The best things to do on a short trip to Buenos Aires

Diego Grandi/ShutterstockThe La Boca neighbourhood of Buenos Aires has plenty to keep you busy.
  • Buenos Aires is world-famous for its culture (think Tango) and food (think steaks).
  • If you only have a weekend in the city, the La Boca neighbourhood is full of colour and rich history.
  • The Recoleta neighbourhood is the equivalent of New York’s ritzy Upper East Side.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

In preparing for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, the International Olympic Committee listed seven things the Buenos Aires is famous for Tango, steaks, soccer, street art, architecture, culture (like theatre and opera), and the Recoleta cemetery. And there are many ways to experience these throughout the city, whether you’re visiting for weeks or even hours.

Dropping in for just a weekend, say? Here are 9 must-do activities for your short trip in Buenos Aires.


Spend a morning in La Boca.

ShutterstockLa Boca neighbourhood in Buenos Aires.

The neighbourhood of La Boca was home to many newly arrived immigrants from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They built the houses they could from scraps from the old docks, hence the variety of colours and hues the neighbourhood is famous for.

The alleyway of El Caminito is popular, in particular, for its colourful homes, tango street performances, and local art sellers.

Famous artist Quinquela Martín grew up in La Boca and is known for establishing the neighbourhood’s renown, having opened a school, a studio, and a still-standing museum there.

Be mindful of your wallet and valuables in La Boca – tourists are known to be targets for robberies.


Visit the heart of Argentina’s politics.

Christian Haugen/FlickrLa Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires.

See La Casa Rosada, or the Argentinian president’s house sitting in Plaza de Mayo, the main square of Buenos Aires. Plaza de Mayo is the political center of Buenos Aires and has been home to many of Argentina’s political protests over the decades.


Take a break to enjoy nature in the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve.

JQN/ShutterstockCostanera Sur Ecological Reserve in Buenos Aires.

If you want a break from the city, take a stroll or rent a bike for a brief reprieve in the city’s ecological reserve. It’s particularly beautiful as the sun sets. If you want to be a true Buenos Aires local, don’t forget to bring your yerba mate!


Skip the touristy stuff — watch tango on the streets of Palermo.

Patricio-Murphy/ShutterstockTango dancers in Buenos Aires.

Argentina is considered one of the birth places of tango. Tango dancers can often be found on the streets throughout the city, but if learning dance is on your travelling mind, make sure to check out the Palermo neighbourhood’s La Viruta, one of the most popular milongas (or tango dance halls).


Experience yerba mate.

Throughout Argentina, you will see people with their gourd-shaped containers drinking tea through a metal straw. This is yerba mate, a popular drink throughout South America. To learn more about the history and rich culture surrounding yerba mate, make time to visit EcoDistrito, a yerba mate and organic foods store in Palermo, where visitors receive a personalised mate experience led by the store’s owner.


Have a meal along Puerto Madero.

Aleksandar Todorovic/ShutterstockPuerto Madero in Buenos Aires.

The Puerto Madero waterfront in Buenos Aires is filled with pricey restaurants, all serving a variety of classic Argentinian meat dishes. The area is surrounded by booming businesses and upscale shopping stores.


Spend an afternoon in San Telmo.

Lux Blue/ShutterstockSan Telmo market.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Buenos Aires on a sunny Sunday, spend some time at the outdoor Sunday market called Féria de San Telmo along Defensa Street. The market has everything from fine pieces of art to affordable souvenirs made by locals.

If you happen to visit the neighbourhood of San Telmo on another day, check out Mercado de San Telmo for a smaller, more upscale version of the Sunday market. Either way, be sure to grab a slice of pizza at the favourite local pizza joint Pirilo. And if you’re a book lover, check out the nearby poetry-themed cafe and bar La Poesia.


Spend an evening in La Recoleta.

Li Kai Min Kenneth/Buenos AiresLa Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires.

The Recoleta neighbourhood is the equivalent of the Upper East Side of New York in Buenos Aires. Despite the ritzy glamour, the area hosts a number of free activities. If you’re in the mood for contemporary local art, check out the Recoleta Cultural Center, currently hosting an array of activist and politically-inspired art.

If you’re in the mood for a beautiful yet spooky maze, spend some time in the Recoleta Cemetery, with more than 6,400 statues, sarcophagi, coffins, and crypts, and the grave site of famed first lady of Argentina Eva Peron.


Not a city person? Take a day trip to Colonia Del Sacramento — you won’t be disappointed.

guentermanaus/ShutterstockColonia Del Sacramento in Uruguay.

Hop on the quick, 70-minute ferry ride from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay, and find yourself in a beautiful beach-side town. Colonia del Sacramento is a UNESCO world heritage site founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Enjoy its views of water and the picturesque cobbled streets and hidden cafes.

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