Must See in Buenos Aires #6: Casa Rosada Tour

(Casa Rosada by Elton Melo)

Originally built as fort in 1594, the Casa Rosada, or Pink House, is one the city’s most emblematic buildings both because of its striking appearance and because it is the government headquarters.

During Domingo Sarmientos presidency the eye catching structure was painted pink, it is said, as a symbol of unity between the red and white colors of the Unitarians and Federals who fought against each other during the civil war.

Throughout the many political upheavals, the pink house has always been a place where the people have gathered and manifested and where the action has appeared to take place.  The famous Evita speeches, the declaration of war against the Falkland islands were made public on its now famous balcony and many celebrations and riots have taken place in the small plaza facing the government building.

The stunning architecture, unique memorabilia and historic and political importance of this landmark make it a definite must see.  Free tours of the Casa Rosada are offered on weekends from 10am-6pm starting at the main entrance facing the plaza.

This Week in Buenos Aires


(El Estanciero, an Argentine version of Monopoly at the Museo de la Ciudad. Photo by i_gallagher)

Start the week off by visiting one of the few open museums on Monday, the Museo de la Ciudad (The City Museum). Current exhibitions include a display of the city’s doors, toys and musical instruments amongst others.

In the evening check out Opera Remix at the Maipo Theatre. This group of lyrical singers formed at the Colon Theatre present, as the name suggests, a remix of Opera, giving it a pop twist.  Tickets here.

Don’t miss out on some of the best pizza in town on the other side of Corrientes Avenue at Las Cuartetas.

Museo de la Ciudad 

Defensa 219 / 223, San Telmo


Open: Mon-Sun 11am-7pm

Maipo Theatre 

Esmeralda 449, Downtown


Las Cuartetas

Av. Corrientes 838, Downtown



(A 10 peso note from the Santa Fe Province in 1882. Photo by lu6fpj.)

For those of you interested in economics and Argentine economic history, head to the Museum of External Debt where you can find out more about the economic evolution of the country. Audio guides in English are offered.

Just a few blocks away from the museum is Av. Santa Fe which is great for shopping, and for an outstanding lunch, ten blocks away from the museum, is Spanish restaurant Oviedo.

In the evening head to chic downtown bar Le Bar for some great cocktails and live music.

Museum of External Debt

José E. Uriburu 781, 1st floor, Downtown.


Open: Mon-Fri 11am-7pm


Beruti 2602, Recoleta


Open: Mon-Sat 12-4pm and 8pm-closing.

Le Bar

Tucuman 422, Downtown


From 10pm onwards


(Little Red Riding Hood in Palermo. Photo by Oye Apitoño!)

Explore the city by setting out to find these three odd monuments: The football monument in Plaza de Mayo, a monument of Little Red Riding Hood in the Palermo 3 de Febrero parks and a small version of the Statue of Liberty at the Barrancas de Belgrano Parks (Sucre and Vertiz).

In the evening head to the Centro Cultural Konex in the Abasto area for their Wednesday La Garufa event where you can take a tango lesson at 8pm and witness/dance in a milonga at 11pm.

Centro Cultural Konex 

Sarmiento 3131, Abasto

4864 3200


(Warholized Borges by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino)

Walk the Corrientes Avenue and explore books stores, cross the 9 de Julio Avenue where the famous Obelisco is and then head to one of the Notable Bars/Cafes in the area. Because Buenos Aires is the 2011 book capital, these cafes and bars will have Borges books available for you to read whilst enjoying a cup of coffee with pastries.  In the Corrientes area you can try La Giralda (Av. Corrientes 1453), El Gato Negro  (Av. Corrientes 1669), and Mar Azul (Tucumán 1700).

In the evening head to the Boris Club de Jazz to check out Pablo Decal’s presentation of his new album at 10pm.

Boris Club de Jazz

Gorriti 5568, Palermo Hollywood



(Ponchos by Eduardo Amorim)

Check out some of the cultural expressions of the rest of the country by visiting the exhibit of La Pampa artists and artisans being held in the Casa de la Cultura.

