground black pepper, which is placed on pizza slices like a sandwich.
Gaffuri is the executive chef at Elena, in the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, since 2011. He has been a chef for the Four Seasons chain for 18 years and has traveled to California, Washington DC, Mexico, and Egypt. His time as a nomad allowed him to assimilate Caribbean flavors and techniques of the Middle East, which, together with Spanish and Italian influences, have become the essence of his culinary style.
For 7 years he has used Dry Aged or matured meats: a process that was not so common in Argentina and of which there are few exponents. This, along with his work as director of food and beverages at the Four Seasons, has allowed him to train other chefs in the selection of materials and preparation techniques.
Ingredients (30 units):
From january 23 to february 3.
February 1 to 3.
Parque Centenario, Parque de la Estación y Parque Chacabuco.
February 9 to 17.
Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.
Until february 17.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.
Until february 18.
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires Malba.
From march 14 to 22.
Campo Argentino de Polo.
From march 29 to 31.
Hipódromo de San Isidro.
From march 3 to 14.
Ministro Pistarini International Airport (Ezeiza), 35 km from the city center.
Argentine Peso (ARS).
25 °C (77 °F)
Underground from 5:30 to 00:00. *Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, check the schedules, which may vary according to the day. Price: 12 ARS (0.31 USD) per ticket. Train: schedule: varies depending on the line. Check the schedules upon arrival in Buenos Aires. Price: between 5.50 ARS (0.14 USD) and 30 ARS (0.78 USD) per ticket. Taxis: minimum rate: 32.60 ARS (0.85 USD).
3-star hotel: 1,912.95 ARS (USD 50) per person, per night. 5-star hotel: 4,000 ARS (104.55 USD) per person, per night.