BUENOS AIRES - The Paris of South America
Buenos Aires is world-renowned for its architecture, culture, and nightlife. The CabelloSquare building lies in the heart of this vitality, located at Cabello 3181 — between Calle Bulnes and Avenida Coronel Díaz, and nearby Avenida Libertador and Avenida Las Heras. As for neighborhoods, the building is located in an exclusive enclave of Palermo, just a stone's throw from the Recoleta area. Other well known neighborhoods in Buenos Aires are Retiro/San Martín, Downtown ("Centro"), and San Telmo — all a nice walk or a short cab ride away.
Palermo is one of the city's largest and most affluent barrios. Its size and diversity have led people to slice and dice it into several (more or less distinct) neighborhoods.
Palermo proper, closest to Barrio Norte and Recoleta, and also spanning Avenida Libertador from roughly Avenida Coronel Díaz all the way up to Belgrano, is "classic" Palermo, "Palermo" Palermo — the part of Palermo that has avoided being classified as anything else by real-estate mavens. For those who prefer their coffee to remain coffee-flavored (not hazelnut or vanilla), Palermo proper is home to many parks (including the Botanical Gardens and the city's largest zoo) and many modern residential high-rises (including the city's tallest). Then, tucked inside Palermo proper is Palermo Chico, which, small as its name implies, is home to many embassies, a modern-art museum, and some of Buenos Aires' most exclusive addresses.
The sprawling neighborhood of Palermo Viejo is further subdivided into Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood. The scene in Palermo Soho revolves around Plaza Serrano. (You'll never hear anyone call it Plazoleta Cortázar, its proper name.) Surrounding Plaza Serrano are numerous trendy clothing and design shops, and not too far off is La Viruta, a tango hall popular with locals, expats, young, and old. Palermo Hollywood, so named for its housing of BA's burgeoning film and TV industries, is where you'll find Carnal (an upscale downscale bar nearby many other bars and nightclubs) and Olsen (groundbreaking Scandinavian cuisine south of the equator — who knew?).
RECOLETA / BARRIO NORTE
While Recoleta is a formal barrio surrounding the cemetery by the same name, Barrio Norte is a real-estate term for an area overlapping not only Recoleta but also Palermo and even Once and Abasto.
Most tourists go to the Cementerio de la Recoleta to visit its most famous inhabitant: Evita Perón. But much of Argentina's whole history can be learned — and hauntingly felt — by walking the narrow pathways between the mausoleums. Outside the cemetery, Recoleta houses some of BA's poshest residences, stately apartment buildings whose marble exteriors face tree-lined streets. Recoleta's hotels include many of the city's best, such as the Alvear Palace and the Four Seasons, while many of BA's finest stores can be found in the Patio Bullrich shopping mall.
Barrio Norte, meanwhile, centered around the shops and cafés of Avenida Santa Fe, is more commercialized and middle-class than Recoleta proper. Much of the student population of UBA (the University of Buenos Aires) lives between Avenida Santa Fe and Avenida Córdoba, especially those in the UBA medical and dental schools. This helps give Barrio Norte a younger and hipper feel than the old-money elegance of Recoleta.
RETIRO / PLAZA SAN MARTÍN
Retiro and Plaza San Martín refer to the same general area and are generally used interchangeably to describe the slice of downtown that encompasses both the train station and the plaza. The plaza, at one end of Calle Florida, is filled with suntanning students and office workers every weekday. Nearby apartment buildings are prized for their old-fashioned architecture — not to mention their views of the plaza and the port. While some parts of the neighborhood can get quiet and deserted at night (particularly right around the Retiro train station and near all the office buildings), there's no shortage of nightlife, from renowned French restaurant Le Sud (in the Sofitel Hotel) to Irish pub Kilkenny. Retiro's most significant landmark is the Edificio Kavanagh, a 33-story art deco office building that was the tallest structure in South America when completed in 1935.
Central Buenos Aires consists of four barrios: Microcentro, Monserrat, Tribunales, and Congreso.
Microcentro is the financial hub of the city, and was in fact once known as "the 20 blocks that rule the country." It's well known for perpendicular pedestrian streets Calle Florida and Calle Lavalle, not to mention the historic Galerías Pacífico shopping mall. The best apartments in Microcentro are usually designed with traveling businesspeople and other professionals in mind. Monserrat is best known for its cathedrals, including the Iglesia de San Ignacio, built in 1734 and the oldest in the city. Many apartments in Monserrat have recently been renovated, as the barrio has seen an influx of young, wealthy residents.
On the other side of Avenida Nueve de Julio lie Tribunales and Congreso. Tribunales is anchored by the Palacio de Justicia (the Supreme Court) and the Teatro Colón, while Congreso is home to the Palacio de Congreso, a building inspired by the US Capitol. Many government functionaries live and work in these two barrios. Both Tribunes and Congreso are sometimes criticized for having a run-down quality, but lately midrange hotels have started to spring up, and many residents are attracted to the short commute to their offices in Microcentro.
Largely unchanged over the past hundred years, San Telmo is a small, square-shaped barrio with a charm all its own, from its cobblestone streets to its imposing yet crumbling Old World facades. Over the past couple decades it was shunned by most locals, while at the same time it has always served as a haven for tourists seeking "authentic" architecture and tango — and for backpackers drawn to its low prices. However, San Telmo has undergone a revival these past few years, with boutique hotels joining all the hostels, and art galleries joining all the grandma's-attic-style antique shops. If Calle Defensa is the barrio's main (though narrow) artery, then its heart is Plaza Dorrego, well known for its outdoor cafes and weekend flea markets. As sort of a South American counterpart to Greenwich Village, San Telmo nights consist of hopping among various clusters of bohemian bars (best is Gibraltar) and relaxed restaurants (best is Abril).