Best Neighborhoods for Tourists

What’s the best neighborhood in Buenos Aires? Well, the decision of where a person wants to live often comes down to a matter of taste, lifestyle and personal preference. That said, let’s take a look at my favorite neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, ranked in order from best to least-best.


Palermo is probably the best neighborhood for tourists to stay in while in Buenos Aires. It’s loaded with good bars and restaurants, it’s close to shopping, there are lots of boutique hotels and furnished apartments available, it’s pretty safe and most parts of Palermo are close to the subte (subway). Plus, for tango dancers, several good milongas are nearby.

Palermo is a huge zone which divides into several smaller zones including Palermo Chico, Palermo Viejo and Las Cañitas. Palermo Viejo can be further divided into Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Soho. In my experience, locals generally use the term “Palermo Viejo” while tourists talk about staying in “Palermo Hollywood” or “Palermo Soho”.

Although most tourists seem to gravitate to Palermo Soho, I prefer the part of Palermo north of Sante Fe. It’s a little quieter at night, slightly more upscale and perhaps a touch safer. If you can find a good furnished apartment close to the Alto Palermo mall, north of Sante Fe, that is ideal. The location is perfect. It’s close to everything including the subte.


Many repeat visitors to Buenos Aires feel that Recoleta is the best neighborhood for tourists. They may be right.

Recoleta is more upscale than Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood (but not Palermo Chico). The area has the feel and some of the charm of old Europe.

Recoleta is home to some of the city’s most expensive hotels, plus high-end shops and galleries.

Nonetheless I prefer Palermo over Recoleta for several reasons: 1) many of the furnished apartments in Recoleta are in older buildings and less modern than the newer Palermo lofts and studios, 2) most parts of Recoleta are a long walk from the subte, and 3) the area feels quite touristy, especially around Recoleta Village. Also, there are quite a few upscale “gentlemen’s clubs” around Recoleta Village which makes the area somewhat seedy at night.

Barrio Norte

I’ve spent a lot of time in Buenos Aires and I’m still not 100% clear on where Barrio Norte is located. It seems to mean different things to different people. As best as I can tell, Barrio Norte generally refers to parts of Palermo and Recoleta near Sante Fe Avenue. If that’s where it is, I like it.


Microcentro is what some people might call “downtown Buenos Aires” or “el centro”. There are quite a few good hotels in Microcentro and it’s a good choice for a business trip. Microcentro is very noisy and busy.

San Telmo

I have friends who refuse to stay anywhere else but in San Telmo. They feel they get the “authentic Buenos Aires experience” in San Telmo. It certainly has its charm. There are plenty of tango bars here, and prices for accommodations are generally lower than in other popular neighborhoods. San Telmo is not as upscale as Recoleta or Palermo. The dark streets can be a little dicey at night.

Puerto Madero

I really don’t know why anyone would want to stay in Puerto Madero. I think this neighborhood is the destination for tourists with “more dollars than sense.”

Puerto Madero is a recently redeveloped port area where you’ll find the most expensive luxury condos in Buenos Aires, a handful of high-end hotels, and a row of fancy (and probably over-priced) restaurants. I’ve seen Puerto Madero described as “isolated and artificial”. That sums it up.

One plus is that the Ecological Preserve is nearby. It’s a nice place for a quiet Sunday stroll. One of the best hotels in South America, Hotel Faena, is located in Puerto Madero. So is the outstanding Las Lilas steak restaurant.


Belgrano is a lovely residential neighborhood just west of Palermo. The problem with Belgrano is the location. It’s too far from the things most tourists like to do.

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  1. Bob Finch Says:

    Pretty accurate the best summary I have seen of the neighbourhoods. Can I add one more?
    Almagro is up and coming, still rough in parts, but there are loads of cheap shops, and you are near enough to Palermo, the subte and numerous milongas.

