The perfect itinerary to find your North in the Paris of the South
It is the subject of poems, tangos, longing and rumour—and rivers of ink have flowed in the attempts to capture its essence. A product of the collision between decades of European immigration and native customs, this Latin American neural center is, if nothing else, a city to remember. Whether you fall under its spell or not is the question… Ahead, the itinerary for a perfect day in Buenos Aires.
Start the day in the city by forgetting you’re in the city. That is, hightail it out to Delta de Tigre, a network of narrow canals and waterways set in a sleepy suburb of Buenos Aires. If a friend with a boat isn’t in the cards, spring for a rental to navigate the dulce de leche-coloured canals. On the way back, grab the ferry that takes you straight to the city center along the Río de la Plata.
Now you’ve landed in Buenos Aires proper, head past the gargantuan Congreso building and brand new CCK Cultural Center and into San Telmo, the city’s historic district. You’ll know you’ve arrived when the streets turn to cobblestone and the façades hint at eras bygone. Past the charismatic Plaza Dorrego you’ll find Café Rivas sitting on a corner in all its restored glory. The daily cookies, cakes and pies are set out by the window to entice wayward pedestrians, but ask for a menu and they’ll whip up something savoury for lunch too. Just don’t forget to leave some space for the seasonal fruit pie.
After you’ve had a bit of sugar and history, make your way through the city to Villa Crespo. This working-class neighbourhood has been going through a renaissance of sorts, with a menagerie of galleries popping up within blocks of each other and many of its auto shops being transformed into retail spaces. Pop by local favourites Ruth Benzacar and SlyZmud before topping it off with a visit to renowned fashion designer Jessica Trosman’s new atelier and boutique, JT.
A couple of stops away you’ll hit Palermo, arguably one of the city’s most welcoming set of sidewalks. Retrace famed Buenos Aires writer Jorge Luis Borges’ steps along them, all the way to El Preferido, a dusty pink restaurant that’s been around since the 50s. Featured in one of Borges’ poems, these days it’s more notorious for its pop art interior and spot-on comfort food. Sidle up to a hanging ham or a wall of conserves and order a plate of veal “milanesas” and salty fried squid rings. To share, of course.
No evening in the capital would be complete without a late night drink. The current MVP on the cocktail scene is Florería Atlántico, a speakeasy-style joint you can only access through a fully-functioning flower shop. Nab a seat at the bar for the best people watching—and mingling, and let the bartender work his magic based on your preferences. Or just make like the locals and order a Caipiroska, a regional favourite during the warmer months.