Walking can be one of the best ways to discover a new city away from the tourist trail, understand its layout and observe the everyday life of locals. Download some offline Google maps, pull on a pair of sneakers and head out the door for some fresh air and exercise. Here are 10 of our favorite routes to explore when you study abroad in Buenos Aires.
1. KEY LANDMARKS: PART 1. Take the metro (the subte) or a bus to La Plaza de Mayo to begin your walk around some of the city's most important landmarks. One of these is one of the metro stations itself - a stop called "A" which is the oldest in Latin America and located in Plaza de Mayo. Once you're there, you are in a great location for an easy and pleasant stroll around some of the historic sites like Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace), Museo Historico Nacional, Cabildo and Catedral Metropolitana where Pope Francis used to give mass before becoming the Pope.
Time needed: 3 hours or more, depending on how much you stop to check out the landmarks
Photo: Plaza de Mayo via Wikimedia Commons
2. KEY LANDMARKS: PART 2. Begin part 2 of the landmarks walk from where you left off or come back the next day to continue walking along Avenida de Mayo. This avenue dates back to the 1890s and was supposed to mirror the best avenues in the most important cities of Europe at that time. Pay attention while you're walking as you'll pass by some beautiful architecture in Art Nouveaux style like the Palacio Vera, the notable Café Tortoni and some of the most attractive hotels of the time like the Castelar Hotel and Hotel Majestic. This is now an official building to name one of a few you will find in this area. You'll also walk by theaters like Teatro Avenida which are worth a look. If you continue walking, you'll come to the public park Plaza Congreso and The National Congress (el Congreso). Look out for Kilometre Zero marked on a milestone here for all Argentine National Highways.
Time needed: 1 hour or more
Photo: Teatro Avenida via Wikimedia Commons
3. FROM CAPA UNIVERSIDAD AUSTRAL SITE: WALK 1. If you're heading out for a walk from the beautiful refurbished mansion where CAPA BA-Universidad Austral and the Argentine Center of Engineers (CAI) are located, some of the most important and beautiful places in Buenos Aires are at your fingertips. Take a left out of the building onto Calle Cerrito and you'll first come across the Embajada de Brasil (Embassy of Brazil). Continue on and look to the left to find the impressive buildings that house the Embajada de Francia (Embassy of France) which used to be one of the most stunning palaces in the city. Carry on and on your right you'll spot the Palace of the Argentine Belle Epoque Palacio Atucha area where some of the apartments cost upwards of $4 million. Walk along Avenida Alvear which is considered one of the top 10 most elegant avenues in the world still to this day. Around here, you'll see some high end shops and pass by the Patio Bullrich (which used to be a famous family home), a small shopping center. Keep in mind to swing by the food court for lunch while you're at CAPA! This North end of the city will take you toward “Avenida del Libertador” which could be the beginning of another great walk.
Time needed: 30 minutes to 2+ hours, depending on how much you want to explore
Photo: Patio Bullrich via Wiki Commons
3. FROM CAPA UNIVERSIDAD AUSTRAL SITE: WALK 2: As an alternative to the previous walk, exit the CAPA building and turn right this time. Walk along Calle Cerrito to the widest avenue in the world, 9 de Julio. You will pass by the Teatro Colon, Plaza de la Republica, Estatua de Don Quijote, other beautiful buildings until arriving to Estacion Constitucion which is a train station that dates from the Belle Epoque but today has little of that glamour of the past. From this point on, the direction you choose to walk can keep you interested for another 20 minutes or the whole day, depending on how much energy you have! Buenos Aires is one of the largest cities in the world so there's plenty to explore. Bring appropriate shoes and make the most of it!
Time needed: 2 hours or more, depending on how much you want to explore
Photo: Avenida 9 de Julio via Wiki Commons
5. AN AFTER LUNCH WALK. Head out for lunch at one of the typical bodegones porteños and walk off the local cuisine with a stroll around Palermo Soho. See Polos Gastronomicos for some options. This area is full of places to shop, from markets to pick up souvenirs for your friends and family back home to boutiques where you can treat yourself to something nice. Begin around Plaza Serrano and visit the stalls selling everything from crafts to t-shirts to lamps. On the outskirts of the plaza you'll find independent clothing designers and on side streets more shops, cafes and restaurants. From there, head to the Outlet Zone. Walk to the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, along the Scalabrini Ortiz Avenue or, better yet, any parallel street so you can continue sightseeing to Avenida Cordoba.
