The Design Lover’s Guide To Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires’ eclectic mix of Argentinian art and culture, charming European-style cafes and grand neoclassical architecture have earned the glamorous capital the nickname ‘The Paris of South America’. Here are the museums, shops, markets and other destinations that any design lover should explore during their stay in this dynamic, internationally influenced city.

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

From Goya to El Greco, Monet to Manet and Rodin to Rembrandt, you’ll find more than 12,000 works of fine art in this impressive museum, which has the largest public collection in all of Latin America. While you can see a number of impressive contemporary international works, the Argentinian and nineteenth-century European collections are the most notable.

San Telmo market

This must-visit market has been a treasure trove of antiques, clothing, crafts, produce, prepared food and just about anything else you can think of since it opened in 1897.

Now a national historic monument, the indoor market is open daily. On Sundays there is also a separate weekend market in the picturesque square outside, which is filled with lively bars, restaurants, street musicians and tango dancers.

Facón

Leave some room in your suitcase: this stylish boutique in Chacarita is filled with eclectic, one-of-a-kind home pieces from all over Argentina. The collection is curated by owner Martín Bustamante, who travels to even the most remote areas of the country to find and present unique works from a huge variety of artists, artisans and independent industrial designers.

You’ll find both traditional and modern styles of vibrant handmade textiles, leather goods, rugs, ceramics, hand-carved cutlery and figurines, clothing, hats and crafts – along with original art and photography.

Recoleta Cemetery

Don’t leave Buenos Aires without taking an eerie walk beautiful maze-like urban cemetery. Built in what was once the orchard of the neighboring Basílica Nuestra Señora del Pilar, it has been the final resting place for the city’s most prominent families since it was founded in 1822.

More than 90 of the Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic era tombs and mausoleums are listed as National Historic Landmarks. But the most visited of all is undoubtedly the grave of the cemetery’s most famous resident, the beloved Eva “Evita” Perón.

Museo de Arte Moderno

Housed in a former tobacco factory in the San Telmo neighborhood, the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA) is an experimental modern art museum that presents Argentine artists from the 1940s to the present day. Also hanging on the walls are works by world greats such as Salvador Dalí, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.

Casa Cavia

Housed in a 1920s mansion, this super-chic hybrid shop isn’t just a high-end shop and restaurant… it’s also a bar, perfumery, florist, and where Ampersand Publishing creates and sells its books.

Go peruse the shops, but stay for a sophisticated dinner by Argentinian chef Julieta Caruso, wonderfully creative cocktails, or to attend a book reading, class or other event in the mansion’s beautiful library.

Museum of Contemporary Art

MACBA, located next to MAMBA in San Telmo, opened in 2012 based on the art collection of financier Aldo Rubino, which mainly focuses on geometric abstraction.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

This gilded 1919 theater in Recoleta boasts a rich history: Buenos Aires’ greatest tango legends appeared on stage before it became the first movie theater in the city to show “talkie” movies with sound.

Now one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores, it boasts 120,000 books under its original vaulted ceiling, hand-painted with frescoes. Check it out as you sip a coffee and study the hardcovers from the cafe, which was once the big theater stage.

Galería Patio del Liceo

Dozens of indie clothing and jewelry boutiques, design studios, art galleries, and coffee shops make up this bohemian multi-level collaborative creative space tucked away in a quiet, leafy courtyard just off bustling Avenida Santa Fe.

Teatro Colón

Travel back in time to a brighter era through the Teatro Colón. One of the world’s largest opera houses, it has gone through many iterations in its 165-year history: the original opera house was built in 1857, but closed in 1888. Then, after twenty years of reconstruction, it reopened in 1908, hosting famous composers from Igor Stravinsky to Leonard Bernstein, dancers from Anna Pavlova to Mikhail Baryshnikov, in the past century.

Go on a tour of the magnificent architecture, which includes the horseshoe-shaped hall with elaborately carved wood, Italian marble staircases, French stained glass, Venetian mosaics and impressive chandeliers. You can even visit the catacombs below. Or, experience the hall’s world-renowned acoustics for yourself with tickets to a ballet, opera or performance by the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra.

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