In the evening Cesar Ilella and La Negra Charga bring music from the north of the country to the intimate stage of La Trastienda in San Telmo.

Casa de la Cultura del FNA

Rufino de Elizalde 2831, Downtown


La Trastienda

Balcarce 460, San Telmo

Saturday and Sunday

(Details from the pillars of the Casa Rosada)

Take advantage of the free weekend tours of the Casa Rosada (the government house).

Tours run from 10am-6pm.

On Saturday Dancing Mood is playing at Niceto Club, one of the city’s hottest nightspots.

Niceto Club

Niceto 5510, Palermo

4779 9396

Our Dining Picks: Peruvian-Japanese Fusion at Sipan

(Ceviche al canto rodado.)

A recent boom of Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurants have sprung in Buenos Aires and Sipan is one of our top picks.  An upscale downtown restaurant with a secondary Palermo location, they offer product quality above all.  Not only is their food exceptional but also, their wide range of piscos make it unique in town. If passion fruit, seafood, condimented rice and a pisco sour sound like a treat to you, then you will love Sipan.


Paraguay 624, Downtown


Recommended Bar: Milion

(Photo by ComandZed)

This beautiful French style 3 story house was discovered by its now owners in 1999. They immediately fell in love with the place and decided to restore it and give it back its splendor. Today, this lovely building is not only restored but working as a swinging bar with plenty of seating space (although it is quickly taken), great cocktails, a beautiful courtyard and a restaurant. The stunning setting, the vibrant crowd, the music and the quality drinks make this bar well worth the visit.


Paraná 1048, Recoleta


Off the Beaten Path: Museo Casa de Yrurtia

(Canto al Trabajo- Rogelio Yrurtia by puroticorico)

Once the home of sculptor Rogelio Yrurtia, this beautiful colonial house displays his belongings including interesting objects, textiles (which he collected) and ceramics, many from China, Japan, Holland and Java, a collection of Argentine paintings, and many of his own sculptures and sketches of some of the city monuments which he was responsible for. Amongst the monuments you may have seen whilst walking through the city are  “Canto al trabajo” on Paseo Colon and Independencia in San Telmo, “Justicia” in the Tribunales Palace, and Monument to Coronel Dorrego on Suipacha and Viamonte amongst others.

Museo Casa de Yrurtia

O Higgins 2390, Belgrano


Opening hours: Tue-Fri 1pm-7pm, Sat-Sun 3pm-7pm. Closed on national holidays.

This Week in Buenos Aires


(ArteBA by Fabio Tellez)

Today is the last chance to visit ArteBA for those that weren’t able to last week. In the vicinity is Feria Puro Diseño (the best of Buenos Aires Design) which is on until Wednesday.

In the evening head to the Carlos Gardel Museum for a tango concert.

Museo Carlos Gardel

Jean Jaures 735, Almagro


Open: Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun- 11am-6pm

Concerts: Mondays at 6.30pm


(Floralis Generica in Recoleta by henry0)

For the more athletic, an urban running tour around Recoleta and Palermo is a great way to squeeze in some exercise whilst getting to know interesting information about the city sites, which also work as rest stops. More information here.

In the evening the Argentina Independent is hosting a May Pub Quiz (in English) in La Tribu bar where you can meet people and maybe win something! Another great option for the night is heading to nightclub Bahrein for its Tuesday Drum and Bass party.

Bar de La Tribu

Lambaré 873, Almagro

Starting 8PM

Contact: to reserve your place in a team.


Lavalle 345, downtown.

From 11pm onwards (remember partying starts later here at pox 1am)


Independence day “pastelitos”  by j-cornelius)

Celebrate the Argentine Independence by heading to the Feria de Mataderos (we recommend you take a cab) where you can experience the national folklore, and typical customs related to the gauchos. Don’t miss out of the “locro”, a typical soup made on national holidays which has legumes and different meat cuts. Another festive bite to try are the “pastelitos” which are sweet crispy pastries filled with sweet potato jam or quince jam.

In the evening, the Rio Café host their Wednesday hit “Rock in Rio”.

