If you’ve never spent a Christmas or New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aires, you most likely don’t really know what to expect. You’ve probably heard stories about how the whole city shuts down as families gather on rooftops to eat empanadas and gorge themselves on delicious Malbecs. But don’t panic, this is only partly true. Although many of the stores close early, the city won’t be a total ghost town on either one of these popular holidays, but finding the right things to do may take some extra digging and inventiveness.
Plan Ahead for EVERYTHING
One thing you need to keep in mind is that on Xmas, and even more so on New Year’s Eve, transportation may be a little tricky. Busses and trains still run, but many of them may have an alternate schedule during certain hours, and you can expect less of them to be on the road, so wait times will be increased. Cabbies also need a day or two off now and then, and on Xmas and New Year’s many of them will stay home, so if you’re expecting to be able to easily hail a cab to get where you need to go, think again. There is still the odd cab on the road, but they can be more expensive, and at certain hours of the evening it’s easier to find a needle in a haystack. Your best best will always be to travel where you need to be well ahead of time to avoid any delays, because it totally sucks when the fireworks start going off and your waiting in the street for the bus that never comes, or cabs keep passing you by.
Another thing to take note of is that many of the stores (almacéns, grocery stores, chinos, etc.) will close early, or in some cases not bother to open at all during these holidays, and who could blame them? If you plan on spending hours on a rooftop, or at a party somewhere, be sure to bundle up on all your supplies (booze, wine, postres) early in in the day so you’re not left without anything to wet your whistle. Most of these stores will be open early in the day and then close at siesta time (around 1:30 p.m.) and they won’t open up again during the evening as they usually do.
Places for when the Clock Strikes Twelve
Rooftop Parties: A popular past time for celebrating Christmas or New Year’s Eve in Buenos Aires is, of course, to find a rooftop, the higher the better, and watch the fireworks. Imbibing in a few cocktails, or puffing on a porro (joint) or two is a great way to get loose before the city erupts in a sea of colorful pyrotechnics at midnight. This is a good, low cost way to enjoy the holiday, just grab a couple of friends and post up on the patio or terraza and wait for the neighborhood fireworks display; hell, you can even join in a light a few of your own if you’re so inclined.
Tango Shows: If the rooftop scene doesn’t sound like your style, maybe taking in a tango show is. Despite the holidays, many of them are open on Christmas Day and offer special packages for New Year’s Eve, like the Esquina Carlos Gardel tango show (Dec. 31, beginning at 20hs or 8 p.m.). Guests will be treated to a special evening, beginning with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres like smoked salmon and focaccia, then dinner, dessert and a one-of-a-kind tango show. Afterwards, as the clock strikes twelve, guests are invited to join in a champagne reception.
If you’re interested in a more intimate tango show, followed by one of the best New Year’s Eve parties in the city, then check out the Rojo Tango Show and New Year’s Party, all taking place at the world-famous Faena Hotel. You’ll be treated to a truly Argentine experience, dinner with the finest wines the country has to offer, followed by a unique and glamorous tango show. Afterward, party at the hotel, drinking signature cocktails until the sun comes up. There is also pickup and drop off at the hotel, so no need to worry too much about hailing a cab when the night turns into day.
Faena New Year’s Eve: If you want to skip the tango show altogether and spend a weekend in celebration, Faena has a New Year’s Eve package that will wow even the most discerning guests and partygoers. Enjoy an evening of music, dining, and dancing, and a champagne toast at midnight, as well as all hours access to the pool and spa, and a daily buffet breakfast at El Mercado, a unique restaurant with cuisine prepared by Chef Emiliano Yulita.
There aren’t a whole ton of tour options for Xmas and New Year’s Eve happening in Buenos Aires this year, apparently tour guides think they deserve a holiday too…huff. Anyways, there are a few fun things to do, like the Palacio Barolo’s Extraordinary New Year’s Tour. This tour starts at 11 p.m. and lasts more than two hours. The Palacio Barolo (ranked in our “10 most badass Buenos Aires buildings“), architecturally inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, is truly a marvel to behold. The tour stops on all the main floors of the building, all while tour guides tell you the history of the building and how it relates to the different allegories of Dante. The tour then closes at the top of the building’s 100-meter lighthouse, where champagne will be served and guests have a perfect view of the city’s fireworks.
New Year’s Eve Parties
If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, by that we mean if you feel like dancing all night long until the sun comes up, then you’re in luck. Buenos Aires has developed a reputation for being a city with legendary clubs, especially the Niceto Club, located in Palermo, one of the city’s most well known nightlife districts. Known for putting on the biggest parties in BsAs each week, the entertainment gurus at Club 69 have put together a once-in-a-lifetime, 24 hour bash to ring in the new year, featuring music from Pedro Segni, and more. Start at Niceto Club and grab a few drinks, then see what the other boliches in the area have in store for you, or stay put and dance until the sun comes up.
Also in Palermo, Club Araoz is hosting its Fiesta de Piso Compartido, which should be a blast. Araoz is one of the city’s most well-known boliches (clubs), but this event is particularly interesting as it’s sure to consist of an extremely diverse crowd. Piso Compartido is an international festival designed to bring together people from every walk of life, including different nationalities, participating hostels, Spanish schools, and more. The doors open at 1 a.m., so get there early to be sure you don’t miss the complimentary champagne toast.
If you’re looking for a party that’s a bit more on the classy side, check out the Fiesta Fin del Año 2015 at The Clubhouse. Located in Palermo Soho, this exclusive club is opening its doors to non-members this year for a New Year’s Eve bash that’s sure to go down in the books. For only 1,700 pesos, guests are treated to an open bar with traditional cocktails (beer, wine, etc.) a champagne toast at midnight, and hors d’oeuvres. After wetting your whistle a bit, chow down on a traditional Argentine asado, and save room for dessert. There will also be a live band and DJs, so you can work up a sweat on the dance floor.
Perhaps you want to celebrate New Year’s Eve with your partner in a more intimate setting: getting out of the city might be just the thing. Just a stone’s throw away from the city center, Tigre boasts some beautiful sights and spas, like the Delta Eco Spa, which has an exclusive New Year’s Eve package for guests. Relax and lounge in the spa and Jacuzzi, or check out some of the other amenities, including kayaks and mini-golf. Later in the evening, join the other guests for a first class dinner: hot and cold items, served buffet-style, including shrimp, smoked salmon, meats and cheeses, asado, ojo de bife, bondiola, and more. Guests can also choose from a variety of desserts.