Thrift shops, flea markets, bookstores and a cinema museum make this colonial neighbourhood one of Buenos Aires’ most vibrant.
A bygone Buenos Aires is on display in San Telmo, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods. With its origins in the colonial city of the 17th century, San Telmo has been enriched over the centuries by waves of European immigrants, dockworkers and artists. Tour flea markets, watch street dancers tango and browse the area’s thrift stores and galleries.
Plaza Dorrego stands directly in the centre of San Telmo. Here you will find an open-air marketplace shaded by trees and lined with restaurant terraces. Sit on a park bench and watch professional dancers tango for the tips of passing tourists. Walk east to the San Pedro San Telmo Church, an 18th-century relic.
Passing along the east side of Plaza Dorrego is Defensa Street, San Telmo’s most popular stretch. Galleries, shops and bookstores attract tourists with their antique charm. Shop for vintage goods at a thrift store or the San Telmo Market. Visit on a Sunday to find an extensive fair with food stalls and street performers.
Step into the San Lorenzo Passage, which lies just off Defensa Street. This alley features street art and historic architecture, including an unbelievable 2.5-metre (8.2-foot) wide house, La Casa Minima.
Museums are located throughout the neighbourhood. Learn about the history of Argentine film at the Museo del Cine or the history of Argentine independence at the National Historical Museum. The Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (MAMBA) features modern and contemporary works, including paintings by Wassily Kandinsky.
At the very southern edge of the neighbourhood lies the Parque Lezama. Take a break in the shade of palm trees in this large urban park, which features many sculptures.
Visit San Telmo after dark to see it livelier than ever. Pubs, cafés and steakhouses stay busy late into the night.
San Telmo is located a short walk south of the Plaza de Mayo. Arrive in the neighbourhood on foot or by public transit from anywhere in the city centre. Ride the hop-on, hop-off tourist bus through the neighbourhood to get an audio tour of its attractions.