The Paris of South America
French Neoclassical architecture, tree-lined boulevards, lavish opera houses, reeealllly good wine….it may sound like Paris, but Buenos Aires is no copycat. From the out-of-this-world Malbec to the late-night tango clubs, this Argentine capital will satisfy your inner Francophile, but it’s got a rhythm all its own.
Where to Stay
Shack up in a chateau
Inspired by Paris's Château du Marais, this 1930s mansion-turned-hotel is one of the Park Hyatt's crown jewels. Set in Recoleta, the city's ritzy French heritage district, Palacio Duhau has that old-world feel (think Argentine-leather settees and marble bathrooms) with modern amenities (think extensive spa and 80-foot swimming pool). Need further relaxation? Head to The Oak Bar, constructed of carvings from a 17th-century Normandy castle, and uncork one of the 3,500 bottles of wine.
Where to Eat
From old-world cuisine to nouveau gastronomy
Fleur de Sel
After working in the great kitchens of Paris, the French-Argentinian chef duo behind Fleur de Sel combined their talents into a stellar fusion restaurant. Dishes like red snapper with spicy chorizo and tenderloin medallions garnished with truffles satisfy European expats and Porteños alike. (And don’t get us started on the fresh bread served in a basket of hot stones.)
When a Michelin star finally reaches Buenos Aires, it will land on Tarquino's door. Here, experimental gastronomy meets traditional Argentine fare for a taste that's new but never weird. Don’t miss the molecular take on classic flan or the shepard’s pie made with potato foam, beef ragu and wine.
Built in 1884 and since registered as a city heritage site, Las Violetas is the Notre Dame of Argentine coffeehouses, with marble floors, Corinthian columns, gold chandeliers and French-stained glass. Try the medialunas, which are a denser, sweeter take on the classic croissant. (But just as delicious.)
What to Do
All the culture, all the wine
Recoleta Walking Tour
On this leisurely walking tour, you’ll learn about the French heritage district's golden age of architecture as you stroll the historic mansions, colonial plazas and one of the world's grandest cemeteries. (All the Argentine elite are there, including Eva Perón.)
There’s a reason Colon is commonly considered one the top opera houses in the world--namely, the acoustics are perfection. (Pavarotti's only complaint was it was so good, he could hear his own mistakes). Revel in this lavish space with a guided tour or a musical performance. If you’re up for standing room only, you can get day-of tickets for as little as $3.
Anuva Wine Tasting
Did you know Malbec is a actually French grape, but just grows better in Argentina? Come to Anuva's chic loft for an informative, fun tasting of five undiscovered wines paired with traditional tapas, and learn about Argentine terroirs, varietals and vinification. We love the gregarious sommeliers and heavy-handed pours.
What to Skip
Make like a local, not a tourist
The Dinner Tango Show
When in Buenos Aires, you should definitely see (even try) the signature sensual dance...just not at a touristy dinner show. La Catedral Club, a warehouse space turned Bohemian dance hall, is the best place to get your feet wet. It offers free tango lessons, and as the night goes on, the local (and really good) dancers hit the floor. At this point take a seat, order a bottle of wine and watch the masters do their thing.
What to Pack
Argentines love sophisticated denim. Your favorite dark fitted pair will do the trick day and night.
Buenos Aires is relatively safe, but minimize the risk of pickpockets with an understated and secure cross-body you can keep close to your hip.