Buenos Aires has always been a magnet for artists, drawn to the capital city for its unique mix of Latin and European culture. While visiting the major museums, such as the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, are more than worth your time, the murals and graffiti that cover buildings are equally impressive. The heart of the art scene lives in the city's many neighborhoods, where the walls of eateries and bars are lined with locals' work. And if you're lucky, you might rub elbows with the creators while sipping your Malbec.
Take a Neighborhood Photo Tour
Getting a true feel for this city requires unrushed wandering through neighborhood streets. Link up with Foto Ruta, which offers a four-hour "photo tour" of hoods such as San Telmo and Belgrano. Start out at a local watering hole for a rundown of the area's history and sights to see, plus photography tips from the tour's founder. Then grab your camera and a map for self-guided exploring. Afterward, everyone meets back at the bar to share photos over a drink.
Visit a New Arts Center
The Faena empire, responsible for city's lavish Faena Hotel + Universe, is transforming the posh Puerto Madero neighborhood. The Faena Arts Center is the newcomer to the Faena Arts District, an area filled with restaurants and galleries housed inside restored brick buildings. Currently on display is a playful installation from Brazilian artist Ernest Neto—a tremendous, colorful mesh net suspended from the ceiling that visitors can climb through. The show was recently extended to run through February 12.
Join Artists for Cocktails
Street art is an elemental component of the Buenos Aires art scene, with detailed murals covering the sides of buildings throughout the city. Artists are openly encouraged to get out their spray cans and create by the light of day. And if you don't catch a masterpiece in action while walking through the streets of the Palermo or Villa Crespo, head to the Post Street Bar in Palermo Soho. The walls of the bar—inside and out—are coated with art, including more than 1,836 stencil works.
Pair Paintings with Dinner
Some of the best—and definitely most inventive—meals in Buenos Aires are served in closed-door restaurants, or puertas cerradas. They often operate out of someone's home, and require a reservation for the sole seating of the night; menus are usually fixed-price, and offer multiple courses. One of the city's newer hotspots is Max's Supper Club, which started out in a lofty Recoleta home-turned-arts organization called Juanele AR and now takes place in different Buenos Aires art galleries. London-born Chef Max Paarlberg gleans inspiration from locals' artwork on display in the spaces where dinners take place to select the theme of each week's menu and its components. The featured artist also dines with guests at the communal table.
Thinking of a trip to Buenos Aires?
For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning information, check out our online Buenos Aires Travel Guide.
Photo credit: courtesy Katie Josephson