Palermo Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires neighborhood guide
Palermo is the largest barrio (neighborhood) in Buenos Aires, its borders outlining some of the city’s most exclusive, popular neighborhoods. It is located in the northwestern part of the city and can often confuse unwitting tourists who seem to hear the word “Palermo” used to describe what seems like half of the city. The truth is that the larger area of Palermo is actually divided into what you might think of as sub-neigbhorhoods or mini-barrios. All contained within the catch-all location of “Palermo” are the following: Palermo Chico, Palermo Viejo (which is itself divided into Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood) and Las Cañitas.
Palermo is a neighborhood perfect for walking. Filled with beautiful parks and winding paths, weekend picnics and sunset strolls are a part of everyday life here. It’s also the location of the Botanical Gardens and the Zoological Gardens, reminiscent of Paris’s own Bois de Boulogne.
Palermo Chico is one of the most expensive areas of Buenos Aires. It is the city’s “Upper West Side,” so to speak, and has a decidedly aristocratic feel to it, what with its streets lined with mansions that have belonged to the country’s wealthiest, most powerful families. Many of these old, impressive structures are now occupied by foreign embassies and museums. However, movie stars, politicians, and business moguls have infiltrated the traditional neighborhood, which also houses several pricey high-rises to accommodate the well-to-do. Like much of larger Palermo, the streets here are shaded with trees and greenery, making walks enjoyable. There are a few museums in the area worth the trip (keep in mind that, regardless of where you are coming from, there is no subway access to Palermo Chico). We recommend the MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires).
Palermo Viejo is best described as chic, charming, and trendy. One of the most popular areas of the city by tourists and locals alike, Paliermo Viejo is characterized by cobblestone streets and large trees. It is itself divided into two areas: Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood.
Palermo Soho is located in the southern part of Palermo Viejo and gets its name from Manhattan’s hip Soho district. Like New York’s Soho, these trendy streets are filled with fabulous boutiques and packed restaurants and are frequented by an artistic, in-the-know crowd, although expect chic rather than bohemian.
Palermo Nightlife - Palermo Restaurants - Palermo Hotels - Palermo Apartments
What to do in Palermo?
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To the north is Palermo Hollywood, which has a decidedly more bohemian, carefree crowd than its upscale neighbor to the south, Palermo Soho. Palermo Hollywood gets its Tinsletown-inspired name because of the numerous production companies and movie sets housed in the area, which also reflects its artistic feel. For a glimpse at Palermo Hollywood’s funky personality, take a midnight stroll by the neighborhood’s center, Plazaleto Jorge Cortazar (better known as the Plaza Serrano), where you’ll see crowds of young people gathered for impromptu singing, guitar playing and performances. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of unique bars and restaurants in this neighborhood, making it a hot spot for both tourists and locals.
Las Cañitas is definitely one of the best places for dining out in Buenos Aires. It has more restaurants than any other neighborhood and also attracts a very fashionable, trendy crowd who both live there and visit from the other barrios. Las Cañitas also has great shopping (remember, leather goods in Argentina are among the best in the world, and there are a number of the finest leather shops in this neighborhood), from tiny boutiques or antique stores to the larger center, “El solar de la Abadía.” But perhaps the most interesting aspects of Las Cañitas are contained in its history.
For one thing, the entire neighborhood was once occupied chiefly by military personnel and their families. Because of this, Las Cañitas is still today one of if not the safest and most secure parts of the city. Also a part of the former military base is the famous polo field where the Open Polo Championships take place from November to December, drawing a host of celebrities and moneyed equestrians from around the country and the world. Argentinians are well-known fans of all things equine (horseracing and polo playing are taken very seriously here, particularly among the upper classes), and for the average tourist who wants to capture the ambience of this exclusive sport, visit the polo field in Las Cañitas during the season, which runs from March through May and September through December. A number of popular festivals and concerts also take place, particularly during the summer months and in the evenings, on the field. Plus, there are plenty of stylish bars, cafes, and restaurants close by to keep you busy for days.