Things to Do in Buenos Aires - page 4
Often referred to as “the Paris of South America,” Buenos Aires features chic neighbourhoods, world class museums and nonstop shopping. With French, Spanish and Italian influences and a distinct European feel, the capital of Argentina is diverse and cosmopolitan, while retaining a fair amount of old world charm.
Your ship will dock at the pier about a half-mile from the center of Buenos Aires. Complimentary shuttle buses may be available to take you into town. Otherwise, taxis are plentiful and many offer set prices to certain neighborhoods. Walking from the port into the center of the city is not recommended.
you may want to spend your afternoon exploring some of Buenos Aires’ fine museums, including the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires and the National History Museum. Opera fans may also want to take a guided tour of the Colon Theater, one of the most lavish opera houses in the world.
In the 1880s shortly after Buenos Aires became the new capital of Argentina, the town of La Plata was founded as the capital of Buenos Aires Province. Argentine architect and urban planner Pedro Benoit planned the layout of the city — one of the first completely planned cities in South America — to include a large park at the center with eight boulevards radiating out in all directions. La Plata is home to the Universidad Nacional de La Plata (75,000 students) which lends the city a distinctly college town vibe.
The city’s plazas, tree-lined boulevards and somewhat confusing intersections are reminiscent of Buenos Aires, but in miniature. At the center of it all is Plaza Moreno with its towering neo-Gothic cathedral. Also of interest is the Museo de La Plata, ranked among the best natural history museums in Argentina.
With over 350 different animal species and an acclaimed exotic breeding program, Buenos Aires Zoo is the go-to place for urban wildlife spotting, hitting headlines at the start of 2013 when one of its Bengal White Tigers produced a rare litter of four cubs. Located close to Plaza Italia in the heart of the city’s Palermo district, the zoo has been running since 1888 and today houses over 2,500 animal inhabitants, as well as spearheading Argentina’s zoological research, education and preservation efforts. The 18-hectare park aims to mimic a range of different ecosystems, with a variety of unique enclosures and architecturally impressive buildings, set around a boating lake and island inhabited by a population of Madagascan Lemurs.
Located in the northern part of Puerto Madero, the Fortabat Art Collection (Coleccion de Arte Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat) houses and displays Argentine and international art from the collection of the late cement heiress and socialite Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat. Argentina’s wealthiest woman was closely involved in the design of the largely concrete building, designed by Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 2003, and among the pieces on display are a colorful Warhol portrait of the woman herself, as well as several works my her granddaughter. The museum is divided between Argentine art — with galleries devoted to Raúl Soldi and Antonio Berni — and international works. Highlights include pieces by Salvador Dalí, Auguste Rodin, Brueghel and Pablo Picasso. The museum’s dockside cafe is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset in the evening.
While San Telmo gets much of the attention as the center of tango culture in the Argentine capital, the neighborhood of Abasto has equally deep roots. It was in this barrio just outside the city center where Carlos Gardel, the nation’s most famous tango star of the 1920s and 1930s, lived. While off the typical tourist track, present day Abasto is home to many milongas where visitors can come practice the tango, as well as Casa Carlos Gardel, a small museum dedicated to the singer.
If you don’t come for the tango, come for the shopping. Barrio del Abasto is anchored by the Abasto Shopping Center, one of the biggest and best commercial centers. Formerly a produce market, the mall within the brilliantly restored historic building now features top local and international brands, as well as a cinema.