Things to do in Recoleta, one of the most lively and glamorous neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, with many historical places to visit.
Recoleta is the porteño neighborhood of elegance that practically never sleeps during the whole day with the continuous coming and going of people, its commercial promenades and the bars and restaurants in the surroundings of the cemetery.
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It also stands out for its cultural offerings, architecture and, of course, the old cemetery with its tombstones. So that you don’t miss anything, we are going to summarize all the places you have to see in Recoleta.
Map of things to do in Recoleta in Buenos Aires
1) Recoleta Cemetery
Let’s agree that traveling to Buenos Aires for tourism and visiting a cemetery is something that may sound strange a priori, but the Recoleta Cemetery is a work of art in itself that you can not miss. It is, since 1946, a National Historical Museum and almost 100 mausoleums inside have been declared National Historical Monuments.
In this cemetery rest the remains of aristocratic Argentine families, former presidents of the country and personalities of national renown. The internal design is that of a mini-city, with its blocks, avenues, streets and traffic circles, and the mausoleums and pantheons present diverse architectural styles, some of them being, for example, completely made of marble and others adorned with monumental sculptures.
The mausoleum of Evita Perón, who died in 1952 and was the first lady and second wife of Juan Domingo Perón, is one of the most visited and you will recognize it because there will always be colorful flowers in front of it.
📷 Book here the free tour of La Recoleta cemetery. You will visit the site with a specialized guide. It’s free!
2) Historical Heritage Tree
It is a gomero planted in 1781. It is a large tree whose growth seems to have no end. Its branches reach 30 meters long and even iron statues have been built to support them.
📷 Book here the free tour of Recoleta to discover the nooks and crannies of this elegant Buenos Aires neighborhood. It’s free!
3) Have a drink at La Biela
Would you go for a coffee and croissants in a bar in front of a cemetery? La Biela is one of the most traditional coffee shopsin Buenos Aires and with a long history, since it has been frequented by important personalities of Argentina. It is a little more expensive than a normal cafeteria, but it is worth it for its excellent service and its past.
If you are going to visit the neighborhoods of the city, we recommend the best free tours in Buenos Aires. They are free and with a specialized guide!
4) Things to do in Recoleta, its squares
Around the Recoleta Cemetery there are many green spaces. Weekends are the most frequented days of the year, with stalls selling handicrafts and street shows. Among the most outstanding squares in the Recoleta neighborhood are:
- Plaza Francia and Plaza Mitre: side by side, they are beautiful green spaces with two sculptures that stand out, the figure of Bartolomé Mitreand the monument“France to Argentina“. Next to Plaza Francia is the National Museum of Fine Arts.
- Plaza Intendente Torcuato de Alvear: with a large number of street stalls during the weekend, in the square stands out the beautiful Basilica del Pilar whose altar is a real jewel, the Recoleta Cultural Center and the large number of cafes, bars and breweries.
- Carlos Thays Park: located in the former site of the famous Italpark, it occupies a large green space with sculptures by renowned artists. The park extends from Libertador and Callao until almost reaching the Law School.
- United Nations Square: on the other side of the Law School, the United Nations Square surprises with the sculpture Floralis Generica, a steel flower in the middle of a fountain. It has an electrical system installed inside that allows it to open in the morning and close at night.
📷 Book your guided tour of the city of Buenos Aires here. You will tour the main attractions of the city with a guide.
5) Things to do in Recoleta, visit the Hotel Alvear
It is one of the most important luxury hotels in Argentina. If you want to stay in it, you can do so if you have the budget.But the recommendation goes because its building is an Architectural and Historical Heritage of the City of Buenos Aires and you can also see a little more of this elegant residential neighborhood, walking along Alvear Avenue with its historic buildings.
6) The Buenos Aires Law University
It is a very photogenic and beautiful building to contemplate from the bridge that crosses Figueroa Alcorta Avenue. Many people go up to the steps to take creative photos. The Law School has operated in this building since 1949.
📷 A good option to tour the main attractions of the city is to do it on the tourist bus. Reserve your seat here.
7) Places to see in Recoleta, the museums
National Museum of Fine Arts
It houses an important collection of classic European art among which we can find Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir, Cézanne, El Greco, Rodin, Picasso, Goya, Monet and Van Gogh. There is also an important collection of works by Argentine painters such as Quinquela Martín, Berni and Segui.
For more information about the exhibitions and schedules you can visit the official website of the Museo de Bellas Artes.
Recoleta Cultural Center
The Recoleta Cultural Center, a large venue that houses exhibitions, musical and theatrical performances and workshops, currently operates in the original building, which dates back to the mid-18th century and was originally a convent for monks.
For more information about the exhibitions and schedules you can visit the official website of the Centro Cultural Recoleta.
Palais de Glace
Its imposing glass dome stands out both inside and outside. The Palais de Glace building began as an ice skating rink, then became a dance hall, until it was transformed into one of the most prestigious exhibition centers in Buenos Aires, home of the National Visual Arts Salon.
For more information about the exhibitions and opening hours you can visit the official website of the Palais de Glace.
8) The Grand Splendid Athenaeum
The Ateneo Grand Splendid is not just another bookstore, but one of the most beautiful in the world because of the place where it is located, the former Grand Splendid movie theater.
To enter El Ateneo is to enter a play whose protagonists are books. Inside, the frescoes in the dome, the stage with the red curtain and the boxes where you can sit and read a book while contemplating the splendid surroundings are preserved. In addition, there is a bar that sits on the old stage. One of the essential things to do in Recoleta.
9) The Mariano Moreno National Library
With a striking exterior architecture whose upper floors seem suspended in the air, the National Library houses books and documents dating back to the 16th century. Free of charge and available to anyone who requires it, you can sit in the reading room on the fifth floor and be dazzled by the views of the city.
10) Shopping, some of the activities to do in Recoleta
Recoleta offers a wide range of shops and malls for those who want to go shopping. Santa Fe Avenue and Alvear Avenue are two of the main arteries of the city full of fashionable stores.
As for shopping malls, Patio Bullrich is one of the most beautiful. Not as big as Alto Palermo or Galerias Pacifico, inside it has high-end brands and a lot of glamour.
Opposite the entrance to Recoleta Cemetery is the Recoleta Mall with movie theaters, fashion and food stores.
Buenos Aires Design is the other place to go shopping in Recoleta, located between the cemetery and Plaza Francia. This is one of the Hard Rock Café locations in Buenos Aires. It also has a large terrace to sit and have a drink overlooking the square.
11) Have a drink or a bite to eat in the Recoleta neighborhood.
Both day and night the Recoleta neighborhood has a lot of movement in its cafes, bars, breweries, ice cream parlors and restaurants.
The surroundings of the cemetery mark the rhythm of the neighborhood, especially the streets Junín, Vicente Lopez and the surroundings of Plaza Francia. Here you can find mythical Argentine brands such as Buller brewery, Freddo ice cream parlor, La Biela or La Parolaccia.
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