How to spend 36 hours in Buenos Aires, Argentina

against the windows of bakeries for bread and where a once-vibrant middle class has been hollowed out. The afterglow of Argentina's 2022 World Cup victory remains - a spiritual salve for many still suffering from the country's yearslong inflation crisis.

How to spend 36 hours in Buenos Aires, Argentina

New York Times

The 19th-century Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes in Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires



It can be overwhelming to visit the capital. Avenida Santa Fe is a noisy thoroughfare, with taxis zooming by and buses groaning. Streets can be dirty. Visitors can find elegance everywhere. Beaux-Arts architecture along Avenida de Mayo evokes the grandeur and elegance of old Europe. Weekend artisan fairs in San Telmo and Mataderos offer affordable handcrafted items. Argentina's victory in the 2022 World Cup is still a source of inspiration for those who are still struggling with inflation. Visitors will discover a city that is full of people who are determined to succeed. Buenos Aires is vibrant and exciting because of its perseverance.


The beauty of toilets at 4:30 p.m.

The city's water pumping stations is a surprising place to admire Buenos Aires architecture. The Toilet Museum is the unflattering nickname for the striking 19th century Palacio de las Aguas Corrientes that occupies an entire block of the Balvanera district. The moniker comes from its extensive collection of latrines, ornate urinals and a large room that showcases 20th century toilets and bidets. The building is also a great example of French architecture in the city. The museum is open from Monday to Friday and is free. It could take you 15 minutes to an hour to explore the history of indoor toilets.

Shoe Shopping at 5:30 pm

Recoleta is a wealthy neighborhood where you can easily walk to many merchants who sell high-quality Argentinean leather. You can find leather goods at Guido, on Calle Rodriguez Pena, and Lopez Taibo, on Avenida Alvear. The shoes, wallets, and purses here are all handmade, and you will smell the aroma as soon as you enter the store. Jessica Kessel has colorful shoes in a funky design on Calle Montevideo. They also have a store on Calle Defensa, San Telmo, with prices starting at 36,000 pesos. After shopping, pick up some sweet, buttery medialunas from Corchio, located on Avenida Las Heras, and then walk five blocks to Plaza Vicente Lopez. There, you can marvel at a 200-year old rubber fig in the middle of the park.

Eat a Argentine meal at 8:30 p.m.

Roux in Recoleta is a great place to taste Argentina, South America’s second largest nation, without having to travel far. Although the food isn’t strictly Argentinean, Martin Rebaudino - who gained fame at the nearby fine dining restaurant Oviedo - sources ingredients from across the country. The anchovies come from Mar del Plata on the coast, the saffron from Mendoza in the northwest, and the prawns from Santa Cruz in Patagonia. A menu of innovative dishes is highlighted by the mollejas or sweetbreads served with a large velvety raviolo with truffled yolk and foam on top. The service is excellent and the wine list is extensive. Dinner for two without drinks is around 24,000 pesos.

11 p.m. - Drink from a sphinx

The Presidente Bar is a short distance away from the restaurant. It may look imposing and exclusive as you enter through a tall wrought-iron door into a dimly-lit room with mahogany walls and crystal chandeliers. The place is run with friendly and knowledgeable servers, who are happy to go into details about the cocktails. These include everything from the traditional Negronis, to kitschy creations like the Buenos Aires Zombie - a rum drink mixed with tropical fruits, absinthe, and bitters, served in a ceramic copy of the obelisk at Avenida 9 de Julio. The Presidente Bar is a beautiful place where you can dress up but not be pretentious.


Coffee and Books

Hand-cut pasta is a local favorite at Quotidiano Bar de Pastas, located on Avenida Callao. On weekdays during lunchtime, lines form in front of the restaurant. It's also a great place for breakfast, with its large, open setting with exposed bricks and wood panels. You can start your day off with strong coffee, homemade yogurt and granola or avocado on toast. After breakfast, walk two blocks down to Avenida Santa Fe where you'll find El Ateneo Grand Splendid. This cinema-turned-bookstore has preserved the high ceilings with frescoes, the theater boxes, and the ornate molding of the old movie house.

Stroll a former zoo

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Three gardens were within walking distance from each other: Jardin Japones (Japanese Garden), Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden) and Parque El Rosadal. Ecoparque can be added to this list. Ecoparque was once the site of an imposing, but sad city zoo where lions and tigers were kept in iron cages. Since 2016, the zoo has been converted into a nature preserve where native Patagonian Maras, which are fleet-footed, native rodents, roam freely. Some exotic animals, such as the giraffes and pumas that were illegally kept as pets, remain. The beautiful, antique buildings of the zoo remain. Their stateliness is now a contrast to the native plants and brush that grow along footpaths. Free entry.

1 p.m. - Gorge on Pasta

Portenos, the name given to people from Buenos Aires, take pasta almost as seriously as they do beef - a reverence rooted deep in the city’s Italian heritage. La Alacena Pastificio y Salumeria opened in 2022, just outside Villa Crespo. This neighborhood borders trendy Palermo, but is largely ignored by tourists. You will find pasta-makers behind a counter who are expertly cutting and rolling rigatoni and gnocchi, among other things. Try the focaccia made in-house (900 pesos), polpette all'sugo (meatballs with tomato sauce and Parmesan flecks, 2,700 Pesos), and fusilli with pesto, pomodoro, and sauce (2400 pesos). The kitchen is only open until 4:30 pm, but there's a counter that stays open until 9:00 pm, where you can buy bread, pastries, and sandwiches.

