Buenos Aires, the other side of the summer

By Sergio González | 10:13
Plaza de Mayo, BA

Plaza de Mayo, the heart of Argentina

Buenos Aires (literally fresh, good airs) has always been the city with the thousand names. It’s such a nice place, it seems everybody wants to make it feel like home by adding their own touch.

The first name was to given by its founder, Pedro de Mendoza, around 1536. ‘City of Our Lady of the Fair Winds’ (Ciudad de Nuestra Señora de Santa María del Buen Aire, in Spanish) was the simple and uncomplicated name chosen by this pious conquistador, devout of the Virgin with the same name, known for favoring sailors.

Few years later, indigenous people drove Mendoza away but another settlement was built over by Juan de Garay in 1580, who added ‘Holy Trinity’ and ‘port’ to the name, as the city lies at the mouth of Río de la Plata. From all these over-the-top names, locals stuck to just Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentineans agreed to call them porteños (from-the-port).

Porteños are practical people and trade was and is their way into success. One of the greatest trading ports in South America even before Argentina’s independence, the city is a cosmopolite top destination in the continent, top one for Condé Nast. Needless to say, being the new Pope’s home town will boom its tourist ratings sooner than later.

‘Alpha city’ is the last name given to Buenos Aires so far, a powerful nickname granted by GaWC globalization study.

Buenos Aires is often compared to Washington DC due to both cities liking neoclassical buildings. This city was built as beacons of Enlightenment democracy and going Ancient Greek seemed right. Examples of these are BA Metropolitan Cathedral or the Argentinean Washington Monument, the Obelisk. Funny thing is ‘El Obelisco’ is placed at the center of Buenos Aires’ vibrant nightlife and full of LED lights so it’s rather a sort of Times Square. The only link with politics is that ‘El Obelisco’ celebrates the 4th anniversary of city’s foundation.

Anyway, both federal capitals share another thing: none of them belong to any state of the union, they are completely independent cities. And both presidents live in colored houses, plain white for Washington and fabulous pink for BA, La Casa Rosada.

The Obelisk

‘El Obelisco’ (the Obelisk): Washington Monument in Times Square?


The Pink House

The Pink House, home of Argentina’s President

NH 9 de Julio is a four-star accommodation hotel in the very heart of Buenos Aires a few steps away from El Obelisco, at 9 de Julio Avenue, the world’s widest avenue (0,6 miles). The hotel is the perfect base to explore the cityscape and major museums. Rated 87 points out 100 by Tripadvisor travelers, it has been awarded the Certificate of Excellence 2013 as well. ‘I Absolutely LOVED the NH’ or ‘great value and centric hotel’ are the comments that put NH 9 de Julio as a reference of quality accommodation in Buenos Aires.

As Buenos Aires developed during the 19th century, waves of Europeans arrived and it began to be known as the Southern Paris, a nickname it earned because of its thriving cultural offer and Old-Continent like architecture. Don’t miss a visit to colorful La Boca district, mainly populated by Italians and the best place to do some shopping and have a coffee or the extra bitter local tea, ‘mate‘, if you dare.

La Boca District

La Boca District, the lively bohemian neighborhood in BA

If we look just at performing arts, Buenos Aires is the city in the world with most theaters, 156, according to local newspaper La Nación (in Spanish). New York’s Broadway -both, regular and off– 135. The third one, London, is far from these two with ‘barely’ 62 theatre locations. 

Teatro Colón (Columbus Theatre) is Buenos Aires opera house and considered among the top five concert halls in the world due to its perfect acoustic.

The coolest things to do in Buenos Aires are just the same you would do in any European capital: monument sightseeing, local food and drink sipping, some shopping…and obviously tango, why not hit a tango club in Buenos Aires? If you want to practice some Spanish and shake your hips, do it Argentina’s style. Besides, porteños are also famous for having interesting conversation -regardless the fact that it is consider one of the sexiest Spanish accents- so no biggie if you are not in the mood for dancing.

 Btw, if you’re up for a life-changing trip, the original route of The Pan-American Highway ends in Buenos Aires.

Photo credit: Luis Argerich

Photo credit:anahitxt

Photo credit: jerzystrzelecki

Photo credit: David Baggins



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