We flew out of Bariloche, Patagonia in the middle of the day, and arrived back where we began, in Buenos Aires and the Hotel Intersur Recoleta about 4 pm that afternoon. After resting up, we met our local guide Marcelo Mansilla about 8 that night and walked to Juana M Centro for dinner. The popular and trendy restaurant, located in a converted warehouse in the Retiro neighborhood, is filled with paintings of local artists displayed on its concrete walls. We enjoyed a great salad bar and dinner, and talked about the planned tours for our remaining few days in Buenos Aires.
There is good reason why Buenos Aires is referred to the “Paris of South America.” The city has a definite European feel, with its impressive old world architecture and charm – an ornate mix of Art Nouveau, French Neoclassical, Italian Baroque and Neo Renaissance that can be seen throughout the city, particularly in public buildings, residential apartments, and in the mansions built by the affluent throughout the city’s history. The city’s urban design elements, with its wide tree-lined boulevards, roundabouts, sculptural focal points, and extensive parks and open space systems are all reminiscent of what one finds in Paris and other major cities throughout Europe. The cultural element, whether its the food, the Tango, or the arts reflects the values of its Italian, Spanish, French and British immigrants.
The city’s urban core is made up of sixteen high density mixed-use neighborhoods and major park systems, making it a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and play. There are over 3 million people living in the urban core (over 13 million live in the outlying metropolitan region). There are 48 Districts within the City, the most visited and most significant of which are the 16 neighborhoods shown below, each with its own character and mix of architectural styles. On any given night (and remember, the nightlife in Buenos Aires begins around 10:00 pm at the earliest!) the streets are filled with traffic, sidewalks are packed with pedestrians, and restaurants and cafes crowded with not only locals, but also by the many international tourists who visit the city from around the world.
Over a two-day period, our walking tours covered 8 of 16 neighborhoods, including Puerto Madero (the largest urban redevelopment area in the city); Recoleta (the most affluent of the older neighborhoods); Retireo (home to homeless as well as the wealthy, and the transportation services hub of the city); the “Downtown,” made up of the neighborhoods of Tribunales (the theater district), Microcentro (the Central Business District) and, Congreso, (with its many government and cultural buildings); San Telmo (an artsy “rough around the edges” neighborhood where real estate is still relatively affordable); and La Boca (often called the “soul” of the city).