Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination that you may have never thought to visit. The European-style architecture is still intact, multiculturalism is alive and thriving, and the wine – well, we’ll get to that in a bit.
Below are 10 things that you can do on your next trip to this South American metropolis:
1. Eat way too many milanesas and empanadas.
The classic milanesa is a thinly pounded piece of steak that is lightly breaded and served with a lemon wedge, but chicken is popular as well. If you’re a vegetarian, no worries here! Skip the “mila” and go straight for an empanada of cheese and onion. There’s also Cuzco corn, named after the capital city of the Inca empire, called “choclo”. It’s a field corn from the Andes that you’ll find around the city and surrounding areas. Choclo empanadas are less sweet than traditional corn empanadas, but tasty all the same. Your summer diet can wait so eat up!
2. Drink wine, wine, and more wine.
Drink every type of red wine under the Argentinian sun. You may discover that you absolutely love Malbecs. A bottle of wine will cost you anywhere from $9-$12 so you won’t exactly be splurging. Go ahead and order a bottle…or two.
3. Take a free walking tour.
There are plenty to choose from but a favorite is the political history tour which ends at La Casa Rosada, the Argentinian’s version of The White House. Here you’ll find out exactly why the house is pink and just a warning, it’s not pretty. Also, remember that movie about Evita Perón played by the one and only Madonna? There is a tour of the Recoleta Cemetery which is her final resting place. The real story of Evita is far more interesting, inspiring, and heartbreaking. Oh, and hate to break it to you – but the real Evita was never a singer.
4. Stroll trough the museums.
Visit the MALBA and take a gander at some beautiful modern art, written word murals, cool exhibits, and one of the most brilliant self-portrait paintings by Frida Kahlo. If museums aren’t your thing, you’re in luck. Walking around the city, particularly in an area called La Boca, will give you a front row seat to plenty of street art.
5. Drink coffee at all hours of the day.
Coffee is a major part of the social culture in Buenos Aires and you will quickly learn the lingo. A cortado is the tiniest coffee you can order, which is ideal for after dinner. A submarino is warm milk that comes with dark chocolate on the side, which you then submerge into the milk to get a chocolate milk. And lastly, but maybe most important of all, there is no such thing as a coffee to go. Take a break from the Starbucks drive-thru life you’re accustomed to back home and stay a while. It is very common to have one cup of coffee last you hours as you chat with a friend at any of the various cafés around the city.
6. Go au natural.
No, not nude, but certainly more barefaced than you’re used to. Walking around Buenos Aires you’ll quickly notice that most women wear very little makeup and sometimes none at all. Going sans makeup isn’t necessarily revolutionary, but it is quite refreshing. There is quite a Parisian feel to the city, hence why it has been nicknamed the Paris of South America. From the architecture, to the food (the bread is incredible), to the naturally chic way the women of Buenos Aires carry themselves- the city and its people are beautiful.
7. Drink mate with a group and ask questions.
What are its origins? Is there proper etiquette whilst drinking/sharing mate? What are the different types of mate? What does each taste like?
8. Visit a tango spot.
Skip the tango shows around the city which can be overpriced and full of tourists, and go to a tango spot that locals frequent. La Maldita is highly recommended! Here you’ll get to observe locals, both young and old, dance tango. By the end of the night, you’ll be able to tell the difference between the more traditional tango music and dance with the new. If you feel comfortable enough, ask one of the locals for a quick lesson. They’ll be more than obliged to share a piece of their culture, which is rife with drama in its narrative.
9. Get to know the futból culture.
Catch a futból game or take it one step further and take a tour of the most iconic stadium in Buenos Aires. Whether you attend a live game at a stadium or watch at a futból bar, you’ll quickly get a feeling and understanding for how important this sport is not only in Argentina, but in all of South America. Even if you’re not a baseball fan, most recognize and are familiar with the symbolism behind baseball in the United States. The same goes for futból in the lower Americas.
10. Get out of Buenos Aires.
Take a quick 1.5 hour flight to Iguazú National Park and get in touch with Pachamama aka Mother Earth. Iguazú Falls is the largest waterfalls system in the world, and one of the tallest in the world. Iguazú Falls can be visited from both the Argentinian and Brazilian side, but one of the most impressive sights is from the top of La Garganta del Diablo or The Throat of the Devil.
No matter your lifestyle, Buenos Aires has something to offer everyone. From the delicious cuisine and wine around the province of BA, to the rich music, art, and history of the capital – you’ll be thinking of this city long after you come home.
**Photographer from writer Adriana Ferrell