Feria de Mataderos

Mercado Nacional de Hacienda

‪Lisandro de la Torre Av. and Los Corrales Av.  ‬

Rio Café

Honduras 4772, Palermo‬

Open 11pm-3am‬


(Palacio Paz by alanlangdon)

Take an English tour of the stunning Palacio Paz at the Circulo Militar at 3.30pm and discover the Parisian influence on Buenos Aires architecture.

In the evening, catch Canadian circus group PSY at Parque Patricios for a great show that is sure to surprise you.

Palacio Paz

Av. Santa Fe 750, Downtown


PSY- Polo Circo

Combate de los Pozos 1700, between Garay and Brazil, Parque Patricios.

Tickets: 40 pesos, available on location or at Casa de la Cultura.


(Clavel del Aire-Luis Perlotti  by felixion)

Check out some of the local sculpture at Museo de Esculturas Luis Perlotti set in the sculptors home and atelier in Caballito. Also exhibited in the museum is a temporary display of ceramics by Carlota Cairo.

In the evening continue with the art scavenging at the monthly gallery nights, where you can explore the cities art galleries amongst enthusiastic crowds.

Another alternative is heading to the Oreja Negra to listen to some of Pablo Dacals’ talent and music.

Museo de Esculturas Luis Perlotti

Pujol 644, Caballito


Open: Tue-Sun 11am-7pm

La Oreja Negra

Uriarte 1271, Palermo

The show starts at 9pm. Entrance fee 30 pesos.

Saturday and Sunday

(Planetarium by henry0)

Visit the Planetarium  at 3pm to get a very special view of the sun.

Our Dining Picks: Restó (Sociedad Central de Arquitectos)

(Edible flowers by Ginger Jam)
Set in the local architects society in Recoleta, this intimate French style  auteur restaurant is the favorite of many local chefs for its quality and innovative dishes. Edible flowers,  exotic vegetables  and  recommended stuffed quail are all part of  chef  Guido Tassi´s flavorful repertoire.

Montevideo 938, Recoleta
Mon-Wed from 12am – 3pm
Thur-Fri from 12am – 3pm and from 8pm – 11pm
Cash Only

5 Hot Nightspots in the Almagro Area

(La Catedral by Julie&Rebecca)

The Almagro neighborhood is one of the tango sources of the city that still keeps its nostalgic and colorful charm. The four blocks of flower shops, open day and night, around the area of what was once the flower market; the old typical Spanish style food stores; the intimate tango venues and bars, and a recent theatre boom make it a lively area where there is plenty to see and do.

El Bar de Roberto

Gardel and other tango passionates frequented this traditional bar, which was bought by a Spaniard from Asturias in the 1930s. Now a days it’s still kept as way back then,  with the same bottles adorning the walls and late night live tango sessions to charm the crowded audience.

El Bar de Roberto

Bulnes 331, Almagro


El Banderín

Another traditional spot in the Almagro scene, El Banderín is a place with a very personal identity.  This welcoming bar got its name from the many national and international football team flags (banderin), which are hanging from every bit of free space on the walls.  The flags were collected by one of its first owners so there is not only variety but also a few relics and the warm ambiance makes it a special place to visit and sit down for a few beers.

El Banderin

Guardia Vieja 3601, Almagro


La Catedral

This somewhat grungy alternative tango hall is popular amongst the younger more laid back tango crowds which start the night early with a tango class and then dance the night away into the dawn. Intimate live music shows are also put on. The ample space, the mismatched chairs, and the Carlos Gardel shrine add to its appeal whiles its vegetarian restaurant is loved by some and hated by others (eating can always happen elsewhere at the nearby Pierino for example, a family restaurant owned by Italians).

La Catedral

Sarmiento 4006, Almagro


Centro Cultural Konex

The Centro Cultural Konex became increasingly popular thanks to its Monday evening super hit- La Bomba del Tiempo, a one of a kind percussion orchestra that slowly went building its public by word of mouth until the small crowd of enthusiasts became a packed event in the city week. The cultural center has a large open space and hosts quality art, music and theatre events such as the teatro ciego (blind theatre to experience with your other senses) and Medea Tango, which merges tango with theatre. A place to go to for good surprises.