  2. Candace from Seattle Says:

    Yes, this is a good summary. I think just about anywhere in Recoleta or Palermo is good. Maybe I will get adventurous and try Almagro or Cabellito next trip.

  3. Pedro Werberg Says:

    Very good article about Buenos Aires, specially the part of the taxi scams. If you happen to take one at the local airport ask if the meter has a “Ticketera”-ticket machine- and make sure that the meter is visible at all times, sometimes they cover it with the viser and then when you arrive at your destination you are stiffed with a ridiculous fare.
    The best way to avoid scams is not to take old beaters such as Peugeots or Renaults, better take the new shiny ones.
    Finally most cab drivers are ok. Just try to give them a nice tip by rounding up the fare.

    As a BA tour guide one of my favourite areas is Belgrano R. Nice Tudor mansions,cobbled streets and beautifull trees. Very quiet and offbeat. After visiting Belgrano catch a cab to the nearby Dorrego kitchy flea market at the corner of Dorrego and Niceto Vega st. Don’t miss it!!

    Another great market-open on sundays only- is la feria e Mataderos.Great fair with lots of nice crafts and handmade inexpensive leather. If shopping is not on your list you can still have a great time watching folkdancers dance to the tune of great gaucho performers
    make sure to taste the best empanadas the city has to offer.
    The taxi ride to the Mataderos Market is about 40 min long at AR$ 50,00 per ride.

    Pedro Werberg

  4. Esther Says:

    Is anyone familar with the area surrounding José Cabrera between Dorrego Ave. and Arévalo? I believe this area is refer to as Palermo Hollywood. I know its close to the Channel 9 TV Station of BA. But other than I can’t remember these streets from my last visit, where I stayed near Gorriti and Armenia. This area was very conviently located to all the restaurants and shops but I found it a bit noisey at night. I will be staying in BA longer this trip and just want to make sure José Cabrera between Dorrego Ave. and Arévalo is safe and walking distance to the great restaurants/shops. I appreciate any feedback. Thank you!

  5. CJ Says:

    Esther, I think your previous location at Armenia and Gorriti was much better. The new location you describe is getting pretty far west in Palermo Hollywood. It’s not a bad area, but it’s not as close to the restaurant action around Plaza Serrano as your previous apartment. Also, being on the other side of the tracks at Juan B. Justo gives me the feeling of being isolated, away from the action. Again, it’s okay but I’m not a big fan of Palermo Hollywood. I’m sure there are others who would disagree with me. As for safety, it’s probably about as safe as your previous location.

  6. Miche Says:

    Heya great info! however any thoughts on the Boedo area? I’m will visit some flats in that area. thx

  7. Casa34 Says:

    Casa34 is a rental agency located in Buenos Aires that offers a large variety of furnished apartments, lofts, student houses and shared rooms.
    They are all located in the most popular neigborhoods of the city: Palermo, Recoleta, Barrio Norte, Centro, Belgrano, Las Cañitas and Puerto Madero.
    The multilingual staff help ia always ready to help people find the appropriate place to rent during they stay in Buenos Aires.
    If you are interested in looking for nice apartments in Buenos Aires you can check our website
    or write us to
    However, besides of the place where you are staying, make sure to enjoy all the things the city of Buenos Aires has to offer!

  8. rosa Says:


    I am traveling to Busenos Aires in March and have 2 furnished apaprtment options to choose from:
    *One is in Palermo Soho (La ubicacion exacta es Uriarte entre Charcas y Güemes)
    *The other one is in Barrio Norte/Recoletta (I googled it and think it is located on
    Avenida Santa Fe 2630)
    Does anyone know which one do you think is better located for easy nighlife and restaurants? Which is nicer?
    I would really appreciate anyone’s help as I would like to book one of them and they are being snatch pretty fast!!

    Thanks so much!!

  9. CJ Says:

    Both locations are fine. Santa Fe is a busy major street with lots of traffic noise. So I would probably go for the Palmero Soho location, personally. It’s closer to the better restaurants too.

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