Are you traveling to Argentina soon? A stop to Buenos Aires is inevitable. The capital of tango, with its European style architecture, attracts visitors from all over the world. As a photographer based in the city, I spent quite a lot of time searching for the most beautiful corners to be photographed and I have decided to list them in this article: here are the best the 30 places to photograph in Buenos Aires!
1. Palacio Barolo
This masterpiece of architecture was built by the Italian Mario Palanti and designed in accordance with the cosmology of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy. It is composed by 22 floors and divided into three sections: the basement and the ground floor represent the hell, floors from 1 to 14 the purgatory, and the ones from 15 to 22 the heaven. When completed in 1923 it was the tallest building of the whole of South America.
Today it hosts a lot of offices and they organize different guided tours on days and nights. There is a lighthouse at the top of the building that is possible to see turned on in the last evening tours. They also have a special photographic tour that takes place the second Saturday of each month at 11 am.
The richness in details of the interiors and exteriors of the building make it one of the best photographic subjects of the city.
If you book a night in the “Estoril Hostel” (Av. de Mayo 1385), just in front of the Palacio, you can enjoy a precious terrace with a breathtaking view over the city and the main facade of the Barolo building. A unique point of view!
Location: Avenida de Mayo 1370, Monserrat.
2. Chalet del Obelisco (also know as ‘’Chalecito’’)
This is a hidden attraction of the city located on the crowded “Avenida 9 de Julio”. It is necessary to raise the eyes to find it, surrounded by advertising boards. The small chalet grows on the terrace of one of the avenue buildings. It is older than the “Obelisk” and was built in 1927 by a Spanish immigrant called Rafael Diaz, owner of a furniture enterprise, who dreamt to own a comfortable place in the sky. The structure was used as a place of rest during the noon “siesta”, among the working hours.
There are a lot of points from where it is possible to take a good shot of the chalet, mostly from high positions on the nearest buildings.
Location: Av. Sarmiento 1113 / 1117, San Nicolás.
3. Palacio de Aguas Corrientes
The “Palace of Flowing Waters” was designed as a water pumping station in 1877 by the Swedish engineer Carlos Nystromer and the Norwegian architect Olaf Boye and completed in 1894. The building is covered in over 300,000 glazed, multi-color terra cotta tiles imported from the renowned British ceramics maker “Royal Doulton”.
Full of interesting details for photography. The palace hosts a museum which I suggest to visit. Open from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 1 pm, entrance is free of charge. Guided tours every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 11 am.
Usually, it is not well illuminated, but on special dates like the “Night of the Museums” (end of November), Christmas and other few occasions it is possible to obtain a perfect night shot.
Location: Av. Córdoba 1950, Balvanera.
4. Plaza de Mayo (Casa Rosada, Cabildo, Catedral)
The “Plaza de Mayo” is the main square of the city and the focal point for the Argentinian political life.
The most famous building in the square is the “Casa Rosada”, executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. In some special occasions, it is well illuminated for night photographs.
Another interesting building is the “Cabildo Museum”, an example of the Baroque style with ten arches on the main facade. Always well illuminated during the night.
The Buenos Aires “Metropolitan Cathedral” is the main Argentinian Catholic church and a great subject for photography with its important main facade, composed of twelve giant columns and a triangular pediment on top. Usually well illuminated at night.
Location: Plaza de Mayo, Monserrat.
5. Edificio Otto Wulff
This building is a great example of German Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) and it is considered as one of the most important of the city. Built among 1912 and 1914 by the architect Danish Morten F. Rönnow. It is composed of 8 impressive human figures (Atlantes) replacing the columns and representing the different trades involved in the construction. Among the sculptures, the local fauna is well visible with bears, parrots, penguins, and owls. Today on the ground floor it located a Starbucks.
Location: Avenida Belgrano 601, Monserrat.
6. Congreso de la Nación Argentina
The massive “Palace of the Argentine National Congress” is a monumental building in Neoclassical style. Built between 1898 and 1906 by the architects Vittorio Meano and Julio Dormal. It is largely made of white marble with elaborately furnished interiors.
There are a lot of interesting points of view from where it is possible to take a good shot of the Congress. The sculptures of the “Congressional Plaza”, just in front of it, offer several ideas for the composition. It is usually not well illuminated, but as for other buildings of the city, there are special dates (politician events, festivity) which are ideal to obtain a good photo during the twilight.