Watch the Koi at 3 p.m.

Parque Centenario is a 20 minute walk from Caballito. On Saturdays, the park is filled with locals who are reading, painting, or exercising. It's an oasis of trees, including tipas and araucarias. The park also hosts one of the most unique fairs, with vendors lining up on its perimeter to sell secondhand clothing, water bottles featuring pictures of Harry Styles, Taylor Swift and soccer jerseys and socks with the names and numbers Argentina's soccer stars. Artists sell a variety of handmade items, including leather sandals as well as toys, clothing for children, wooden puzzles, scarves, and jewelry.

7 p.m.

In the industrial area of Calle Thames you will find the Mercat Villa Crespo. Here, you can buy empanadas and steak, or falafel fried in a spicy eggplant-based sauce. Vegetarian options are available, as is vegan ice-cream. In addition to the wide variety of food, wine bars and beer stands are located throughout the vast, but casual, and relaxing space. On Fridays and Saturdays, the restaurant is open until 1 a.m.

11 p.m. Listen to Jazz in Palermo

Palermo Soho, and Palermo Hollywood are two adjacent neighborhoods that are famous for their trendy nightclubs and bars. They stay open until dawn. Both neighborhoods also have laid-back places where you can still enjoy the nightlife of the city without having to sacrifice sleep. Borges 1975 is a restaurant bar bookshop which opened in 2015. It has a small back room where talented local musicians perform jazz regularly. The owners of the club reduced the capacity to 40 from 65 during the pandemic and maintained it at that level even after the restrictions were lifted, realizing that customers felt more comfortable drinking Aperol spritzes or espumante in a less crowded environment. Tickets cost 2,100 pesos.


Go Underground

El Zanjon is a large mansion in San Telmo that has underground tunnels. These tunnels were built by the locals in the 18th-19th centuries. Before it became a tenement, the house belonged to wealthy family who kept six slaves. The family only recorded brief and demeaning descriptions of the slaves, including their height and approximate age. The museum, and the guides who conduct tours in both English and Spanish have taken a serious approach to exploring the country's hidden history of slavery through stories and artwork depicting Afro-Argentines from that time. La Casa Minima is the narrowest home in Buenos Aires and is open for public tours.

12:30 pm

Puerto Madero, a redeveloped dockside neighborhood about a 10-minute walk from San Telmo, has become one of the busiest tourist destinations in the city, thanks to landmarksincluding Puente de la Mujer, a sleek pedestrian bridge designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, and the ARA Presidente Sarmiento, a museum ship that bobs on the Rio Darsena Sur river next to a long line of loud, packed restaurants. Less than half a mile farther along the river, away from the crowd, is Estilo Campo, a fantastic parrilla (an Argentine steakhouse, which literally means open grill) with river views and servers wearing kerchiefs and belts in the style of gauchos, to the delight of tourists. But the expertly prepared chorizo, crispy sweetbreads and juicy skirt steak leave no doubt that you are in an authentic Argentine parrilla, and the wine list is expansive. Lunch for two is about 18,000 pesos. - KEY STOPS


Formerly a zoo now a nature reserve where many animals roam freely.

Borges 1975

This bookshop has a bar and restaurant, but also a small back room where jazz musicians perform every week.

La Alacena Pastificio y Salumeria

This cozy restaurant allows you to watch the pasta makers roll and cut fresh rigatoni and ravioli.

Jessica Kessel

This boutique sells colorful, funky leather shoes including flats, heels, mules, and boots.

Where to Eat


Enjoy inventive, fine dining with products sourced from Argentina.

Estilo Campo

Located away from the Rio de la Plata's riverbank crowds, a Puerto Madero steakhouse serves chorizo that is expertly prepared and sweetbreads that are crispy.

Mercat Villa Crespo

This food market is located in an industrial space that has been renovated. It sells empanadas as well as steak, falafel and vegan ice-cream.

Quotidiano Bar de Pastas

Recoleta is a popular spot for pasta, but it's also a good place for breakfast or Argentine pastries with dulce de leche.

Presidente Bar

In one of the wealthiest parts of the city is a gorgeous drinking spot which manages to not take itself too serious.


The perfect place to stop for a snack while shopping in Recoleta is the. It has delicious pastries, including sweet buttery ones, and excellent coffee.

Where to Stay

Alvear Palace Hotel

Recoleta is one of the most elegant hotels in Buenos Aires. It has a rooftop bar with a panoramic view of Buenos Aires. Doubles start at around $370. (Hotels list their prices in U.S. Dollars).

Ribera Sur Hotel

San Telmo is the oldest district of the city. It offers comfortable rooms with a simple design that begin at $95 per night. This includes a delicious breakfast. The hotel is located two blocks away from Calle Defensa where an antiques market is held every Sunday.

Malevo Murana Hostel

The hostel is located in Palermo, Italy. It offers dorm rooms for up to four people starting at $40 per night and private rooms from $140. The hostel is located on one of the quieter roads in a noisy neighborhood.

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short-term rentals

Recoleta, Palermo and other safe and walkable neighborhoods, bursting with shops, cheese shops and wineries, are ideal for exploring this vast city.

This article was originally published in

The New York Times