26 Best Sights in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the largest city in South America, located on the Gulf of Rio de la Plata. It is considered the cultural center of the country and is famous for its beautiful monuments, museums, and theaters.
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Who goes to Buenos Aires and why
Buenos Aires, founded in the first half of the 16th century by Spanish conquistadors, attracts attention with its multifaceted architecture combining elements of modernism, neo-Gothic, art deco, classicism. Every year tens of millions of tourists come here to admire the magnificent palaces, temples, walk through the squares and alleys of the historic center.
Festivals and celebrations are regularly held in the city:
- In August, guests are invited to the International Tango Festival. For several days, dancers attend master classes and compete against each other. The best couples take part in a gala concert.
- In the spring, a festival of independent film starts. Cultural event gathers up to 500 thousand people. People watch short and feature-length films, discuss pictures, meet directors and actors.
- Very popular is the week of Argentine fashion. As part of the holiday, people get acquainted with the work of emerging designers and study the collections of leading fashion designers.
Locals love sports and are proud of their teams. Soccer games, tennis, volleyball and basketball tournaments are regularly held in the city and draw crowds of tourists.
Families with children won’t be bored in Buenos Aires either. There are several museums with interactive exhibits, optical illusions and other interesting exhibits. On excursions, children put interesting experiments and learn about the world around them.
The water in the bay on whose shore Buenos Aires stands is polluted, so no one swims there. The mayor’s office has found an original way out and equipped 13 free beaches with umbrellas, sun loungers, playgrounds and attractions within the city limits. For water procedures there are special pools.
Plaza de Maya
The main square of the Argentine capital was laid out in 1580 by order of Juan de Garay. It is the iconic place that started the construction of Buenos Aires. During the colonial era, it was surrounded by beautiful mansions, churches and used for bullfighting. It was here that the political events that led to the independence of Argentina in 1816 took place.
The central monument of the square is the May Pyramid, dedicated to the revolution. In addition, tourists can see here a monument to Manuel Belgrano, fountains, olive trees and flower beds.
Avenida de Mayo
The Avenida de Mayo, founded in 1885, is the pride of Buenos Aires. It stretches from Plaza de Maya to Congress Square and plays a huge role in the social life of the city. There are offices of famous companies, shopping centers, prestigious hotels, cafes, and restaurants. During national holidays, parades and mass festivities are held on the sidewalk.
Avenida Presidente Julio Argentino Roca
An avenue named after Argentine President Julio Roca is easy to find near Plaza de Maya. The street was designed by the Frenchman Joseph Bouvard, who also brought the features of real Paris into its appearance.
Along the road stands the City Hall, the Palace of the Legislative Assembly, and the residence of the Prime Minister of Argentina. The main figure of the architectural ensemble is the bronze equestrian sculpture of Julio A. Roca mounted on a marble pedestal.
On the outskirts of Buenos Aires is the district of La Boca. It was originally a port and barracks for black slaves. After independence the area was settled by immigrants from Italy, who preferred to paint their homes in a variety of bright colors.
Today, La Boca is a popular tourist area known for its spontaneous markets, souvenir shops, and sports stadiums. On holidays, there are merry masquerades and carnivals for which the whole town gathers.
In the Ricoleta area there is a cemetery where famous residents of the city are buried. Many of the tombstones are historical monuments and have great cultural value.
Walking in this quiet, peaceful place, you can see the marble crypt of President Julio Roca, the tomb of Nobel laureate Luis Leluar, decorated with columns, the graves of poet José Hernández, sculptor Puirredon Prilidiano, and scientist Francisco Moreno.
Historical sites and architecture
Obelisk in Buenos Aires
In the center of the capital, in the Plaza de la República, stands a white obelisk commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the founding of the city. The iconic structure, designed by Alberto Prebisch, is 67 meters high.
The square around it is used for celebrations and cultural events. Fans gather under the obelisk to celebrate the victory of the Argentine soccer team, musicians, acrobatic and dance troupes perform.
