We asked Chef Concierge Sandra Ferrarese of Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Hotel. A blend of European sophistication and Latin American excitement, this capital city offers travellers an authentic cultural adventure.
Get a sense of the city’s European influences by walking Alvear Avenue to see some of the French and Italian architecture that resides here. One of the finest examples of a Beaux Arts building is La Mansión, which is part of the Hotel; for an even closer look, stay in one of its seven suites.
One of the city’s best-kept secrets is that it’s a serious destination for art lovers. Malba is a contemporary museum showcasing Latin American art from masters such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes has well-known international names such as Rodin and van Gogh, and Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, housed in a Neoclassical mansion, is devoted to decorative arts. If you’re looking for Argentinean art, visit the Amalie Lacroze de Fortabat museum in Puerto Madero.
Try a class at one of several tango schools, and show off your newly acquired steps by heading to a milonga, a tango nightclub that evokes an elegant 1930s ballroom. Some milongas also offer lessons before they open; La Viruta Tango and Salon Canning are two of the most popular with locals. If you’d rather watch the tango than dance it, performances at Rojo Tango or Café de los Angelitos are among the best in town.
Many of the city’s distinct neighbourhoods offer unique shopping experiences. Recoleta is rife with stores selling Argentina’s famous leather goods, as well as big-name international brands such as Louis Vuitton. Eclectic San Telmo is a treasure trove of antique shops and open-air markets, while hip Palermo Soho is lined with dozens of boutiques selling clothes, jewellery and accessories by young and trendy designers.
Take in beautiful scenery during a jog through the Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur, whose boundaries enclose more than 200 bird species, four lakes and giant cortaderias (a large native grass plant). You can also discover Buenos Aires by bicycle; bilingual guides (fluent in English and Spanish) will introduce you to the city’s best spots, from the Plaza de Mayo to the eclectic neighbourhoods of Palermo and Recoleta.
Thanks to a thriving wine industry, porteños (as the locals are known) have discovered the beauty benefits of using vino in spa treatments. Try it for yourself at the Hotel’s intimate Spa, where the signature Porteño Tango treatment uses grape oil and red wine to hydrate, relax and recharge your skin while tango music plays in the background.
Whether you’re an opera lover or a novice, don’t miss a visit to Teatro Colón, one of the best places in the world to experience this magnificent art. The intimate opera house boasts dynamic acoustics and a visually stunning interior, with frescoed ceilings, ornate chandeliers and gilded balconies.
Oenophiles and teetotallers alike can enjoy Argentina’s signature drinks. The non-alcoholic Pakmahi is made with grapes, green apple and fennel, while the Pomelazo combines Absolut Apeach, grapefruit juice, grenadine and preserved oranges. Both are available at the Hotel’s Pony Line Bar.
Gourmets visiting Buenos Aires won’t be disappointed by the local specialties: succulent steaks with spicy chimichurri; empanadas stuffed with cheese, vegetables or meat; and rich Malbec wines. For a sweet ending, try helado, a soft gelato-like ice cream, or dulce de leche alfajores, a chocolate-covered cookie filled with dulce de leche sauce.