At the right corner of the Palace (Av. Rivadavia 1801), looking from the square, there is one of the most interesting buildings of the city: the ‘’Confiteria del Molino’’. An Art Nouveau style coffeehouse declared National Historic Monument in 1997. At the moment it is under restoring by the government and will re-open in the future as a café and museum.
Location: Av. Rivadavia 1864, Monserrat.
7. Mirador Massue y Palacio de Justicia de la Nación
This building in Art Nouveau style is located a few steps far from the “Obelisk” and the “Colon Theatre” and although its actual name is ‘’Edificio Tribunales Plaza’’, it is popularly known as ‘’Mirador Massue’’, from the name of the original French architect.
In night time it is illuminated, but not that well for photography.
Besides, the massive “Palace of Justice”, designed in monumental Eclectic Neoclassical style is a National Historic landmark and seat of the Supreme Court and other lower courts.
The illumination is always very good for twilight shots.
Location: Talcahuano 610 / 550, San Nicolás.
8. El Planetario “Galileo Galilei”
The “Planetarium” is a spherical construction for space observation located in the Palermo Woods. It is usually illuminated at night time, but on “special” occasions (astronomy events and festivities) the lights are better than normal. If you plan to take a well-made night shot of the Planetarium (with interesting lighting) my suggestion is to ask directly at the following contact: email@example.com
Location: Av. Sarmiento y B. Roldán, Parque Tres de Febrero, Palermo Woods.
9. Reloj Inglés
The “Torre Monumental”, called before 1982 “Torre de los Ingleses” (Tower of the English) is a clock tower built in Palladian style located in the district of Retiro. It was a gift from the local British community to the city in commemoration of the May Revolution of 1810’s centennial.
If you book a room in one of the highest floors of the Sheraton Hotel (Calle San Martin 1225/1275), it is possible to capture a suggestive panoramic view of the whole the area in front of it, with the tower, the Retiro station and the train tracks in the background.
Location: Plaza Fuerza Aérea Argentina, Retiro.
10. Floralis Genérica
This is a unique sculpture made of steel and aluminum. Located in Recoleta, next to the University of Law. The flower, created in 2002 by the architect Eduardo Catalano was designed to move, closing its petals in the evening and opening them in the morning.
It is a good subject in terms of photography, surrounded by a park and placed above a reflecting pool. The pistils are well illuminated by night and even better on some occasional dates.
The petals remain open for four special nights: May 25, September 21, December 24 and December 31.
Location: Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, Avenida pres. Figueroa Alcorta, Recoleta.
11. Puente de la Mujer
Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava this rotating footbridge is located on the docks of Puerto Madero, the modern architectural district of the city. Started in 1998, it was officially opened in 2001. The architect has described the design as a synthesis of the image of a couple dancing the tango.
The bridge and many other details in the neighborhood, like the big cranes, the dock buildings, the frigate, and the skyscrapers are an ideal environment for a photographer searching for the perfect composition. Mostly towards the evening, when everything is illuminated.
P.S.: Don’t forget the tripod!
Location: Dock 3, Puerto Madero.
12. El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Defined as ‘’one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world’’. It opened as a theatre called ‘’Grand Splendid’’ in May 1919, then it became a cinema and finally a library. Despite the changes, the building still retains the feeling of the grand theatre it used to be. A great place you can’t absolutely miss!
Prepare your camera:
The most impressive detail on the external facade are the atlantes, sculpted by Troiano Troiani. The building interiors feature ceiling frescoes painted by the Italian artist Nazareno Orlandi, ornate carvings, crimson stage curtains, and many, many books.
An interesting photo could be from the café, located on the back of what once was the stage.
Location: Av. Santa Fe 1860, Recoleta.
13. Galería Güemes
This commercial gallery was designed in Art Nouveau style by the Italian architect Francisco Gianotti in 1913. The interiors are full of precious details for photographers and the viewpoint at the top allows visitors to have a panoramic view of the city and the nearest domes.
The viewpoint opens from Monday to Friday (3 to 5:40 pm).
Location: Florida 165 / San Martín 170, San Nicolás.
14. Edificios “First National Bank of Boston’” y “Bencich”.
These are two architectural gems with the best domes of the city located at the corner between Florida street and Diagonal Norte.
By day the best view is probably from the viewpoint of the ‘’Galería Güemes’’ (previous paragraph).
These buildings are very well illuminated for night shots, don’t forget the tripod!
The Buenos Aires “Chinatown” starts from a beautiful “Paifang”, a Chinese traditional style arch on “Arribeños”, the main street of the neighborhood. There are several traditional shops, restaurants, and a Buddhist Temple, the ‘’Tzong Kuan’’ (Montañeses 2175). It is the heart of the Chinese community in Argentina.
