A question about places to see in Buenos Aries and Mexico City
September 7, 2019 5:19 PM   Subscribe

What would you recommend to do in Buenos Aries and Mexico City, based on these interests? modern/contemporary art, socialism/anarchism/antifascism/leftism, Judaism, government/civics, (vegetarian) food, animals, factory/food tours (learning about how anything is made), architecture.
posted by andoatnp to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
La Recoleta Cemetery - one of my close friends goes every time he visits Buenos Aires and can’t say enough good things about it. The photographs he’s shown me are astounding.
posted by nightrecordings at 5:35 PM on September 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

Be sure to visit Trotsky's house in Mexico City. It's kind of grim and not the world's best museum, but it's definitely true-blue (red?) Trotsky and Bolshevik. It's near Frida Kahlo's house, which is also a very nice tourist visit.
posted by Nelson at 5:46 PM on September 7, 2019 [2 favorites]

For contemporary art in Mexico City, Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Museo Jumex, and Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo often have interesting exhibits. (There are also lots of tiny museums and great galleries, but I'm sure they've changed since I was last there and google will provide better advice than me.)

For lefty stuff, Trotsky's house is well worth a visit. Other than that, it's mostly individual murals and bars with revolutionary bullet holes in the ceilings. (And some great indigenous cultural museums and folk performance groups, which may or may not count as inherently political.) A somber visit with a fascinating and awful five hundred year history is la Plaza de las Tres Culturas, though you'll need to read about it first, 'cause there is almost no information on site.

If you're interested in vaguely leftist hacker culture and are game to attend entirely Spanish language events, check out Rancho Electronico.

(Looking forward to the Buenos Aires answers. I've been there, briefly, but didn't manage to find much in these categories. Except food, I guess.)
posted by eotvos at 9:00 PM on September 7, 2019

My favorite outing while in Buenos Aires was to Tigre and out into the river delta; the wilderness there was amazing. I'd try to stop in at one or several of the ferias; there will be mass produced items for sale, but also some art and craft goods, antiques, and some food items. I think the Buenos Aires Botanical Garden is a good time, and it's free, as is the Rosedal (rose garden) at which you can pay to take a paddleboat out onto the water and hang out with some waterfowl which looked nice. Definitely also recommend La Recoleta cemetery for the architecture (and Recoleta hosts one of the several ferias too). You'll probably enjoy just walking around Palermo Soho as well.

The art museums are all rather small, but there are a number of them and I did enjoy visiting them. I'd recommend hitting up gallery receptions too if any that are happening during your visit strike your fancy.

I didn't do it, but you can from what I was told tour the Pink House, which is the Argentinian equivalent to the US's White House.

There is some burgeoning veganism and vegetarianism, but eating out as a vegetarian was pretty hit or miss. My favorite restaurants were Casa Munay (vegetarian), Cantina Sunae (Filipino), and Mezcal (Mexican), as well as Rapa Nui for desserts. Even though it's a chain, I also ended up eating at Le Pain Quotidien a lot too as the vegetarian options were pretty decent, affordable, and since it's a chain you could find it in most of the neighborhoods.
posted by vegartanipla at 11:59 PM on September 7, 2019

I liked Tigre and La Recoleta but the most beautiful thing I saw wasn't really Argentine themed at all it was El Jardin Japones - such a peaceful and tranquil place and with a lovely cafe too which I sat and wrote postcards from and didn't want to leave. There is a bookshop made from a former theatre which I think is called El Ateneo, it's regularly listed among the ten most beautiful bookshops in the world, despite my not having a huge grasp of written Spanish I loved browsing the design and photography books. Similarly as a fan of things relating to books and writers it was a simple but enjoyable treat to have a coffee and a croque monsieur in the Cafe Tortoni surrounded by photos of the famous people like Hillary Clinton who have visited it over the years. Maybe it was a bit of a tourist cliche but I liked the decor and ambience too.
posted by AuroraSky at 6:20 AM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Luis Barragan museum in Mexico City, but make reservations ASAP (seriously).
posted by namemeansgazelle at 8:25 AM on September 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

In BsAs:

The former site of the Escuela de Mecanica de la Armada, which was used a black site for the detention and murder of detainees during the Dirty War, is now a human rights museum, the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos.

There'a a small but very interesting house museum full of the works of Xul Solar, the Argentine expressionist/surrealist painter.

If you can read Spanish, Buenos Aires has a lot of very good and inexpensive bookstores, and they carry a lot of left political works. El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a particularly beautiful bookstore in a former theater, and is worth visiting just as architecture.


Assuming that your definition of the political includes Mexico's indigenous history, the Museo Nacional de Antropología is a can't miss. Honestly one of my favorite museums in the world.

The ruins of Teotihuacán are super-impressive, an hour-long bus trip out of the city center, and just from an architectural point of view, had an immense impact on the development of all subsequent pre-Hispanic ceremonial centers. I would strongly not advise trying to climb to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun unless you've been in CDMX a few days and have had a chance to get used to the altitude, but worth visiting even if you don't climb the pyramids at all.

The Palacio de Bellas Artes is an opulent building in Art Nouveau and Art Deco style where a lot of the major moments in Mexican artistic history have happened. If the national symphony orchestra happens to be playing, tickets are usually very inexpensive, though unfortunately only available through Mexican Ticketmaster, which somehow manages to be even worse than US Ticketmaster.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 9:36 AM on September 8, 2019 [4 favorites]

If you appreciate street art, a walking tour of San Telmo (BA) to view the murals is a must!
posted by GoldenEel at 2:26 PM on September 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

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