Each of Buenos Aires’s neighborhoods have their own appeal, so choosing which one to make your home base can be daunting. Looking for old-world charm? Stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, or the Algodon Mansion in Recoleta. Or if you like wandering quaint streets with cute one-off boutiques and street art, crash at Home Hotel or Legado Mitico Buenos Aires in Palermo.
Once you’ve settled in, start out by exploring Palermo. The most charming of all the enclaves, it sits on the bank of the Río de la Plata and borders lively neighborhoods Belgrano, Recoleta, and Almagro. Spend your time in Palermo Hollywood and Palermo SoHo, the hippest of all outposts. Lattente, Palermo SoHo’s trendiest artisan coffee house is a good way to kick-start the day as breakfast isn’t very popular in the city (local Porteños prefer a medialuna instead, which usually consists of a small pastry with a cup of joe). Then, stop by shops like Tramando for custom, futuristic designs by Martin Churba and Patron for custom handmade accessories by local artists and designers. Underneath Nomade Cowork, you’ll find Helter Skelter, one of the best leather bag companies in the city. Browse the showroom for trendy backpacks, purses, and leather scarves.
Continue the shopping spree in Palermo Hollywood. Facon sells handicrafts from Argentina and Paul French Gallery is all about the home interiors. The gallery houses a fairytale selection of custom pieces from Argentine designers. When hunger strikes, have lunch at Artemisia Cocina Natural, a perfect afternoon spot for fresh juice, healthy snacks, and homemade pastries. Opt to sit at the restaurant’s second floor to enjoy the view, or choose to dine alfresco at the backyard garden. After fueling up, visit Corchetes, where artist Erika Salerno makes cork pots and other home accents. Just down the street from Corchetes is Palo Santo, an atelier that hires craftsmen to meld custom sunglasses made entirely of wood (you can even watch them make you a pair!). For dinner, book a table at Proper Restaurant, housed in a former auto repair shop on the eastern outskirts of Palermo. Dinner is served at communal tables, where tattoo-clad chefs dish up delicacies like homemade sourdough, carrot and yogurt hummus, and miso-mustard pastrami.
Rise early to spend the day with Laura from Gyde & Seek, a local tastemaker and graphic designer who knows the ins and outs of the creative scene in Buenos Aires. She’ll give you an insider’s tour of the city’s best street art muralists, jewelry designers, and painters. You’ll visit the home of artists like Pum Pum, whose work is a street art staple within Buenos Aires. (You can spot Pum Pum’s art in and around Palermo and many of the other boroughs in the city—just look for childlike renditions of nature and the cosmos).
For the second stop, meet Araceli Pourcel, who makes jewelry from plastic PVC pipe at Casa Textil. Here you’ll learn how to make her hand-pressed jewelry. Continue your exploration of the city’s creative scene at the studios of ink painter Loreley Flores, paper cut-out designer Johanna Wilhelm, muralist Sofia Wiñazki and designer Cecilia Gadea, before stopping at Galeria Mar Dulce, where you can see a selection of works by many of the artists you visited.
When you need a break, kick back at Varela Varelita, one of the city’s Cafés Notables. These historic bars and coffee shops were opened by the city’s first Spanish and Italian immigrants and were used as meeting points to discuss politics, economy, and culture. While here, you’ll chat with painter Maria Luque, who visits the café every evening to sketch scenes of local life in Buenos Aires. At the end of the evening, hit up Nicky NY Sushi, one of the best restaurants in the city. Just make sure to book your table in advance, and don’t miss The Harrison speakeasy in the back.
If there’s one thing you must do in Buenos Aires, it’s seeing the San Telmo market on Sunday afternoons. Wander the stalls and browse antiques like retro soda bottles and bronze tango plaques. If you arrive in the morning, make sure to stop in Merci, a French-style bakery serving the best pan con chocolate. Get your treat to go, and venture to the center of San Telmo market, where tango dancers and local musicians fill the street with a convivial hum.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, El Banco Rojo makes the best empanadas around. Snag a picnic table in the backyard, and order a craft beer and empanadas de cordero (the lamb is slow-cooked for nine hours and marinated with garam masala). Still hungry? The farm-to-table restaurant Pulpería Quilapan is housed in a 19th-century mansion and has a mouth-watering menu of local delicacies (think: regional cheeses, meats, and wine).
Or, there’s La Giralda Cafeteria, which is known for its hot chocolate and churros stuffed with dulce de leche. Head back to the hotel for a siesta to reenergize for a night of speakeasy hopping. At 878 (ocho siete ocho to locals), tuck into steak and croquettes de papa stuffed with cheese. Then, pop over to Florería Atlántico, a trendy gem that’s housed underneath a flower shop. Toast to your time in Buenos Aires with cocktails peppered with rose petals.