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Buenos Aires see + do

Buenos Aires, Argentina's elegant capital, attracts four million visitors each year, all drawn by the allure of the tango, Evita's complex legacy, inky Malbec wines, and world-class dining (especially if you like steak). Yet Buenos Aires's paradox is that, while the city is assuredly attractive, it boasts little in the way of an established tourist trail. Sure, there's Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Perón lies among the ornate sepulchres and catacombs of Argentina's great and not-so-good. There's the exuberant color and diversity of Latin American art, best displayed at the outstanding Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. And there are the milongas, where visitors can learn, dance, or just watch the famous tango. But it's the Buenos Aires you'll see along the way that will lodge in your memory. It's the aroma of sizzling steak and choripan (spicy sausage sandwiches) that emanates from the city's ubiquitous parrillas, and the leafy neighborhoods of ornate townhouses, lazy cafés, and quirky boutiques.

Although several travel agencies offer tailor-made walking tours of Buenos Aires, it's also fun just to wander. Don't miss the fin de siècle edifices on Avenida de Mayo or the pink facade of the Casa Rosada, where Juan and Eva Perón appeared in triumph before their adoring masses. Sip a cortado coffee amid the faded splendor of Café Tortoni, where worldly waiters have served Buenos Aires's residents since 1858. Schedule time for a raucously passionate superclásico a soccer derby between the city's most fanatically supported sides. If you've got time, retreat to an estancia on the pancake-flat Pampas that laps at the city's limits, or just grab a taste of the countryside at the Feria de Mataderos, a Sunday morning gaucho-fest on the edge of the capital.

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Calle Museo Caminito, Buenos Aires

The open-air tchotchke market and boisterous tango zone that operates along the colorful, scimitar-shaped byway known as Caminito is the city's only outdoor...more

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Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires

The Casa Rosada (Pink House)—taking up the entire east end of Plaza de Mayo—is Argentina's presidential palace, from whose storied balcony Juan and...more

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Cementerio de la Recoleta, Buenos Aires

A who's who of Argentinean bold-faced names rests among Recoleta Cemetery's tombs and mausoleums, from the Alvears and the Dorregos to heavyweight boxer Luis...more

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El Centro, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires and its suburbs form one of the world's largest metropolitan regions and its throbbing heart—all commercial bustle and sensory...more

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El Zanjón, Buenos Aires

In 1985, local businessman Jorge Eckstein bought a semiabandoned San Telmo town house built in the 1830s by the wealthy Miguens family. While dredging...more

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Estancias

The pillars of rural Argentinean life are its estancias, ranches built by the owners of sprawling properties on the fabled pampa. Many were established by...more

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Feria de Mataderos, Buenos Aires

The gaucho spirit lives on at this Sunday fair in the outlying barrio of Mataderos, a 30-minute cab ride from downtown B.A. It's the ideal place to soak up some...more

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Horse Racing, Buenos Aires

Argentina has always been mad about thoroughbreds, and this palatial racetrack is an embodiment of that enduring ardor: Growing out of the original 1876...more

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Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays, Buenos Aires

This welcoming green haven, built by the prolific French-Argentine landscape architect Carlos Thays in 1898, is an ideal place for a Sunday-afternoon ramble....more

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Jardín Japonés, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is one of the greenest of world metropolises, with avenidas, calles, and plazas generously planted with grand, locustlike tipas (the branches look...more

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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