The capital of Argentina is home to 15.6 million people and is one of the most multicultural cities in South America. Buenos Aires is frequently ranked as one of the best places to live in the world – despite political instability – with a high quality of living. The fascinating history and wealth of culture make it very appealing as a travel destination.
The city combines a mix of French and Italian influences to create a rich and unique culture that is reflected in every aspect of life in Buenos Aires. Often described as having a ‘faded glamour’, it’s economic fortunes have waxed and waned but it has real charm and character.
Buenos Aires has a complex and tumultuous modern history, characterized by political revolution, revolt and corruption. The city’s major political issues began to appear after the election of President Juan Peron, a socialist revolutionary who won the favor of the working classes but faced massive opposition and eventually a military coup.
Buenos Aires is not just a gay-friendly city, it is also home to South America’s largest pride celebrations. The city has a range of gay bars and clubs spread throughout its neighborhoods and is generally safe for LGBT+ travelers. Whilst Argentina is a typically socially conservative and Catholic country, like many cosmopolitan cities, Buenos Aires is much more accepting and welcoming of people from a diverse range of backgrounds.
San Telmo Market
With its bustling atmosphere, varied mix of stalls and array of scents and smells, the San Telmo Market is a treasure trove of food, antiques and much more. The market was opened in 1897 in order to cater to the needs of the influx of European immigrants. Although the original stalls have been replaced and updated, much of the market’s original features remain intact and as such the building was declared a national monument in 2000.
The San Telmo Market is open every day until sundown and visitors can shop for an assortment of products and goods. The majority of the fresh produce at the market is of a very high standard and usually fairly affordable.
Argentina has the same Laissez-faire attitude to evenings as much of the Meditteranean, dinner tends to start around 9 pm and people don’t head out until midnight. Whilst there is no official gay district in Buenos Aires, Palermo is where you’ll find the highest concentration of gay bars and clubs.
There is little distinction between bars and clubs in Buenos Aires as most early evening bars turn into busy and lively dance clubs as the night goes on. Gay travelers will also find that the city has a varied range of gay nightlife venues that will appeal to many tastes and interests.
For the best drag shows in the city, head to Sitges Bar. The bar attracts a diverse and mixed gay crowd who flock to the venue for the great atmosphere and nightly entertainment. Another popular bar in the Buenos Aires gay scene is Flux, a trendy basement bar that is popular amongst the city’s younger gay crowd and regularly hosts live music from local LGBT+ artists.
The Presidential home and government building is one of the most recognizable and significant locations in Buenos Aires and with its striking pink exterior, it’s hard to miss. The decision to paint the country’s most important building pink was made to diffuse tensions between the two main political parties at the time who’s official colors were red and white respectively.
Casa Rosada became globally recognized in the 1940s and 50s when President Juan Peron and First Lady Eva Peron would address the masses from the front-facing balcony. This speech formed the basis for the song Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.
Buenos Aires is big and busy, and at times can get overwhelming, but the perfect escape is to nearby Tigre. Tigre is a riverside paradise of small islands and canals that were originally used to unload the fruit that arrived by boat. The area is peaceful and picturesque and home to many stunning landmarks and historical attractions, including Tigre Art Museum.
For the ultimate Tigre experience, you should consider taking to the water on one of the many boat cruises that run daily. Tigre sits on the edge of the Paraná Delta, the fifth largest delta in the world and an area of outstanding ecological diversity and significance. From the water, travelers can get a unique and intimate view of this charming small city.
Regarded as one of the most important and exquisite opera houses on the planet, Teatro Colon has a rich and prestigious history as a world-class performance space. The opera house was inaugurated in 1908 and is unique in its stunning architecture and unparalleled acoustics.
The Teatro Colon has hosted a large selection of international classical performers including Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. The venue is still fully operating and visitors can book seats from the Teatro Colon’s box office, either in person or online. In addition, visitors can also take guided tours of the building in order to gain a deeper and more complete understanding of its cultural significance and fascinating history.
The product of recent developments in the city, Puerto Madero is a riverside neighborhood away from the chaos and bustle of Buenos Aires. The former dock has been developed into an open and expansive area that boasts stretching promenades, high-end eateries and bars as well as a range of modern landmarks.
The Jewell in Puerto Madero’s crown is Puente de la Mujer (women’s bridge), a feat of contemporary architecture in the form of a dramatically reclining bridge. From the bridge, travelers can appreciate the stunning views of Puerto Madero and Buenos Aires’s impressive skyline.
On the other side of the neighborhood exists 865 acres of biologically diverse nature reserve. The expansive green space is a popular destination for those looking for some peace and quiet or to catch some sun in the summer months.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Buenos Aires