Things to do in La Boca Buenos Aires, one of the most charming neighborhoods, where the old physiognomy is maintained and everything has its charm.
Picturesque, authentic, with a tango and soccer flavor. This is the mythical neighborhood of La Boca in the south of the city of Buenos Aires. One of the jewels that preserves the city and that seems stopped in time with its port atmosphere on the banks of the Riachuelo and the colorful tenement houses.
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Map of things to do in La Boca in Buenos Aires
History of La Boca neighborhood
Its name does not derive from the fact that the Boca Juniors soccer team’s stadium is located there, but rather from the fact that it is at the mouth of the Riachuelo in the Río de la Plata. Being the area with the largest number of ships, at the end of the 19th century many Italian immigrants settled there, mainly Genoese, who gave the neighborhood its current appearance.
Thus, this port area was mainly populated by Genoese (in their dialect, “zeneizi”, which is the origin of the word “xeneize” with which Boca fans are known).
Caminito is a street or passageway within the neighborhood of La Boca on whose sides you can see colorful tenement houses. Since the 1950s, due to the popularity it acquired thanks to a tango and the initiative of some of its neighbors, including Benito Quinquela Martin, this street is a pedestrian street and an open-air museum.
“One fine day it occurred to me to turn that paddock into a lively street. I got them to be painted with colors all the houses of material or of wood and zinc that border by their bottoms with that narrow little road (…) And the old paddock, was a cheerful and beautiful street, with the name of the beautiful song, and in it was installed a Museum of Art, where one can admire the works of art of the works by famous artists, generously donated by their authors.”
Life of Quinquela Martín, by Andrés Muñoz, 4th ed. Buenos Aires (1968).
What ended up being the tango Caminito sung by Carlos Gardel was written by the poet from Mendoza Gabino Coria Peñaloza, but based on another street in another town in the province of La Rioja near Chilecito. The tango music was composed by the Boquense musician Juan de Dios Filiberto, but already thinking or inspired by Caminito as such. The tango was premiered in 1926 and I leave it here in case you want to listen to it:https://www.youtube.com/embed/aOaLH2TVMUY
2) Things to do in La Boca, visit a “conventillo”.
On Caminito Street itself, the conventillos (tenement houses in Spain) whose walls were made of sheet metal and painted with the leftover paint from the ships are still preserved. Normally one can of paint was not enough to paint a whole house, so the houses usually had different colors.
At present, the Caminito tenements maintain their physiognomy with their main façade painted in different colors, which gives a great charm to the area. Many were converted into souvenir stores, handicrafts and restaurants, adapting to the arrival of domestic and foreign tourists.
Although there are many of them where people still live. In some places you can still observe the architecture of the tenement houses.
3) Nicolás Avellaneda Bridge
There are very few bridges of this type in the world and one of those that can still be seen in operation is the one in Portugalete that we saw when we made the route by car through the Basque Country and you will see it when you visit Bilbao. And in Buenos Aires we also have our ferry bridge that was in operation from 1914 to 1960.
After some refurbishment works, since not long ago, end of 2017, the bridge is back in operationalthough only a single trip is made because there are differences between the governments of the two shores (on one side is the capital city of Buenos Aires and on the other is Avellaneda, another city in the province of Buenos Aires).
If you visit the city, we recommend you to take one of the best free tours in Buenos Aires. They are free and with specialized guides.
4) Boca Juniors Stadium
About 400 meters from Caminito is the stadium of one of the most important and popular soccer teams in Argentina, Club Atlético Boca Juniors. As we like to give nicknames to everything, it is also known as La Bombonera.
📷 Would you like to get an inside look at the stadiums of Boca and River, the two biggest teams in Argentine soccer? Book here the guided tour of Boca and River stadiums in one day.
Not only should you visit the Museo de la Pasión Boquense, but also, if possible, watch a soccer match. Our recommendation is to go with a local, so as not to get lost and avoid problems.
5) Things to do in La Boca Buenos Aires, the Quinquela Martin Museum
If we talk about things to do in La Boca in Buenos Aires, there is no doubt that the Argentine painter Benito Quinquela Martin is one of the protagonists.
The painter’s love for the neighborhood is reflected in his collection of oil paintings from the early to mid-twentieth century. This collection is exhibited at the Quinquela Martín Fine Arts Museum, which is housed in a building donated by the artist himself.
In addition to his own works, you can also see other works by Argentine artists and especially by painters from the neighborhood, reflecting Quinquela Martin’s passion for La Boca and the port environment of the area.
6) Usina del Arte
For art lovers, a visit to the Usina del Arte is one of the things you have to do in La Boca. The site of an old power plant has now been transformed into a cultural center with a main hall with excellent acoustics and exhibits of works and exhibitions.
If you visit, take a look at both the exterior and interior architecture. Its façade preserves the Florentine style brickwork of the early twentieth century. Inside, the central nave stands out, preserving the original materials of the power plant.
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