There is nowhere quite like Buenos Aires. The cosmopolitan capital of Argentina is an incredible mix of influences, architectural styles, history, and modernity that has so much to offer travelers. While Buenos Aires is best known for steak, red wine, and tango, you’ll find as you create your Buenos Aires itinerary that this city is much more than its strongest stereotypes.
After living here for several months, I still think there is so much more of Buenos Aires to enjoy. Two days in Buenos Aires won’t be enough to experience all the city has to offer, but it’s a great start.
In this ultimate itinerary for 2 days in Buenos Aires, I’m sharing all the best places to eat, neighborhoods to explore, activities and tours to choose from, and destinations to discover here. Let’s dive in and start planning your ultimate Buenos Aires itinerary.
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What to See in Buenos Aires in 2 Days
No matter how long you have to spend in Buenos Aires, there are a few destinations and areas you should make sure you visit and explore. Here is what you can’t miss, and the very best things to do in Buenos Aires:
- Recoleta Cemetary
- Plaza de Mayo and Casa Rosada
- The Palermo Neighborhood
- Feria de San Telmo – the San Telmo Market
These destinations are some of the first that come to mind when thinking of Buenos Aires. A good mix of landmarks, like La Casa Rosada – Argentina’s Presidential Palace, and areas to explore, like the cool Palermo neighborhood, this list should be a good mix for a well-rounded trip.
Is 2 Days Enough For Buenos Aires?
Two days in Buenos Aires isn’t enough to see everything, but it’s enough to hit the major destinations without being too overwhelmed. Generally, to see the whole city and not feel too rushed, I’d recommend about three or four days in Buenos Aires.
With just one full day in Buenos Aires, you could certainly see all of the must-visit attractions and destinations I listed above (hurriedly!).
With two days, you’ll have a bit more time to enjoy these spots and can add in some off-the-beaten-path destinations in Buenos Aires as well.
Buenos Aires Tours
With such a short time to spend in Buenos Aires, you may want to consider booking a tour or guided excursion in order to see and experience all the best the city has to offer.
You’ll find everything from hop-on hop-off tour buses to free walking tours and experiences like tango shows and cooking classes.
These are some of the Buenos Aires tours you may want to consider for your itinerary:
- Free Walking Tour of Buenos Aires: El Centro and Casa Rosada
- Highlights of Buenos Aires Small Group Tour
- Graffiti and Street Art Walking Tour of the Palermo neighborhood
- Carlos Gardel Tango Show and Dinner
Even if you have a bit longer to spend in Buenos Aires, there is so much to see and do around the city that booking a day trip or excursion may be the perfect addition to your trip.
These are some of the most popular day trips and excursions from Buenos Aires, worth considering as an addition to your itinerary:
Where to Stay in Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is filled with interesting and unique neighborhoods, each with very distinct “attitudes” which makes for a lot to explore and discover. This poses a good problem for visitors – it can be hard to choose from all the great options for where to stay!
If you’re in Buenos Aires for just a few days and looking for a safe, conveniently-located neighborhood as you consider where to stay in Buenos Aires, we recommend choosing to stay in one of these neighborhoods: Palermo, Recoleta, San Telmo, or El Centro.
In any of these four neighborhoods, you’ll find some great options – at different price points! – for excellent hotels and hostels.
While you should definitely check out our guide to where to stay in Buenos Aires before you book, these are our absolute favorite options for hotels and hostels in the city:
- Circus Hostel & Hotel ($)
- Selina Palermo ($ – $$)
- Shoshana Apart Hotel ($$)
- Mine Boutique Hotel ($$ – $$$)
- Alvear Art Hotel ($$$)
Two Days in Buenos Aires
In this two days in Buenos Aires itinerary, we’ve added the very best the city has to offer. You’ll find a few suggestions and ways to personalize this Buenos Aires itinerary to your interests as you go.
Feel free to switch up the order of the itinerary days – you’ll likely want to make sure you’re saving the second day with visits to the park for the day with the best weather during your trip.
Day One in Buenos Aires
Visit a Cafe
Buenos Aires has a killer cafe culture – the best I’ve found in Latin America. Here you’ll find people hanging out for hours in cafes with friends and family, enjoying a coffee, breakfast, and great conversation. If you love coffee and could spend hours in a cafe (me!), then Buenos Aires is your kind of place.
Start your first day in Buenos Aires the Argentine way and enjoy a breakfast of medialunas (croissants made with fat or butter – the ubiquitous Argentine staple) and cafe con leche.
