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Hello Retiro

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. 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.

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