Usually when you come to a city, you get to know the city first, make a life, and then with time, make friends. For me in Cordoba, the experience was the opposite. I already had a good friend here, which is the reason I came to Cordoba, and he opened his world of friends to me. So after several weeks of parties, dinners, asados with the new friends I was getting to know, I realized I didn’t know that much about the actual city of Cordoba Capital. In an effort to get to know the city better, I decided to use my resources, and ask my local friends their favorite spots in Cordoba: Favorite restaurants, bars, cultural attractions. Anything. Then armed with these local suggestions, I set off to learn about this city I barely knew.
In a somewhat ordered fashion, here are the suggestions I received, plus a few more:
PLAZA DE SAN MARTIN:
This plaza is right in the center of the city. It was founded by the Spanish in 1577, planned out perfectly to be in the center of the 70 block gridded city. The two most important buildings were to be located here as well: The Catedral (religious power), and the Cabildo (political power). In the center of the plaza is a giant bronze statue of José de San Martín, which was built in 1916.
LA CATEDRAL DE CORDOBA:
This cathedral, built in 1582, faces Plaza San Martin, but wasn’t officially consecrated until 1706, and not fully completed until the late 1700’s. The inside of the church is exactly what you would expect for a Catholic cathedral: lots of gold, painted ceilings, statues of Jesus, and rows of pews. On the pedestrian path in front of the cathedral, is a brick design that mirrors directly the facade of the cathedral. The cathedral is open most days, and you can wander in. You’ll need to get a specialized tour if you want to go to the top of the building.
The Cabildos in Argentina were originally built as political houses during the Spanish colonization, and are now mainly used as historical museums of the city. The Cabildo in Cordoba is no exception to that rule. The courtyard of the space is also used for various events in the city. In the museum of the Cabildo, you can find tools used by the Indigenous people who lived here before the Spanish arrived, old maps of the city, and relics of the time of high immigration from Europe, such as barber chairs, beds, and old freezers. Like the cathedral, the Cabildo faces Plaza San Martin and the facade of the building can be seen mirrored in the street. You can catch a tour (in Spanish) at 10:30, 11:30, or 12:30 Monday – Friday. The entrance is on the side of the building, in the alleyway.
IGLESIA DEL SAGRADO CORAZON (Capuchino):
This is a Franciscan church, whose construction was completed in 1934, in a neo-gothic European style, complete with spires on the roof, and several religious figure statues covering the face of the church. At night, the church is lit up brightly, and sits across the street from Buen Pastor, where a number of nightclubs and restaurants are located. You’ll see this area covered with teens drinking mate in the evenings.
MUSEO DE LAS MUJERES:
This museum is exactly what it sounds like. Art created by women. Exploratory, anti-racist, feminist works. The day I went there were several interesting projections and embroidered works. The entrance was free, and I was there less than 30 minutes, but I really enjoyed it and would recommend it. It’s only a 5-minute walk from Plaza San Martin.
PASEO DE LAS ARTES:
During the day, this massive giant building looks abandoned. But on the weekend evenings, it comes alive. There is a massive feria the covers several streets surrounding the building. You can find anything here from jewelry to plants to books to vintage records. My personal favorite stand is the Secret Spot, with handmade 5-panel hats, each one completely unique (IG: secretspot_fivepanels).
What was once a 35-bedroom home for the Ferreyra Family (whoever they are), it is now the Evita Superior Museum of Fine Arts. The bottom floor is mostly landscape and portrait oil paintings from the 17th-18th century. Upstairs is a bit more contemporary, with several rooms along the terrace, showing paintings of travel and other sculptures. The museum was free the day I went, but I believe the entrance is generally 15 pesos. I did enjoy this museum.
This museum is located just on the edge of Parque Sarmiento, and about a 2-minute walk from Palacio Ferreyra. The museum has a constant rotation for contemporary exhibitions. The museum has several floors and many rooms and hallways on each floor. I quite enjoyed this museum. The entrance was 250 pesos.
