Part 2 of the Non-Touristy (A.K.A. Local’s) Guide to Buenos Aires we continue with specialty shops, tattoos, art and culture…
Shopping in BA
(Honduras 5270, Palermo Hollywood) Like the best record stores, you can geek out and talk shop with the guys there, especially Nacho, who will give you tips on local gigs happening around town. Or stalk their Facebook page.
(Defensa 1281, San Telmo) – Right at the far end of the San Telmo Sunday Street Market. A good selection at a picturesque and less crowded part of the fair. There are also great booksellers on the street to boot. Afterwards, head over and chill at Parque Lezama, grab a drink on the Parisian like Avenida Caseras (we recommend On Tap for a beer), or grab a coffee and medialunas (Argentine croissants) at either Bar Hipopotamu or Bar Britanico, both classic porteno cafes.
Vintage Clothing – The San Telmo Mercado is a good (although somewhat) pricey place to shop for vintage clothing and watches. Justo y Neccesario Vintage (Gorriti y Gurruchaga) in Palermo is a good option for all things Americana – band tees, jeans, sunglasses, bandannas, and so, so many denim jackets – everything you need to look like a porteño rocker.
Palo Santo wood-framed sunglasses – (Bonpland 2215, Palermo) makes beautifully crafted and sustainable wood-framed glasses, sunglasses, watches, notebooks, smartphone cases, and other products.
Shoes – If you got the budget, check out POSCO, minimalist design handmade leather sneakers, or if you really have a budget, Correa (Mario Bravo 750), for beautiful cobbler made shoes. For custom orders, allow four weeks (these guys will ship overseas). There’s also a newly opened Correa para Mujer for women’s footwear directly across the street from the original store.
Walrus Books (Estado Unidos 617, San Telmo)– is great little English language bookstore in San Telmo with an excellent curated selection of second hand and new books. One of the few places in the city with such a great literary selection. If you are in town for long enough, make sure you ask about the various literary short courses on offer.
El Rufian Melancolico (Bolivar 857, San Telmo) – A good spot to pick up vintage Argentine futbol magazines that sell for a lot more inside the San Telmo Mercado. There’s a used record store upstairs if you fancy a dig around for old tango vinyls.
Licoreria Paradisio (Piedras 515, San Telmo) This specialized liquor store in San Telmo has an excellent selection. They stock a range of quality artisan Argentine booze. Nero 53 Fernet which won the ‘Best Fernet of the Year’ in 2016; Apostles gin from Mendoza (flavoured with eucalypus and the mate tea leaves) and La Alazana, a single malt whiskey from El Bolson in Rio Negro, Patagonia. Great place to swing by for unique gifts for friends and family.
C41 Photoshop – Okay, toy cameras are so passe (nothing is ever really passe in Buenos Aires though, were you see people regularly commuting around in roller blades…) but if you are after one for your travels then C41 has a big range. More importantly, they also sell a large range of film here, some very hard to find in South America, including ‘lomography’ and cinematic film. They can also develop and scan film (turn around time 2 – 5 days), including cinematic film which is not common elsewhere. So if you do buy cinematic, try to get it developed here before you leave! Bring a USB with you for digital scans. Or you can get your photos uploaded to a Dropbox account.
Gig Guide (Live music, bands, concerts)
Arcarde Fire, Fatboy Slim, Gorrillaz, Phoenix, PJ Harvey, Sigur Ros. All of these heavy weight names will be in Buenos Aires in Spring 2017. And then there’s also Cigarettes After Sex, Daughter, Parquet Courts, Vince Staples and Seu Jorge of ‘The Life Aquatic Fame’…
For those planning ahead for the upcoming year, Lollapaloza (16-18 March 2018) is looking epic with LCD Soundsystem, Anderson Paak, Chance the Rapper, Tyler the Creater, David Byrne, Liam Gallagher, The National, Mac DeMarco, Royal Blood and some guys named Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Tickets are a bit pricey but I think worth it for such an impressive line up.
For a taste of local indie musical talent, check out these Argentine bands on Spotify – Las Sombras, Juana Molina, Entre Rios, Pablo Neptuno, Anamolí & Violeta Castillo. And speaking of local… So Far Sounds is a FREE invite only BYO booze musical event that happens once a month at an undisclosed private location somewhere in the city. Good luck!
To keep up to date with all the live music (international and local) coming to BA, check out the Indiehoy gig guide.
Art & Culture
MALBA & Fundacion Proa
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Ai Wei Wei and Cate Blanchett. All these luminaries of the art world—past and present—will be featured in various exhibition around Buenos Aires soon.
Open House and Night of the Museum, are cultural events are great ways to walk around and see the city for a perspective not normally seen by tourists. Both events are free and really buena onda – highly recommend to get a feel of what Buenos Aires is like as a major cultural hub of Latin America.
For more information, check out the Primavera/Spring 2017 guide.
(Godoy Cruz 2620, http://fola.com.ar/wp/programacion/sala-principal/) Minimal industrial design. This is a little known gallery is not listed on any regular tourist guide. A beautiful exhibition space with a focus for Latin American photography, this is a must for any photography enthusiasts. The gallery store has a great selection of photo books, including limited in-house published editions.
You can also count on BA for a spate of cultural festivals (art, film, music, theatre, literature, philosophy etc) throughout the year. Follow the Buenos Aires Festivals facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/FestivalesGCBA/) to stay updated, and also check out the program on at the Centro Cultural Recoleta, Ciudad Cultural Konex and the stately and beautiful Centro Cultural Kirschner when planning your trip. It’s totally worth your while to check out the schedules of the cultural centres when planning your trip; there are a heap of free activities, but you might need the help of Google translate to help navigate these sites and secure the free tickets at the Centro Cultural Kirchner.
Need a quick trim of your lumberjack beard? Ran out of your dandy moustache wax? There is nothing more hipster nowadays than old-school barbershops and Buenos Aires has a ton of them to ensure you have plenty of options to get a fresh cut. Check out our barbershop list here.
Get yourself an inked regret or a permanent passport stamp. As one of the major fashion and pop culture centre of Latin America, there are some world class tattoo artists working in Buenos Aires. From old school artists at Well Done to the more #ignorantstyle tattoos at DS Tattoo or Swim Low, you can check out our definitive guide on the tattoo scene in BA
Wanna see something kitsch and weird? Look no further than Tierra Santa ( Av. Costanera Rafael Obligado 5790), the premier religious theme park in Latin America, where you can see a three-story tall Jesus rise out of the top of a fibre-glass mountain (more of a hill, to be honest), on the hour, every hour, from morning till night—talk about resurrection, right? This is a bizarro place where actors walk around dressed as Roman Centurions and slaves, and bus loads of devout Catholic tourists roam around in reverence of the hundreds of statues depicting quaint scenes from Biblical times. Simple folk shepherding goats, soldiers flogging slaves, Jesus turning water to wine and crucifixions, so many crucifixions.
And there you have it, the Buenos Aires Local’s Guide for 2017-2018. Needless to say, keep and open eye and ear for all things new, and don’t be afraid to hit up some locals for recommendations. Porteños play it pretty cool but most will be happy to give you a pointer or two.