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1. Barracas

This area was named after the first precarious houses, known as barracas, built here by the Riachuelo more than 300 years ago. At the end of the 19th century, several factories chose Barracas as their home: Bagley (cookies & crackers, in Montes de Oca), Bizcochitos Canale (opposite Lezama park), and Chocolates Águila-Saint (in Brandsen and Herrera). The aroma of freshly baked cookies used to fill the streets.

Photo: morrissey

What to visit:

  • Over the last years, the City Government has been trying to promote this neighborhood as the Design District. The Centro Metropolitano de Diseño (Metropolitan Design Center — CMD), in this area, hosts art and design exhibitions, and also offers workshops and courses for entrepreneurs.
  • Marino Santa María’s colorful mural paintings on 35 house façades in Pasaje Lanín.
  • Santa Felicitas’ Church is home to one of Buenos Aires’ most popular urban legends: the beautiful ghost of Felicitas Guererro de Alzaga, murdered in 1872, haunts (and has made several appearances) this church built in her honor…
  • Photo: morrissey

    Where to eat:

  • La Flor de Barracas is a refurbished tavern where you can eat appetizers and complete grandma-like dishes, while drinking Fernet (remember Fernet-Cola is a typical drink in Argentina, you should try it!).
  • Las Morochas is another iconic place in this neighborhood. Its owner, Alberto Coronel, has been taking care of visitors for 42 years, serving them the meals his wife cooks. Their empanadas, tallarines, and gnocchi (in Argentina you have to eat them every 29th for good luck) are indispensable.
  • La Popular de San Telmo offers a simple, yet flawless, menu.
  • Naturist restaurant Hierbabuena serves delicious dishes, such as their beet and quinoa soup, avocado gnocchi, and mushroom burgers.
  • Club Social Deluxe looks like a well-preserved relic thanks to its old tiles, antique-looking mirrors and ‘50s lamps, but it’s actually less than 10 years old.
  • 2. Almagro

    This neighborhood has always been tied to tango and milonga. Its streets were the first to hear Carlos Gardel, el zorzal criollo, the one who sings better every day…

    Photo: Analía Fabris

    What to visit:

  • El Boliche de Roberto is one of those taverns, bars, and cafes you can only find in Buenos Aires. Go there in the afternoon and enjoy their vermouth and empanadas while listening to tango music and losing yourself in nostalgia porteña.
  • La Catedral is Almagro’s tango temple. You can take tango and folklore lessons in its high ceilinged salon, or just join the milonga in the evening. From time to time, you can stop dancing and drink some wine or beer or try one of their vegetarian dishes.
  • In Almagro there are many alternative spaces that are worth a visit, including theaters El Tinglado and Elkafka, Centro cultural La Huella, and community radio station La Tribu’s headquarters.
  • El Banderín is one of the city’s most important bars, and it has been here since 1929. Apart from serving traditional appetizers, it’s famous thanks to its unusual decoration: more than 600 football flags, from teams from all over the world, cover its walls. There are tango and salsa shows, and from time to time, poetry readings.
  • Photo: zabaraorg

    3. El Once

    It’s not an official neighborhood, but who cares? Once has its own character. It’s technically part of Balvanera and its name comes from how near it is to the old 11 de Septiembre market.

    Photo: Travesías

    What to visit:

  • There are lots of retail and wholesale stores in El Once where you can buy almost anything, from carioca wigs for a graduation party, to laces and silks for a wedding dress, to all kinds of artisan and costume jewelry accessories. It’s the kingdom of “cheaper per dozen” sales and bargaining. The colors, quantity of people who visit, and constant movement make it the perfect place to take super original pictures. Be careful, though — many stores are closed on Saturday (it’s shabat).
  • Once was Buenos Aires’ first Jewish quarter, and home to many synagogues and other institutions from the Jewish community. The Gran Templo Paso is one of the most beautiful in South America. The city’s first Talmud Toráh (religious studies house) was founded in this temple, in 1894. To visit, you need to arrange an appointment.
  • If you want to go beyond masks, teddy bears, and synthetic fabrics, in Pueyrredón with Corrientes is the majestic building of what once was the Caja Mutual de Pensiones, an example of Academicism in architecture, with its enormous dome.
  • Photo: zerethv

    Where to eat:

  • Bi Won is a really good Korean restaurant with reasonable prices.
  • Another option is Helueni (Tucumán 2759), a traditional restaurant with typical Jewish and Sephardic dishes, open since 1939.
  • What to buy:

  • If you are into playing pranks, you should visit Wellins Ave in Avenida Corrientes, a prank store. It sells objects such as fart bombs, a water finger gun, or glasses with “jumping boobs.” If you’re looking for original souvenirs, this is the place.
  • 4. Colegiales

    Cobblestone streets, low houses, and neighbors who still sit on the pavement to drink mate and chat.

