Non-Touristy Spots You’ve Never Heard Of

March 24, 2024

Join me as I uncover 7 hidden gems in Buenos Aires. Explore secret spots beyond the typical tourist path.

Welcome back to our special series, “Vagabond Shorts.” Think of these as quick, handy episodes – perfect for a travel snack! They’re designed to complement our regular, in-depth travel episodes that you’ve come to love, which I’ll keep delivering every week. So, sit back and enjoy these bite-sized nuggets of travel wisdom, perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle.

Yesterday, we explored the well-trodden paths of Buenos Aires, visiting the seven must-see attractions. They are all spectacular, but let’s be honest, a bit on the touristy side.

So today, we’re taking a different turn, diving deep into the city’s secret spots and hidden gems. The places that don’t always make it into the guidebooks but are adored by locals and in-the-know travellers. So, if you’re craving a taste of the real Buenos Aires, away from the crowded landmarks, you’re in the right place. And as I’m recording this, I’m actually here, and I think it’s safe to say that this is one of my favourite cities in the world.

My name is Palle Bo, and this is The Radio Vagabond… “Buenos Aires Uncovered: Non-Touristy Spots You’ve Never Heard Of”.

First, here are some surprising fun-facts about Buenos Aires that most people don’t not know:

fun-facts about Buenos Aires

Bookworm’s Dream:

Buenos Aires has the highest number of bookshops per capita in the world. And one of these actually made it on to the list, I’m going to give you in a minute.

Broadway Streets:

Avenida 9 de Julio is so wide is the widest avenue in the world, spanning a staggering 140 meters (460 feet), and it has a total of around 22 lanes if you count both the main lanes and the service lanes alongside it. You might need a lunch break to cross it.

Fashionable Monument:

The Obelisco, standing tall at about 67.5 meters (221 feet), made headlines in 2005 when it was covered with a giant pink condom. This event took was part of a campaign to promote awareness about HIV/AIDS and to encourage the use of condoms. Talk about safe monuments!

Pet Paradise:

With pets outnumbering people, it is less concrete jungle, more a furry wonderland. Often you see dog walkers with 8-12 dogs on the streets.

Unexpected National Sport:

It’s ‘pato’, not football (or soccer.) Think polo, but with a twist and fewer sticks.

Psychology Haven:

Buenos Aires has a high number of psychologists per capita, making it a city where visiting a therapist is quite normalized and widespread.

Pink Palace Mystery:

The Casa Rosada’s pink might be cow’s blood. This theory is rooted in historical building practices. In the past, it was not uncommon to mix lime with blood from animals, such as cows, to create a durable paint that could withstand the elements. But if this method was used specifically for the Casa Rosada or if the building’s colour was chosen purely for symbolic or aesthetic reasons remains a topic of discussion.

These facts reveal the quirky, fascinating side of Buenos Aires, a city that’s not only culturally rich but also full of surprises. In a few seconds, let’s dive into the secret non-touristy spots.


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The Cabildo

Picture this: an old-timey, two-story white building standing tall with its clock tower. It’s The Cabildo, a bit overshadowed by its glitzy neighbours but still a treasure trove of Spanish colonial stories. Inside, it’s all about dusty old relics and paintings whispering tales of the past.

Fun fact – it used to be a jail! Now, it’s more hush-hush among artifacts. And the terrace? Perfect for some vintage-style snaps with Plaza de Mayo in the backdrop.

Galería Güemes

Now, meet Galería Güemes, Buenos Aires’ hidden architectural star. It’s an Art Nouveau beauty quietly rivalling the Eiffel Tower. Once the tallest around, stepping in feels like wandering into a 20th-century novel. Picture period elevators, a glass dome, and bronze splendour.

Bonus titbit: “The Little Prince” author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, once called it home. Brave the climb to the 14th floor for a breath-taking view – it’s worth every step.

Parque El Rosedal

Nestled within Buenos Aires, Parque El Rosedal stands as a hidden gem, captivating visitors with its enchanting beauty. As you enter, you’re greeted by a symphony of colors and fragrances from over 18,000 rose bushes, meticulously arranged in stunning patterns.

