Yes, CAPA global cities are bursting with people from around the globe and are inevitably full of social and networking opportunities. They're also home to some pretty amazing quieter places though, and are host to tons of activities that give the introverts among us a chance to recharge and perhaps discover another, more peaceful, side of a bustling metropolis. Here are 10 of our favorites in Buenos Aires:
1. ENJOY THE PARKS & PLAZAS. While Buenos Aires isn't a city particularly celebrated for its acres of green space, there are still plenty of parks and plazas that offer an opportunity for a moment of solitude among the millions of commuters and tourists filling city streets. For convenience, we love Parque Lezama in San Telmo with its proximity to the market where you can pick up a bite to eat. Jardin Botánico Carlos Thays, another favorite, is a lush oasis with plenty of shade and pretty historic greenhouses. Bring a book, sip a mate and chill. The Borderless Project shares their top 8 parks in BA, worth a read. It's not bad on a rainy day either with a visit to the Planetarium.
2. VISIT BOSQUES DE PALERMO & EL ROSEDAL. Head to Bosques de Palermo - another huge park, also called the Parque Tres de Febrero. We separated this one from the parks above because it is not to be missed! It has an incredible garden called El Rosedal with some 18,000 roses, a lake with graceful swans, a bridge and a gift from the Spanish city of Seville - the patio Andaluz. It's a great place for some downtime, a solo walk or jog and some photography to capture its beauty.
Photo: El Rosedal by Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
3. BROWSE THE BOOKSTORES. Book lovers rejoice! Argentina is the bookshop capital of the world and Buenos Aires has more bookshops (at least 734 total) per person than any other city in the world. There are even old movie theaters turned into bookstores where you can order a coffee to accompany you as make your way through the aisles of shelves. More good news: books are exempt from Argentina’s standard 21% sales tax. Don't miss El Ateneo Grand Splendid, built in a luxurious old theater, with a good sized section of English language books. For more, check out these "Best bookshops in Buenos Aires" posts from LSE Review of Books, Bridges and Balloons, and The Real Argentina.
Photo: El Ateneo by Hernán Piñera
4. RELAX IN A CAFE. Not everything about Buenos Aires feels like the "Paris of South America", as it's nicknamed, but cafe culture certainly can with outdoor seating for people watching and porteños flipping through the morning newspaper. Take some time to chill, sip a cortado, plan your next adventure or catch up on emails. If it's quality coffee you're after, Lattente, Full City Coffee House or Felix Felices & Co in Palermo Soho, All Saints Cafe in Belgrano or Birkin in Palermo Botanico. If in doubt, as a local for their favorite hidden gem. There are plenty to be discovered!
Photo: A coffee in Buenos Aires by Paulo Marcel Coelho Aragão
5. WALK OR CYCLE THROUGH THE ECOLOGICAL RESERVE. Make time for fresh air and exercise. Head to the ecological reserve that runs along the edge of the Puerto Madero neighborhood for a choice of well-marked trails and a chance to see some wildlife. There's parrots in the trees and turtles that hang out in the willow weeds. If you bring a few coins, you can take a peek through public binoculars along the way. Nearby, stop for a bite at the local food trucks on Costanera Sur, on the far side of Puerto Madero Este, where you'll find everything from locro (corn, squash, beef, and sausage stew) to street food favorite choripan.
6. EXPLORE MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES. From art to history, explore the culture of Buenos Aires by wandering through the city's many museums and galleries. If you're interested in Latin American art, for example, check out MALBA or, for modern art, MAMBA. For history of Argentina, head to Museo Del Bicentario by the Casa Rosada. Learn about Argentina’s most-famous First Lady, Eva “Evita” Perón at Museo Evita. If you have plenty of time to spare, have a browse around the three floors of the sprawling Fundacion Proa. For new media and photography, try Espacio Eclectico and for up and coming Argentinian artists, head over to Fundacion Osde.
Photo: Museo Evita by Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación Argentina
7. TAKE A PHOTO WALK. A great way to understand the layout of the city and the way the neighborhoods connect is to take a long walk with your camera. Explore on your own with a map and a guidebook (or tag along with a friend on a Foto Ruta experience if you're in the mood for a small bit of social interaction). Along with the city's famous landmarks and lesser known places of interest, you'll likely stumble on some cafes, restaurants, shops or galleries that you want to return to later so remember make a note of where they were. You can share the photos with family back home, consider starting a blog or just keep them for your memories when you return to the States. Don't forget to tag us in your Instagram photos #CAPAStudyAbroad if you post!
Photo: Out for a walk by Hernán Piñera
8. DISCOVER PUERTO MADERO. Buenos Aires is one of the mega cities of the world with over 10 million people so it is not a surprise that it is a bit hard to get away from the crowds. However, the newest neighborhood in the city (which used to be the port dock area) is a wonderful place to sit for a while, watch locals go about their day and enjoy the water views and a look at the famous Puente de la Mujer. Incorporate a visit into your photo walk or after you cycle the nearby ecological reserve. It's a nice place to see the sun set!
Photo: Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires by David Stanley
9. GO TO A MOVIE. Argentines love movies and you will be able to find a large number of movie theaters all around the city. Choose South America's only IMAX in the or center Shopping mall just outside of the city or one of BA's historic cinemas like Cine 25 de Mayo, Cine Gaumont or Cine Lorca. You'll find English language films or you can challenge yourself and test your understanding of the Spanish language with a local movie. (On a related note, check out our list of 10 Movies to Watch Before You Study Abroad in Buenos Aires.)
10. SEE A PLAY OR COMEDY SHOW. Buenos Aires, Latin America's theater capital, has a thriving theater scene with options that range from a large opera house environment to the small independent underground theaters. You can even find a play in English depending on the time of the year or even stand up English language comedy (GrinGo Standup Comedy)! For an especially unique experience, try a visit to Teatro Ciego which will plunge you into darkness for dinner and a performance, or watch a ballet or tango show if you love dance.