One of my favorite things about Buenos Aires is that the city has so many unique neighborhoods (barrios), each with its own style and vibe. Officially the city has 48 separate neighborhoods, with the largest in size and population being the ever-popular Palermo, and the smallest being the oldest part of the city, San Telmo. The area you decide to stay in can make all the difference in your view of the city and if you enjoy your time here. Don’t worry though; every neighborhood is filled with great parrillas where you can enjoy wonderful steak and wine. Here are our recommendations for neighborhoods to stay in in Buenos Aires.
Palermo – Palermo is a large neighborhood filled with beautiful parks and plazas, tree and cafe lined streets, shops, and the best restaurants and nightlife in Buenos Aires. We specifically recommend the areas of Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood. Soho is very active whereas the nearby Hollywood area is calmer and less densely developed, giving it a nice mixture between trendy and traditional. In Palermo we always recommend Home Hotel. Also, if you want to discover the hidden restaurants of the neighborhood make sure to come on our food tour in Palermo!
Recoleta – Recoleta is the best area of the city if you’re looking for luxury and glamour. Whereas Palermo is largely inhabited by younger Porteños, Recoleta is filled with old-money types. My favorite aspect of Recoleta is the incredible French and Italian style architecture that has been carefully maintained and might make you think you are in Europe! Poetry Building is a wonderful option for accommodation in the area, as well as the Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt if you want impeccable service and luxury.
San Telmo – San Telmo is the oldest and most historic part of Buenos Aires. Today the area is a mixture of blue collar Porteños and younger creative people, especially artists and musicians. I would recommend this area if you are more bohemian and are looking for tango, antique shops, beautiful slightly crumbling architecture, and cobblestone streets. Note that this area is a ways away from Palermo and those areas and depending on what part of San Telmo you’re in can be slightly sketchy at nighttime. In any case, at a minimum, visiting San Telmo is a must.
Not recommended – Sadly (in our opinion) many first time visitors to the city select a hotel in the downtown (Microcentro) or Puerto Madero neighborhoods. Both have attractions worth visiting, but have major drawbacks for staying in. The Microcentro is chaotic during the day and dead outside of business hours. Puerto Madero, while very organized and safe, lacks the charm that makes Buenos Aires special.