Are you visiting Buenos Aires, Argentina and looking for unique experiences and hidden gems to add to your itinerary? Then look no further!
In this post, long-time resident Rebecca is sharing her ten favorite unique hidden gems in Buenos Aires. These are perfect for escaping the crowds at Caminito and the Recoleta Cemetery and exploring some more authentic and less-visited places in Buenos Aires!
You’ll find everything from hidden tango spots to international street art and secret gardens – there are so many things to do in Buenos Aires that you’ve probably never heard of!
Let’s explore the lesser-known hidden gems of Buenos Aires!
Unique Things to do in Buenos Aires, Argentina
#1 Tango Spirit and History in Almagro
At the top of every visitor’s list of what to do in Buenos Aires, Argentina is certainly experiencing the country’s famous tango culture. The Almagro neighborhood is the perfect place to explore the more authentic side!
Almagro is a busy neighborhood only a few subway stops from the city center of Buenos Aires. It has a less polished feel to it than Palermo or Recoleta, and few tourists seem to find their way to Almagro.
However, if you want to get a feel of what life in Buenos Aires is about, then consider a visit to Almagro! Try one of the local restaurants in the area or wander the streets to absorb everyday life in Buenos Aires.
Almagro is a great spot to learn more about tango. On the quiet street Jean Jaures in Almagro, you will find the museum and childhood home of Argentine tango legend, Carlos Gardel.
Down the street from the museum, there is a sidewalk called Pasaje Carlos Gardel. Here you will find traditional bars, tango-inspired street art, and a monument of Carlos Gardel.
Jean Jaures Street also showcases several houses covered in the iconic local way of decorating signs and windows, called fileteado porteño. The houses were made in an initiative to promote and preserve the classic way of decorating in Buenos Aires.
In Almagro, you will find the locally famous landmark, the Abasto Shopping Mall. The Abasto Shopping Mall used to be the central market for wholesale fruit and vegetables. However, today it is a modern shopping mall with clothing stores and a large cinema.
During the day there is no problem walking around Almagro. But if you are going for a tango show in the evening, you might want to be extra careful – and keep your phone and cameras in your bag!
#2 Street Art Tour in Coghlan
Coghlan is a true hidden gem in Buenos Aires for street art lovers!
The neighborhood of Coghlan is located in the northwestern part of Buenos Aires. The area is primarily residential but features an impressive international street art scene.
You can find murals from international street artists such as Mexican artist Quack Zean, American artist Stacey Williams-Ng, and Italian street artist Alice Pasquini – to just name a few!
The biggest and most famous mural in the area is by Argentine street artist Martin Ron. Martin Ron has contributed to many amazing murals around Buenos Aires.
Martin Ron’s mural in Coghlan dates back to 2013. The mural was made in collaboration between the local organization, Buenos Aires Street Art, and the local City Government of Buenos Aires. The mural showcases a young boy with sculpture-like features sitting on one edge of a skateboard and a cut-off head floating over the other edge.
Buenos Aires Street Art Tours offers an interesting guided walking tour around Coghlan where you visit the many amazing murals and hear the stories about them. It’s very affordable and a nice small group! If you don’t feel like doing the tour, you can always hop on the local train or subway and explore Coghlan on your own though you won’t get the history and context.
#3 The Mataderos Market
The Mataderos Market in Buenos Aires is a true hidden gem in the city and the perfect way to experience Argentine folk dance and gaucho culture.
A gaucho is the Argentine equivalent of a cowboy in the U.S. The gaucho culture is a very important part of modern-day Argentina’s cultural and historical heritage, especially in the countryside of Argentina.
At Feria de Mataderos, as the market is called in Spanish, you can find stalls with leather goods, beautifully decorated knives, and, of course, lots of different Argentine mate cups.
Mate is a traditional Argentinian tea-like drink with high levels of caffeine. The mate is closely associated with the gaucho culture, and a culturally important ritual for many people in Argentina today.
