Have a family member or a friend visiting Buenos Aires anytime soon? Let’s just assume they don’t want to stay out all night at the bars and boliches. Here are some tips and activities that are not to be missed! Even if it’s grey and rainy!
The best part about this city is that the main touristy sites are easily accessible by bus,
subte or bike and the majority are either free activities in Buenos Aires or extremely cheap!
During the day, there are many different options:
The largest park system in BA, the Palermo parks offer multitude of different sights and activities. Unluckily, I was showing around my cousin during a rainy week so we missed out on the usual Argentine staple of mate-drinkers and rollerbladers. But if the weather cooperates then there are cheap options of renting rollerblades (18 pesos/30 minutes), renting paddleboats, walking through the rose garden (free, just don’t step on the grass!), watching the performances (which include but are not limited to: breakdancers, tightrope-walkers, and free exercise group goers), and simply sitting and enjoying the people watching.
The MALBA (Museo de bellas artes) with a student ID this museum is free and features art from all areas of Latin America. Just be prepared that it is not open on Tuesdays. Otherwise, it is half price on Wednesdays and every other day is 12 pesos for entry.
Recoleta Cemetery/Recoleta Market
The Recoleta cemetery is always free admission and even offers free English tours every Tuesday/Thursday at 11am. On the weekend and on holidays there is an artisan market with all kinds of souvenir and home décor options. The quality is amazing and the sellers are the craftsmen also! On Sundays at 6pm there is also a reggae band that plays free of charge so bring a blanket and sip some mate!
La flor (The Flower) and the pedestrian bridge
Not far from Recoleta park is a beautifully graffiti’ed pedestrian bridge that is on the way to the flower. It has beautiful works of art and a bright underside that make for lovely pictures. The flower is right across the bridge and past the law school and is a tourist must as it is in half of the tour guide pictures of BA. Try to go on a sunny day so you get the reflection of the water underneath!
Casa Rosada/the Obelisk
Jump on either the 152 from Santa Fe or any subte line and go to the centro! In the main plaza, 25 de Mayo (independence from Spain in 1810), you’ll find the presidential offices in the Casa Rosada. During the weekends, it will even be open and you can go in and take a look around the first floor free of charge! Not far away, and within sight of 25 de Mayo is the Obelisk. That commemorates the 9 of June independence of Argentina from the viceroyalty of De La Plata. It also sits on the largest widest street in the world!
The neighborhood of La Boca is the Ellis Island of Argentina. It was started by immigrants who used any kind of scraps they could find to build shelter for themselves, then decided to paint those shelters in bright colors! Although it is extremely touristy, it is definitely worth the trip and the pictures you’ll take from it!
Just again hop on the 152 and it’s the last stop! Be prepared for a 40-minute bus ride though! This is also the perfect stop for buying either an Argentina or a Boca Juniors jersey.
Tigre day trip – Like the parks, this activity is weather permitting, but find a sunny day and its well worth it! Tigre is a large river delta just outside the city and there you will find boat taxis that will take you into the delta and can take you to a multitude of different islands to spend the day exploring! Back on the mainland, there is also a huge market with everything from food to leather clocks. To get there, take the 64 from Santa Fe to the last stop (Belgrano train station), hop on a train for 2.40 pesos round trip, and ride it to the end, El Tigre! Tigre is a lovely destination if you have friends or family coming to visit Buenos Aires.
Parilla – Now, although it is not free by any means, another must-do is a dinner at a parrilla (steakhouse). Argentina is world-renown for its beef and wine, both of which you’ll find at any given parrilla. One that is particularly good and very reasonably priced is La Cholita (on Rodriguez Pena, a block from Santa Fe). Enjoy a Gran Bife La Cholita for 64 pesos, split it with a friend, and be able to chow down on a large piece of steak, mashed pumpkin, French fries, fried egg, baked cheese, and grilled onions and bell peppers. Also enjoy a ‘pinguino’ of wine for 22 pesos (size: four full glasses).