Our 6 Favourite Neighborhoods in Buenos Aires Buenos Aires. There’s no city quite like it – or quite as vast. The metropolitan area is home to just shy of 13 million people, and in reality it’s hard to tell where the city ends and where the 24 adjacent districts of Greater Buenos Aires begin. Given […]
Buenos Aires. There’s no city quite like it – or quite as vast. The metropolitan area is home to just shy of 13 million people, and in reality it’s hard to tell where the city ends and where the 24 adjacent districts of Greater Buenos Aires begin. Given its sheer size and the fact that each neighborhood feels like a different city in itself, where you choose to stay in Buenos Aires can make all the difference to your trip. We’ve put together this at-a-glance guide to our six favourite Buenos Aires neighborhoods to help you pick the right one for you.
A view of the Obelisk in the Microcentro. Photo: Nestor Galina.
This downtown neighborhood is, geographically speaking, the center of Buenos Aires. It can be a good choice if you’re only in the city for a couple of days since you will have sights like the Casa Rosada on your doorstep, as well as all of the daytime buzz of Avenida de Mayo, the main boulevard with the Obelisk which leads to the Presidential Palace.
The Microcentro is also a good base for exploring other parts of Buenos Aires. Whereas staying Recoleta or Palermo you’ll have to get a bus or taxi to get around the city, from the Microcentro you’re within walking distance of surrounding neighborhoods. On top of this, the Avenida de Mayo is lined with Subte (metro) lines for exploring further afield.
However, the Microcentro is very much a business district and feels pretty deserted outside of business hours and on weekends. Aside from the bustling theatres packed along Avenida Corrientes, after 8pm it’s hard to find signs of life in the Microcentro. Streets like Florida which are main shopping drags by day have a totally different atmosphere come nightfall, and as a general rule of thumb it’s not wise to wander through empty streets in the center after dark.
Another neighborhood always recommended to tourists is ritzy, upmarket Recoleta. Think of it as the Argentinian equivalent of 5th Avenue in New York –tall, European-style buildings housing high-end fashion boutiques and trendy art galleries and cafés line Recoleta’s wide avenues and parks. This elegance comes with a price tag; you’ll pay much more for a hotel here than you will in the Microcentro, and there’s no Subte in Recoleta so you’ll need to budget for cabs. But if money isn’t a problem and you’re after somewhere a bit more scenic and cultured, Recoleta is your best bet.
Photo: Liam Quinn.
Palermo is a hip and happening place which is ideal for travellers who want to feel like they have their finger on the pulse of Buenos Aires’s social scene. Although the cafés and restaurants here are undeniably the trendiest you’ll find in all of Buenos Aires, Palermo has still managed to retain a neighborhood feel, and on the weekends you’ll battle for table-space outside on the cobbled streets with Porteños who have escaped from the downtown madness to spend the day shopping and lazing in one Palermo’s many parks.
The district itself is seemingly endless and is divided into several smaller neighborhoods, each with their own distinctive feel. Palermo Soho is home to a fair chunk of Buenos Aires’ nightlife and its countless bars and nightclubs attract a host of world-famous DJs. But for a more peaceful night’s sleep head for Palermo Hollywood. As fashionable as the name suggests, this neighborhood offers boutique hotels and independent quirky designer stores to a young, chic crowd and is a great place to stay if you’re in the city for more than just a couple of nights.
Photo: Germán Maldonado.
In opposition to Recoleta’s glamour and the trendiness of Palermo, San Telmo is Buenos Aires’ bohemian quarter. This is one of the oldest parts of the city and life here still feels authentically “Argentinian”. The neighborhood is full of creative types and is famous for is weekend flea market, and walking along the cobblestone streets through the miles of antique stores you’ll stumble across open-air Tango displays. Rougher in appearance than other parts of the city, San Telmo nevertheless has a romantic really romantic feel and at night you can find yourself drinking with locals in a 19th-century bar that still has its original internal decor.
In general, San Telmo is cheap, cheerful, and conveniently located for the central sites. The neighborhood’s one downside is that it has a reputation for being unsafe, so stick to the main streets if you’re walking back to your hotel at night.
Further North-West of the city are Colegiales and Chacarita, two suburbs which, given their relative distance from the Microcentro, are about as chilled-out and un-touristy as you can get within the city. With Palermo just around the corner, Colegiales especially is within easy reach of shopping & nightlife but has the benefit of a much more peaceful, neighborhood feel. The streets are mainly residential but have everything you need by way of bakeries, supermarkets and restaurants. You won’t find any hotels around here but there are lots of AirBnb apartments available to rent as well as a big Couchsurfing community, making Colegiales and Chacarita perfect for getting a feel for what it’s really like to live in Buenos Aires.
So before you pick which Buenos Aires neighborhood to stay in, have a think about:
We’re sure you’ll have a great time in Buenos Aires. Hopefully this post helped you make the best decision about where to stay, and if you have any further questions, or would like help planning your trip to Argentina, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you put together an itinerary!