Coming to a new city can be really overwhelming for the first time. You need to figure out where to live, and how to get around, often before you have even seen the city with your own eyes. I put together this Buenos Aires neighborhood guide to help you get a bit more acquainted with the area, and hopefully make your transition a bit easier. Also, make sure to check out these TIPS for moving to Buenos Aires.
SUMMARY OF PALERMO
Palermo is one of the largest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and is also one of the most popular, especially with foreigners. There are three distinct smaller areas of Palermo: Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Soho, and Palermo Chico. If you attend large group events for foreigners, chances are, they will mostly be here.
VIBE OF PALERMO
Each of the three main sections of Palermo have their own vibe. Palermo Hollywood is slower and laid back. The streets are not busy and there are tons of great cafes and restaurants, leaning more towards the upscale end of things. Palermo Soho is more wild, more busy, more things going on. This is where you’ll find a lot more active night life, club life, bars. The streets are busier in both day and night, but especially at night. A ton of great international cuisine options abound. There are also several colorful alleyways near Plaza Serrano that are great for photos. Palermo Chico is closer to Recoleta, and therefore has a more similar vibe- upscale but chill.
TRANSPORTATION IN PALERMO
The subte line D (green) runs right through the center, along Avenida Santa Fe. The stops that are located within Palermo are: Bulnes, Scalabrini Ortiz, Plaza Italia, Palermo, Mtro. Carranza, and Olleros. Two Mitre Train Lines also pass through Palermo with stops at: 3 de Febrero, Mtro Carranza, and Lisandro de la Torre (next to the park). There are loads of buses that pass through this neighborhood, and the majority of which can be found along Avenida Santa Fe, closer to Plaza Italia.
SHOPPING IN PALERMO
Personally, I think the best shops are near Plaza Serrania and Plaza Armenia, though several clothing shops and boutiques can be found around the majority of the neighborhood’s commercial districts (marked in yellow on Google Maps). There are also weekend markets where you can find a ton of other treasures, including handmade clothing, mate supplies, toys, etc. around the plazas.
PARKS IN PALERMO
Palermo is definitely one of the best spots to be close to good parks. In the northeast section of this hood, you can find massive and sprawling parks called Bosques de Palermo (Palermo forests). They are perfect for a stroll, an afternoon merienda, mate, or a picnic.
The 3 de Febrero Park is large and very well manicured. Inside you can find the Spanish fountain and a rose garden with thousands of roses. This is a great place to bring a blanket, have a picnic, or read under the trees.
The Jardin Japonés is on the smaller side, and costs 416 pesos to enter. It’s very peaceful, and really it is exactly as you would imagine a Japanese Garden to be: red bridges over the water, koi fish, beautiful trees. There is a great restaurant inside the gardens, which serves very authentic Japanese food.
The Eco Parque is one of my favorite parks as it is full of life. This park used to be a zoo, which was shut down in 2017, and now focuses on conservation. However, you can still find many animals inside the park- camel, giraffe, flamingos, guanacos, peacocks, coipu, and TONS of Mara Patagonica- think rabbit with long back legs. There are also 4D events inside the park that discuss birds, streams, etc about BA.
The Carlos Thays Botanical Garden is stunning. It is not a big area, but you can spend a lot of time in here. It’s so peaceful and lush that you forget you’re in a massive city. It’s free to enter and you’ll see several retirees reading the newspaper in the mornings.
EAT & DRINK IN PALERMO
Palermo is a full of great spots to eat, drink, and be merry. I’ll mention a few of my personal favorites here, but it won’t be hard to stumble on many of your own new faves.
Oli Cafe (Palermo Hollywood) is a fantastic spot to drink coffee and read a book, bring your laptop and do some work, or have lunch and chat with a friend. It’s brightly lit with a lot of natural sunlight coming in. The coffee is good, but the pastries are fantastic and super fresh. I recommend the bagel with dill, capers, cream cheese, pickles, and fish.
Le Pain Quotidien is a franchise around the city, however, the brunch is absolutely amazing. You get so much food on the brunch menu which is meant for 2 people, though it could easily serve 3. Great outside patio seating.
Salvaje Bakery is right on the border between Palermo Hollywood and Colegiales. It’s a funky alternative bakery with great food options, fantastic smells, and 90’s rock is king.
Moshu Treehouse (Palermo Soho) is a great cafe/restaurant made with recycled materials, designed to make you feel like you’re inside of a tree. Great brunch options, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Uptown (Palermo Hollywood) is a bar that is inside what is designed to feel like a New York city subway car. A unique experience.
Punch Curry Bar (Palermo Soho) is a South East Asian restaurant with Indian and Thai dishes with REAL spice. I highly recommend the Thai Salad and the Tom Ka Kai soup.
Mercado Soho (Palermo Soho) is a wonderful building full of tons of food and drink options. Very similar to the Mercat Villa Crespo. You and your friends can order in different places, but still enjoy all together at any of the available tables.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN PALERMO
There is actually quite a lot to see and do in Palermo beyond the markets, parks, cafes, and bars.
Museo Evita (Lafinur 2988, B1738ECL CABA) is a small museum, with a few rooms showing Eva Peron’s outfits, early life, and political aspirations. To be honest, the museum leaves a lot to be desired. I was hoping to learn more about her life, but I was left feeling a bit confused. I think it would be better if I knew more about her before going so I could fit all the pieces together. Maybe watch Evita before you! 🙂
Visit the MALBA (Museo de America Latina Bellas Artes). The museum is closed on Tuesdays.
Planetario Galileo Galilei (Av. Sarmiento s/n, C1425 CABA) is a domed planetarium. You need to make online reservations for any event.
The Hipodromo de Palermo (Av. del Libertador 4101, C1426 CABA) is actually quite an interesting place. It’s free to enter, and there are also free bathrooms. There are horse races a few evenings a week. There are some beer kiosks and food trucks on the grounds, and in the evenings it is a really pleasant and interesting experience.
Visit the weekend markets around Plaza Armenia and Plaza Serrano.
Spend a day at the Bosques de Palermo (see Parks above).