Buenos Aires is an art-filled city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character.
Nearly every neighborhood has tree-lined streets and a plethora of flowers in bloom. Plane trees create tunnel effects on the wide avenues and bougainvillea blooms on walls and up the sides of homes.
I was fortunate to be able to call on my friend, Honolulu fashion designer Florencia Arias (www.florenciaarias.com) for recommendations. She is from Buenos Aires – and she knows me well enough to understand what I would most enjoy in her city.
Florencia suggested my first stop be Palermo Soho, the most creative and Bohemian of the city’s neighborhoods. A hotbed of indie fashion designers, it is also a place where you’ll find beautiful handmade shoes, artisanal papers and graffiti worthy of being showcased on charming multi-colored walls. Leafy trees also create colorful canopies on the sidewalks of the lovely cobblestone streets.
Recoleta, an upscale neighborhood and the area we stayed in, has an amazing variety of architecture. There are many embassies there and we found the Uruguayan embassy to be the most beautiful and the Iranian to be the most uninspired. We enjoyed visits to MALBA, galleries, and the Latin American Art Museum. Such a vibrant art scene in this city of three million people!
My one disappointment was that we didn’t get to see authentic, earthy, local-style tango. We were told by the concierges that it wasn’t always safe or savory to go to the milonga (local tango hangouts) but now I wish we had gone anyway, because the tango show we saw was a bit too touristy for our taste.
Even though we are not big beef eaters, we couldn’t resist the fabulous beef in Argentina. It is so flavorful and tender and we did have a delicious dinner in the tango club we visited.
We also discovered the deliciousness of Argentinian wines! They have a white wine category called Torrentes that is absolutely superb. It’s fresh and crisp. Fortunately, we had it available every night on the ship if we felt more like a white than a red.
One of the most intriguing places in Buenos Aires is El Ateneo. It’s a refurbished theatre, slightly reminiscent of the Hawaii Theatre. It is now a giant bookstore. In the back (what was once the backstage area, complete with lights, pulleys and other theatrical paraphernalia) is a coffee shop with delicious coffee and a fabulous atmosphere for sitting and people watching,.
If you go to Buenos Aires, here’s a recommendation for a place to stay: Miravida Soho Hotel and Wine Bar (miravidasoho.com). It’s in Palermo Soho. We didn’t stay there, but some friends did, so we went by for a tour. It only has about four rooms and a very popular bar. We met the owner and he is charming and so accommodating. I’m pretty sure it would be a delightful place to stay. Wish we had stayed there – we didn’t like our hotel.
I know we often hear that Buenos Aires is an unsafe city and we should not carry money or wear our jewelry when venturing out. However, we never felt unsafe and we walked many, many miles in different neighborhoods.
We loved BA and we think lots of our friends would too.
– Paula Rath