Top 10 fun things to do in Buenos Aires
It's ornate, sophisticated and fantastically energised.
Identifying Instagrammable things to do and places to be is easy in Buenos Aires. Everywhere is photogenic and local habits are different enough to make even ordinary activities, like having a cup of coffee, profoundly interesting. Read on to find our suggestions for having a rip-roaring time in BA.
1. Find a hard-to-find bar
Buenos Aires' legendary nightlife runs in its own time zone. The boliches (night clubs) start up after midnight and last until breakfast. So before you go clubbing, you'll need to kill some time at a secret speakeasy. Hidden behind non-descript doors with no signage, these undercover drinking spots are a glamorous trip down the time tunnel to the 1920s.
2. See a football game at La Bombonera Stadium
Catch the Boca Juniors, Argentina's most successful football team, at their legendary stadium. Despite the 49,000 capacity, it pays to book well ahead. The team has 16 million fans and the atmosphere is electric. It's certainly high on the list of fun things to do in Buenos Aires.
3. Bike the neighbourhoods
Make Buenos Aires' 130km cycle lane network your transport system of choice - you'll cover a lot of ground, but still feel connected to everything happening around you. Hire a bike or join the government's EcoBici scheme, then tick off the neighbourhoods - colourful La Boca, posh Palermo, history-rich Recoleta, riverside Puerto Madero and leafy Belgrano.
4. Sip a cup of yerba mate
Mate (mah-tey) is an everyday traditional tea, made from finely chopped leaves of the yerba mate shrub. Always shared with others, it's a bit like a caffeine-rich green tea. The leaves are packed around a metal straw in a gourd and fresh hot water is added for each person in turn.
5. Discover Feria de Mataderos
A one-hour taxi ride west of the CBD, this gaucho fair and folk market offers handmade crafts and an array of regional cuisine. Try the famed empanadas, humita (corn and cheese wrapped in husks) and locro, a meat and corn stew. Open every Sunday and on national holidays, it's a place to immerse yourself in dancing, singing and gauchos on horseback.
6. Go gaucho for a day
Even if you've never ridden a horse in your life, you can saddle up for a gaucho adventure in the countryside just 30 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires. You'll be paired with an understanding horse and a talented riding teacher to discover the joy of trotting and cantering across the Argentine pampas.
7. Eat empanadas 'til they come out your ears
Empanadas are the ultimate breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. A wheat flour dough encases a tasty meat or vegetarian filling. Even sweet fillings are possible. The tastiest? Arguably, Pizzeria Guerrin is the best for a casual, budget-friendly empanada or five. They've been creating these tasty morsels for 80 years, so you know they'll be good!
8. Explore Feria de Recoleta and Plaza Francia
On the weekends this market is filled with bespoke homespun crafts and art. With a plethora of silver jewellery, leather, pottery and mate gourds to choose from, there will be something unique that catches your eye. Be entertained by street performers and live music while you wander through the stalls meeting the local craftspeople.
9. Find something fabulous in the Palermo flea market
The history of this market goes back to the 18th Century, when servants gathered to sell items rejected from the area's wealthy homes. Now the Mercato delle Pulci (flea market) is a thriving source of antiques, restored furniture and all kinds of unique items. Scrounge around and find a treasure to take home.
10. Discover the heirlooms of the cosmos
A hidden gem (literally, it's hard to find and has hidden rooms and a stairway to nowhere), this is a museum and once-home of surrealist visionary artist Xul Solar. His art is reminiscent of Salvador Dali and just as mysterious, using unorthodox materials and revolutionary thinking. Born in 1887, he renamed himself Xul Solar in 1916 - it means 'solar light'.