If you’ve spent any time in Buenos Aires you will have noticed that there is a diverse mix of neighbourhoods (or 'barrios as they're called in castellano), each with its own distinct architecture, rhythm of life, style, and shopping scene. To help you navigate BA's different hoods, here’s our guide to some of the city’s most vibrant districts and what to expect while exploring and shopping in Buenos Aires.
Palermo's style is young, hip and modern. The neighbourhood is always humming with activity, a hub of boutiques, galleries, museums, nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Palermo Soho, with is cobblestone streets lined with designer boutiques and cafés, is at the centre of the Buenos Aires fashion scene, acting as a meeting point for up-and-coming designers, artists, hipsters and young professionals. On the other side of the train tracks is Palermo Hollywood, so-called because of the numerous film and TV studios based there. It's a slightly quieter area than Palermo Soho but still boasts some great restaurants, boutiques and hidden shopping spots in its characterful old houses. Palermo is an ever expanding neighbourhood with the more residential areas of Palermo Chico, Palermo Botanico, and Palermo Queens also emerging as places to see and be seen.
Famed for its lively Sunday ‘feria’ or market, San Telmo is definitely not a Buenos Aires shopping barrio you should miss. It is the oldest neighbourhood in the city, once filled with immigrants from across the world, giving it a bohemian feel that's also reflected in the locals’ laidback boho meets vintage style. Every Sunday its cobblestone streets are filled with tourists on the hunt for flea market nick-nacks, souvenirs and unique handmade goods from the numerous stalls and artisans, while tango dancers, drummers and other street performers provide entertainment. San Telmo is an antiques mecca and its shops and boutiques are filled with all manner of antiques, vintage clothing and other one-of-a-kind pieces from a bygone era as well as the creations of local independent Argentine designers and artists.
In Recoleta, the style matches the architecture. This neighbourhood is famed for its glorious French Mansions and Parisian-style petits hotels, which were built at the end of the 19th century. However, it isn’t just the picturesque belle-epoque buildings that give this area such an elegant, sophisticated feel, it’s the well-dressed locals: chic ladies who lunch glide down its clean streets looking effortlessly glam. If you want to shop high end, Recoleta has some beautiful luxury boutiques, offering fine jewellery, stylish fashion and homewares.
Microcentro is the central business district. From Monday to Friday, it's a hectic rush of activity with suited office-goers marching around, while on the weekend it's virtually deserted. Calle Florida, a bustling, pedestrian shopping street, is the place to go for commercial fashion brands and cheap leather goods, as well as mate cups, rip-off football shirts and other tourist tat. With a mixture of offices, government buildings and commercial shopping centres, this area has an eclectic style.
Vila Crespo is Palermo’s artier, more rebellious cousin, favouring an edgier look. While Palermo is filled with young, café-hopping socialites and ultra-cool boutiques, Villa Crespoans have an artier edge and the neighbourhood's independent boutiques, cafes and art galleries have a more laidback, casual vibe. The area is also known for its shopping outlets district, where you can find deals on last season's collections.
Located in the northern part of the city, Belgrano is a middle-to-upper class class residential neighbourhood. A mix of modern apartment buildings and charming 19th-century family homes line its quiet, leafy avenues and the style is modern, preppy and clean cut. Shopping wise, the main draw is Barrio Chino (Buenos Aires' China Town), where people flock for imported food products and exotic spices, while select Argentine designers showcase their collections by appointment only in private apartments.
If you'd like to explore the city's neighbourhoods and do some shopping in Buenos Aires, click on the link below to book a personalised Buenos Aires shopping tour with your own personal shopper and guide.