Things To Do In Recoleta – First Time In Buenos Aires
Stepping out onto the picturesque streets of Recoleta for a walk, one might be hard-pressed to believe that the City and country are amidst an economic crisis. Everything looks straight out of a Paris travelogue! With its gleaming store facades, chic boutiques filled with luxury leather and designer clothes, and charming jacaranda trees in full bloom. It’s even capped off by the stylish porteños (a nickname for the locals) relaxing outside new restaurants, seemingly oblivious to their financial state as they joke, smoke, and drink with gusto.
Things To Do In Recoleta – Ultimate Guide For First Time Visitors
From the lacy windows and polished door frames that adorn its French-style buildings to the old-fashioned cafes tucked away in its storied alleys, exploring Recoleta is like taking a step back in time.
Why Recoleta is the best place to stay when traveling to Buenos Aires?
For those looking to experience the timeless grandeur of Buenos Aires, there is no better destination than Recoleta. That’s not to say it’s a stuffy and exclusive world; far from it! Boasting top-notch fine dining alongside street food delights, fine arts galleries as well as craft cocktail bars, Recoleta provides something for everyone.
From cozy bookstores to stylish vintage-inspired bars, Buenos Aires had it all – that old-world charm and sophistication never fails to make an impression on me.
Not many cities can boast of having a living, breathing flower in the center of town – that’s at least until Recoleta Buenos Aires unveiled its gift from Argentine architect Eduard Catalano: the Floralis Genérica. This incredible amalgam of aluminum and steel is akin to a unique sculpture due to its impressive size and the ability to open and close its petals at 8 am every morning and shut them again at sunset.
Even though operating without water or soil, this symbolic representation of generic flora remains a sight to behold for all Recoleta travelers. Mr. Catalano himself described it as a “synthesis of all flowers” and “hope reborn every day”; indeed, it serves as a wonderful reminder that hope is always blooming somewhere!
Before you go down the avenue, I recommend stopping off at a cafe for a cup of coffee. A tipial Buenos Aires-Parisian style cafe. Once you take your steps onto the spectacular cobbled pathway of Avenida Alvear itself, you’ll get to witness the magnificence of Recoleta’s wealth up close – just be careful not to get distracted by all of its grandeur!
If you’ve got more money to spare, try booking brunch at the Hyatt Palacio Duhau – photo-worthy food and marvelous views guaranteed.
Cafe la Biela
Recoleta Buenos Aires is full of hidden gems, and Cafe La Biela is no exception. Located just across the plaza from the cemetery and in business since 1850 (originally called La Viridita), it’s ripe for a coffee break. Grab a table outside under the shade of the city’s oldest rubber tree – don’t worry, Atlas himself is holding up one of its larger branches (made mostly from car recycling), so you can rest easy! And don’t forget to have fun and take touristy photos in the randomly placed English red phone booths by President Menem.
La Panera Rosa
La Panera Rosa is the perfect place to satisfy your sugar cravings and immerse yourself in all things cute and pink. As you make your way through the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, keep an eye out for this chain of cafes that you will find scattered throughout the city. But don’t worry, you won’t miss them – the bright pink exteriors are hard to ignore!
This location in Recoleta is situated in a prime spot right between Avenida Alvaro and plaza Brazil, so not only will you get to bask in the cuteness, but you’ll also have some great views to enjoy.
Facultad De Derecho & Plaza Brasil
Recoleta Buenos Aires’ newest travel hotspot is the ever-expanding Plaza Republica Federativa del Brasil. Located directly behind Facultad de Derecho, you can practically hear the law students tutoring in bellowed Spanish phrases.
As you cross the bridge over Libertador Avenue, this park will open up before your eyes – its 55,000 square meters adding a much-needed dose of green to Recoleta’s bustling cityscape. No Recoleta Buenos Aires travel guide would be complete without a stop here at Plaza Brasil!
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Located in the chic neighborhood of Recoleta, a few blocks away from the iconic cemetery, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) stands out with its pink exterior facade. Established in 1896, it resides along one of the most lengthy avenues in Buenos Aires, Libertador.
Art enthusiasts should definitely make a visit to the beloved Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Argentina. No other museum in the country can claim to have such a prestigious collection, including works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Titian, Monet and Toulouse Lautrec. With over 700 19th-century masterpieces based in a single building, it’s quite an art connoisseur’s paradise!
If you’re in Recoleta on the weekend, you’ve got to check out the Feria de Artesanos de Plaza Francia. A handicraft market-based in Plaza Francia, it’s truly a mystical experience. From midday to sunset, this outdoor market sets itself apart from all other attractions in Buenos Aires. Tourists and backpackers come here searching for leather goods or handmade souvenirs while locals join together over mate and enjoy the fresh air with friends. Believe me when I tell you that Recoleta makes every Saturday and Sunday special –– come join us at this artisanal market!
Ateneo Grand Splendid
Picture it: you’re strolling down a busy street in Buenos Aires, surrounded by chic boutiques and fashionable locals. But wait – what’s that serene oasis ahead? Could it be…a temple of books? Indeed it is, my dear reader, and not just any old bookstore. Ateneo Grand Splendid has earned the title of “the world’s most beautiful bookstore”.
The Ateneo Grand Splendid is tucked away in a former theater dating all the way back to 1919. In those good ol’ days, Buenos Aires was on the rise, and a steady wave of folks from across Europe came flooding in, bringing with them a rich blend of art, culture, and, of course, the Tangoooo! Today, the Ateneo Grand Splendid is a living history lesson in old world grandeur with a Latin kick.
Teatro Colón boasts a history that can leave one on the edge of their seat. More than just a building, it’s a testimony to the beauty of music– and we mean that quite literally. The tour allows guests into its storied halls every 15 minutes for only 110 pesos, far cheaper than you’d expect for such rich history. Once you step through the sweeping entry hall rife with glass cases filled with costumes from past performances, prepare to be dazzled by the resplendent Golden Room.
It rivals Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors in its brilliance– and if you’re lucky a musician or two will be rehearsing on stage! So why not take advantage and save yourself the cost of tickets to an actual performance? Celebrate Theatro Colón while enjoying live entertainment without ever leaving your tour group.
The famous Recoleta Cemetery is a must-see for any traveler visiting Buenos Aires. Although seeing thousands of mausoleums in random styles ranging from Art Nouveau to neo-Gothic may seem a little daunting, you’ll be glad you stepped inside. Rich presidents, generals, poets and businessmen have all been laid to rest in this sprawling four city block memorial.
Despite its heavy history however, the cemetery remains surprisingly picturesque and serene – that is until you turn the corner to discover the glossy black Duarte Family crypt, home to the illustrious Evita Perón’ Spiritual Leader of the Nation’.
The site of roaming tourists and stray cats might be overwhelming upon first visit. Still, all it takes is one stroll down an alley between headstones and tombs. You’ll quickly understand why Recoleta Cemetery remains one of South America’s most revered burial places.
What does Recoleta mean?
Recoleta is an area of Buenos Aires that has rich cultural and historical significance. Its name comes from the Spanish word ‘Recoletos’, which literally translates to ‘the recollected’, named after the Monastery of the Recollect Fathers.
This Franciscan order founded the church devoted to Nuestra Señora del Pilar, as well as its cemetery, both of which are now iconic landmarks associated with Buenos Aires. In other words, what started off with the establishment of a monastery hundreds of years ago has now become a thriving hub synonymous with Argentine culture and history.