Introduction

The metropolitan zone of Buenos Aires is a sprawling area covering some 3 ½ square miles (4.8 sq km). From the sophisticated modern streets of Puerto Madero to the historic area of the microcentro to the trendy suburb of Palermo Soho, it is often confusing to know exactly where to base yourself when visiting the city. We explore the city’s eclectic suburbs and offer an insight into the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Recoleta

Recoleta is an affluent neighborhood and home to some of the most expensive real estate in the city. Beautiful neoclassical architecture adorns its streets, where striking mansions turned fancy hotels and elegant residential apartments astonish you at every turn. With its chic style and strong European influence, it is no wonder that Recoleta earns the name ‘The Paris of the South.’ With a substantial selection of fine hotels and within proximity to plentiful restaurants, boutique shops and relaxing cafés, Recoleta is considered one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Hotels: Alvear Palace Hotel & Hotel Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt.
Insider Hotel Recommendation: Algadon Mansion – A smaller luxury boutique hotel, with excellent service and more reasonable pricing. Located within walking distance of restaurants and shopping.

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Excellent (mid to higher-end)
For Restaurants: Good.
Attractions: Recoleta Cemetery, Floralis Generica, National Art Museum
Our Rating: 10/10 (An all-round excellent option)

Recoleta Neighborhood – French Architecture

Puerto Madero

Once the working port area of Buenos Aires, Puerto Madero has been transformed into one of the city’s most affluent and desirable neighborhoods. Wide avenues with newly constructed buildings, towering office blocks and stylish apartments reflect the changing and modern face of Buenos Aires. The waterfront boasts an enormous array of dining experiences, from all you can eat asado lunches to up-market Italian and international restaurants. With a high concentration of new hotels, and due to its proximity to Plaza Mayor and central Buenos Aires, Puerto Madero is considered to be one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Hotels: Hilton Buenos Aires, Feana Hotel, Hotel Madero Buenos Aires
Insider Hotel Recommendation: Alvear Icon – A sister hotel of the famous Alvear Palace Hotel (Recoleta), Alvear Icon is a sumptuous hotel fitted out to the highest standards using high-quality materials. Guest service is excellent as is the 31st floor skyline restaurant – Kayla Restaurant.

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Excellent (mid to higher-end)
For Restaurants: Good.
Attractions: Puente de la Mujer, Puerto Madero (general waterfront area)
Our Rating: 8/10 (lacks a little of the historic charm of the city)

Puente de la Mujer – Puerto Madero

Monserrat

The governmental and historic center of Buenos Aires, Monserrat is situated between Avenida 9 de Mayo and the old port area of Puerto Madero. The neighborhood is a busy hub of activity, where office workers mix with shoppers and tourists alike. Large avenidas converge at Plaza de Mayo, the location of Casa Rosada (the presidential palace) and the Metropolitan Cathedral. Although Monserrat has many hotels, the hustle and bustle of the area often deters foreign visitors and is not considered one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires. It is, however, a must visit!

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Hotels: InterContinental Hotel, NH Collection Buenos Aires Centro Histórico, Own Madero (3 star superior)
Insider Hotel Recommendation: We recommend staying in a quieter neighborhood away from Monserrat. Puerto Madero is within walking distance (albeit a 25-30-minute walk).

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Excellent (mid to higher-end),
For Restaurants: Good.
Attractions: Casa Rosada (and museum), Plaza de Mayo, Avenida de Mayo, Palacio Barolo
Our Rating: 4/10 (Lots to see, but due to the lack of hotel options and the constant hustle and bustle, not a good area to stay).

View of outside of Monserrat Neighborhood - Metropolitan CathedralBuenos Aires

Monserrat Neighborhood – Metropolitan Cathedral

San Nicolas

San Nicolas is the financial and performing arts district of the city. The famous Obelisco monument sits geographically in the center of San Nicolas, with Avenida 9 de Mayo splitting the district into two equal halves (east and west). This area of Buenos Aires and is often referred to as the ‘microcentro.’ Avenida Corrientes is the heart of Buenos Aires’ nightlife and is often referred to as the ‘street that never sleeps.’ Pedestrianized at night, the area becomes a hive of activity with locals heading to nightly theatre productions, fancy bars, late night bookstores and pizzerias. San Nicolas has a large selection of accommodations in all levels and is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires. From our experience some luxury hotels in this area fall short of travelers’ expectations. Also, be aware this is a vibrant hub of constant activity. If you prefer a hotel in a quieter area, you might want to consider the adjacent neighborhood of Recoleta.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Level: Hotel Panamericana, Regal Pacific Hotel.
Insider Hotel Recommendations: Alvear Art Hotel – Although technically located in Retiro, this beautifully constructed hotel offers high-class accommodations, with excellent service at reasonable prices.

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Many hotels to choose from, though quality upper-end hotels are lacking.
For Restaurants: Excellent.
Attractions: Teatro Colon, Obelisco Monument, Avenida Corrientes, Teatro Municipal General San Martin, Avenida 9 de Mayo.
Our Rating: 7/10 (Maybe too busy and hectic for our liking).

Panoramic nighttime view of traffic around Obelisco

San Nicolas Neighborhood – Obelisco

La Boca

Located in the south-east of the city, La Baca is the birthplace of Tango and home to the world-famous soccer team Boca Juniors. Built around the original port area, La Boca was the area where many of the city’s immigrants first settled. Due to its historical importance and connection to the tango, La Boca is a popular draw for foreign tourists. The main attraction is the cobblestone strip, El Caminato (little walkway), where multicolored colored facades line the route and expert tango dancers show off their dancing talents. La Boca has no noteworthy hotels and is considered unsafe, making it an undesirable neighborhood for foreign visitors to stay.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Hotels: None
Insider Hotel Recommendation: N/A

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: None
For Restaurants: Poor
Attractions: El Caminato Street, La Boca Juniors Stadium
Our Rating: 1/10 (A few noteworthy tourist attractions, but not an area for hotels).

