As spring begins here in Buenos Aires there is no better time to get outside and enjoy. The plants are in full bloom, the fairs are large bustling, the restaurants are opening up their patios to the crowds, and there is no better neighborhood to experience all spring has to offer than in Palermo!

Palermo is the largest “Barrio” of Buenos Aires and is often divided into other names: Palermo Viejo (further subdivided into Palermo SoHo and Palermo Hollywood) and Palermo Botánico. Some of the main attractions and parks in the area are the Parque Tres de Febrero, the Hipódromo Argentino (race track), the Millenium Flower sculpture Floralís Genérica, and the Botanical Garden. There are tons of boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, street fairs, and anything in between to keep you busy, entertained and happy. You can reach Palermo by taking the Subte “D” to Plaza Italia, Palermo, or Carranza (Carranza & Palermo stops will drop you off in Palermo Hollywood).

Let’s start with Palermo Viejo, the trendiest part of the barrio and one that is always bustling with activity. Several international restaurants, bars, and stores radiate out from Plaza Serrano (at the intersection of Borges and Honduras). On one side of Av. Juan B. Justo, the area is known as Palermo SoHo, while crossing the Avenue and moving further from downtown, Palermo Hollywood has taken root. The area is known as such due to the concentration of TV studios and production companies located there.

RestaurantsAll along Plaza Armenia (aka Plaza Palermo Viejo) you will find the heart of the barrio, teeming with restaurants and stores. Start out at the intersection of El Salvador and Armenia streets and just keep wandering! For places to eat, make sure to stop at Mark’s Deli, Cluny, Mama Racha, bar 6, Mott, Quimbombó, or Meridiano 58 if you are looking for good food and people watching.

For those who love to shop, don’t pass up Rapsodia, Maria Cher, Jazmin Chebar, Sibyl Vane, Huija, Lupe, Mishka, Tienda Tres, Paula Cahen D’Anvers, and Ayres. These stores are full of the hippest clothes that BA has to offer and will keep any avid shopper busy. Most of these stores are dotted around El Salvador and Honduras streets, and even more around the Plaza Palermo Viejo.

Other cool shops to visit are Humawaca for nice leather goods, Papelera Palermo for handmade paper goods, Calma Chicha to buy those iconic ceramic penguin pitchers, Boutique del Libro, and Sabater Hnos. handmade soap store (they make good gifts!).

As you meander back toward Santa Fe, don’t miss the Jardín Zoológico at Plaza Italia. Here you will be able to admire the interesting architecture that houses the animals as well as admire the wide array of flora and fauna that inhabit this little oasis in the middle of the big city. Random monkeys and carpinchos roam about the premises, and you can even buy bags of food to ensure that they follow you all over! Admission to the zoo is AR$12.50.

Right next to the Zoo is the Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays, which was opened in 1898 and is full of interesting and beautiful flowers and plants. There are thousands of different species here, including a large population of feral cats, and it’s truly an amazing spot in BA. Admission is free so it’s the perfect spot for a bit of respite from the hustle and bustle of Plaza Italia right around the corner.

The Jardín Japonés was finished in 1967 and was a gift from BA’s local Japanese community. It is actually one of the largest of its kind in the world outside of Japan. There are ponds full of gigantic carp and over 100 different types of floral species to be discovered (some are even for sale in the shop), and there is even a tea room that is open all day. The sushi restaurant is also delicious and will satisfy any sushi craving. Each day at 5PM you are invited to partake in the Tea Ceremony, definitely something not to be missed !

Beyond the chaos of Plaza Italia and closer to the river, between Av. Libertador and Av. Figueroa Alcorta, you will find the Bosques de Palermo & the Rosedal. Here is a great spot to go running outside but away from the city traffic, do some paddleboating or rowboating, rollerblading, dog walking, people watching, mate drinking, choripan eating, or just hanging out. When the weather is nice on Saturdays and Sundays, the parks overflow with people enjoying the fresh air. From there you’re just steps away from the Planetarium as well.