Time needed: 2 hours or more, depending on how much you want to explore
Photo: Palermo Soho by Juliano Mendes
6. SAN TELMO WALK. One of the oldest areas of Buenos Aires, historic San Telmo is full of beauty deserves plenty of time to explore. Begin your walk at Plaza Dorrego, the oldest plaza in the city. There, you will find the famous antique market “Feria de Las Pulgas”. Spend some time there and enjoy a coffee in one of the small old coffee shops nearby. Continue your walk by visiting one of the oldest churches in the city, Iglesia of San Pedro Telmo, that dates from 1700s. Inside, admire some of the antiques left behind by the settlers. Apart from history, there is a lot of street art to be seen in this area and it's worth joining in on the San Telmo Art Walk which is highly praised by those who have participated. There are plenty of Tanguerias (places to dance and/or to listen to Tango) and restaurants worth visiting in the area too.
Time needed: 30 minutes to 3+ hours depending on how much you want to explore
Photo: Feria de San Telmo via Wiki Commmons
7. LA BOCA WALK. La Boca is one of the areas most well known by tourists visiting the city. It's a working class area with a bohemian vibe, home to soccer fans and tango artists. Head to the Southern part of Buenos Aires to be dazzled by La Boca's open air "museum, Caminito, and the Quinquela Martin Museum - a fine arts museum that focuses on the lives of European immigrants who helped to build the city. From Parque Lezama, walk down Almirante Brown, stopping to see La Casa Amarilla. Carry on past the "haunted" Tower of the Ghost at the corner of West Villafañe. Stop for lunch at Banchero Pizzeria. The restaurant, opened in 1932, claims the typical Buenos Aires style “fugazza” pizza as their original creation, a pie topped with cheese and onions. Keep going for a bit and then turn right on Avenida Pedro de Mendoza. Check out murals by murals by artist Benito Quinquela Martín on Teatro de la Ribera and pop into Museo de Bellas Artes Benito Quinquela Martín for local art and a great view from the highest balcony. Next, you'll come across Caminito and beyond that is the iconic “Boca” soccer stadium.
Time needed: 1 hour or more depending on whether you stop to explore museums or have lunch.
Photo: Caminito by Nico Kaiser
8. RECOLETA AREA WALK. It’s time to stop by some of the traditional landmarks in Buenos Aires that are located in the northern part of the city. Begin this walk by visiting Cementerio de La Recoleta and the neighboring Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar. There is also a new shopping center with a food court where you can stop for lunch and do a bit of shopping before enjoying some of the beautiful parks in the area. If you're walking on a weekend, head into Plaza Francia where vendors will be set up selling everything from paintings to mate gourds to hand-knit clothing in a market. You can also walk around the Avenida del Libertador and see the National School of Law which is part of Argentina’s University system and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Back toward Avenida Quintana and into the Recoleta neighborhood, pause at La Biela for some coffee and excellent people watching.
Time needed: 1-3+ hours depending on how much you want to explore
Photo: Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar via Wiki Commons
9. PUERTO MADERO WALK. While you've been discovering plenty of Buenos Aires' oldest sights on our other walks, Puerto Madero is the newest neighborhood in the city and offers a contrast with its avant-garde vibe, modern architecture, fine restaurants and an unforgettable view of the river. As you stroll along the waterfront, admire the Woman’s Bridge, "Puente de la Mujer" and the streets around the area that are all named after women. Once you've taken in the impressive skyscrapers and the boat docks, head into nature with a visit to the Reserva Ecológica 864-acre ecological reserve to continue your walk.
Time needed: 1-2 hours
Photo: Reserve Ecologica via Wiki Commons
10. A WALK IN THE WOODS. For a real escape from the city traffic and noise, head to Parque Tres de Febrero, also known as the Bosques de Palermo - a wooded area in Palermo that spans more than 800 acres with some 12,000 trees. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. Take your time walking the pathways, exploring the Jardin Botanico Carlos Thays, a botanical garden, Japanese gardens, poets' garden, rose gardens, planetarium (Planetario Galileo Galilei) and lakes where you can take a break from walking and rent a pedal boat.
Time needed: Up to you!
Photo: Shopping in Palermo SoHo by Josiah Mackenzie