The capital of Argentina is best known for steak dinners and dancing the Tango, but Buenos Aires is a very big city with a rich history and varied neighbourhoods to explore. Here are my suggestions on how to best spend 3 days in Buenos Aires.
How to get to Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has two airports for the city. The main international airport, Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport (EZE) is about 40 minutes outside of the city centre. The second airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) is just outside of the City Centre, close to the Palermo Neighbourhood and is used for domestic flights.
Getting Around Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is huge. Much bigger than I had anticipated which means that while you can walk around some neighbourhoods, it’s not the most walkable city as a whole. There is a public transit network, the metro is especially popular. However, it’s not well connected and you may find that you need to walk 20 minutes or more to find a station which isn’t always ideal. Buses are also an option but can be confusing. Especially if you don’t speak Spanish.
Thankfully Uber is really popular (and affordable!) in Buenos Aires and is a popular and safe way to get around the city. Including to and from the airport. You can pay in cash or connect with your credit card. Drivers may not always speak English, but I found them all to be friendly and safe as a female traveller in the city.
The Best Area to Stay in Buenos Aires
As mentioned above, Buenos Aires is a huge city with lots of different neighbourhoods. There are a few options that make decent places to stay but I was told that as a solo female traveller, the best area to stay in Buenos Aires is Palermo Soho.
This neighbourhood is known for its cafes, bars, restaurants, shops, and street art. It’s really fun to explore and I felt very safe walking around on my own. It’s not well connected to public transit if you want to leave Palermo but very easy to grab an Uber.
If you are looking for accommodation recommendations consider the following:
Budget hostel: Malevo Murana Hostel
What to see in Buenos Aires in 3 Days
So, what is there to see in Buenos Aires? Despite its massive size there isn’t really a checklist of things to see and do for tourists like you may find in other large cities like Paris or New York. That being said, with all the different neighbourhoods, the culture, and the history, there is definitely enough to do to keep you busy for three days in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires is also known for its nightlife. It’s a late-night city (most businesses don’t open until noon) which is ideal for anyone who considers themselves a night owl. There are plenty of great steak houses, bars, and of course tango shows to consider.
With that in mind, here are my top picks for what to do in Buenos Aires.
Buenos Aires Tango Show
A Tango show is a must when in Buenos Aires! The city is home to the famous dance and it’s a huge part of the local culture. There are many venues that offer either dinner and a show or just the show. I heard mixed reviews about the dinner options (plus it seemed quite expensive) so I just went to the show which included 2 drinks. I absolutely loved it. I went to El Viejo Almacen which I definitely recommend. Another spot that came highly recommended was Bar Sur.
La Recoleta Cemetery
While a cemetery may seem like an odd place to visit for some people, La Recoleta is world-famous. Not only because of the important people buried here (most people get most excited about Evita) but because it’s so unique. The tombs are richly decorated mausoleums lining the pathways creating almost a city of the dead. It’s eerie and beautiful at the same time. You can walk in by yourself but if you are interested in the history I suggest taking a tour.
Famous for its brightly coloured houses, La Boca is perhaps the most photographed area in Buenos Aires. It’s also home to the famous dance, the tango.
Buenos Aires is home to lots of different markets spread across the city. From food to antiques to local art, there’s plenty to look at even if you don’t buy. Most markets are only open on the weekends but there are some that run week-long. Mercado San Telmo is perhaps the most famous market. There is also the Feria de Recoleta which is a well-known flea market.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookshop
A beautiful bookshop located in an old theatre. It’s considered to be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. A must-visit for any book lover.
Argentina is known for its steak and if you eat meat, it’s a must when in Buenos Aires. I’m not a big steak fan but I ate steak multiple times here and loved it. The city has a number of famous steakhouses to choose from that are open for lunch and dinner. Keep reading for some recommendations.
A bohemian neighbourhood full of shops, street art, and foodie finds. You could easily spend an entire day just exploring Palermo.
Suggested 3 days in Buenos Aires Itinerary
The above things to do in Buenos Aires are my top picks, but there is a lot more to see and do in the city depending on your interests. There are walking tours on topics like graffiti, history, and of course food. The city also has a number of different museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Museo Evita, and the best-known museum in the city, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. You may also be interested in some of the architecture. Buenos Aires is home to beautiful buildings such as Palacio Barolo and Teatro Colon.
So, in a huge sprawling city, how do you see all of this and maximize your time? This is how I suggest you plan your 3-Day Buenos Aires itinerary.
Day 1: Neighbourhood Exploring
My two favourite neighbourhoods in Buenos Aires are La Boca and Palemero, so I suggest you divide your first day between these two.
Start in La Boca, home to the Tango and the iconic colourful buildings you see in photos. The neighbourhood itself is large but the area you will visit is only a couple of blocks. Stick to the tourist area, Caminito, and not go exploring any backstreets or alleyways. You also want to make sure to visit during the day when it’s busy as it is highly recommended that tourists stay away from this neighbourhood after dark.
While I did get a lot of warnings about La Boca I loved visiting this area for a couple of hours. The colourful houses are fun to photograph and many operate as open-air museums. So, take the time to walk around. There are also plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants to you can grab lunch or a drink. You can explore by yourself or take a tour with a local.
