CAPA's 10 Hidden Gems in Buenos Aires

Mar 5, 2013 3:00:15 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

One of the most rewarding aspects of a studying abroad can be to step off the tourist trail and experience life as locals enjoy it. Here are 10 of CAPA's favorite hidden gems to discover when you study abroad in Buenos Aires.

1. TRAMWAY OF CABALLITO AND MUSEUM. This is in the historical neighborhood where wealthy porteños used to gather on weekend. It's the only tramway in the city still standing that today serves as a tourist attraction offering a tour of the neighborhood of Caballito. You can stroll through the streets around the station afterwards to see the old mansions and some lovely parks.

Photo: Tram Ride in Caballito by For 91 Days

2. LA ESQUINA DE HOMERO MANZI. Stop by to watch a live performance of one of the best tango shows in the city with a real local flavor. This restored building is home to a historical cafe and restaurant and was a place of intellectual development in the 1900s. Famous poet Homero Manzi wrote plenty of tangos here including one of the most popular called “Sur.” Pictures of Manzi and other well known writers of bygone eras adorn the walls.Throughout the neighborhood of Boedo, you'll find other little gems from the tango days.

Bares Notables
Photo: from Buenos Tours by Estrella Herrera

3. PALAZZO BAROLO (PALACIO BAROLO). Head to the top of this beautiful building in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Avenida de Mayo to take in one of the best views in Buenos Aires. You'll be able to see all the way to Uruguay! This palace was built by an Italian architect in 1923 and was at the time the tallest building in Latin America. The building was designed by the cosmology of Dante’s "Divine Comedy" and it's a true gem that vividly portrays the strong European influence in the city.

Capricho arquitetônico - Nice Architecture
Photo: Palácio Barolo, Buenos Aires by Ruy Barbosa Pinto

4. ICE CREAM. In itself, this popular treat is not a hidden gem, but be sure to give it a try before you leave Buenos Aires where it has been voted as some of the best in the world. Venture away from the chains and try a "mom and pop" shop for a real taste of flavors like Pistacchio, Rhum, Dulce de Leche and a hundred others. A few of our favorite hidden gems that serve up ice cream are El Podio, Il David-Gelato and Cafe (Avenida Carabobo 95 in Flores neighborhood) and Abuela Goye which also has some pretty amazing chocolate!

Gelato to Go - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo: Gelato in Buenos Aires by Uncornered Market

5. CAFES FROM THE GOLDEN AGE. Cafes have long been part of the culture scene and host to a large array of activities in Buenos Aires. Café life was an especially important component in the art of living in the 1900s and particularly enjoyed by poets and bohemians who escaped there to compose tango music and write lyrics. Make sure you stop by some of these gems while you're in Buenos Aires:

  • Café de los Angelitos. The name of this cafe came from the police who were referring to a group of pimps called "little angels" who gathered there regularly. More than 100 years of history make this part of the “Cafés Route” of selected historical coffee shops in Buenos Aires.
  • Café Tortoni. This café really portrays the “glory days” of beautiful Buenos Aires, but is the most well-known on this list so you will find it full of tourists at times.
  • Café Las Violetas. One of the most beautifully restored cafe's in the city, Las Violetas is located in the neighborhood of Almagro. It has a wonderful bakery that serves all types of pastries and sandwiches and flaunts its decor with beautiful glass cases, golden chandeliers, Italian marble and genuine stained glass.
  • Bar Britanico. Located in the historic neighborhood of San Telmo, Bar Britanico is located very close to the university that CAPA International Education students attend. It is not restored as others, but it has an authentic Golden Age flavor.
  • 36 Billares. This 1800's gem will immediately take you back in time. Located in the neighborhood of Montserrat, it has almost 36 pool tables (thus its name) underground that are surrounded by benches so you can watch or play. If you're a fan of billiards, this is a must-see and also not far from the university that CAPA students attend.

Confiteria Las Violetas Buenos Aires, Argentina
Photo: Confiteria Las Violetas Buenos Aires by Paula Soler-Moya

6. LA FERIA DE MATADEROS. This is one of the most authentic Argentine street markets featuring gauchos, folk dancers and local foods like the famous parrilla with the best meat cuts in the word. Street artists entertain and artisans sell beautiful Argentine crafts. The Feria de Mataderos takes place on weekends only in the neighborhood of Mataderos close to the cattle market.

Feria de Mataderos. Buenos Aires.
Photo: Feria de Mataderos by Sharon Frost

7. LAS CUARTETAS PIZZERIA. This simple hole in the wall serves the fluffy deep dish pizza that locals in Buenos Aires love. It's one of the oldest pizza shops in the city and has a traditional, old-fashioned vibe.

Photo: Pizza at Las Cuartetas by For 91 Days

8. OUTLET SHOPPING IN PALERMO. The outlets, shops with reduced prices on seasonal clothing, are grouped around Córdoba Avenue, from Scalabrini Ortiz Street to Godoy Cruz Street.

Photo: Outlet shops in Palermo from Vamos Spanish

9. PARQUE DE LA MEMORIA. The "Memory Lane Park" is a historical memorial to the 30,000+ victims of the military junta that took place from 1976-1983. It's known as the "Dirty War" in Argentina. This is a great place for reflection and learning about the history of the country. The open air park has educational exhibits, tours and activities and is located next to the Rio de La Plata.

Parque de la memoria
Photo: Parque de la Memoria by Gustavo Márquez Villegas

10. BUENOS AIRES FÚTBOL AMIGOS. This is a nice group of people who not only share a love of soccer but also provide a venue for social and cultural activities true to Argentina. It is a wonderful opportunity to mingle with locals who will be full of advice on hidden gems to visit in BA.

Photo: Screenshot of Buenos Aires Futbol Amigos website

Live in Buenos Aires? Leave some of your own favorites in the comments!

Topics: Buenos Aires, Argentina