Photographically speaking there are a lot of interesting details with a mix of Asiatic/Latin culture and great wall paintings near the main arch.
Location: Arribeños, Belgrano.
16. Facultad de Ingeniería
This is the unique non-religious Neogothic construction of the city. Designed by the civil engineer and architect Arturo Prins with the collaboration of two Italian architects, Francisco Gianotti, and Mario Palanti. Since 1948 it hosts the University of Engineering. The building captures the viewer’s attention and the repeated gothic arches are interesting details for a shot. By night is not well illuminated for photography.
Location: Avenida Las Heras 2214, Recoleta.
17. Galerías Pacífico
Located between Florida Street and Cordoba Avenue, this is definitely the most important shopping center in the city. The building was designed by the architects Emilio Agrelo and Roland Le Vacher in 1889 in Beaux Arts style. The central sector is structured with a large cupola decorated with magnificent frescoes by various artists, among which, the famous Antonio Berni. It is usually very crowded, but surely worth a visit, especially for the paintings. The outer part of the building is always very well illuminated for night shots.
Location: Florida 753, San Nicolás.
18. Biblioteca Nacional
Designed in brutalist style by the architects Clorindo Testa, Francisco Bullrich and Alicia Cazzaniga and opened in 1992. It is the largest library in the country. Probably not the best architectural construction of the city, at least in my opinion, but still rather particular.
Location: Calle Agüero 2502, Recoleta.
19. Edificio Evita
A classic postcard from Buenos Aires, a symbol of the city on the wide “Avenida 9 de Julio”. The artistic steel made portrait of María Eva Duarte de Perón, known as ‘’Evita’’, is installed on both the side walls (north and south) of the Ministry of Health building. These pieces of art were created by the Argentinian artist Alejandro Marmo.
Location: Avenida 9 de Julio 1925, Monserrat.
This is the most photographed place of Buenos Aires, a true icon of the capital. It was designed by the Argentinian architect Alberto Prebisch and erected in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the first foundation of the city. It measures 67.5 meters and has only one entrance. On its top, there are four windows that can only be reached by a straight staircase of 206 steps. Unfortunately, there is no public access to the top, few people have had the opportunity to go up on very special occasions.
The points of view from which is possible to take a good shot of the Obelisk are many: in springtime with the Jaracanda trees in flower from “Avenida Presidente Roque Sáenz Peña”, or also the fairly recent hedge sculpture BA with the monument in the background (as in the photo).
For night shots it is always very well illuminated. If you want to take a great shot of the whole “Avenida 9 de Julio” with the Obelisk and the traffic lights at sunset there are quite a lot of places to set your tripod. The most popular lookout point for this photograph is the terrace of the Hotel Panamericano (Carlos Pellegrini 551), it is an expansive choice but worth if you really need the best view. Depending on your idea there are many other beautiful and high terraces available.
Location: Plaza de la República, San Nicolás.
21. Teatro Colón
On the Avenida 9 de Julio, we also find the main opera house of the city, designed in Eclectic style by the architect Francesco Tamburini. Acoustically considered to be one of the best concert venues in the world amongst the Vienna’s Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Berlin’s Konzerthaus, Boston’s Symphony Hall, Milan’s La Scala, London’s Royal Opera House, New York’s Metropolitan Opera House and the Paris Opera House. A visit to this jewel of the capital is highly recommended, even if you are not interested in operas!
Photographers will appreciate the exterior of the building, as well as the details of the interiors: the Golden Room, the Concert Hall, the balconies and the allegorical ceiling frescoes of the cupola decorated by the Argentine painter Raúl Soldi.
The structure is always very well illuminated.
Location: Cerrito 628, San Nicolás.
22. Mercado de San Telmo
This old covered market located near “Plaza Dorrego” was designed in 1897 by architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo and it is certainly one of most atmospheric places of the city, plenty of antique shops, mostly concentrated in the two extensions in format of the corridor that leads to the streets “Defensa” and “Estados Unidos”. The central body is composed of a massive iron structure where there are sellers of fish, meat, vegetables, fruits, and bars.
Location: Carlos Calvo 495, San Telmo.
23. Street art
In Buenos Aires, as in other big cities in the world, there is no shortage of important street artists. I mention one of them: the Argentine Alfredo Segatori. His giant murals can be seen in several parts of the city and they capture the attention of the viewer, sometimes occupying the entire facade of a building.
