Whenever I go home to Buenos Aires, I like setting one weekend aside to play tourist and visit my favourite spots with both wonder and familiarity. Whether touring the Argentinian capital for the first tome or the 20th time, here are a few things I suggest.
Start off the morning with a stroll in the beautiful and unassuming Jardín Botánico, designed by architect and landscape designer Carlos Thays. These gardens are right in the middle of the bustle of the Palermo neighbourhood, but feel like an oasis of fresh air. Then stop into the nearby Birkin Coffee Bar, which serves supremely great cups. The coffee culture in Argentina is very established, yet finding good-quality local roasts is surprisingly difficult. Take the rest of the morning to walk around this diverse neighbourhood, and stop at Oui Oui for lunch. Palermo can overwhelm visitors with its array of food options, but this spot is well established among locals, and is a little away from all the expensive tourist-ridden places.
After, make way to my personal favourite area of the city, San Telmo. Don’t be afraid to approach this neighbourhood without an agenda; it really isn’t that big, and walking around aimlessly is perhaps the best way to get a feel for it. Visit the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Flea Market. A must is the market, housing everything from meat and vegetables to vintage pieces and antiques; grab an afternoon pick-me-up from Coffee Town, which offers organic juices and the best java in the city. Make sure to explore the architecture and character of this neighbourhood, and spot the historic literary cafe La Poesía, which served as a gathering place for artists and poets in the early 1980s.
Finish the day at one of the many up-and-coming craft beer spots in the city; my choice is Benaim, with an open-air courtyard and long picnic benches. It has a great selection of beers and Middle Eastern food.
The next day, find time for a getaway to the beaches south of the city. Mar del Plata is a mini version of Buenos Aires, with amazing long stretches of sand and great seafood. The highway connecting both cities also offers amazing views of this province’s countryside. No visitor will regret spending a couple of hours enjoying the most amazing sunset away from the busy streets of Buenos Aires—and it will make returning there all the more exciting.
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