Buenos Aires: Recoleta
B.A.'s most sophisticated and traditionally upper-class neighborhood. Apart from being the resting place of Evita Perón, Recoleta is also full of chic apartment buildings, boutiques, cafes and restaurants.
Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
Avenida Presidente Figueroa Alcorta 3415, 011-54-11/4808-6500, malba.org.ar
If you go to only one art museum in the city, MALBA should be the one. Opened in 2001, the state-of-the-art building houses 20th-century and contemporary art from all over Latin America. Exhibitions vary, but the permanent collection has more than 270 works, including masterpieces by Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero, and Antonio Berni. Open Thurs.-Mon., noon-8 p.m., $2.40. Free on Wed. from noon-9 p.m., students always free with ID. Closed Tues.
Avenida del Libertador and Avenida Pueyrredón
More of a grassy slope than a traditional "plaza," indie rock and reggae musicians congregate here on Sat. and Sun., while vendors hawk regional crafts, such as knives with handmade leather handles and traditional maté cups. Locals like to vegetate on the lawn and sip maté, weather permitting.
Calle Junín 1760, 4803-1594
Eva Peron's surprisingly discreet family tomb has made the graveyard one of the most famous landmarks in B.A. There's a lot more to investigate, from ostentatious mausoleums to unkempt and eerie underground tombs with exposed coffins. Open daily 7 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Free.
Avenida General Las Heras 2101, 4809-3548
An old-school, wood-paneled B.A. bistro a block away from the Recoleta Cemetery serving everything from cuts of grilled meat to pizza. It's perfect for dropping in any time of day or night. A good place for a morning coffee and to read up on regional news in the Buenos Aires Herald. Window signs feature the classic porteño rounded script. Open Mon.-Thurs. until 1:30 a.m., Fri.-Sat. until 7 a.m.
Opposite the main entrance to Recoleta Cemetery
The good restaurants that line this short street all have private terrace patios (a rarity in the neighborhood). The area is touristy, but between the great outdoor seating and plentiful grilled Argentine steaks ($8-10), you won't be sorry you made the trip.
Au Bec Fin
Calle Vicente López 1827, 011-54-11/4807-3765, aubecfin.com.ar
A 1920s mansion restaurant that has an opulent, belle epoque dining room with crimson carpets and walls, and rounded settees. The crab-stuffed trout (trucha) or the chateaubriand beef with goat-cheese gratinée from the French-heavy menu are both superb. $16 for full lunch menu, around $40 for dinner.
Calle Paraná 1048, 011-54-11/4815-9925, milion.com.ar
Taking up three stories of a converted mansion, this posh bar has high ceilings, high-backed armchairs, and engraved wood finishing. There's a long list of cocktails, and beers are $2. Seats in the candlelit garden are hard to come by in warm weather. Note: Bring the address with you; there are no signs for Milión on the street.
Buenos Aires Design
Avenida Pueyrredón 2501, 011-54-11/5777-6000, designrecoleta.com.ar
Design aficionados love the mall at the northeast corner of Recoleta Cemetery. Visit and you could end up walking out with a leather folding chair or a tepee-like lamp made of metal rods. If you're not in the market to buy, it's worth going for its gorgeous balconies and cafés overlooking Plaza Francia.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Avenida Santa Fe 1860, corner Avenida Callao, 011-54-11/4813-6052
Claims to be the largest bookstore in Latin America. For 80 years it was a majestic cinema/theater, aptly named the Grand Splendid. In 2000, it was renovated into a beautiful bookstore; its many titles and gold-gilt balconies make it a worthwhile visit for bookworms and cineastes alike. Most books are in Spanish, but there are some in English, French, and Portuguese.
Avenida del Libertador 750, 011-54-11/4814-7400
An elegant, upscale mall with marble floors, tall pillars, and lots of greenery. In addition to international brands like Cacharel and Dolce & Gabbana, you'll also find the best Argentine designers, such as Rapsodia, known for its bohemian chic.
Avenida Costanera Rafael Obligado and Avenida Sarmiento (Punta Carrasco), 011-54-11/4807-1010 A spacious, sleek club where the best features are the grand windows and the terrace overlooking the Plata River. DJs favor house music and the latest releases. Opens at 1 a.m. on Fri. and Sat. only. Cover from $5.20.
Avenida Costanera Rafael Obligado and Avenida Sarmiento, 011-54-11/4807-1010, puntacarrasco.com.ar
Hit the upscale sports club for a dip if you can't take the South American heat. The river's-edge complex has three outdoor pools better suited for posing than swimming laps. Open daily 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Fri. $4.50, Sat. and Sun. $7.65.