The air is alive with the gentle hum of bees and the chirping of birds, adding to the park’s tranquil ambiance. Meandering pathways lead you through lush greenery, adorned with sculptures and fountains that evoke a sense of serenity and wonder.

The centrepiece of the park, the Andalusian Patio, transports you to Spain with its intricate tilework and elegant design. Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll, enjoying a picnic by the lake, or simply basking in the beauty of nature, Parque El Rosedal offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. Its hidden charm and breath-taking landscapes make it a beloved oasis for locals and a delightful discovery for visitors seeking a quiet place in the urban jungle

La Casa de los Azulejos

Tucked away in the Retiro neighbourhood, La Casa de los Azulejos (The House of the Tiles) is easy to miss – until it isn’t, and you do a double-take and go, “Wait, was that a house covered in tiles?”  One glance, and you’re whisked away to Milan, because it was actually brought from there. It’s a slice of Italy in Buenos Aires, without the gelato and pasta.

This colourful building offers a perfect backdrop for your next viral photo. It’s a small but mighty testament to the city’s love for the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Places to stay

Before we move on with the list, let’s take a brief detour. If you’re planning your visit, knowing where to stay is key for a safe and immersive experience.

  1. Palermo: A vibrant and trendy area perfect for those who love a lively atmosphere, full of cafes, shops, and nightlife. It’s safe and offers a modern taste of Buenos Aires.
  2. Recoleta: For a more upscale experience, choose Recoleta. It’s safe, rich in history and culture, and close to major cultural sites.
  3. San Telmo: Experience the old charm of Buenos Aires in San Telmo. It’s bohemian, historic, and vibrant, especially during the Sunday market.

Each neighbourhood has its unique charm, ensuring your stay in Buenos Aires is as enchanting as the city itself.

In one of my latest stays, I was in an Airbnb in Palermo. I highly recommend this place, and the host, Ignacio. Say hi from me if you end up staying there.

Parroquia San Ignacio de Loyola

Step into Buenos Aires’ oldest church, just a stone’s throw from Plaza de Mayo. This is no ordinary chapel; it’s a historical giant in disguise. Walking in is like time-traveling to 1686.

The church, draped in old-world charm, offers a serene escape from the city buzz. Its main altar? A 17th-century showstopper. Roaming its sacred halls feels like uncovering a secret chapter of the city’s history, whispered through ancient prayers.

La Bomba de Tiempo

Experience the electrifying rhythms of La Bomba de Tiempo at their weekly show every Monday night at Ciudad Cultural Konex in Buenos Aires. Join the pulsating crowd as drummers take the stage, creating an infectious energy that fills the air.

With vibrant melodies and captivating beats, the audience becomes part of the rhythm-making, dancing, and celebrating in the lively atmosphere. They have been doing this show every Monday since 2006.

You’ll witness a vibrant display of percussion talent with drummers of all ages and backgrounds come together, creating an electrifying atmosphere with their synchronized beats and infectious energy. Each performance is unique, with improvisation playing a key role, to make sure that no two shows are ever the same.

Don’t miss this unforgettable experience of Argentine percussion music at La Bomba de Tiempo’s Monday night extravaganza.

I was there a few weeks ago, and what you hear in the background is recorded there.

Get your tickets on LaBombaDeTiempo.com.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires is a captivating blend of literature and history. What was once a grand theatre, hosting breath-taking performances, has now been transformed into one of the world’s most fascinating bookstores. Walking through its doors is like stepping into a literary wonderland where the magic of literature meets the grandeur of architecture.

With its ornate ceilings, balconies in three layers, and a café on the former stage, it offers a unique experience that celebrates both literature and culture.

Whether you’re a bookworm seeking your next read or a traveller exploring Buenos Aires’ landmarks, a visit to El Ateneo Grand Splendid promises an unforgettable journey through the pages of both past and present.

That’s a wrap on our Buenos Aires off-the-beaten-path tour! These spots are the city’s heart and soul, hidden away from the typical tourist buzz.

Discovered your own hidden gems in Buenos Aires? I’m curious! Share them on my Facebook page or by sending me a message. And if this episode inspired you, why not share the love with other travellers?

My name is Palle Bo, and I gotta keep moving. See you.


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