The Barrios of Buenos Aires
The City of Buenos Aires is made up of forty-eight neighborhoods called "barrios". We have highlighted some of the more popular and visited, and added a bit of commentary to depict the characteristics of each from our point of view.
Palermo Soho — Prodeo's neighborhood! Palermo Soho is a section of the larger Palermo, which is without a doubt the most popular and lively suburb in Buenos Aires. All day long Porteños and visitors fill the streets and the eccentric boutique shops, and share drinks and conversations at one of the many bustling sidewalk cafes. Dining is an absolute joy at the widest possible range of restaurants. Nightlife usually extends to the next morning, during which you can go from a quaint outdoor patio bar to the pulsating dance floors at some of city’s best nightclubs. Still Palermo’s central location is a quick taxi, train, bus or plane ride to any famous or classic spot you might want to visit in or around Buenos Aires.
Palermo was started by the leader Juan Manual de Rosas who built gorgeous parks as playgrounds for Argentina's elite.
Now, Palermo has evolved into the epicenter of activity for young and trendy crowds in Buenos Aires. The hustle and bustle, from Plaza Italia to Plaza Cerrano, can be witnessed from inside a speeding city bus or seated at a sidewalk cafe, provides the neighborhood with a vivaciousness found in few other cities. Attracting both locals and international tourists, Palermo Soho alone has over 200 restaurants and bars and an abundance of upscale boutique shopping. Palermo also has the luxury of occupying the longest coast linecoastline along the River Plate compared to any of the other Buenos Aires’ neighborhoods.
Palermo’s waterfront is populated with affluent restaurants, nightclubs and marinas. This has created a destination for dining, dancing and boating only minutes away from the heart of Palermo. The neighborhood is also home to one of the most respected museums in South America, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). Palermo is also a location of some of the finest shopping malls in the city such as Alto Palermo and Paseo Alcorta.
Another popular section of Palermo is Palermo Hollywood. Given its nickname the neighborhood appropriately houses a variety of Television, movie and production studios. This lends a fresh vibe to the area that is distinctly local, and pretty happening. Along with Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood is the heart of hip in Buenos Aires, from hotels, to restaurants to bars and nightclubs. You really not go wrong at night in these neighborhoods. Music and atmosphere of all variety is available almost every night and especially on the weekends when the entire zone erupts with people form dinner time to breakfast, and all throughout the night!
Puerto Madero - In the late 1800s this area along the Rio Plata was engineered into what was thought at the time a cutting edge port to receive incoming ships from the river. Unfortunately, ten years after the port's opening the size of cargo ships dramatically increased and left the port practically useless. Over the subsequent years the port fell into disrepair from disuse. However, a renaissance was to happen in the 90's that have change the area forever. Now, Puerto Madero is a modern developed neighborhood where you find the latest in high rise apartment buildings, and large scale residence towers. It can be quite a contrast as compared to the older Euro-stlyed neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, and could be more associated with an area in Los Angeles or Miami.
Puerto Madero's old port comprised of waterway of "diques" or channels now act as the central hub for a wide variety of higher end restaurants, office buildings, and night clubs.
San Telmo - The oldest neighborhood in Capital Federal, Buenos Aires. You definitely feel the history when you arrive. With all of the staples of an old European city present; cobble stone streets, 19th century architecture, it is all there. On an given Sunday the area explodes down Dorrego street with arts, crafts, tango dancing, and purveyors of everything from antique trinkets to homemade empanadas.
These days San Telmo is also home to some of very cool bars and restaurants and deserves consideration for a night out when you want to escape the more modern areas of the city. San Telmo also serves as one of the city's hubs for galleries, museums and artistic fare.
Of course, the neighborhood is also famous as the headquarters of tango. In the late sixties the tango and San Telmo revival was largely influenced by the opening of El Viejo Almacén ("The Old Grocery Store"), a large tango hall converted from an old market is a still a landmark of the famous dance.
La Boca — Home of the world famous football (soccer) club, Boca Juniors. La Boca "The Mouth" is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It is typically considered Buenos Aires's most colorful neighborhood where visitors are in direct contact with the locals. "El Caminito" is the main area of La Boca and is filled with shops selling primary Boca Juniors gear, and every other type Buenos Aires and Argentina related gift you can imagine. Amidst the obvious tourist-focused memorabilia is a pretty vibrant art and crafts community which is enjoyable to peruse, if not slightly overpriced.
The crown jewel of the La Boca however, is without a doubt La Bombanera, formally named Estadio Alberto J. Armando, is the stadium that plays host the storied team of Boca Juniors, Argentina and Buenos Aires' most popular football team. With a capacity of 49,000 screaming, dancing and rowdy fans the old stadium is know to physically vibrate during games as the mostly standing crowds jump at fever-pitch the force of it all reverberates through the stands and bodies of crowd. Games are typically played on Sundays, but can also be scheduled on Sundays for the Argentina League, which organized two professional tournaments in the first league; La Apertura and La Clausura. Typically Boca Juniors qualifies and plays in the annual international club competition of South America La Copa del Libretadores; consider it the Champion's League of South America. The later playoff games are not to be missed, while any Boca Juniors home game at La Bombanera is considered by many to be one of the most enthralling and passionate sporting spectacles in the world.
Recoleta — One of the fancier and more expensive areas of the city. As the old cliche goes, on any given block in Recoleta you could feel instantaneously transported to an arrondissement of Paris. The reality is that French architects were used in the majority of the planning and construction of Recoleta and it is wonderfully apparent at first sight. Plaza Francia in the heart of the neighborhood hosts an arts and crafts market on the weekends that is a must see as rows upon rows of vendors weave into a vivacious bazar that surely warrants few hours on a Saturday or Sunday.
Housed directly next to the plaza is Buenos Aires Design which is a smaller mall dedicated primarily to home furnishings and accessories of a "design" nature, along with some nicely situated restaurants overlooking the plaza. Attached to Buenos Aires Design is the Centro Cultural de Recoleta. It is one of the oldest buildings in Buenos Aires and acts as a gallery and live event center year round. It is definitely worth checking out when an event is scheduled.
Situated behind the Centro Cultural de Recoleta is, of course, the famous Recoleta Cemetery. More like a small town with its own distinct, almost miniaturized architecture the cemetery is literally a trip. Of course, the idolized Evita is buried amongst many other wealthy Argentines, but the point of going to the famous cemetery is to get lost in the labyrinth of mausoleums in this little Disney World of the Dead.