Centro Cultural Konex

Sarmiento 3131, Almagro


La Salsera

Also in Almagro is the very popular salsa club La Salsera. The Caribbean feel of the place, the welcoming people and atmosphere have attracted many tourists looking for the warmth and rhythm of the Latin soul. Salsa lessons are offered here and other events and cultural activities focusing on Latin-American culture are also part of the agenda.

La Salsera

Yatai 961, Almagro


Off the Beaten Path: Day Trip to San Isidro

(Museo Pueyrredon by Fernando)

Although out of the way from the downtown area, San Isidro is a historical neighborhood founded in 1706, which is well worth visiting. The upscale residential area still conserves many of its colonial constructions and offers shady streets lined with jacarandas to walk thorough and explore.

Start the day early and take the Mitre train from Retiro or Carranza station (close to the hotel). Check that you get on the train going to Mitre, which is where you have to get off.  Cross the Maipú Avenue and go into the Tren de la Costa. Take the train to the Barrancas station where a weekend antique fair. A close walk away is the Pueyrredon Historical Museum set in an old homestead where General Pueyrredon and San Martin planned strategies against the Spanish. Whilst in this area of San Isidro you can stop for lunch at La Anita, an old food store with a courtyard which was turned into a restaurant preserving the 100 year old furniture.

Get back on the train and get off at the San Isidro station where you can walk up the beautiful Mitre Park to get to the neo-gothic San Isidro Cathedral. Around the block, set in the Tres Ombues lane is the well worth visiting Beccar Varela museum at Quinta los Ombues, which was built during the vice royal period, and displays the historic heritage of the area.

Only ten blocks away is the stunning Villa O Campo where you can explore the local literary legacy, walk through stunning gardens and end the afternoon by having scones at the Villas teahouse.  On your the way there is El Altillo pizzeria a neighborhood classic and El Piove ice cream where the owners have their ice cream maker displayed and it is sometimes possible to get a scoop right from the churners.


Pueyrredon Historical Museum

Rivera Indarte 48, Acassuso


Quinta Los Ombues

Adrián Beccar Varela 774, San Isidro


Villa O Campo

Elortondo 1837, Beccar


Places to eat

La Anita

Vuelta de Obligado 415, Acassuso.


El Altillo

Av. Libertador 17000, San Isidro


Piove Ice Cream

Av. Libertador 17002, San Isidro


Tango: An Immigrant Song

(Tango picture in La Boca by doug88888)

The birth of tango was very clearly the product of the country’s peculiar immigration pattern which had its first big boom in the late 1800´s.

After Rosas downfall in the Caseros battle in 1852 a new constitution was formed in which immigration was encouraged by offering benefits to foreigners who would populate the land and serve as qualified labor, introducing science and art into the culture.  Contrary however to the governments expectation, the immigration that arrived was mostly poor and uninstructed and populated the city, rather than spreading out to the rural areas where the country most needed labor.

To counteract this effect, president Avellaneda passed an immigration and land law that guaranteed the distribution of small parcels of land to immigrants. This served the additional purpose of preventing the formation of large estates belonging to a select few. The measure however didn’t play out as expected given that the large Patagonia area taken from the indigenous people in the Conquest of the Desert, ended up belonging to a few owners who became very powerful.

Although there were many job opportunities in agriculture, the opportunity for land ownership was no longer there.  This became a source of frustration for the immigrants who had come expecting their own piece of land. In return, they stayed in the city periphery living a life of poverty, despair and nostalgia, and constantly in touch with immigrants from other cultures who they coexisted with in the crowded conventillos.

The combination of these feelings of uprooting and loss present in the new society combined with the cultural mixture that was beginning to take place is at the root of tango. The cries of the Andalusian tango (a branch of flamenco), combined with the Cuban habanera, the schottische, the local folkloric music and African candombe came together in one of the most distinctive music genres of Argentina. With its unique language (lunfardo) and its recurrent themes of the arrabal (neighborhood), disillusion and loss, time, sensuality and sadness, it has become a reflection of the characteristic nostalgic local identity.