Mixed with human elements these wall paints are interesting backgrounds for photographers.
Locations of those in the photos: Av. del Libertador and Av. Int. Bullrich, Palermo.
24. Jardín Japones
This picturesque oasis is one of the largest Japanese style garden of the world outside Japan. It was completed in 1967 and opened on the occasion of a trip to Argentina by Prince Akihito and Princess Michiko of Japan.
The best season for a visit is spring when the garden blooms and reaches the top of its splendor. It is a charming place: the red bridge, the granite sculptures, the Peace Bell, the stone lanterns, the carps in the lake and the surrounding Japanese flora.
It might sound strange referred to such a place, but due to the impressive mausoleums and statues of notable people ‘’La Recoleta’’ is considered as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. The place gets its name from the monks of the ‘’Order of the Recoletos’’ who first arrived in this area. The cemetery is built around their convent and a church, ‘’Our Lady of Pilar’’. The convent’s garden was converted into the first public cemetery of Buenos Aires in 1822. It contains many monumental sculptures and a wide variety of architectural styles such as Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Neo-Gothic and Baroque. It’s easy to get lost in this quiet place of memory, with its mysterious beauty.
As a photographer, I’m attracted to the contrast between the antique statues and the modern buildings around, as well as the decadence of some mausoleums, that give to the place a particular atmosphere.
The entrance is free.
Location: Junín 1760, Recoleta.
26. Jardín Botánico Carlos Thays
Nature lover? Tired of the city traffic? The Botanical Garden is the perfect place to take a rest and breathe, walking among trees, plants, sculptures, and monuments. This green oasis located in the Palermo neighborhood was designed by the French landscape architect Carlos Thays and inaugurated in 1898. It includes five greenhouses and has three different gardening styles: the Roman, the French ant the Oriental. There’s also an abundant collection of flora from Argentina and other Latin countries, such as the Araucaria or the Yerba Mate, from Paraguay, as well as sequoias from the United States.
The park contains a “Botanical Museum” and a library with 1,000 books and 10,000 publications from all over the world, which are free for consultation by visitors.
The entrance is free.
Location: Av. Santa Fe 3951, Palermo.
27. La Boca
If you are searching for a street Tango exhibition “La Boca” is the right place to go to (as well as “Plaza Dorrego”, in the San Telmo neighborhood).
Characterized by bright colors and the famous ‘’Caminito’’, a little walkway painted by the Argentine artist Benito Quinquela Martín, one of the most famous postcards of the city.
In recent years it has become very touristic and may not appeal to everyone.
Please ‘’be careful’’ with your equipment, I’ve been there a lot of times and nothing happened, but this is not the safest area of the city and my suggestion is to remain in the touristic area.
Location:Valle Iberlucea del, Dr. and Magallanes, La Boca.
28. Casa Museo Ricardo Rojas
It was once Ricardo Rojas’s house, creator of the first chair of Argentine Literature at the University of Buenos Aires. Poet, essayist and teacher, his writings are centered in the dialogue of the European with the American and in particular with indigenous America. In accordance with its “Euríndica” conception, Rojas inspired the construction of this residence, work of the architect Angel Guido. This word originated from “Europe” and “Indias”, is a neologism created by the writer based on his ideas of a new America, the fruit of the fusion of autochthonous roots and European influences. Recently restored, it now hosts a museum, open from Tuesday to Saturday (11 am to 7 pm).
Photographers will appreciate its precious details.
Location: Charcas 2837, Recoleta.
29. Los gomeros de Plaza Intendente Alvear
Just in front of the Recoleta cemetery, in the green ’’Plaza Intendente Alvear’’ stand the oldest trees of the city: the rubber trees, called in Spanish ‘’Gomeros’’. Over than 200 years old, with giant roots and branches, they appear still very robust. A wonder of nature in the heart of the city that surely deserves a photo!
Location: Plaza Intendente Alvear, Recoleta.
30. Casa de los Ezeiza
Located half a block from the famous “Plaza Dorrego”, it was an old Italian style house built around 1876, a property of the Ezeiza family, who later abandoned it, like many other upper-class residencies of the area, due to the Yellow Fever Epidemic. It now hosts a commercial gallery called ‘’Pasaje de la Defensa’’.
It is one of the best examples of a typical house of San Telmo before the outbreak of the epidemic.
Location: Defensa 1179, San Telmo.
If you prefer to discover the city with me and, at the same time improve your photographic skills, check out more about “Street of BA”, my photo tour service in Buenos Aires.