A typical facade on Plaza San Martin in Buenos Aires' Retiro neighborhood.
Neighborhood Spotlight

Retiro: Buenos Aires' past and present

Photo by Pixabay

Neighborhood Spotlight Retiro: Buenos Aires' past and present

A hotch-potch of high-end hotels, grand buildings, market stalls, and the city’s busiest bus and train terminals give pace and panache to the neighborhood of Retiro.

James Hiam
James Hiam Editor

North of the center, with Recoleta to the west and Puerto Madero docklands to its east, Retiro is Buenos Aires in microcosm. It’s home to some of the city’s wealthiest streets but also Villa 31, its largest shantytown. It’s a slice of real South American city living.

Its grandeur is unmistakeable. Visit the Beaux Arts-style Palacio San Martin, now the Foreign Office, on Calle Arenales, the French Baroque chic of the Estrugamou Building, and the Art Deco skyscraper of the Kavanagh Building. For city views, the top of the clock tower Torre Monumental is the spot.

The hub is leafy Plaza San Martin. Office workers gather here for lunch, and there’s a glut of excellent restaurants, cafés, and shops. Porteños love to shop too. Head to Patio Bullrich and Galerias Pacifico malls, and the shopping streets of Calle Florida and Avenida Santa Fe.

Best places to stay

Urban, fancy and incredibly stylish, the Alvear Art Hotel is a wonderful pick right in the heart of the neighborhood. Indoor rooftop pool, rooms with jacuzzi – it's got the works! A quiet and more budget-friendly alternative is CasaCalma, which has a pleasant garden theme and offers tango and yoga classes on request.

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The citizens of Buenos Aires are known as Porteños, a name which refers to the port. The city itself has 3million inhabitants, but if you include Greater Buenos Aires there are 13million people and it ranks 17 on the list of largest cities in the world. Photo by Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Jochem Wijnands

Nikon D2x

Aperture
ƒ/6.3
Exposure
1/350
ISO
200
Focal
50 mm

The citizens of Buenos Aires are known as Porteños, a name which refers to the port. The city itself has 3million inhabitants, but if you include Greater Buenos Aires there are 13million people and it ranks 17 on the list of largest cities in the world.

Other stories about Buenos Aires