January 14, 2011

Buenos Aires City: 10 things to do in 24 hours

The must-see list for the one-day visitor to Buenos Aires — especially the first-timer — is mind-boggling. We're assuming you're well aware of the major attractions: Plaza de Mayo, Casa Rosada, La Boca, Caminito, San Martín Park, Florida Street, Palermo Soho, etc.

We're here to guide you to the top 10 places where tourists don't normally go places where Porteños live, eat and hang out.

1. Avenida de Mayo

May Avenue was the first boulevard in the city by the time it was opened in 1894. The idea behind the opening of the avenue was for it to be a stylish open space in downtown area worthy of being shown to the world. Have a walk along this magnificent avenue of the city, raise the eyes and discover the most impressive buildings that few people know about. The Tortoni Café ( 826 Avenida de Mayo), is the oldest, most traditional and best preserved café. You can’t miss stopping in to have a coffee there.

2. Avenida Corrientes

It is one of the main thoroughfares of Buenos Aires. The street is intimately tied to the tango and the porteño sense of identity. The most important theatres of the city are located on this avenue, as well as traditional cafes and pizza parlours. Bookstores, a characteristic of Corrientes Avenue, are open until late at night, offering all kinds of literature in old and new editions. We highly suggest walking along this Avenue from Callao Avenue to Alem street.

3. Pizzeria El Cuartito

El Cuartito ( 937 Talcahuano street ) is not only one of the most traditional pizzerias but also it is considered the best pizza of Buenos Aires. This pizzeria is nicely decorated with nostalgic Posters (lots of Boxing), it is a good place to drop in late for a Chop (1/2 pint of beer).

Standing at the stainless steel counter is perfectly acceptable, but for the real experience take a seat in either of the two main rooms, order some pizza from the menu pasted on the wall, have a Quilmes beer (our local best beer ) and be prepared for a taste experience.

Just remember that when the menu describes a pizza as grande (big) this is not an exaggeration. Still, pizzas come in 3 different sizes, served on a wooden platter, with generous toppings and many different flavors.The pizza to have is the "fugazzeta" - basically a mozzarella and onion pizza. With that, I suggest a piece of "faina" (which is chickpea dough), it combines great with the pizza.

4. Floralis Generica

The sculpture has become one of the latest icons of Buenos Aires. This giant metal flower animated sculpture is located at the United Nations Park. The Steel Flower is actually made of stainless steel and aluminum and sits in the centre of a pool of water which reflects the flower and also protects it from vandals.

One of the fascinating features of this sculpture is that it acts like a real flower in that its gigantic petals are open during the day and then close for the night with a red glow emanating from within.

5. Maman Art Gallery

Considered by many to have the best collection of modern and contemporary art in Buenos Aires, the Maman Fine Art Gallery promotes young artists as well as those already established in Argentine art.

If you are interested in art don’t miss the exhibitions of noted Argentine artists such as Luis Benedit, Antonio Berni, Hernán Dompé, Rómulo Macció, Mondongo Group, Alicia Penalba, Emilio Pettoruti among other renowned artists. ( Address: 2475, Del Libertador Avenue )

6. Avenida Alvear

This seven-block avenue also stands out for its aristocratic look and the way it has conserved the classic style of the early 20th century. It is a beautiful avenue to stroll and to admire monumental façades, gardens behind elaborate ironwork fences, elegant street lamps, cornices and doors with bronze door knockers. Today, many palaces house international design stores such as Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Polo Ralph Lauren, among others.

7. La Biela Café

Situated at 600 Quintana Avenue on the corner of Junin street, opposite the church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar and the adjoining Recoleta Cemetery. The café has a large terrace in front with outdoor tables under the shade of a giant rubber tree, and is a popular meeting place of locals. Great location to people watch and see the performers and vendors across from the cemetery.

8. La Ideal Milonga

“Confitería Ideal” offers like no other place in Buenos Aires, the secrets of the nowadays tango and the local’s atmosphere. It was born as a prestigious coffee house; the ballroom is today visited by the most famous “milongueros”, local as well as international and the best tango dancers. (Address: 384 Suipacha, 1° floor.)

9. La Brigada

This is one of our favourite steak-houses in Buenos Aires. Located in the heart of San Telmo.

At La Brigada we strongly recommend you to try the parrilla mixta ( mixed grill ) that consist of seven or more cuts of meat, each of which you can also order individually. Besides beef, other grilled options include chicken, young goat ( chivito ), and suckling pig ( lechón ). One of Argentina´s great culinary creations is chimichurri, a tangy herb marinade ideal with choice cuts of meat. Reservations are recommended. (Address: 465 Estados Unidos St; Phone: +54 11 4361 5557)

10. La Trastienda

Near La Brigada, in the neighbourhood of San Telmo, you will find La Trastienda: a mecca for serious musicians and discerning fans, it attracts cutting-edge local bands, established Latin American talent and international artists such as Damien Rice. Address: Balcarce 460, Phone: +54 11 4342-7650

We hope you have found this article useful.

The best way to explore Buenos Aires is with a knowledgeable guide. Ideas can help you put together a package of custom tours and tour extensions, with the best English-speaking guides in these destinations. Let us know your preferences and we will plan the best tour for you.

Check our website and send us an e mail http://www.ideasturisticas.com/

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