In the afternoon, head over to Palermo. If you haven’t had lunch yet, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants and sit outside or grab some empanadas to go. This neighbourhood is known for its street art. There are graffiti tours you can take to learn about it or you can just explore on your own. Palermo is also known for its steakhouses and bars making it a great place to grab dinner and a nightcap.
Day 2 & 3: Hop-on-Hop-Off Sightseeing
For days 2 and 3 I suggest getting a 48-hour hop-on-hop-off bus pass. It’s a long route with lots of stops but having the 2-day ticket allows you the flexibility of seeing more stops. Plus, riding the bus around the city is a great way to see the different parts, even if you don’t get off at every stop. This way you can pick and choose what you would like to see based on your interests. For example, you’ll be able to stop by La Recoleta Cemetary and El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookshop that I listed as some of my favourites above. As well as any museums or other sites you might be interested in. You can book your hop-on-hop-off ticket online here.
Day Trips from Buenos Aires
If you have more than 3 days in Buenos Aires, I would suggest adding in some day trips. I visited Colonia Del Sacramento in Uruguay for a day and absolutely loved it. It was a nice, quiet escape from the busy, big city life of Buenos Aires. I booked this day trip that includes ferry tickets and a mini walking tour .
I have also heard really good things about Tigre Delta. It’s considered to be the Venice of Argentina with all the winding waterways. It’s much quieter than Buenos Aires and perfect for a day trip or even to spend the night. You can visit on your own by bus or train or book a day trip here.
Other options for day trips from Buenos Aires include:
What to Eat and Drink in Buenos Aires
One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires is the food and drink. The city has so many incredible restaurants and bars ranging from world-renowned steakhouses to tiny hole-in-the-wall spots that sell amazing empanadas. There are also tons of cool cocktail bars, including some speak-easy style ones, and of course Argentinian Malbec wine. Oh, and if you have a sweet tooth don’t forget to try the alfajores, dulce de leche!
For some recommendations on where to eat and drink consider the following:
Steak houses: Don Julio, La Cabrera, Lo de Jesus
Bars: Tres Monos, Atlantico, Victoria Brown, Temple Brewery
Note that you will need to make reservations well in advance for some of the high-end steakhouses like Don Julio and La Cabrera. Also, vegetarians and vegans you will have to do some advance research. Buenos Aires is very heavy on the meat.
When is the Best Time to go to Buenos Aires?
It’s important to know that Buenos Aires is in the southern hemisphere which means that if you are from the northern hemisphere like I am, the seasons are reversed. That means December-March is summer and June-September is winter. As with most places, the shoulder season (April-early June or October to mid-December) tend to be when people prefer to visit. The temperatures are more pleasant and it’s not quite as busy. That being said, you are likely visiting Buenos Aires in addition to elsewhere (for me, it was en route to Antarctica!) so it’s easier to plan based on that. There’s no real bad time to visit Buenos Aires.
Is Buenos Aires Expensive?
One of the biggest questions about Buenos Aires is: is it expensive? As a local, probably yes. As a North American or someone who has access to USD not so much. The economy in Argentina right now is all over the place right now and there is actually a special exchange rate for American dollars that will make your money go even further. In fact, when I visited in January of 2022, my USD got me double what the official exchange rate was. This meant that fancy steak dinners at high-end restaurants only cost me about $30 USD including wine and a tip- which is incredible.
So, how do you take advantage of the Blue Rate? You will need to physically bring USD with you. Once you arrive your accommodation will be able to direct you to a money exchange that offers the Blue Rate. Don’t worry, even though it seems a little ‘black market’ it is legitimate. Exchange your USD for Argentinian pesos and then pay with cash everywhere you go.
When I went, some credit cards started offering the blue rate. Specifically, Visa and Mastercard. American Express did not offer the Blue Rate so I would suggest you avoid using it.
Is Buenos Aires Safe?
Before I visited Buenos Aires, I received a lot of warnings about safety. Mostly about petty crime but many people were concerned about me as a solo female traveller in Buenos Aires. Now, I do have a lot of travel experience under my belt but at no point in time did I feel unsafe in Buenos Aires. That being said, I did my research ahead of time and stayed in a safe neighbourhood. I didn’t walk around late at night alone, when locals told me to avoid certain areas, I did. I will say that I was more mindful of my belongings and didn’t walk around with my phone casually in my hand as I do elsewhere else. As with every country and city in the world, common sense goes a long way in Buenos Aires.
Final Thoughts on 3 Days in Buenos Aires
I’ll be honest, I didn’t love Buenos Aires as a tourist. It felt more like a living city to me- somewhere that I would appreciate more if I knew a local that could show me around rather than somewhere with lots of tourist stops. That being said, I am glad to have spent a bit of time there and while it’s not on my list of places I’m dying to go back to, I think it’s worth a visit if you have the opportunity.
Make sure to bring USD to get the best value out of your visit, book any restaurants you have your heart set on in advance, and enjoy your 3 days in Buenos Aires!
A Note on Travel Insurance in Argentina
Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.