Visit San Telmo and enjoy a glimpse of Buenos Aires from a bygone time. See colonial architecture, browse antiques stores, watch tango shows and visit museums. Dating back to the 17th century, San Telmo is one of Buenos Aires’ oldest neighborhoods. Dockworkers, aristocrats, European immigrants and artists have all played a part in creating the captivating charm that prevails today.
Start your visit at Plaza Dorrego, a leafy square surrounded by bars and restaurants. Take a seat on a terrace and watch as tango dancers elegantly glide around the square. The dancing is particularly common on weekends, in conjunction with an antiques and flea market. Visit the Defensa Street Market on Sunday when it turns into a huge open-air fair complete with street performers and food stalls.
On any day of the week, Defensa Street offers a great insight into the character of San Telmo. Step inside bookstores, art galleries and antiques shops or find vintage clothing and more antiques at San Telmo Market. Check out the street art and architecture on San Lorenzo Passage. While you are here, don’t miss La Casa Mínima, a house which is just 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) wide.
Admire contemporary art, including work by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, at the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (MAMBA) or learn about Argentine cinema history at the Museo del Cine. Architecture enthusiasts will appreciate the 18th-century San Pedro Telmo Church.
Take time out at Parque Lezama, a park with a sculpture garden or stop by the National Historical Museum to find artifacts from Argentina’s wars of independence.
Already lively by day, San Telmo really springs into action after dark, when locals and visitors alike fill up the traditional steakhouses, craft beer pubs and cafés.
Located just south of Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo is easily reached on foot or by taxi, metro or bus. For an audio tour, catch the cheap hop-on hop-off tourist bus to San Telmo. The bus departs near the Casa Rosada, located at Plaza de Mayo, the city's main square.