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We have told you that Buenos Aires was our favorite destination in 2012, and shared all the things we think you shouldn’t miss when you go there, but what exactly is it that made us fall for Argentina’s capital? We’ve covered it in the Buenos Aires edition of our Things We Love series.

1 The tree-lined streets

Between the ornate European architecture and wide, tree-lined avenues, it often felt as if we were in Paris, not in Buenos Aires.Buenos Aires tree-lined streets2 Ice cream

This city is an ice cream lover’s paradise. The minimum size is a cone with two big scoops, which is all we ever got, but people everywhere order 1/2 kilo or even a kilo of ice cream (that is 2.2 pounds of ice cream, for those of you who don’t do metric). The main chains are Freddo and Volta, and we also found this little cafe called Dieci on Avenida Santa Fe that had two heaping scoops for $3.

Ice cream in Buenos Aires3 Street art

Because it is not only NOT illegal but also socially acceptable, artists in BA have been able to create an outdoor museum of incredible street art, which we raved about here.
Street Art Buenos Aires4 The dog walkers

The Argentine people love their dogs, but living in condos and apartments is tough on their canine friends. A law states that dogs must have plenty of time outdoors, so dog-walkers are hired and often have 10 or more dogs on a giant, braided leash together at once. Surprisingly, the dogs adjust well and walk proudly together as a pack. Adorable!

Buenos Aires dogwalkers5 Cafe scene of Palermo

The independent little coffee shops and cafes that sprawl out onto the sidewalks in Palermo are great for coffee lovers, people watchers, digital nomads and sampling Argentine treats like homemade alfajores.

Palermo Cafe Scene Buenos Aires6 San Telmo Market

San Telmo’s Sunday market was one of the best flea markets we have ever visited. The street performers, buskers and Brazilian drum groups, tango dancers and packed bars along the long street called La Defensa seems more like a big street party than am outdoor walking market.
San Telmo Sunday Market7 The architecture

For the first few days before we went on our Free BA tour, we were constantly marveling over how European everything looked. We found out on the tour that ships in the 19th century brought agricultural goods to Europe and rather than return empty, they were weighed down with building materials for the Argentine elite.
Buenos Aires architecture8 PIZZA!

The pizza in Buenos Aires is incredible, you know how we feel about that!
buenos aires pizza argentina9 Tango

Unlike lost traditional dances of other countries, the Tango is still very much alive in the city. From the the Sunday market in San Telmo and tourist restaurants of La Boca to local milongas (tango bars), tango is everywhere in BA.
Buenos Aires Tango10 The accent

Never in a million years did we think we’d fall for the distinct Argentine accent where ‘playa’ (beach) becomes ‘plaisha’ and ‘yo’ (I) become ‘sho’. In fact, when, on the first day we moved in to our Wimdu vacation rental, the porter asked if he could carry my backpack by saying ‘sho la shevo?’ I giggled at how funny it sounded and it took a long time to get used to hearing expats speaking the distinct dialect. Cut to six weeks later and it wasn’t just the accent that was so endearing, but also the rolling Italian rhythm and exaggerated hand gestures to match.

11 The smell of the flower stalls in every street
There are flower vendors in almost every street in Buenos Aires, and sometimes you can smell them before you even see them, conveniently masking the smell of garbage often piled up on the streets (hey, we didn’t say BA was perfect). We love that you can just pick up flowers anywhere!
flower vendor in buenos aires12 Porteños working out 

What with all the pizza, steak and smoking as if the world were ending tomorrow (see ‘feeling like the city could fall apart at any moment’ below), you might get the impression that Porteños are an unhealthy bunch, but it’s quite the opposite. Gyms are everywhere and all morning ladies walk around with yoga mats under their arms (I loved BuenaOnda Yoga), and popular outdoor workouts include running along Puerto Madero and doing boot camp or other exercises in the park (that’s me cooling down in the pic below).
buenos aires bootcamp palermo13 The balance of old and new throughout the city

San Telmo is filled with antique shops and breezy squares, Palermo Hollywood has restaurants with glass store fronts and celebrity chefs. You can have an all-organic vegan lunch and spend the afternoon in an old school cafe with waiters dressed in black and white carrying big trays filled with espressos and medialunas, harking back to times before diets and low-fat butter. Monday to Friday people in suits and ties are glued to their smartphones, but weekends are reserved for taking it slow, with long drawn out asados (barbecues), late nights and lazy days in park.

