Buenos Aires has a colonial neighborhood, San Telmo, with its cobblestone streets and houses over a century old. Some of the old homes have been recycled and transformed into restaurants, shops, bars, cafés, and, most recently, hostels where tourists from all over the world find lodging. San Telmo neighborhood does not sleep at night. Its streets are filled with songs coming from its bars and pubs, their music competing with the tango dancers and live shows.
+ San Telmo’s Principal Attractions | San Telmo neighborhood
San Telmo has tangos, theaters, street puppets, bars and restaurants ranging from gourmet to ethnic to typical low budget Argentine barbeques.
The central axis of San Telmo is the Plaza Dorrego, officially a national historical site and the second oldest plaza of the city (Plaza de Mayo is the oldest). Over two hundred and fifty street vendors congregate here and in the well-known San Telmo Feria you can find all sorts of antiques: dolls, lamps, silverware, furniture, records, photos, instruments, crystal, collectibles and many other treasures.
On Sundays the streets are closed to traffic and you can explore the surrounding areas for interesting and eclectic objects.
The San Telmo Market mixes antique shops with fresh vegetable and meat stalls.
San Telmo is busy on weekdays also-its bars, restaurants and shops are open to the public.
– La Casa Mínima
The “Casa Mínima” located in the Pasaje San Lorenzo 280 (two blocks from Plaza Dorrego) is the narrowest house in the city of Buenos Aires. Believed to have been owned by a slave, the Casa Mínima is well worth a photo. Its façade measures only 2.2 meters and it is only 13 meters long.
– Mafalda’s House
The cartoonist Quino created a precocious little girl named Mafalda. His cartoons have been translated into more than twenty languages so Mafalda is known around the globe.
She supposedly lived at Chile 371 and a sculpture of Mafalda sitting on a park bench can be found at the corners of Chile and Defensa.
– The Museums of San Telmo
The Museum of Modern Art, on Avenida San Juan 350, is famous for its collections of Picasso, Matisse, Dalí and Miró. The Cinema Museum, on Defensa 1220, has a cineteca and a collection of posters, costumes, photos, and documents. The Puppet Museum offers puppet shows for children.
+ Recommendations | San Telmo neighborhood
– Keep your camera handy. You’ll use it a lot.
– Don’t buy the first antique that strikes your fancy. There are many stands and if you check them out you may well find a better price or the same object in a better condition.
– You can bargain with the seller (called “regateo” in Spanish).
– For security reasons, be careful of your pockets and your camera. Watch your wallet. Be prudent. Don’t be afraid, but be careful.
– During the week you can have a coffee in the open air, at one of the tables set out around Plaza Dorrego.
– Visit a typical Argentine restaurant and have a very “porteño” lunch or dinner.
– Get a map of San Telmo. Many shops offer them for free.
– Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll do a lot of walking.
+ Where to Stay in San Telmo
There is an option for every budget. If you prefer complete privacy, the best option is to rent an apartment. If you wish to be in contact with other tourists, share experiences and save money, your best option is to stay at a San Telmo hostel. Buenos Aires Hostels offers the most attractive hostels. Here is a complete list of lodgings in the San Telmo: Apartaments, Hostels and University Residence.
San Telmo is a must-see place, colorful, different and full of interesting people.