Buenos Aires: The Paris of South America

Culture and history in one brilliant package

Buenos Aires is a unique South American city that showcases its long history on each boulevard. Known as “The Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires has been influenced by the millions of immigrants that moved to Argentina over the centuries.

First founded in 1536 by Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza, Buenos Aires quickly became an entry point to South America for people from Germany, Spain, Italy, and other European countries. In the 1800s, Argentina was the second most popular destination for European immigrants – mostly Spanish and Italian – next to the United States. It was those immigrants that melded Buenos Aires into the city it is today. Its beautiful architecture, unique Rioplatense Spanish, and painful history make the Argentine capital one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.

Buenos Aires is still a growing travel locale. It is predicted that 3.1 million travelers will visit Buenos Aires by 2025. Now is the perfect time to visit the city and a CityPals guide can take travelers to the best parts of it.

Colorful Street Scene of Buenos Aires

Colorful Street Scene of Buenos Aires.

Palazzo Barolo

The Palazzo Barolo is the perfect example of Italian influence on Buenos Aires. Designed by Italian architect Mario Palanti in 1923, the Palazzo Barolo was the tallest building in South America when it was constructed.

The building’s design was influenced by Dante’s “Divine Comedy”. Travelers can ascend to the top of the building and see incredible views of the capital. The views are so good that visitors can see all the way to Uruguay.

Palazzo Barolo building in Buenos Aires

Palazzo Barolo – The lighthouse on the top of the building is designed to serve as a welcome to visitors arriving from the Atlantic Ocean.

Parque de la Memoria

Argentina’s former military government kidnapped and murdered an unknown number of people between 1976 and 1983. The initial count is over 30,000 citizens, but experts believe that number is far higher.

Parque de la Memoria allows visitors to reflect and learn about Argentina’s dark history. The outdoor park contains educational exhibits and activities that must be seen.

dance performance held at the Parque de la Memoria

Picture taken at commemorative dance performance held at the Parque de la Memoria.

La Boca and the Caminito Street Museum

La Boca is one of the most famous neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It is an area flush with artistic people and venues. Visitors can see art on the exteriors of the neighborhood’s colorful buildings along with other creative designs.

The Caminito Street Museum is a colorful pedestrian zone. The open-air museum and art market have been located in La Boca since 1959.

La Boca is also home to legendary soccer club Boca Juniors. Sports fans should visit the La Bombonera Stadium, one of the most unique soccer venues in the world.

La Boca and the Caminito Street Museum

Plaza de Mayo

Plaza de Mayo (“May Square”) is a two-block long area that has hosted many of Buenos Aires’ most famous events. Plaza de Mayo was the scene of Argentina’s uprising against Spain in the early 1800s.

Today, it hosts vigils held by the mothers of the country’s missing children during the military regime. The area is filled with gorgeous colonial buildings making it perfect for snapping wonderful Instagram selfies.

Visiting Plaza de Mayo can be very surreal as visitors experience the great architecture but witness the mothers of the missing children.

Plaza de Mayo mothers of the missing children at a vigil

Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of May Square) in a vigil to commemorate their lost children.

La Manzana de las Luces

The La Manzana de las Luces underground tunnels are a unique, mysterious part of Buenos Aires. A CityPals guide can take visitors to the La Manzana de las Luces and teach them about all of the tunnels’ great history.

The tunnels date back to the 17th century and hosted the activities of Argentina’s Jesuit missionaries. Although many of the tunnels have caved in, there are still some available to be toured.

Antique Market at La Manzana de las Luces

Antique Market at La Manzana de las Luces

The Big Five

One of the must-do activities in Buenos Aires is watching one of The Big Five soccer teams in and around the capital. Boca Juniors, River Plate, and San Lorenzo are all located in the capital while Independiente and Racing Club are situated in adjacent areas.

Argentine has South America’s top soccer league – along with Brazil – and many of the stars are future or former players in Europe.

Boca Juniors and River Plate play the world’s biggest rivalry. It is a must-attend game if visitors happen to be in the city during a match between the two. Just be careful as these matches are intense. A CityPals guide can give travelers great insight on the local soccer scene.

Panorama picture of a Boca Juniors game in Buenos Aires

Centro Cultural Recoleta

Centro Cultural Recoleta is one of Buenos Aires’ lesser known museums and experiences far less foot traffic than the city’s other major tourist venues. Centro Cultural Recoleta is known as a liberal arts museum and it is popular amongst students and young people.

Visitors will find sculptures, exhibitions, and concerts inside the Centro Cultural Recoleta. The building itself is a window into Buenos Aires’ past. Completed in 1732, it was previously a school and shelter for the homeless.

Picture of the Centro Cultural Recoleta Museum and Terrace in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is a remarkable city and the true gem of South America. It may not be as popular a travel destination for foreign tourists as other South American locales, but its reputation is increasing every year.

The city of good air is a one of a kind travel destination thanks to its history, culture, and architecture. Travelers should not miss an opportunity to visit Buenos Aires and explore “The Paris of South America”.

Feel free to post additional recommendations for places to see and explore in Buenos Aires in the comments section below.

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Comments (1):

  1. Margarita MATAYOSHI

    February 13, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Walking only ten blocks I found lots of nice buildings in the center of Buenos Aires. It was a moment of a relaxed walk when I saw up and discovered the magnificence of these buildings.

    When I walked through the wide avenues of Buenos Aires’districts, I noticed the fascinating array of architecture. As a melting-pot city, Buenos Aires does not have a dominant architectural style but rather a haphazard arrangement of cosmopolitan designs. That’s why it’s quite normal to see a Parisian-style mansion adjacent to an art-nouveau tower or a renaissance palace.
    Due to the city’s being built on mass immigration, many buildings are alike to those located in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris with wide and open spaces of the time. Some architects looked to the French vision of wide boulevards, diagonals, grand buildings, parks and plazas to reinvent the city.

    Many of the notable landmarks were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a period when the city was preparing for its centennial celebration. The most common styles are art deco and art nouveau, neoclassical and neo-gothic, renaissance and French-Bourbon. However, Argentina is a Spanish-founded country, many colonial styles were disappearing. This is because after gaining independence, local people were rejecting the Spanish culture and instead adopted styles from France, Italy and Greece.


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