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Buenos Aires is an extensive city, and every area has something new to offer. Recoleta and Palermo are widely considered the trendiest neighbourhoods, the former being a more cultured area with fashionable boutiques and galleries and high-end hotels lining its broad tree-lined avenues, the latter being a greener, more peaceful area, whose parks and lakes attract weekend crowds for fun and relaxation. The former port area of Puerto Madero has been thoroughly refurbished, turning old brick warehouses into hip bars and nightclubs. Those seeking a more bohemian vibe will prefer to visit San Telmo and La Boca. As one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city, the whole of San Telmo, with its narrow cobblestone streets and colonial style buildings, is considered a national historical monument, and both locals and tourists flock here on weekends to browse the antique boutiques and markets. The historic and more working-class La Boca also attracts huge crowds on weekends to admire the colourful steel shacks that were once the dwellings of migrant workers and catch a sensual tango show. The city has even more to offer, if you still have time. Las Cañitas is Buenos Aires' gastronomic hub, old aristocratic Retiro boasts some of the city's most beautiful architecture, residential Belgrano mixes mansions with skyscrapers, and of course, the downtown area is home to most of the city's monuments and important national buildings. Those who take the time to really explore the city will marvel at the sheer amount and diversity of things to see and do, and will surely feel that one visit is not nearly enough to take it all in.
It's difficult to fit everything there is to do in Buenos Aires into any itinerary, no matter how hard you try. Art-lovers will have plenty to enjoy at the world-class museums and theatres, shopaholics will splurge at the numerous markets selling everything from antiques to leather, fans of architecture can admire the art nouveau, art deco and neoclassical style buildings that dominate the different neighbourhoods, foodies will delight at the top-notch steakhouses and fusion restaurants, and the list goes on. It is above all, however, a city that begs to be walked, and wise travelers will take their time exploring broad avenues and narrow alleyways alike, taking in all they have to offer.
The first thing that pops into people's minds when they think of food in Argentina is without a doubt steak. The whole country is famous for its juicy and flavourful steaks from grass-fed Pampas cattle. 'Parrilla' (meaning both steakhouses and the grill itself) is key to the country's cuisine and culture, but be sure to explore other culinary trends during your visit. The popular 'bodegones', or neighbourhood eateries, serve meats, pasta, chicken Milanesae and other comfort foods, and a large number of new restaurants are opening regularly, bringing a larger variety of international specialties to the dining scene in Buenos Aires. And then there's always everyone's favourite street food: the 'choripan'.
Porteños take their coffee seriously. They usually like it black, strong and with lots of sugar. They also like to take their time with it, lingering for hours at one of the city's many historic cafes. The romantic images of bohemians, artists and writers working away on their next masterpiece in the secluded corner of a crowded cafe come to life in Buenos Aires. Take your time to discover some of them and spend the afternoon people watching and taking in the incomparable vibe of a porteño cafe. And don't forget to accompany your coffee with a 'medialuna'.
Like most great cities, Buenos Aires is best experienced at night. Not only is it a city that never sleeps, it is a place where the fun is just getting started after midnight. There is music everywhere, theatres have late-night showings, restaurants and bars start to get crowded for dinner at about midnight, and 'boliches' (nightclubs) don't even open until about 2am, and the partying continues until well past 7am. The city's unique nightlife is sure to have visitors sleep deprived, but always wanting more.
Buenos Aires is known to be one of the shopping capitals of South America, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. From the trendy boutiques and luxury shopping of Recoleta and Palermo to the antiques and handicrafts of San Telmo to the exquisite high-quality leather products of Villa Crespo to the ubiquitous bookstores spread out all over the city, every corner of the city seems to have its own specialty when it comes to shopping, and it can keep even the most avid shopper busy for days.
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