Like many other big cities in the world, my impression is that the minimum stay should be 7 days to get a complete feeling of Buenos Aires. But as most of the visitors want to also visit other places like Patagonia during their trips, somehow the time dedicated to Buenos Aires is more limited.
So, if you only had 3 days to stay in Buenos Aires, these are my suggestions:
Day 1: Avoid starting by the obvious tourist attractions. The first impression needs to be an authentic one. Take a long walk along the busy Avenida Santa Fé, connecting Retiro, Palermo and Barrio Norte. Stop by the cafés, and sip a “cortado” (local macchiato) watching busy Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) at work. Keep on walking watching people, french architecture buildings and when you get hungry stop by a traditional pizzeria to have quick lunch, you’ll need space in your stomach for Buenos Aires’ main meal (dinner).
Get some rest, and get ready to head to Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood for a drink, dinner and more drinks. If you stay for dinner you can have a glimpse of Buenos Aires’s amazing nightlife, if you stay later for drinks you will absorbed by it…
Day 2: Have breakfast at a cafe near your hotel, any of them will offer tasty “medialunas” (croissants), “tostados” (ham and cheese hot sandwich) and good coffee. Head to the “Microcentro” (city center/financial district). Start in Plaza San Martín, walk by Florida pedestrian street. Then take Reconquista (recently become pedestrian also). See bankers and executives shout, laugh and moan about their daily luck. Sit down at a coffee. Take Corrientes Avenue down to Puerto Madero. Walk by the old peers now become restaurants and expensive office space. Take Sarmiento street and get to San Martín street, turn left and you will be in Plaza de Mayo, sorrounded by the Casa Rosada (presidential building), the Catedral, the Cabildo and other historic buildings. Take Balcarce street and head to San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ old neighborhood. Window shop the hundreds of antique shops, visit its food market, have a beer at the terraces of Plaza Dorrego. Have lunch at one of its traditional parrillas. Get some rest, and on the evening head to Palermo or other “Milonga” places to see real tango dancing.
Day 3: In the first two days you had an ambitious but kind of generic coverage of the best areas of Buenos Aires. The third day is to focus on specific places, on your interests and eventually returning to some of the places you discovered. In the list of recommended places for the third day you may consider:
- Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires Opera house, now re-open after 5 years refurbishment)
- La Boca/Caminito (riverside, working class neighborhood, home to the famous football team)
- MALBA Museum (contemporary art) and Bellas Artes Museum
- Recoleta: walk around the park, visit the cemetery, have a coffee at La Biela
- Take a tango lesson