Enjoy coffee and a medialuna (“half moon”-shaped pastry) at venerable B.A. institution Cafe Tortoni (www.cafetortoni.com.ar), whose art nouveau interior has changed little since it opened in 1858. Next, stroll a couple blocks to the Plaza de Mayo and visit the opulent presidential palace, the Casa Rosada, from where Peron delivered his speeches galvanizing the populace. Just beyond lies the upscale waterfront neighborhood of Puerto Madero and the sleek Puente de la Mujer.
Back in centro, point yourself towards Avenida 9 de Julio. With 20 traffic lanes, it is the widest avenue in the world. Here you’ll find the famous Obelisco, an impressive monument that even Argentines admit was cribbed from a certain Washington, D.C., landmark.
A couple of blocks from 9 de Julio, Pizzeria Guerrin (www.pizzeriaguerrin.com) is the perfect spot for a gooey slice, a baked empanada and a chopp (draft beer).
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After lunch, take the subway (subte) to Recoleta and visit the famous cementario. On the south side is Eva “Evita” Peron’s final resting place, located in the tomb of the family Duarte. Stop off across the street at La Biela (www.labiela.com) or head to Palermo Soho to browse the boutiques and stroll the rose-lined pathways of the Paseo del Rosedal.
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Take the subway to San Telmo and spend the rest of the afternoon strolling the cobbled streets of B.A.’s oldest neighborhood, browsing for antiques or just hanging out at a cafe.
New York may claim to be the “city that never sleeps,” but Buenos Aires puts its money where its mouth is. Here it’s not uncommon to see locals having dinner at 11 p.m. or midnight, children in tow. And revelers don’t even hit the clubs until at least 2 a.m.
No one should visit this city without sampling authentic Argentine grilled beef. La Brigada (www.parrillalabrigada.com.ar) in San Telmo may be the gold standard, but for history, ambience and quality, head to El Obrero in La Boca. Gorge yourself on prime cuts of succulent beef until you wave the white flag of surrender. After dinner, take a cab to Plaza San Martin and BASA (www.basabar.com.ar), where the mixologists are of the finest pedigree. Try the Santa Marta.
Once B.A.’s witching hour strikes, it’s time to party. Speed down Avenida Santa Fe in a taxi to Niceto Vega in Palermo. The options for debauchery here are many. There are thumping boliches like Niceto Club (nicetoclub.com), sophisticated discos like Ink (www.restaurantdisco.com.ar) and fun theme bars like El Tiki.
And if, in the early morning hours, you find yourself wired on no sleep and too many Fernet and Cokes, you’ll know you’ve done Buenos Aires like a true Porteno.
For more travel tips, go to www.insightguides.com.