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Live Like a Porteño: A Taste of Buenos Aires in 48 Hours

10 cool things to do on a Buenos Aires city break. Plan a city break itinerary in Buenos Aires Argentina on a trip to South America.
Argentina offers a fantastic introduction to South America. Whether you are looking for steaks, leather jackets, fantastic wines or just the essence of Europe with a Latin vibe, Buenos Aires is an ideal city break.

Buenos Aires was our first initiation into Latin American travel and I remember our trip fondly. Let's take a look at my top picks of things to do on a Buenos Aires city break to inspire your own trip. 

Buenos Aires City Break: La Recoleta

1. Admire the Dog walkers

The first thing that struck me as we were walking around and getting acquainted with Buenos Aires was the dog walkers.  This seems like big business in Argentina as they are everywhere.  

Every so often, we'd encounter someone with a handful of leashes and a motley crew of pooches in tow coming towards us on the street.  The sight of the dog walkers always made me smile.
Buenos Aires City Break: Look out for dog walkers

2. Take in a Tango

Argentina is known for its passion and that is certainly played out in the national dance, The Tango. You can take lessons but I have two left feet so settled for dinner and a tango show at El Querandí
See a Tango show on a Buenos Aires City BreakShop for leather shoes on a city break in Buenos Aires Argentina

3. Shop for Shoes and Jackets

Leather is a hot commodity in Argentina.  We found great deals on leather shoes and leather jackets (not pictured).  

On our last day in Buenos Aires, we had leather jackets custom tailored for us in just a couple of hours.  Whenever I wear it, I think of this trip.

4. Read the Paper over Cafe y Tres Media Lunas

Food memories are often the strongest for us.  We loved sitting in a cafe and scrutinizing a Spanish language newspaper to see if we could get the gist of the news with our rudimentary grasp of Spanish.  Cafe y Tres Media Lunas (3 half-moon croissants) was our most popular breakfast indulgence.
Eat cafe y tres media lunas on a Buenos Aires city break

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Do you have a sweet tooth? Argentina is famous for alfajores. Find out where to find the best alfajores in Argentina with this personal taste test.

5. Shop for a Bargain in San Telmo

We took the subway to the San Telmo street market and spent the afternoon happily shopping away.  This part of the city has a great vibe and is fun for people watching (not to mention the delicious churro vendors).
Look for bargains in San Telmo on a city break in Buenos Aires

6. Get Some Color in La Boca

In Barrio La Boca, La Caminito is a bit like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco (it's where all the tourists go).  Still, it was worth stopping by to steep in the colorful atmosphere.
Photograph La Boca on a city break in Buenos Aires

7. Eat Steak al fresco at a Parrillada

Vegetarians beware...Argentina is in love with steak.  Parrilladas (open BBQ pits) grill them up thick and juicy.  We really enjoyed dining al fresco and pairing our steak with either an Argentinian Malbec or Uruguayan Tannat.
Eat at a Parrillada on a city break in Buenos Aires

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other destination ideas in Argentina? Why not consider:

8. Visit Evita's Tomb in La Recoleta

Take a step into the world of Eva Perón, the beloved first lady of Argentina who was made famous the world over in the musical Evita.  It's popular for tourists to visit her grave in the posh La Recoleta neighborhood.
Visit Evita's tomb in La Recoleta Cemetery on a Buenos Aires city break

9. Take an Overnight Trip to Uruguay

I don't know why, but I've always been fascinated by Uruguay.  Buenos Aires turned out to be an ideal home base to pop over.  We visited Colonia and spent a night in Montevideo.  

Uruguay definitely had a 'lost in time' feel.  We noticed a regular stream of horse drawn carriages that were making deliveries or picking up trash and recycling. 

It was a surprising anachronism in this modern city.  If you're staying in Buenos Aires, there is no excuse not to add Uruguay to your itinerary.
Visit Uruguay on a Buenos Aires City Break

10. See the Mighty Forces of Nature in the Rainforest at Iguazu Falls

I grew up near Niagara Falls, arguably one of the natural wonders of the world.  When I saw Iguazu Falls in its lush rainforest setting, all I could think was 'Wow'!  

We took the short train ride through the jungle to La Garganta del Diablo (Devil's Throat).  The sheer volume of water and raw power tumbling over the cliff was a site to behold.  

We finished our day at the Falls with La Gran Adventura. We found ourselves at river's edge after a 6 km ride in an all terrain vehicle through the jungle. 

We donned life vests, secured our belongings in thick plastic bags, and embarked on a speed boat ride to the Falls. This cruise makes the "Maid of the Mist" at Niagara Falls look incredibly tame in comparison. 

The boat actually appears to go into the Falls at one point. To say we got showered is an understatement. The ride was thrilling, fun, and a great way to cool off after a hot afternoon of hiking. 

We were particularly impressed by the dedication of the videographer who came along on the tour. He stood on the bow of the boat with his camcorder wrapped in a plastic bag. 

We thought for certain that he'd fall into the water when we plunged into the Falls -- he was hanging on with only one hand since he was working the camera! Amazingly, he made it through safely.
Visit Iguazu Falls on a Buenos Aires City Break trip

11. Pretend You're in Europe

I think Buenos Aires is a great introduction to South America because it is somehow so familiar.  If you parachuted in blindfolded, you might just as well think you were in Paris thanks to the ornate Art Nouveau architecture.  Buenos Aires is ideal if you're looking for an inexpensive European-style trip.
Admire the architecture on a Buenos Aires City Break
Overall, we had a fantastic time on our introductory trip to Argentina.  We feel like we only just scratched the surface of Buenos Aires and the surrounding area (you can dig deeper with this ultimate guide to Buenos Aires or this Buenos Aires travel guide).  We can't wait to visit again soon.

Now let's take a look at another of South America's capital cities. Head to Brazil and discover interesting things to do in Brasília, one of Latin America's underrated cities, or Santiago in Chile

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Live Like a Porteño: A Taste of Buenos Aires in 48 Hours
Live Like a Porteño: A Taste of Buenos Aires in 48 Hours
10 cool things to do on a Buenos Aires city break. Plan a city break itinerary in Buenos Aires Argentina on a trip to South America.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog