How to continue my grouchy urban life on a Buenos Aires trip?
December 24, 2008 5:21 PM   Subscribe

LAST MINUTE: Things to do for young, sorta hipsterish person in Buenos Aires, being dragged around by his mother?

I'm going to Buenos Aires for 6 days starting tomorrow. Unfortunately, I'm going with my mother, and she and I share no interests.

I'm an urban hipster type who likes nothing better than to lurk about in grungy coffeeshops. I need things to do that

a) won't be too touristey
b) won't ruin my diet (so no steak 3 meals a day), and ideally
c) some things I can do with my more-outdoorsey, more-touristey mother, and some things I can sneak away and do on my own. (Clubbing?)

(this previous thread isn't too helpful)
posted by paultopia to Travel & Transportation around Buenos Aires, Argentina (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The lesson I learned when I went to BA at this time of year about 10 years ago, and I've followed this advice since then with great success, is to go on the hotel bus tour on your first day, or ASAP. Get an all-day one that takes you to all the major neighborhoods and lets you hang out for an hour or so before moving on (ours had 5 or 8 areas/stops, I forget exactly). One thing you both can do is go to Colonia Uruguay, which is a common tourist spot but very old school and nice. Rent mopeds and cruise all around the area, it's quite picturesque and you'll get to be your AFI Barney Badass on the scooter. Anyway, after the bus tour you'll have the lay of the land and be able to decide where you want to return to. There is also plenty downtown/Microcentro and six days is not very long, so you may not need help finding things to fill your time, though having a wide variety of options will allow both you and your mom to have a great time. It's an awesome city. I wouldn't even think of getting "out," though (depending on what you mean by "outdoorsy." The city is like 80 miles across, no joke, so getting away is usually a separate trip.
posted by rhizome at 6:45 PM on December 24, 2008

You have an opportunity to not continue your grouchy urban life in an engrossing city. Go explore and soak up every minute.

If you're interested, maybe start with 30 Days with Borges.
posted by ageispolis at 7:01 PM on December 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm not too clear on what constitutes urban hipsterism these days, so... You might enjoy walking around Parque Rivadavia, where a permanent fair (second hand books, magazines, collectibles, foodstuff, various artisans) is located. Grungy, up to your head, heh. Not too far from it, you have the Mercado del Progreso, a covered old-style food market that is interesting to stroll by. Fruits for your diet perhaps? Hanging around train or bus stations, while natural for a urban explorer mindset, is asking for trouble here, unless you leave all your cash, cards and documents in your hotel's safe (and even then, gaping around all tourist-like, dunno...). No, I'm not joking. What else... A subway ride or two, off peak hours? We still have some suitably quaint old wagons and all, at least for some of the sub lines. If you head down one of the lateral streets from the big avenues, you're bound to find grungy coffeehouses and such (probably not very good, but hey, if you want the atmosphere...). Hanging around the Congress, city hall, or some other building where a protest is taking place? (Watch the egg throwers!)
posted by Iosephus at 7:53 PM on December 24, 2008

For tips on restaurants/cafes, check out Guia Oleo. In particular, for a break from the meat-and-potatoes routine, try Arevalito. It's on one edge of the Palermo Hollywood area, which is good for some wandering. (Note: You'll have to check whether it's open or not with the holidays and summer vacation.)

A good bet in the heat is sampling some of the city's ice cream. I did an article on this last year for the LA Times.

For some artsy/clubby stuff, you can take a look at What's Up Buenos Aires.

Also, you can check out Sugar (Costa Rica 4619 between Gurruchaga and Armenia), a bar owned by fellow MeFite conifer.

My brain is somewhat addled at the moment. I'll add more later if I think of it. Email's in the profile, too, if you have questions. Suerte.
posted by veggieboy at 11:00 PM on December 24, 2008

paultopia, Buenos Aires has a wonderful cafe culture - but it's a beautiful place to just stroll as well. Is there nothing you and your mother might want to do together? (quirky museums, see tango, etc).

Also, do you speak Spanish? May make a difference in what you are able to do.
posted by waylaid at 7:53 AM on December 25, 2008

likes nothing better than to lurk about in grungy coffeeshops.

You've basically just described the entire city. I doubt you'll have any trouble finding fun things to do. As for your mother... seconding tour bus.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:41 AM on December 25, 2008

Thanks everyone -- it was an awesome trip: I'm contemplating wintering there next year.
posted by paultopia at 12:21 PM on January 1, 2009

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