Buenos Aires: Barrio Norte
Adjacent to the ritzy Recoleta neighbhorhood, only quieter and more residential, with countless charming places to eat, drink, and while away an afternoon.
Calle Rodríguez Peña 1149, 011-54-11/4813-9207
The main draws are the meat and vegetable cazuelas (casseroles) baked in a stone oven. Those made with lentejas (lentils) are especially hearty and delicious. Warning: Vegetarians should beware of "unadvertised" pork in the seemingly all-veggie dishes. Expect crowds and slow service, but you can doodle with crayons while you wait.
Calle Rodríguez Peña 1165, 011-54-11/4815-4506
The Argentinean yuppie's version of the neighborhood parilla (or grill). It's fun, but can get crowded and loud. Try maté, the traditional bitter herbal drink, here in the afternoon. It's even served with a bombilla, an ornate silver straw.
Clásica y Moderna
Avenida Callao 892, 011-54-11/4811-3670, clasicaymoderna.com
A bookstore that originally opened in 1938 is now a café, bar, restaurant, and art gallery rolled into one. On weekends, the cozy bohemian venue features live jazz or tango performances. From $7 per performance.
Calle Rodríguez Peña 1220, 011-54-11/4812-3584, theshamrockbar.com
An Irish pub with few Celtic reminders besides beer paraphernalia. Tourists and locals love it. The lure? A daily happy hour that lasts until midnight. Thursday nights are especially hopping.
Avenida Santa Fe 1725, 011-54-11/4811-8567, aygstore.com.ar
Custom-cut bikinis that tend to offer more coverage than the more common floss-like variety. For pool and beach emergencies, A&G can have your new suit ready and delivered to your hotel in four hours. $14 for bikini and delivery.
Galería Quinta (Fifth) Avenida
Avenida Santa Fe 1270, 011-54-11/4816-0451
If you're lucky, you can find a leather jacket for less than $35 in this vintage clothing mall, which also has boutiques that sell funky shoes and clothes with psychedelic prints.
Aqua Vita Medical Spa
Calle Arenales 1965, 011-54-11/4812-5989, aquavitamedicalspa.com
Get pampered for five straight hours with this luxurious water-themed spa's Anti-Stress Day package, which includes full-body exfoliation, algae body wrap, aroma hydrotherapy, deep-tissue massage, shiatsu facial, reflexology, and much more. A ridiculous value for $134. If all you want is a steam bath and a one-hour massage, it costs $38.
El fútbol in Argentina is world-class. Not only is the country home to soccer legend Diego Maradona, but it also has won two World Cups. Argentina has 20 teams in its premier division (many of which are concentrated in greater B.A.) that compete at both national and international levels. The most famous and the most heated matches are between the two main opposing teams from the capital, the Boca Juniors and River Plate. The season is divided into two parts, the apertura (opening) from August to December and the clausura (closing) from February to July. Most matches are on Sundays. It's also possible to tour the city's main stadium.
La Bombonera Stadium & Museum
Calle Brandsen 805, 011-54-11/4515-0651 (stadium), 011-54-11/4362-1100 (museum), museoboquense.com
Home to the Boca Juniors. Maradona has long left the team, but Boca spirit lives on. Open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $4.40 for stadium tour. Tickets for all premier matches start at around $10 and can be purchased at the stadium, but it's easier to go through a tour agency.
Calle Florida 971, No. 59 (1st Floor), 011-54-11/4312-7276, tangol.com
Organized match tours remove the stress of finding the stadiums and seating, while also providing local soccer lore. $31 for transportation to/from your hotel, game tickets, an English-speaking guide, and a lesson in fútbol etiquette.