14 Medialunas!

These flaky, sugary croissants are a popular breakfast dish in Argentina, not only in the capital, but there is just something so special about the deals in every cafe in town for Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk) and three medialunas in Buenos Aires.

medialunas in buenos aires15 The 9th of July avenue

Crossing this monster avenue with a total of 16 lanes takes between two and three traffic light cycles, but we love it for its shops, restaurants, hotels, the iconic obelisk and the grand  opera house, Teatro Colon.

Buenos Aires Avenida 9 de Julio16 Sunsets over Puerto Madero

We loved watching the sunset over Puerto Madero, a newly regenerated former port area of the city.

Puerto Madero at sunset17 Confusing attitude towards protests and strikes

There are over 30 protests every week in Buenos Aires. Our second day in the city, we were on a city tour, and our guide Ana pointed out several ‘buses escolares’ (school buses) on the side of the road. “Uh oh,” she said almost indifferently, “there’s a protest.” Sure enough, down the road, hundreds of protestors were gathered on the 9th of July Avenue (none were school children; protestors just come into the city center on school buses). When we asked her why, she said, “Who knows, who cares.” One night, over one million protestors gathered in BA and several hundred thousand in cities around Argentina. We were having pizza not a mile away in a packed restaurant where no one seemed the least bit bothered. How people can so passionately take to the streets yet so casually block out the chants of others is a confusing element of Buenos Aires life.

buenos aires strike18 Entrepreneurial expat community

The Argentine capital is overflowing with expats, thanks to very relaxed visa regulations and moderately enforced start-up rules. The expat community is fascinating, very in-the-know and fun to hang out with while in town.

19 Romantic local moments

The world’s middle and upper classes are so homogenous nowadays, so we loved how, on morning walks, we would often pass men and women in small, local cafes reading their newspapers and drinking coffee as if it were a century ago and everyone wasn’t in a race against the clock.

buenos aires neighborhood cafe20 The parks

What a green city! Like any other major capital city, sprawling cement covers much of Buenos Aires, but there are massive parks all throughout the center, some of which qualify as little forests. We spent many afternoons reading in the green spaces here.

Buenos Aires Parks21 The Recoleta neighborhood

Parisian style architecture lines this pristine neighborhood, most visitors to the city will pass through here at some point as it is home to the Recoleta cemetery where Evita Peron’s body is now buried.

Recoleta Buenos Aires22 The feeling that the city could fall apart at any moment 

Protestors, chaos, lack of any level of faith in the government and increasingly suffocating inflation, Buenos Aires feels like a Latin powder keg ready to pop, and although you would think you should be scared of these elements coming to a head, instead the city feels electric, daring, and like you better live it up now before it all falls apart.

23 The strong guys who carry the buildings

Dani took loads of pictures of these guys holding up the city’s most beautiful buildings.

Buenos Aires stone figures24 Multicultural City 

Spanish and Italian influence is obvious, but there is a large Jewish, Polish, English and Arab influence in the city, too.

25 The attitude toward LGBT rights

Argentina was the first South American country to pass full on marriage equality laws, and the LGBT community is completely integrated with very little homophobia in wider society – despite being a Latino and heavily Catholic country.

Buenos Aires LGBT26 The dedication to Mate

Mate is a stimulant herbal drink, and the people of BA are addicted to it! People drink mate in the park, at work, in cafes and we often saw people refilling from their Thermoses right on the street.

Mate in Buenos Aires27 The cemeteries

Massive above-ground mausoleums line what are like mini city streets in both of the major cemeteries in Buenos Aires. While most tourists visit the Recoleta, mentioned above, hardly anyone makes it out to the much bigger and more beautiful Chacarita cemetery that Dani visited a few days before we left town.