Tango dancers in La Boca Neighborhood of Buenos Aires

La Boca – El Caminato Street

San Telmo

San Telmo is the oldest part of the city. The district is a residential area, characterized by beautiful colonial period buildings sprawling block after block. A focal point for culture and art in the city, San Telmo is known for its antique shops, cafés, tango parlors and museums. San Telmo does have a slightly timeworn and dated look about it (some say bohemian), so many of the higher-end hotel properties favor more chic districts like Recoleta and Retiro. San Telmo is safe during the daytime, but parts take on an edge after dark. However, for those looking for more affordable lower-end hotels San Telmo has lots to offer. For luxury or upper-class hotel properties, San Telmo would not be considered one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Hotels: Anselmo Buenos Aires – Curio Collection by Hilton (4 Star), Dazzler Tower San Telmo (4 Star)
Insider Hotel Recommendation: Mansion Vitraux – A small quirky boutique hotel located in the quiet back-streets. Just a stone’s throw from the San Telmo Market, there are plenty of cultural and tasty food experiences nearby.

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Limited selection mid to higher end hotels available. Good for smaller lodgings.
For Restaurants: Average
Attractions: San Telmo Fair (every Sunday), Calle Defensa, San Telmo Market, Plaza Dorrego
Our Rating: 4/10 (A must visit area but doesn’t offer a great selection of higher-end hotels).

San Temlo Fair - Buenos Aires,

San Telmo Neighborhood – Sunday Fair

Retiro

Retiro is a true juxtaposition of contrasts. Characterized on one hand by leafy parks and elegant Belle Époque architecture, then on the other hand it has skyline of modern tower-blocks and is the busy hub of transportation for people arriving and departing the city. Plaza San Martin dominates the center of Retiro and is home to the emblematic landmarks of the statue of General San Martin, the Monument to the Fallen and Monument Tower.  A few blocks west are the quieter streets of Esmeralda, Suipacha and Basavilbaso. In this area there are plentiful art galleries, antique shops and boutique stores. With a plentiful selection of hotels in the city, proximity to many of the city’s attractions, plentiful restaurants and shopping, Retiro is a popular area to stay and is up there with the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Level: The Four Seasons Hotel, Melia Buenos Aires. Casa Calma (Boutique)
Insider Hotel Recommendations: Alvear Art Hotel – A sister hotel of the famous Alvear Palace Hotel. With sophisticated décor, great service and plush rooms, this hotel offers great value which is hard to beat.

Quick Summary:

Hotel Options: Good selection of 3 – 5 star hotels.
For Restaurants: Good.
Attractions: Plaza San Martin, Statue of General San Martin, Monument to the Fallen, Monument Tower, Basílica del Santísimo Sacramento, Palacio Paz (Museum).
Our Rating: 7/10 (Good hotels options and a great location to be based. Our score is diminished a little by the perpetual hustle and bustle of the area).

Panormaic view of Monument Tower in Retiro, Buenos Aires

Retiro Neighborhood – Monument Tower

Palermo

An alternative and popular area to stay whilst visiting Buenos Aires. Palermo is split into four zones: Palermo Soho, a trendy area known for its cool cafés and boutique shops. Palermo Chico, a more up-market residential area characterized by majestic mansions and stylish modern apartment blocks. Bosques de Palermo, an urban park spanning nearly 1,000 acres, where locals relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Palermo Hollywood, named for its connection to the Argentine film and TV industry and studios located in the area. Palermo is also home to the famous MALBA Museum and also one of our favorite experiential restaurants in town –  Fogón Asado. Palermo is not known for high-end luxury hotels, but there are boundless amounts of quirky boutique accommodations available. Palermo is a popular neighborhood to stay in Buenos Aires, but perhaps less suitable for travelers seeking luxury hotel options.

Top Hotel Picks:

Top Boutique Hotels: Duque Hotel (Boutique / 2-3 Star) & Miravida Soho (Boutique / 2-3 Star).
Insider Hotel Recommendations: Fierro Hotel (3 stars) – A comfortable modern hotel, with an excellent onsite restaurant and friendly first-rate service. A solid choice when staying in Palermo.

Hotel Options: Not great for mid to high-end hotels, but an abundance of smaller boutique accommodations and apartment rentals.
For Restaurants: Good.
Attractions: MALBA Museum, Bosques de Palermo (Park), Jardin Japones, Evita Museum.
Our Rating: 6/10 (Nice area to stay, limited higher-end hotel options).

Panoramic view of park in Buenos Aires, with city buildings in far distance.

Palermo Neighborhood – Bosques de Palermo

Belgrano

An middle to upper-class neighborhood, Belgrano is located in the north-west of Buenos Aires. The main thoroughfare Avenida Cabildo is a busy hub if activity, and a highly transited route. In this area, many of the original colonial period houses have been replaced by luxury apartment blocks, small shops and corner cafés. Quieter residential streets lined with majestic trees are found in the southern part of the neighborhood. This is also where some of the most impressive colonial period mansions can still be found. A fair drive from the micro-center of Buenos Aires and will little in terms of touristic attractions, Belgrano not considered one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Buenos Aires.

Top Hotel Picks:
Hotels: Urbanica The Libertador Hotel.

Hotel Options: Limited options for all levels of hotels.
For Restaurants: Poor.
Attractions: Tierra Santa, River Plate Museum, Chinatown.
Our Rating: 1/10 (Poor selection of quality hotels and too far from central Buenos Aires).

Neighborhood Map

 

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