La Onda (The Vibe): San Telmo is renowned for its rich cultural Buenos Aires history. Many of the houses are at least 100 years old and have been skillfully refurbished. With milongas (social tango dance halls and clubs), cobblestone streets and original 1920s street lamps, this neighborhood has done the best job of preserving the original barrio feel of the good ole days. It’s bohemian, it’s cool, it’s cultural, it’s a place you want to visit.
-The Sunday San Telmo antique fair is one of Buenos Aires’ most famous attractions, it lines Defensa street and Plaza Dorrego
- Plaza Dorrego is the hot spot on Sundays. A large outdoor market has been taking place here since 1970 from about 10 in the morning until 6 in the evening. It concentrates on selling antiques, but items can vary greatly. The market now stretches up and down Defensa street with street performers, artists, musicians, tango performers and vendors of all kinds. Be sure to search around carefully for the hidden shops and indoor flea markets that can often be lost in the crowded atmosphere.
- Mercado de San Telmo dates back to 1897 and is probably the city’s most important markets. It used to be the central spot for buying meat and produce, and since then turned into one of San Telmo’s most iconic destinations.
- The restaurants and cafés fill San Telmo, especially world famous steakhouses and historic Buenos Aires cafés. Make sure to check out parrillas (steakhouses) like La Brigada, Desnivel and Gran Parrilla del Plata or historical cafés like El Federal and La Poesía.
This barrio (neighborhood) has a high concentration of restaurants, cafes, shops, tango related establishments and bars. This is a great place in Buenos Aires to stroll around and explore. Don’t miss a visit to Parque Lezama. On Sundays it has its own market and is a nice area to get a breath of fresh air. Taking a quick peek at the neo-Gothic architecture of the University of Buenos Aires School of Engineering (Paseo de Colón and San Juan) is worth your while, as well. Keep walking past either side and you will reach Puerto Madero.
History: During the 17th century, this area began to develop as home to many dock workers and bricklayers, who chose this as their residence for its proximity to nearby warehouses and brick factories. The majority of the working class located in San Telmo at the time was made up of immigrants with a heavy African presence. Slaves and freed men lived in the first residential constructs. Many of Argentina’s main exports like leather, wool and hides were treated and then temporarily stored in San Telmo during these developmental days.
Following San Telmo’s start, this neighborhood was plagued by a series of mishaps in the 18th and 19th centuries. The Jesuits established a base in 1708 that was meant to help educate and guide the impoverished neighborhood, but was closed down in 1767 because Pope Clement XIV announced the political, “Suppression of the Society of Jesus.” In 1806 the Parish of San Pedro González Telmo (San Telmo) attempted to revive the education and guidance that was lost with the Jesuits departure, but nothing came about.
After Juan Manuel de Rosas removal from office in 1852, the area began to see signs of life and hope again with the development of sewers, lighting, gas piping, cobble stoned streets and a large wholesale market. Many wealthy families began buying up property and building large houses and developing the land. It was short-lived; a Cholera outbreak in 1871 caused panic and most of the new upper class families relocated to what is now Barrio Norte (subsection of Recoleta).
San Telmo finally got a break during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All the abandoned mansions and large houses were either destroyed and made way for plazas and parks, or were converted into apartments and tenant housing. San Telmo flourished as the most multicultural neighborhood housing Italian, Spanish, Russian and German immigrants.
Population: 25, 969
Size (Sq Km): 1.3
Measured on a scale of 1-10 (1 = low, 10 = high)
|Safety Factor, Day: 7||Tourism: 10|
|Safety Factor, Night: 4||Traffic: 7.5|
|Average Prices: 7||Nightlife: 8.5|
*Safety: San Telmo borders two rough neighborhoods, La Boca and Constitución. Be careful at night.
Transportation: Buses: 29 (to and from Palermo), 152 (to and from Belgrano, Palermo), 59 (to and from Recoleta) and many more.
Subway: C line – San Juan; E line – Independencia
Get the down low on San Telmo —>