The Mataderos market is held in the neighborhood of Mataderos on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Sundays from April to December. In case of bad weather, the market might cancel.
To get to the Matadors Market, you can take the bus, a taxi, or Uber. From the city center, it takes approximately 30 minutes by car. And from Palermo, it takes 45 minutes. By bus, it takes about an hour from both the center and Palermo.
#4 Day Trip to the Local Winery Gamboa
Gamboa Winery is a perfect day trip from Buenos Aires if you love wine – or don’t have time to go to Argentina’s wine capital, Mendoza!
Bodega Gamboa is located in the Campana area of Buenos Aires province. Campana is around 65 miles from the center of Buenos Aires. When you arrive, it feels like you have driven out into the middle of nowhere.
The visit to the winery consists of a small tour of the area. They introduce you to the history of the place and the wine they produce. Afterward, there is a delicious lunch with accompanying wine. The winery only recently opened its doors to the public, and it’s still a well-kept hidden gem in Buenos Aires.
The production of wine from Bodega Gamboa is still limited. So, you have to be lucky to hit a time when they still have some of their wine left. When I visited the place, Gamboa’s wine was sold out. The owners have sought out wineries around Argentina that supply them with high-quality wine.
You can book the visit directly with Bodega Gamboa or with an organized tour including transportation to the winery. If you book the visit yourself, you should bear in mind that you need to arrange a taxi or an Uber to get to and from Campana. There is no public transportation. At the winery, the staff speak limited English. If you book an organized tour, the tour organizers will arrange transport and an English-speaking guide for you.
#5 Buenos Aires’ Most Unique Church
The architecture in Buenos Aires is well-known for its gorgeous mansions and impressive palaces dotted between skyscrapers and building blocks.
However, if you want to experience a unique hidden gem in Buenos Aires’ architectural scene, then add the church Basílica de Maria Auxiliadora y San Carlos to your list!
This church is properly Buenos Aires’ most unique church. With its lolly-pop stripped interior and beautiful details, it can take the breath away from most.
Basílica de Maria Auxiliadora y San Carlos is located in the neighborhood of Almagro. From the city center, you can hop on the subway’s blue A-line to Castro Barros or the red B-line to Medrano and walk to the church.
You can easily visit Basílica de Maria Auxiliadora y San Carlos and the tango part of Almagro on the same day.
#6 Artis Bar in San Telmo
The neighborhood of San Telmo in itself invites mystery and hidden gems. And Artis Bar is no exception!
This bar is located inside what once upon a time was a Jesuit convert. From the outside, it looks like any other restaurant in Buenos Aires. But as you walk through the main house towards the terraces in the back, a whole other experience is revealed before your eyes.
In the back, the terraces on multiple levels are covered with plants and sculptures. It creates the perfect atmosphere for a spectacular hidden gem in Buenos Aires.
The construction dates back to the 1890s. Over time, the building transformed from a convert to a tenement for European immigrants, and then a hotel, and a craft market. Since 2020, the mansion has been the bar and restaurant that you can visit today.
#7 The Hidden Sidewalk in San Telmo, Pasaje de la Defensa
Many travelers visit Defensa Street when in San Telmo. The street is famous for hosting the popular San Telmo Sunday Market. However, most visitors overlook Pasaje de la Defensa, an old sidewalk just off the popular Defensa Street.
Pasaje de la Defensa, or translated Defense Passage, used to be the patio of the Ezeiza family’s mansion in San Telmo. The mansion was built in the 1880s and featured two floors with rooms facing the interior patios.
Today, the patios of the mansion have been turned into a shopping arcade of antique and handcraft shops.
When you visit San Telmo, make time to explore both Artis Bar and Pasaje de la Defensa.
#8 The Secret Gardens in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has not always been the cosmopolitan big city that you experience today. Back in time, many of the neighborhoods used to be on the outskirts of the city featuring large country houses, estancias in Spanish, with beautiful green gardens.