Palace of the National Congress
Congress Square is adorned by a majestic neoclassical mansion where the country’s parliament meets. The palace, built at the beginning of the last century, has a copper dome 80 meters high. On it is a crown with chimeras. The facade is decorated with a triangular pediment, marble sculptures of winged lions and columns.
On the top of the pediment is the Argentine coat of arms and above it an eight-ton antique chariot pulled by four horses, symbolizing the triumph of the Republic. The palace complex includes a hall, an amphitheater, blue and pink halls, and a library.
The Casa Rosada presidential residence is located on Plaza de Maya. The working office of the head of state was built in the late 19th century in the neoclassical style. The pink two-story building is decorated with arched windows, columns, stucco. To get inside you can only as part of an organized tour.
Tourists are shown the opulent decoration of the halls, a collection of busts of the presidents of Argentina, the Palm Court, fountains and sculptures. In the basement there is the Casa Rosada Museum. Personal belongings of presidents and gifts given by officials of other countries are kept there.
On Avenida de Mayo stands a huge Art Nouveau mansion, built at the beginning of the last century. It is 100 meters high. For a long time it was the largest building in the city.
The palace was designed by the Italian architect Palanti, who created under the influence of Dante’s “The Divine Comedy”. The master divided the house into sections. The basement represents hell, the lower floors represent purgatory, the upper floors heaven. The roof symbolizes the world of angels.
The architectural masterpiece is equipped with elevators, and on top of the palacio there is a lighthouse, whose signals can be seen even in Uruguay. In the interior there are offices of various companies.
The tower-shaped monument in the center of Buenos Aires commemorates the centennial of the May Revolution. It was inaugurated in 1916. The building was erected in the Palladian style and is decorated with the symbols of the British Empire: the Tudor rose, the trefoil of Ireland and the thistle.
The eight-story structure is 75.5 meters high. On the top there is a clock with bronze bells. The tower is crowned by a copper dome with a weathervane in the form of a three-masted frigate and under its roof is an observation deck, which is easily ascended by a transparent elevator.
The aluminum and steel sculpture was a gift to the city by the famous architect Eduardo Catalano. The huge structure, which is a flower with six petals weighing 18 tons, is located in the central city park.
It is equipped with an electrical system that ensures the petals open during the day and close at night. The attraction is surrounded by walkways, and at night the lights near it are turned on.
Buenos Aires temples
The country’s main Catholic church appeared in Buenos Aires in the 16th century. It is shaped like a Latin cross with six chapels and three naves. The façade is decorated with twelve columns symbolizing the apostles and marble sculptures.
Inside there are paintings by Francesco Domenigini on a religious theme. The floor is decorated with Venetian mosaics. In the crypt of the cathedral is the tomb of Jose de San Martin, national hero of Argentina, who took part in the war for the independence of the Spanish colonies.
Basilica of Our Lady
On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in the town of Luján you can find a Catholic church dedicated to Our Lady of Luján, considered the patroness of Argentina. The Neo-Gothic church was built at the beginning of the last century on the site of a small ancient chapel.
It attracts attention with two towers, 106 meters high each, lancet windows, arches, tracery stucco. On the bell tower hangs 15 bells of different weight and sound, and inside there is a large organ of the French company Mutin – Cavaillé Coll.
Holy Trinity Church
The Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity in Buenos Aires has been open to the faithful since 1898. The bright building, erected in the style of Russian ornamentation, stands out for its beautiful blue domes, intricate decorations, and carved window platbands.
The interior painting of the vaults is by the Italian artist Matteo Casella. The walls of the temple are decorated with mosaics depicting the Baptism of Russia and ancient icons.
The church of San Ignacio
This Catholic church, built in 1608, is considered the oldest in Buenos Aires. Its façade is decorated with arches, statues, and murals. On the sides there are two square towers topped with crosses. Inside there are luxurious gilded wooden altars of the 17th century, sculptures and frescoes. The church has a religious museum and an art center.
Buenos Aires Museums
The city hall was built by order of the governor in 1610. The two-story white building has been expanded and rebuilt several times. Now it houses the National Museum of the country. Paintings by Argentine artists, medieval weapons, antique clothing, jewelry, and dishes of the XVIII century are exhibited there. A separate hall is devoted to the events of the May Revolution.