Looking for some of the best cafes in Buenos Aires? Here are some favorites:
- Havanna (a famous chain of coffeeshops you’ll find around the city, best known for their alfajores)
- Full City Coffee House in Palermo
- Cafe Tortoni in El Centro, a historic Buenos Aires cafe
- Cafe Rivas in San Telmo
Explore Feria de San Telmo
From breakfast, head right to the Feria de San Telmo – the San Telmo Market. This famous market is one of the best markets in Latin America and an incredible opportunity for people-watching, shopping, and tasting local foods.
If you’re visiting Buenos Aires on a Sunday, you’re in luck – the San Telmo Market takes over Calle Defensa with hundreds of stalls selling everything under the sun, especially antiques, souvenirs, and food.
Not traveling during the weekend? The market is open in Plaza Dorrego on Tuesday through Sunday, though it only spills into Calle Defensa on Sundays. Any time of the week, it’s well worth a visit!
Visiting the Feria de San Telmo is also a great chance to explore the San Telmo neighborhood. This historic neighborhood has had a fantastic restoration and resurgence in recent years, and is now a popular spot for restaurants and cafes, well worth considering when choosing where to stay in Buenos Aires.
Visit Historic Buenos Aires Highlights
From the Feria de San Telmo, head a few blocks north to the heart of Buenos Aires that is Plaza de Mayo. Around this central plaza – an important spot in countless chapters of Argentina’s history – you’ll find some of the city’s most emblematic buildings.
Plaza de Mayo
Facing the Casa Rosada, Plaza de Mayo is an important gathering place for the nation. Here you’ll find frequent protests, celebrations, street performances, and much more. It’s also a great spot for people watching.
Argentina’s Presidential Palace is perhaps the most unique you’ll find anywhere, with its shocking rose hue. Admire it from the front, or, take a free guided tour by registering online for a spot – the tours are fascinating, and the rooms lavish.
The original Buenos Aires town hall used in administering the Spanish colony, the Cabildo has a unique exterior. Visitors can take a guided tour for just 15 pesos (though I recommend the tour at the Casa Rosada instead!), and the building is open from Tuesday through Sunday.
The principal cathedral in Buenos Aires rose to global importance when Pope Francis assumed the papacy – this is where he led mass for years as the city’s Archbishop. The interior is beautiful, and with free entrance, visiting is a must.
From El Centro, head up towards the Recoleta neighborhood, the grand dame of Buenos Aires, filled with the ornate and historic buildings Argentina’s wealthy have called home.
You’ll enjoy exploring this neighborhood more, but Recoleta’s most famous attraction is its cemetery, the final resting place of many famous Argentines.
Check out the map at the front of the cemetery entrance that notes where to find the tombs of such famous residents as Eva Perón, Juan Manuel de Rosas, Silvina Ocampo, and dozens of Argentine former presidents and first ladies.
Take your time exploring this fascinating destination – don’t just run from one famous tomb to another. You’ll find many ornate tombs with incredible sculptures and statues, alongside spooky and nearly abandoned mausoleums with broken windows.
Continue on from Recoleta to the buzzy Palermo neighborhood to the west. This is the indisputable place to be in Buenos Aires, well worth a visit to explore the newest, best (and coolest!) the city has to offer.
Restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes line every street of this large neighborhood, with the most lively center being the Palermo Soho area, and the streets surrounding the Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia.
You’ll find countless great options for dinner here, though I always recommend checking out the famed Buenos Aires foodie blog Pick Up The Fork to help you decide where to eat. These are some of my favorites:
- La Cabrera for delicious steaks and red wine, in a welcoming, unfussy environment
- Pain et Vin for excellent wine tastings, plus cheese and delicious sandwiches – what a pairing!
- Siamo Nel Forno for delicious Neopolitan-style pizza
- La Mar for upscale Peruvian fusion food, and insane ceviche
Tango at La Catedral
End the night by visiting La Catedral – this eclectic club offers free, informal tango lessons nightly, and the chance to practice until the wee hours of the morning.
The vibe is quite bohemian and low-key, and this can be an awesome way to get a local experience, meet Argentines, and venture a bit off the beaten path.
Not interested in learning how to tango for yourself? Instead of visiting La Catedral, head to the world-famous Carlos Gardel Tango Show and Dinner – this tango show and dinner is a fascinating way to experience the best of Argentina’s tango and delicious cuisine, all at once.
Day Two in Buenos Aires
Visit La Boca – Not Just El Caminito
You’ve surely seen the pictures of El Caminito – the colorful cobblestones streets lined with buildings painted technicolor. It’s emblematic of Buenos Aires, and a destination on the top of any visitor’s list when visiting Buenos Aires.