While many of these country houses have been demolished and changed into large apartment or office buildings, some of them remain today.
Around Buenos Aires, you will find some of these old mansions turned into museums of their previous owners. The best thing about these old mansions is that behind their tall walls, they hide beautiful secret gardens.
Close to the city center in the neighborhood of Retiro, you can visit an old mansion, known as the Noel Palace. The mansion is well-preserved and features a beautiful Spanish-inspired garden. It’s a perfect spot to slow down while getting a feeling of what Buenos Aires used to be like.
In Palermo, you can visit the Richard Rojas Museum and explore its beautiful patio and secret garden. The mansion stands with many of the original artifacts from the previous owner, Ricard Rojas, an Argentine journalist.
Head to Belgrano, to check out the Larreta Museum of Spanish Art. Passing through the museum, you will find a beautiful Andalusian patio.
Not many international travelers have heard about these secret gardens in Buenos Aires, so you can be sure to explore these hidden gems in Buenos Aires mostly on your own!
#9 Local Food Court, Patio de los Lecheros
Patio de los Lecheros is a local food court located in the neighborhood of Caballito in Buenos Aires.
The food court has been increasingly popular among locals but still remains a hidden gem for most tourists visiting Buenos Aires.
Translated Patio de los Lecheros means the milkmen’s patio. The area used to be the train station where the milk arrived from the countryside to Buenos Aires. The train station worked until 1961 when it was closed down.
Today, the area has been turned into a colorful food heaven. In Patio de los Lecheros, you can try everything from local Argentine specialties to international classics.
The food court is open Sunday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Check the Instagram for Patio de los Lecheros for any updates or changes.
#10 Bike tour to the Memory Park
The Memory Park is a large public park located by the river banks of Río de La Plata in the northern part of Buenos Aires.
The full name of the park in Spanish is El Parque de la Memoria – Monumento a las Víctimas del Terrorismo de Estado, which translates to the Memory Park – Monument for the Victims of State Terrorism.
The park’s name refers to the state-sponsored terrorism during Argentina’s last military dictatorship. The epoch in Argentina’s history is also frequently referred to as the Dirty War.
Throughout the park, you can experience different artwork and sculptures that tell the story of this dark time in Argentina’s past. The largest and most impactful piece is a wall with engraved names of all the victims.
The military dictatorship in Argentina ended in 1983 after the defeat in the Falkland War (Guerra de las Malvinas in Argentina). However, during most of the 1970s, the military dictatorship illegally kidnapped and detented political opponents. There are always two sides to a story, and up until today the Dirty War still politically divides Argentina.
The Memory Park is an interesting place to visit to learn more about Argentina’s past while enjoying its off-the-beaten-path location by the river.
Rent a bike and take the waterfront path, Costanera, up to the Memory Park. On your way, you will also pass Buenos Aires’ second airport, Aeroparque Jorge Newberry.
About Rebecca Hoffman
Rebecca grew up in Denmark and traveled the world before landing in Buenos Aires for a 6 month stint that turned into 7 wonderful years! You can follow her adventures at Becci Abroad.
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
There are many wonderful options for where to stay in Buenos Aires, but two lovely safe neighborhoods are Palermo and Recoleta. Here are a few top-rated accommodations:
- Fierro Hotel Buenos Aires – Boutique hotel with included breakfast, a pool, spa and more
- Bulnes Eco Suites – Aparthotel with kitchenettes and rooms for up to 4 guests
- Arc Recoleta Boutique Hotel & Spa – Medium-sized hotel in a great location with outdoor breakfast and pool, and rooms for up to 4 guests
- Clayton Buenos Aires – Simple, budget-friendly option for 1 or 2 guests
Before you go…
For a truly unique experience in Buenos Aires, join this wonderful cooking class to learn how to make traditional foods like empanadas and alfajores. I promise it will be an unforgettable afternoon! Or if you’ll continue further south, start planning your trip to the incredible Patagonia region.