Buenos Aires Querido: Our Downtown

This post stars with the title of a tango that identifies us in the whole world, in the unmistakable voice of zorzal Carlos Gardel; Buenos Aires is one of the most important cities in the world, where I have the privilege of living here.

Here you’ll find a guide of the unmissable places in neighborhoods like Monserrat, Balvanera, San Nicolás, in the area known as our Downtown:

–  Obelisco (Obelisk): synonymous of Buenos Aires located in the intersections of Corrientes Avenue and 9 de Julio Avenue, at Plaza de la República (Republic Square) a place known even in a photo.

There are not guided tours to climb to the Obelisco, except on specific occasions that the Government of the City of Buenos Aires authorizes tickets, these are booked in advance and of course are limited.

In fact many “porteños” (people who are born and live here) are the first to sign up, to climb the narrow stairs and enjoy a unique view of the city.

Obelisco at Plaza de la Republica

Av. 9 de Julio: another icon of the city because as being the widest avenue in the world – 140 meters -, that no one will be able to cross from one point to another without stopping by the traffic light (except running).

Avenue recognized worldwide for that record, but also for its physiognomy seen in many photographs and postcards. Under almost all its route runs Line C of the subway, connecting the train stations of the neighborhoods Constitución and Retiro.

In addition, the “Metrobús 9 de Julio” was inaugurated in 2013, where around 10 bus lines operate, helping to speed up traffic on this busy avenue. In other post I’ll write about how to move around the city.

Taking the subway (metro) and the urban buses is a good way to move and know Buenos Aires.

Teatro Colón, famous opera theater of Buenos Aires. Due to its size, acoustics and trajectory it is considered in the top five in the world, competing with the Scala of Milan, the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, the State Opera of Vienna, the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) of London and the Opera of Paris, among others.

The building occupies 8200 square meters between the streets Tucumán, Libertad, the Arturo Toscanini passage with a square facing Viamonte Street, and Cerrito Street (separated by a small boulevard from 9 de Julio Avenue)

Besides going to see some Opera or Ballet event, you can visit it with guided tours, every day, including holidays (except May 1, December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1). Check prices and schedules on their website: http://www.teatrocolon.org.ar/es/visitas-guiadas

One of the entrance to the Colon Theatre

Palace of Justice of the Nation: a few meters from the Teatro Colón, separated by the Plaza Lavalle that constitutes three blocks of green space, in this building is where the Supreme Court is located, being that its construction began in 1905, finishing just in 1942

Avenida de Mayo, the avenue that remind us to Spain, similar to the Gran Vía in Madrid, located in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Monserrat, was the first avenue in the Republic and in all of South America.

It begins on Bolívar Street connecting the historic Plaza de Mayo (Square de Mayo) with the Plaza del Congreso (Congress Square) in an area of ​​about ten blocks.

Throughout the avenue many places that recommend tourist guides will be seen, in one of its ends the Casa Rosada, seat of the national government, can be visited for free during the weekends (https://visitas.casarosada.gob.ar), the Cabildo de Buenos Aires (today a highly recommended historical museum, takes us to the Buenos Aires of 1810 when the May Revolution took place, the basis for independence that was declared in 1816 in the province of Tucumán), Barolo Palace until the 1930s it was the highest in the city and in South America, as was its brother ‘twin’ the Salvo Palace, built by the same architect in Montevideo. Today you can visit this office building with its guided tours, which is a National Historic Landmark. At its peak it has a lighthouse that was lit on special occasions. (https://palaciobarolo.com.ar/visitas-guiadas).

Following the avenue of May we will find the Edificio La Inmobiliaria that is distinguished by two red domes, Hotel Castelar, Avenida Theater, Passage Urquiza Anchorena and the legendary Café Tortoni.

A fact that shows the progress of Argentina back in the early twentieth century, is that below the Avenida de Mayo runs Line A of the subway, inaugurated in 1913, making Buenos Aires the first South American city, and the thirteenth city of the world to have it like London, Athens, Istanbul, Vienna, Budapest, Glasgow, Paris, Boston, Berlin, New York, Philadelphia and Hamburg. Today the formations are modern, but until the year 2013 the old La Brugeoise cars, of Belgian origin, were running on their tracks. Eventually, for certain tourism events or celebrations of the city, they have some of those cars to circulate on their tracks.

The walk through Avenida de Mayo finish at Congreso de La Nación (The Congress), in front of the Plaza de los Dos Congresos (square), at the corner of Entre Ríos and Rivadavia avenues.

Corrientes Avenue gathers the bohemian of Buenos Aires with its theaters, bookstores and the best pizzas shop (pizzerias for us) of Buenos Aires.

Here it’s impossible not to eat in Guerrin, my favorite! But there are also Las Cuartetas, Banchero and more.

The avenue connects the neighborhoods of Chacarita to Puerto Madero. The most tourist area of Corrientes Av. is bounded between Av. Callao and Av. Eduardo Madero.

In Madero Av is located the Luna Park, a traditional indoor stadium founded in 1931. Throughout it you’ll find the Gran Rex Theater, the Opera Theater, the Paseo La Plaza (complex of theaters and restaurants).

Walking around Corrientes Av. you will cross the Plaza de la República and also the pedestrian Florida Street.

Pedestrian Florida Street, from Rivadavia Avenue to the Plaza General San Martín (San Martin Square) in the neighborhood of Retiro, with an extension of 11 blocks. Along this street we notice the presence of many galleries, such as the Güemes Gallery, the city’s first commercial “skyscraper”, the Jardín Gallery, known for the sale of computer inputs.

Also Galerías Pacífico inaugurated in 1890, restored and transformed in a commercial center in 1990, with fine businesses where many tourists concur. If you are in Buenos Aires during the Christmas season, do not miss visiting it since is exquisitely decorated with its beautiful Christmas tree.

Finally the building of Harrods, abandoned since 1998 when was closed. Always with rumors of some endeavor, all the “porteños” are expecting that this rumors concrete because it causes pain to see the decadence of this historic building.

Much remains to be done obviously, such as the neighborhoods of Puerto Madero, Retiro, Recoleta, Palermo, La Boca, San Telmo, Belgrano, among others, I will write in following post.

Some interesting links to plan a visit to the City of Buenos Aires:

http://www.cafetortoni.com.ar

http://www.pizzeriaguerrin.com/

htps://turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/es

https://cabildonacional.cultura.gob.ar/

http://www.paseolaplaza.com.ar/

http://www.congreso.gob.ar/

http://www.galeriaspacifico.com.ar/

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