There are very few words that can do justice to Buenos Aires. Think Paris in South America. The city is nothing short of spectacular–it has a very European vibe, but a completely different culture. Everything is very laidback. Stores often close in the middle of the day without warning. Restaurants very rarely publish their hours of operation on their storefronts. Bank workers and union laborers often go on strike, leaving people to fend for themselves. It is this mix of chaos and class that gives Buenos Aires its unparalleled charm.
Just in terms of neighborhoods, Buenos Aires is extremely diverse. Perhaps the most famous of them all are Recoleta and Palermo. Recoleta is an old, posh barrio, home to the famous Recoleta Cemetery where Eva Peron and other national dignitaries and wealthy citizens are buried. It is also where most of the city’s elite continues to live, and is characterized by old, elegant buildings, and wide, tree-lined avenues. Recoleta is surrounded by the upmarket, young Palermo, and the grungy, cool San Telmo.
Palermo itself is huge: encompassing Alto Palermo, Palermo Botanico, Soho, and Hollywood. Palermo Soho and Hollywood are the trendiest barrios in town, littered with upmarket cafes, sophisticated restaurants, and fancy nightclubs. On any given day, you are bound to see a motley mix of porteños (locals) and tourists throng the cobblestoned streets of this quaint neighborhood. On the other side of Recoleta (beyond Microcentro) is San Telmo, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods of the city, and home to the famous Sunday fair. The fair hosts over 200 vendors, which sell almost everything under the sun. Mate pots, trinkets, paintings, and local food can all be found here. Next to San Telmo is La Boca, which plays host to the stadium for the football team, Boca Juniors. Boca is a touristy, and rather unsafe place to be (after dark). In stark contrast to La Boca is Puerto Madero, one of the newest barrios. Puerto Madro looks like a mix of Manhattan and Venice, with high rise buildings right on the riverfront, filled with a large variety of restaurants and bars, which are bound to dig deep into your pockets.