PLAZA DEL BICENTENARIO:
This is a small corner park with 201 oversized, and brightly colored rings, reminding me of the Olympics. Each ring has a date on it, with a corresponding piece of Argentine history from that year. It is just across the street from Museo Caraffa, on the edge of Parque Sarmiento.
This is a massive park of 43 acres. Inside the park you can find a rose garden, a zoo, lakes, several small cafes dotted around the edges, food trucks, large green expanses, and walking trails. You can find lots of people doing exercise here.
LA RUEDA EIFFEL:
On the north side of Parque Sarmiento, you can find the remains of the Eiffel Wheel. Yes, that Eiffel. The same guy who built the tower in France. There is a small park around the wheel, but it is completely closed off to the public with a high fence surrounding it. Once upon a time, when it was in use, the wheel took 20 minutes to make a complete turn. Cordoba bought the wheel from Tucuman in 1918 but just one year later it was facing several structural issues. Throughout the next decade, several attempts were made to repair this wheel, though ultimately futile. There is a small path formed around the perimeter of the fence. You can walk around it to try to get a closer look behind the chain-linked fence.
This is a great cafe/restaurant/bar that sits on the edge of Sarmiento Park. I went during the day and had a fresh juice, though as I walked by the other tables, I could see all the lunch dishes looking particularly amazing. The outdoor atmosphere is really cozy. At night, it must be like a dream, with strings of light hung across the open spaces between trees. I definitely recommend this spot for a delicious lunch, a romantic date, or a great spot for drinks in the evenings.
This is a food truck for choripan, just across the street from Santa Calma, and in the corner of Parque Sarmiento. I was told it is the best choripan in Cordoba. While I’m not a choripan connoisseur, it was truly delicious. It was massive. Plus they had a ton of options for extras on top: salsa criolla, onions, tomatoes, carrots, etc. There are a few benches just next to the truck, so you should easily be able to find a place to sit and enjoy your choripan.
There are actually two locations- one in Guemes, one in General Paz- and both are incredibly cute. The decorations and ambience are really cozy, and the food is delicious. I definitely recommend for breakfast or brunch. I had an eggs benedict on a croissant one time, and a salmon lox sandwich the other. I haven’t been disappointed one single time that I’ve gone here. The Guemes location is in a small alley off a main street, so it’s quiet back there. Thinking about it right now makes me want to go back.
This was recommended to me for the drinks, but when I went in the evening I couldn’t get in as a reservation is needed. So I went back another day for lunch. A reservation was also needed to sit outside, but I was able to get a table inside with no problem. The servings are quite small, more like tapa size, so I do recommend getting a few different things to try. It is a little on the pricey side, but worth it when you want to treat yourself. When I told my friend I was at a restaurant that abbreviates itself to STD69, she told me not to order the crabs. Solid advice.
LA COCINA DE FAZZIO:
If I had to describe this place in one word, it would be WILD. It’s like a midday party. Oh yeah and there’s seafood too. The place pumps up the music for the lunch crowd (only open for lunch), and intermittently turns up the volume for a few seconds at a time, and all the eaters clap and cheer. Then the volume goes back down and they continue as if it were a normal afternoon. This place is famous for seafood, and it does not disappoint. It’s a bit pricey, but worth it for the experience. It’s just inside the Mercado Norte. Go in the main entrance and turn right. You’ll see it.
While you’re waiting for your name to be called at Fazzio’s, take a quick stroll around the market. Though probably not suitable for vegans or vegetarians. There are aisles and shops serving cheese, ham, sausage, veggies, etc. But along the aisles, you will also see entire pigs hanging from their feet. Definitely an interesting cultural experience, and a popular place for locals to get their meats.
FERNET & COCA COLA:
Fernet is an alcohol originally from Italy, though it has become extremely popularized in Argentina when drunk with Coca Cola. The Fernet & Coca origin story begins here in Cordoba, with the university students in the 1980’s. Apparently 75% of global consumption of Fernet is here in Argentina. If you come to Cordoba, nearly every Cordobes will ask if you have tried it. So you should probably just try it so you don’t have to hear them crying if you say no.