    What to visit:

  • Alejandra Perotti’s art gallery.
  • Emergent gallery Formosa.
  • Club Cultural Matienzo hosts alternative cinema cycles, poetry readings, and painting exhibitions.
  • Where to eat:

  • Marcia Krygier’s kitchen looks like a garage or a tire repair shop, but there’s a whole other universe inside: an industrial oven, walls covered in shelves and glass cabinets with pots, Japanese knives, measuring glasses, and a large marble table in the center, surrounded by benches. Their meals are excellent.
  • If you prefer lighter meals, you have classical Le Blé, a French patisserie delicatessen, or Crisol, a perfect place for brunch or any Saturday afternoon supper, with giant scones and pear muffins. Les Croquants sells macarons like the ones in Paris, and in Club Deportivo y Social Colegiales, founded in 1927, you can order barbecue for two, with lots of red wine and, as a dessert, crème caramel with dulce de leche!
  • Photo: zabaraorg

    What to buy:

  • In Praliné showroom there are clothes at almost wholesale price, with original designs and naif patterns.
  • In Balaciano you can find hyper feminine dresses, lace skirts, and long, skin collared coats.
  • If you’re after designer objects, you should visit La Dominga, where you can find retro cassette smartphone covers, or bear shaped fabrics.
  • Mercado de las Pulgas (literally flea market) is a gigantic market where you find just about everything, from vintage flatwares to country furniture.
  • Retro design lovers should also pay a visit to Laboratorio de Objetos, where they have a selection of American-style furniture from the ‘50s and ‘60s, refurbished and ready to take home with you.
  • 5. Palermo Chico

    In 1912, French landscape architect Carlos Thays designed a beautiful, labyrinthine area in Palermo with round apartment blocks, magnificent French-style buildings, petit hotels, and Tudor houses. Its inhabitants have always been the city’s higher classes who built small palaces, now turned into embassies.

    What to visit:

  • Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (National Museum of Decorative Arts). Don’t forget to visit Croque Madame Café, a French-influenced café with succulent pies (in Argentina they’re called “tortas”), and leaf tea.
  • What today is the Casa de la Cultura del Fondo Nacional de las Artes used to be Victoria Ocampo’s residence. Its modern and minimalist style made many people think it had been designed by Le Corbusier, but it was Alejandro Bustillo, Argentinian architect, who designed it.
  • The Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (Malba – Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires) has a permanent exhibition of the Constantini collection, with works of Latin American artists such as Frida Kahlo, Joaquín Torres-García, Wilfredo Lam, and Antonio Berni.
  • The Jardín Japonés (Japanese Garden) is an enclosed park which was built in the 60s by the Japanese community. It has small ponds with colorful fishes, a garden center with bonsais, and a cultural center which organizes origami exhibitions, and manga and anime meetups.
  • There are also some fresh, unexpected places, like Miau Miau gallery, focused on emergent artists.
  • You should also leave time for just walking by Palermo Chico’s tree covered, elegant streets, Buenos Aires’ most charming neighborhood, especially at sunset. Take pictures, discover cafés and patisseries, and you might even come across some Argentinian showbusiness famous characters, like Susana Giménez or Mirtha Legrand, who have been living there for many years.
  • Where to eat:

  • In the same building as Miau Miau, on the ground floor, you will find Farinelli, a small restaurant which, despite having opened a few years ago, is already a classic in the neighborhood.
  • The Pagano Club Social is a closed-door restaurant in the living-dining room of an old apartment. Its chef, Jerónimo, loves to define the place as a “Paris corner in Buenos Aires.” Jerónimo’s sister and mother wait the tables, and this is a perfect place for groups.
  • What to buy:

  • In the terrace of a house in Cabello street, you’ll find I Crown Victoria. This is the place where designer Victoria Magrane assembles necklaces and earrings which are later exhibited and sold there.
  • In the neighborhood limits, in República de la India street, concept store Panorama sells its carefully selected collection of designer objects and clothes.
  • By Travesías.

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