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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.
Check out these other Buenos Aires neighborhoods:
Guide to the Best Neighborhoods of Buenos Aires
Almagro & Caballito
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SUMMARY OF SAN TELMO
San Telmo is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires. It runs along the small river/dique that separates San Telmo from Puerto Madero. Because San Telmo is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, it is also one of the best preserved. It’s known for its colonial-style architecture, cobblestone streets, and Sunday market. This is also the neighborhood if you’re looking for antiques.
VIBE OF SAN TELMO
San Telmo has a more hippie/bohemian feel to it. The streets are pretty sleepy during the weekdays, but the area comes alive in the evenings and weekends. Plaza Dorrego is at the heart of the barrio, and the Sunday market, where street performers and live tango can be seen. The San Telmo market is new’ish, and has a lively feel to it, full of veggie and antique vendors, as well as pastry, empanada, and asado restaurants.
TRANSPORTATION IN SAN TELMO
Unfortunately, there is no subte that passes through San Telmo. However, there are several bus lines, most of which go along Avenida Colon. The closest subte stations are Independencia (line C) to the west, Belgrano (line E) and Plaza de Mayo to the north (line A). Avenida Colon is currently under construction to add more bus lanes, so in a few months from now, transportation in the area will get a lot easier and more convenient.
SHOPPING IN SAN TELMO
The best shopping is at the Sunday markets, at Feria San Telmo. Starting from Plaza Dorrego and down Calle Defensa for several blocks, are market stands where you can get anything from band T-shirts, mate equipment, paintings, knives, etc. There is also a much smaller market on Saturdays in Plaza Dorrego.
There is also a great second-hand shop just one block from Plaza Dorrego, called Mercado Argentino Vintage.
SACH San Telmo is a cute little corner store where you can find unique pieces made by local artists.
There are a few hidden patio courtyards in San Telmo, Buenos Aires. Once mansions, and now centers for artisan products and souvenirs. I recommend checking out Casa Ezeiza, which was once the mansion of the Ezeiza family, for which the international airport is named after.
PARKS IN SAN TELMO
Parque Lezama sits at the most southern tip of San Telmo. It’s a large green space, with a few benches around. But mostly you’ll find Argentines hanging out on the grass, drinking mate, and smoking cigarettes. This is the only real park in San Telmo, and it is a great spot to take a rest in the sun or the shade.
SAN TELMO EAT & DRINK
NICA 933 is a cute little spot right in the center of the neighborhood on Calle Bolivar. It’s also woman owned, which I love to support. They have weekly lunch promos and a great sandwich, salad, and cafe menu. The best part? They have bagels. The worst part? The table-bench height ratio is a bit awkward for eating. I suggest sitting either outside, or at a regular table that is not along the wall.
La Poesia is a traditional cafe (“bar Notable”) in San Telmo serving both the standard cafe con leche/media lunas combo, as well as lunch and dinner. They open early and close late. There is also a nice little side patio where you can sit outside on the street.
Bar El Federal is another one of Buenos Aires’ ‘bares notables,’ and is still in its original condition with dark wooden walls, old photographs, and fantastic Spanish tortilla.
Atis Bar is like a massive secret garden in the middle of San Telmo. It used to be a nun’s convent in the late 1800’s. It was then transformed into a residencia de inmigrantes after a yellow fever epidemic. It is now a beautiful restaurant and bar with both inside and outside seating, and over 500 plants. It is absolutely incredible. Just make sure to go early and know the wait for a table can be long.
Casa Telma is a super cute cafe just across the street from the Mercado de San Telmo. It gets very crowded on weekends, with a line out the door, but during the week it’s the perfect spot to grab a coffee and get some work done. It smells like freshly baked bread.
If you’re looking for real Mexican food, look no further than Che Taco. This is easily the best Mexican food in the entire city. You can find actual spicy sauces here, along with micheladas, huaraches, sopes, and burritos. Worth the stop.
If you’re looking for a fantastic parrilla, look no further than Hierro Parrilla San Telmo, located in the center of the Mercado San Telmo. There is one counter top at the bar, and a couple other picnic tables in their section of the market. I’ve been now several times, tried different items, and was never disappointed.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE IN SAN TELMO
Mitos Argentinos is a fantastic place to see live music from bands who play Rock Nacional. This spot has been around for nearly 30 years and is still going strong. A must-do if you like live music.
La Casa Minima is a tiny apartment with a green door and a myth that this home was given to a newly free enslaved person. You can book tours for both La Casa Minima and the Zanjon, which is a mysterious passage of tunnels underneath the city, at the same place. They have tours in both English and Spanish. I haven’t been to the Casa Minima, but the Zanjon tour is fantastic.
San Telmo has a great modern art museum, Museo Moderno, that has multiple floors and several gallery spaces, highlighting contemporary Argentine artists from the past several decades. It is free on Wednesdays.
Also check out the very unique Argentinian Puppet Museum. It is only open on weekends, but if you can stop by, it’ll be worth your money.
Museo Histórico Nacional is a totally free museum explaining the story of Argentina came to be- its independence from Spain, and several other battles that took place here. All the information is in Spanish.
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