Essential Guide to Buenos Aires

Dana Calabrese
Buenos Aires, situated on the Rio de la Plata and nestled a short distance from Uruguay, is the largest, most multicultural city in Argentina. It's a city where Latin America and Europe collide, and the result is a colorful, vivacious capital reminiscent of Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Known as the “Paris of South America,” Buenos Aries is a city of culture and is filled with opportunities for art, music, fashion, and theater enthusiasts. The weather is near perfect, so locals are always out and about soaking up the sun at the beach, walking about the various parks, or exploring the city itself. This energetic city is also a melting pot full of diverse cultures. In particular, many Italian immigrants inhabit the city, so be prepared to taste some of the best Italian food of your life!
By participating in Pitt in Buenos Aires or another program there, you can spend your semester living in this cosmopolitan metropolis, studying international business, participating in an internship for credit, taking advanced Spanish language courses, or just fulfilling some general education requirements! If you’re thinking about studying here, here are ten sights that are must-sees and activities that are must-dos in and around Buenos Aires!

1. Take a stroll down El Caminito

The BA (Buenos Aires) neighborhood of La Boca hosts one of the most colorful streets in the world. It’s called El Caminito, meaning “little road,” and it is home to vibrantly painted houses. El Caminito acts as an outdoor of museum of sorts, and, trust me, you’ll want to get lost there all day wondering up and down those blocks!

2. Hang out at the Plaza de Mayo

Plaza del Mayo is the main city square in BA and is surrounded by monuments and buildings of the city’s past and present. Metropolitan Cathedral, the main church of BA, is situated on the square, as well as the City Hall and many important financial centers. The Cabildo, built in the 1600s, was the historical political center of the city and now operates as a museum. Taking up the largest space on the green is the Casa Rosada, an enormous pink-colored estate that houses the President of Argentina.  In the center of it all is the oldest monument in Argentina commemorating the May Revolution, the fist South American independence movement! As you can see, you’ll want to be spending multiple days exploring these different sights off Plaza de Mayo.

3. Try an empanada

Argentina is known for its fantastically flakey, meat-stuffed pastries, and you can find them everywhere from the fanciest restaurants to the most relaxed street-food stands. Typically stuffed with chicken or beef, cheese and/or vegetables, make sure you try one while you’re in BA; I guarantee it’ll be love at first bite!

4. Check out the Recoleta Cemetery

Found in the Parisian-inspired neighborhood of Recoleta, this cemetery is positioned amongst timeworn palaces and stylish boutiques. The neighborhood itself is grand, and the cemetery is no exception. The grounds are lined with the mausoleums of noble and wealthy families that are elaborately constructed from beautiful marble and surrounded by detailed statues. Many past presidents of Argentina were laid to rest in the cemetery as well as notable artists, intellectuals, and military figures.

5. Visit the Botanical Gardens

Another unique BA neighborhood, Palermo, is full of beautiful churches and monuments, but also is home to the Buenos Aires Botanical Gardens. Spend a day checking out the various gardens inspired by different cultures -  such as the Roman, French, and Indigenous Americas gardens - and make sure to stop at the indoor green houses, too.

6. Catch a Polo Match

The sport of Polo and the country of Argentina go hand-in-hand with each other; if you can, you have to see a match! Campo Argentina de Polo is a large stadium in the city - also located in the neighborhood of Palermo - that brings residents together to root for their favorite teams!

7. Go shopping at the San Telmo Markets

Every Sunday in the neighborhood of San Telmo, a large market is raised and is bustling with tourists and locals alike. Walk around and check out the art and antique goods, while trying some of the local cuisine. The market is in the large Plaza Dorrego, so spend this time perfecting your souvenir shopping by adding some bohemian-inspired trinkets to your collection!

8. Spend a day on the Tigre Delta

North of the main city is the town of Tigre, and it is easily accessible by train or bus for a day trip or a weekend getaway! The canals of this town are lined with craft fairs and markets for great souvenir shopping, as well as a plethora of riverside restaurants. There is an amusement park, beautiful natural scenery, and plenty of outdoor activities – a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of BA. Take a riverboat tour with your friends; the pictures will make it look like you are cruising around Venice!

9. Take a trip to Inguazo Falls

If you have a free weekend during your stay in BA, look no further than Inguazo Falls. Located on the border of Argentina and Brazil and directly next to nearby Paraguay, you can hit all three countries in just one weekend. These draw-dropping waterfalls are some of the most incredible natural sights you will ever see, and is completely worth the long trek it takes to get there.

10. Explore more of South America!

Who says country-hopping is just for Europe? Our southern neighbor is filled with incredible countries, each with their own unique culture and sights. If you have some time before or after your study abroad experience, see if you can get to the nearby countries of Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, and Bolivia!
Dana Calabrese is a senior at Pitt majoring in Communication Science with minors in Italian and Education. She’s hoping to get her masters in Speech Language Pathology after she graduates, and is currently interning at the Study Abroad Office for the 2017-18 academic year. She studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, during Summer 2016, and then again in Florence, Italy, in Summer 2017.