I’ll admit, El Caminito is a bit touristy for my taste. You’ll find plenty of tacky souvenir shops and dancers in the streets performing tango for visitors. However touristy, I don’t think you want to skip it, so I’ve added it to this itinerary as a way to start your second day in Buenos Aires.
If you visit El Caminito, make sure you don’t plan on eating here – prices are high and food isn’t great.
Also, the area can attract pickpockets at times, so make sure you’re using s-biners to clip zippers shut on backpacks, and keep purses close at all times.
My best piece of advice for visiting El Caminito? Don’t just visit these few blocks of the La Boca neighborhood then head home. Check out these spots in La Boca as well.
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If you’re a museum lover, check out PROA, one of the best museums in Buenos Aires, at the start of Caminito for incredible permanent and rotating exhibits of modern art.
Even if you aren’t, the library and cafe are worth a visit, if for nothing more than seeing the incredible modern architecture of the building, and the view over the neighborhood.
The Boca Juniors Fútbol stadium is one of the most important spots in Argentine fútbol history and a symbol of Buenos Aires.
Make sure to visit the small but impressive museum inside – book your skip-the-line ticket to the museum and stadium tour online before you visit to see the best of the stadium. Even if you don’t make it inside for the museum and tour, just seeing it from the outside is impressive.
While there is plenty to see in La Boca, it generally is not known as the safest neighborhood in the city, so take this into consideration when visiting. However, if you walk with purpose and keep your eyes open and alert you’ll be fine.
Explore Puerto Madero
From La Boca, head a few blocks north to explore the neighborhood of Puerto Madero. This port used to be rundown and quite seedy, but reinvestment over the past few decades has turned this area into one of the city’s nicest and most upscale barrios.
You’ll find an array of shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars lining the port area, offering a variety of international and local foods.
This is also one of the upscale areas to party when night falls – add this to your itinerary if you like to make the most of the evening!
Puerto Madero is also home to several old ships, now “buque museos,” or, “boat museums” that you can visit to learn about Argentine naval history. Or, to simply appreciate these lovely vessels.
You’ll also get to walk across the stunning Puente de la Mujer – the “bridge of the woman.” This ultra-modern and sleek pedestrian bridge is a symbol of modern Buenos Aires. Lovely during the daytime, it’s even more impressive when lit up at night.
Marvel at Teatro Colón
The Teatro Colón Opera House in Buenos Aires is considered one of the best and most beautiful opera houses in the world. Taking a guided tour is a highlight of visiting Buenos Aires that I don’t recommend passing up. Tours are well-done and engaging, even if you’re not an opera or architecture fan.
Spend an hour marveling at this beautiful building as you learn more about Argentina’s past as one of the most important and wealthy spots in the Americas.
There are guided tours of the theater every day, though the only tours in English start daily at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Book your ticket online if you have a specific tour time in mind.
Stroll Through the Parks in Recoleta
After your tour at the Teatro Colón, head back towards the Recoleta and Palermo neighborhoods to explore some of the famous parks Buenos Aires is known for. There is a cluster of beautiful parks wedged between the River Plate and these two lovely neighborhoods you won’t want to miss. These specific parks are some of the most impressive in the city.
Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays
The free Botanical Garden is easily the best in Buenos Aires, and feels like a breath of fresh air amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
The garden features a variety of different areas with French, English, Asian, and Argentine influences, as well as five lovely greenhouses, and a manor house with temporary art exhibits and performances.
The Jardín Japonés is a Japanese-inspired garden complete with beautiful bridges and walking paths, ponds with fish, gazebos, and statues that all pay homage to Japan. A visit is particularly recommended in the springtime to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
The Rosedal is a beautiful area of the “Bosques de Palermo” park, filled with an incredible variety of roses. There are beautiful walkways along the ponds, an ornate lovers’ bridge, and an area with busts of famous Argentine writers and artists.
Visit the MALBA
If you’re a museum lover or cinephile, you’ll love the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires – the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art. This large museum has fascinating permanent exhibits, and rotating shows from famous international artists like Yayoi Kusama with her Obliteration Room.
Not a museum person? No problem! You’ll have plenty of exploring to do in the Palermo and Recoleta neighborhoods around the museum.
Stop at Freddo for ice cream, drop into a cafe for some alfajores, or marvel at the mansions in Recoleta.
Enjoy a Classic Argentine Steak
You can’t visit Buenos Aires without a meal at a steakhouse, though I’ll let you off the hook if you’re a vegetarian.
While steakhouse menus can be a bit hard to decipher in Argentina if you aren’t up on all the terminology in Spanish, the bife de chorizo (sirloin) and ojo de bife (ribeye) are usually the best bets. Of course, wash it down with some Malbec from the vineyards in Mendoza.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.