National Museum of History
The Historical Museum, which tells the story of the struggle for the independence of the Argentine people, is located in the San Telmo neighborhood in a huge mansion. The main collection highlights the lives of famous political figures. Tourists can see the personal belongings of the commander José de San Martín, General Manuel Belgrano, Governor Bartolomé Mitre.
In total, the museum has 30 exhibition halls. They contain ancient objects found during excavations in the city, military uniforms of soldiers and officers, antique furniture, old printed books, flags and marble sculptures.
Museum of Modern Art
The museum opened its doors to visitors in 1958 at the initiative of the country’s artists. Its collection houses 6,000 works by Argentine and foreign artists dating from the 19th and 20th centuries.
On the tour you can see paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Antonio Berni, Joseph Albers, Marcelo Pombo. A separate exhibit presents photographs of Argentina from the beginning of the last century, engravings and drawings by Buenos Aires artists.
The frigate Presidente Sarmiento
Launched in 1897, the frigate was named in honor of Argentine President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. It participated in training regattas, sailed around the world and was used for sailors’ training.
The sailboat is now moored in the port. Since the middle of the last century, it has housed a museum dedicated to the Argentine Navy and maritime affairs in general.
Museum of Latin American Art
The museum, which focuses on contemporary Latin American art, is located in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires. The exhibition was founded by Eduardo Constantini in 2001. It includes 400 paintings from the first half of the 20th century.
Popular exhibits include works by Fernando Botero, Jorge de la Vega, Frida Kahlo, and Antonio Berni. On the third floor of the museum there are temporary exhibitions dedicated to important cultural events of the country.
Abasto Children’s Museum
In the Abasto Children’s Museum you can spend a whole day. There are interactive exhibitions for children of all ages, introducing them to history, music, dance, and science.
Expositions change regularly, so it’s always interesting. Children visit a movie theater, an art workshop, learn to draw with strings, make Chinese kites, and participate in sports activities. The museum has a conference room where book presentations and meetings with favorite musicians and actors are held.
Nature and Entertainment
The largest park in Buenos Aires is called the Palermo Forests. The area is located in Palermo and is a favorite destination for visitors and residents. There are picturesque lakes on which you can ride boats and catamarans.
Among the trees there are sports fields, jogging paths and play areas for children. People come here to relax from the bustle of the city, ride bicycles and celebrate holidays.
Next to the Plaza Italia there is a botanical garden founded over 100 years ago. It harmoniously combines French, oriental and Italian landscape styles. On an area of 7 hectares compactly grow 5.5 thousand species of trees and shrubs.
The garden is divided into European, Asian and African zones. All plants are strictly sorted. Walking along the shady paths, you can see the rose garden, admire the marble sculptures of Greek gods, go to the greenhouse with cacti and succulents.
Tortoni Literary Café
The famous café, built by a French immigrant on Avenida de Mayo, is one of the ten most beautiful in the world. It is called a city landmark because prominent people liked to spend time here. Notable guests include Albert Einstein, Hillary Clinton, Fyodor Chaliapin, Garcia Lorca.
The trademark of Café Tortoni is considered a cozy, relaxed atmosphere and regular book presentations. Tourists can have a cup of coffee, play billiards, watch a rousing dance show program, and listen to the poetry of the city’s poets.
Opera house in Buenos Aires appeared in the middle of the XIX century. The building was rebuilt several times and changed its appearance, but has always remained the cultural center of the capital. Its foyer is decorated with lush chandeliers and busts of famous musicians: Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini and Wagner.
The auditorium seats 2,500 people. In the theater regularly take place opera and ballet performances, meetings with famous artists and creative evenings.
One of the oldest zoos in Latin America is located in the center of Buenos Aires. A large area is home to 325 species of animals, some of which are listed in the international Red List. Elephants, hippos, bison, tigers, monkeys, anteaters and giraffes roam in beautiful pavilions and landscaped enclosures.
Waterfowl and game animals can be seen in the wild. Ducks, geese, swans swim in the pond, and rabbits and sheep peacefully nibble grass on the lawns.