College Tourist City Guide to Buenos Aires, Argentina
Getting the most out of the porteño lifestyle
A vibrant and energetic city, Buenos Aires is home to many exchange students coming from all over the world. The parks, museums, endless bars and hundreds of parillas leave tourists with never-ending wonderful options to pick from.
What to see:
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: There are many museums in Buenos Aires, but Bellas Artes is one you cannot miss. Its timeless, impressive permanent collection will have you roaming the museum for hours, and their nonpermanent exhibitions will give you a taste of South American art. Great thing about museums in BA: almost all have discount price options for students, and Bellas Artes just so happens to be free!
La Boca: The most colorful neighborhood you will find. Artisanal shops are nestled inside the rainbow buildings, and you will often spot couples dancing tango in the streets. This is a perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon, and if you get the chance, check out the famous stadium as well!
Congreso: Located at the Plaza del Congreso, this impressively immense building is home to the legislative branch of Argentinian government. The building itself is amazing enough from the outside, but there are also free tours of the building every day!
Puerto Madero: This beautiful neighborhood is located on the water, which is perfect for a nice sunny day. Cafes and restaurants have terraces facing the river, and a walk on the very modern Puente de la Mujer allows for a great view of Buenos Aires.
Feria de San Telmo: On the way to Puerto Madero, stop by the Feria de San Telmo. Whether you’re looking for mate, posters, or clothing, the various stands will satisfy all your souvenir needs! There are also various live musicians and parillas where you can buy a choripan and bask in the sun.
La Bomba del Tiempo: An excellent way to spend a Monday night, this percussion performance is sure to take your breath away every time. And no better way to impress your visiting friends than bringing them to a show that is full of dancing Argentinians and large beers.
Victoria Brown: If you’re ready to spend a little more than usual for a fancy cocktail (around 120 pesos a drink), head to this speakeasy. There are quite a few in Buenos Aires, but the grandeur and excellent deco of this bar takes the cake. You enter through a seemingly empty cafe, and after pushing through a brick wall, you are in a place that makes you feel like Chuck Bass.
Fun for Free:
Jardín Botánico: The Botanical Gardens of Buenos Aires give a nice escape from the noisy streets and let you relax while surrounded by flowers, trees, and butterflies.
Horse races: Head over to the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo on Saturdays and watch some horse races. While the entrance is free, there are often food truck events, beer fests, and the like where you can purchase a meal or drink while sitting in the stands watching the races. Betting is optional and not recommended on a student budget.
What to Eat:
Burger Joint: You haven’t truly visited Buenos Aires until you go to burger joint. Considered to be the best burger of Buenos Aires, the fast food place’s walls filled with graffiti, wooden booths and outdoor terrace attracts hundred every day. If you’re willing to wait patiently for your food, the burger will be worth it. They make a delicious veggie burger, for all the vegetarians out there suffering in meat-filled Buenos Aires. They have a combo which includes a burger, fries, and a beer for 140 pesos. Recommendation: order La Bleu. It’s the best every time.
Magdalena’s Party: Trendy and nestled in Palermo, this delicious restaurant offers bottomless mimosas (120 pesos per person) … what better way to get over a hangover than drink a few mimosas, eat a killer brunch, and then window shop in Palermo?
Las Cabras: If you’re looking for a cheap parilla, you’ve found the place to go! Decent prices, huge portions, and lots of options including meat, pasta, grilled vegetables and a melted cheese appetizer… A necessary stop for dinner! The line is always out the door, so try and head there when it opens at 8PM in order to get seated quickly.
Malbec and red meat are requirements in Argentina. Forget the white wine, for it’s almost always way too sweet, and get ready to opt for a bottle of red paired with an asado (barbecue). Steak and choripan are classics, and often eaten more than three times a week by locals.
Fuerza Bruta: This famous show that also exists in New York City is a must-see. I won’t give too many details because the mind-blowing experience should be experienced first-hand, but think percussion, dancing, artistic shows, and lots and lots of water.
Niceto Vega / Club 69: On Thursdays, head to this club for a unique experience. People in drag and lots of pole dancing keeps crowds until the late hours of the morning.
El Alamo: If you’re looking for a bar with cheap drinks and cheese fries, this is the place for you. There are more than one in Buenos Aires, and the one located on Córdoba is the place to be on a Friday night. 100 pesos to get in gives you 100 pesos worth of credit at the bar, where you can buy cheap liters of beer or full pizzas. If you’re ready to be covered in other people’s beer and feel like you might be at a frat party, all for a very low price, this is the place for you.
Transportation: Having a sube card is necessary. Taking the subte (subway) or colectivos (buses) are essential to the porteño lifestyle. Cabs are very cheap if you’re looking to go home late at night, and NEVER take the San Martin train past 8PM. Unless you want your wallet stolen.
Local knowledge: Be smart! There are lots of pickpocketers and people who will attempt to steal your phone out of your hand through a car window or out of your back pocket. Don’t spend an entire subway ride on your brand new iPhone 6 unless you would like to gift it to someone else. Stores stop selling alcohol at 11PM, and that may seem like a late hour, but since the locals don’t start their previas (pre drinks) until 12 and don’t go to clubs until 2 or 3AM, think in advance!