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Buenos Aires

buenos aires tango dancersThe Tango: No one should leave Buenos Aires without taking in a tango show. The Argentines have perfected this dance to its most seductive and romantic. Small, intimate tango bars can be found throughout the San Telmo and La Boca districts, but the larger shows frequented by tourists at places such as La Ventana, Senor Tango or El Viejo Almacen are also wonderful spectacles. If you are smitten and want to learn the dance, spots such as DNI Tango and Confiteria Ideal offer lessons, guaranteed to be a fun experience. Viator also offers a number of tango lessons.

Plaza de Mayo: The city's historic center includes the Metropolitan Cathedral, dating to the 18th century, and a host of stately buildings including the Casa Rosada, the pink palace where Eva Peron addressed adoring crowds from the balcony. The May Pyramid, guarded by tall palm trees in the center of the square, commemorates the 1810 revolution.

Recoleta: The city's swankest neighborhood is lined with handsome apartment buildings as well as fine shops, art galleries and restaurants. It grew up around the Recoleta Cemetery, where the ancestors of the city's aristocracy are buried. Begun in 1822, this amazing cemetery is a virtual crypt city of tall and elaborate tombs and mausoleums covering four square blocks, and is one of the city's most visited attractions. The monument most people seek out is the simple dark marble crypt belonging to Eva Peron, the wife of the late dictator Juan Peron and the heroine of the city's working class because she was one of their own before her rise to power. Ironically, she rests surrounded by the very families who once despised her lower-class origins.

Museums: It would take days to visit all of the museums of Buenos Aires. At the top of the list are the Museum of Fine Arts, featuring both Argentine and European artists including Degas, Rodin and Van Gogh, and MALBA, a stunning modern building showing 20th-century Latin American art. The National Museum of Decorative Arts, housed in a French-inspired villa, offers European paintings, tapestries and furniture, Chinese art and miniatures from the Russian empire. The National History Museum is housed in an expansive Italian-style former family mansion.

buenos aires colorful buildings caminito bocaLa Boca: Many of the city's first Italian immigrants settled this neighborhood, building corrugated iron houses along its cobbled streets. The tango is said to have been born here. Now it is home to many artists, who have painted the metal houses in bright reds, yellows, blues and greens. Lively Caminito, a multi-hued pedestrian walkway, is a marketplace for artists and craftspeople and a block where you are likely to see couples doing the tango to the tune of a guitar or the traditional accordion known as the bandoneon.

Colon Theater: One of the most opulent opera houses in the world, the Colon has hosted everyone from Enrico Caruso to Luciano Pavarotti since its inauguration in 1908. Guided tours are available to see the seven-tier theater with its grand central chandelier.

Parks and Gardens: Thousands of species of plants from throughout South America can be found at the Botanical Garden in Palermo. It adjoins the Buenos Aires Zoo, known for its white tigers. Also adjacent is the Tres de Febrero Park, 1,000 strollable acres with rose and Japanese gardens, lakes and meandering streams.

Soccer: Buenos Aires goes gaga over soccer, and attending a match is a gala experience, with street parties in full swing on the day of the game. The Boca Juniors, the city's most popular club, play at their stadium in La Boca.

Discover Buenos Aires Tours and Activities from Viator

Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc., which also owns Viator.


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