Buenos Aires cemeteries28 The beautiful billboard holders

Much like the Metro station signs in Paris, the beautifully ornate green billboard holders in Buenos Aires are just one of those little, even subconscious, details that make BA such a romantic place.

buenos aires billboard madonna29 El Ateno Grand Splendid Bookstore

What was once a grand theater is now the grandest of bookstores, and bibliophiles can devour literature while sipping coffee right on the theater’s stage.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid Book Store Buenos Aires30 The incredible amount of veggie restaurants

Meat, pizza, meat, meat, pizza. That was all we heard about BA before arriving, but it turns out that the people have a healthy attitude towards meatless meals!

Buenos Aires vegetarian food31 Milka Stores!

Entire stores are dedicated to this popular German chocolate, and after months of bad chocolate choices, Dani was in absolute heaven being able to get back to her absolute favorite sugary vice!

buenos Aires milka stores32 Public transportation

Sure, the buses might not stop all the way before you jump on, and getting change can be difficult at time. The Subte might not run very late and petty theft might be common, but using the city’s interactive online map, we were able to get around the city by bus (50 cents a ride) and subway ($1.25 a ride) super easily day and night.

33 The cats in the Botanical Gardens

Dozens of them all over the place, licking and cuddling all day long. Obviously Dani’s favorite place in BA, she even chose to spent a part of her birthday afternoon here!
cats in buenos airesHave you been to Buenos Aires? What are the things you love about the city?

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  1. Hello everyone.
    I am from Buenos Aires and it is really nice to read all the beautiful things you said about Buenos Aires. I am a traveller fun and each time I come back to bs as I realize that no many cities in America are like ours. It is funny to see how you paid atention to the dogs walkers, it is so common for us that I thought they existed all over the world LOL.
    I hope you have a lot of fun here and I will be pretty glad to meet you alone or in groups for a walk to the city.
    See you!

    1. Hi Leandro, Buenos Aires is indeed very unique – there’s no other city like that anywhere in the world! The dog walkers are also something very rare – we’ve seen some in New York, some in San Francisco, but never as many as in BA 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever seen any dog walkers in Germany though 😀

  2. I recently got to spend a number of days in Buenos Aires. The city has a
    great vibe to it and I have listed the best spots to hang out and eat in
    my destination guide.

  3. I enjoyed your post, i have lived in Buenos Aires for long stretches over the past 5 years, and have visited 10 times, took my tour groups here, etc.

    The only advice i can give a potential visitor, and mistakes i see a lot of tourists make are:

    Don’t get a hotel in Microcentro, its convenient for tourism during the day, but most of the good restaurants are along way away. Its also not as safe at night. Florida street is a tourist trip and not that safe.

    Many americans come to Buenos Aires and fall in love with Recoleta and Palermo. These are great places, that i very much enjoy, but they are upper class neighborhoods. Middle class Americans see people wearing GAP/Polo/Adidas and think they are in a neighborhood of similar social standing. When in fact these brands are very expensive here.

    The true heart of the city in Rivadavia, west of Callao. Its the real middle class. To the south things are more dodgy. To the north is wealth, expats and english language menu’s.

    I would a number 34, I could add 50 more, but #34 should be the taxi drivers. Some of the most entertaining moments i spent here were in cabs. Singing along to Virus songs, just last night i got in a cab after a lovely dinner with a friend i had not saw in a year. Immediately after i sat in the cab and began moving, Coldplay’s Trouble came on 🙂

    Don’t be hurt by the posts of others, like many emigrants in time sod turmoil (the guy from Milan) they have left under bad circumstances and filled with mixed emotions. they have to justify the decision they made to leave every day, and they usually do that by trashing their former home. The worst are Colombians at doing this.

    I leave sunday, and each time i go, i tear up when i get on the plane.


  4. Thanks so much for all the great info! Our trip to Buenos Aires will greatly benefit from everything- I mean I read everything!- that you both shared! We are renting an apartment in the microcenter and my only question is is that a good location? Will it be safe? Keep traveling and writing and taking pictures! I will be reading for sure 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Ashley! We liked the microcentro – we could walk to most places and the bus connections to Palermo were good. We could even walk to Recoleta from our apartment. Which street will you be staying in, do you know? We always felt safe but didn’t flash any valuables (camera, iPhone, etc). You’ll have to let us know how you like BA!!

  5. Back after three weeks! We ended up couchsurfing 😉 A great experience and took A LOT of your advice and recommendations. It was one of the smoothest trips I’ve ever had! The weather was perfect and we really got to know and enjoy the city as well as Iguazú! And you’re right, it really comes down to being smart and extra prepared (almost a little paranoid haha) and you should be fine almost anywhere! Thanks again for the great information 🙂

    1. Thanks, Shikha 🙂 I have been thinking a lot about Buenos Aires recently and feel like it’s time for a return visit!! Gotta get myself back down to South America soon 😀

    2. Definitely recommend renting a car if you want to be flexible and see a lot of places in a short time. If you only plan to visit a couple of places, Mdina or Marsaxlokk for example, you’d be fine taking the bus. This is actually a super helpful site about the bus network on Malta: The buses are so cheap, but I thought the rental car was a good deal and I didn’t have to depend on the bus schedule, could stop any time I wanted, and fit in more than buses would’ve allowed me to.

  6. What a wonderful, extensive roundup of one of our favorite cities! Just stumbled on this post now via Twitter and looking forward to sharing it with our Buenos Aires study abroad students. The dog walking photos are hilarious. Actually, all of the photos you chose in include really show the vibe and color and culture of the city. Cheers, Steph (CAPA)
    Steph (CAPA International Education) recently posted..The Great Barrier Reef: A Visit to Paradise

    1. Thanks so much, Steph 🙂 I am so glad that you enjoyed the post. I hope I’ll be able to return to BA soon.. miss that beautiful city!!

  7. OMG! I want live in Buenos Aires, this city is so beautiful, I love it <3 i have lived in Buenos Aires for only 5 months, I really have to go again, its a very pretty place, all people have to know that city!

    1. Grace… definitely agree: everybody should visit Buenos Aires! I feel blessed that I got to spend time in the city, loved it so much!

    1. What do you mean you didn’t like the pizza, Valeria?! Haha, I’ve heard several people say that, but I am still drooling when I think about places like El Guerrin. That said – I also remember some horrible pizza experiences in Argentina.

        1. Thank you for the post Dany I’m an expat myself , I’m from BA and live abroad , your post made my heart ache with recuerdos .
          Have you visited some other parts of the country ? , can’t wait for your reviews .

  8. GREAT city..! I;ve just been, wanted to stay longer.. Did a bike tour with Baja Bikes (, really a nice way to get to know the city! Hasta luego!

  9. Hello Dani, I will be in BA in a few days, my first trip to South America! I’ve read a lot of your posts and they have been the back bone for working out my itinerary for visiting Argentina, Uruguay and Chile over the next 2 months.
    This post is to say THANK YOU! I believe that your blog is the only guide book I’ll need.

    Hasta luego

  10. Thanks so much for putting this together, Dani! My girlfriend and I are moving to Buenos Aires, so it’s reassuring to see so many wonderful impressions of the city. In a few of the posts you touch upon the expat community – do you have any advice or resources for those of us who are moving to BA semi-permanently? I’m hoping to find a non-English teaching job, but have no idea where to start from here in the US!

    1. So happy to hear that!! I loved BA so much. The only resource I remember that we used a lot was – not sure how active their forums still are but back when we were in BA it was an excellent resource.. Hope this helps 🙂 Enjoy Buenos Aires, Phoebe.

  11. Classical beautiful cosmopolitan ranked city. I absolutely
    would love to retire there. That is the reason as to the
    amount of expats who decided to live here.

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