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An Art Walking Tour of Buenos Aires' Parks

Locals see busy Avendias Figueroa Alcorta and Libertador as functional routes connecting downtown with the northern suburbs. But the parallel avenues also join Recoleta's major sights to Palermo's, and woven between them are beautiful green spaces. Use the avenues to get your bearings, but do your actual walking through the squares and parks.

Iconic Recoleta

From the Cementerio de Recoleta and Centro Cultural Recoleta, wind your way through Plaza Francia's market stalls (weekends) or past the couples lounging on the grass midweek and over Avenidas Pueyrredón and Libertador to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA), with the world's biggest Argentine art collection. The colonnaded building behind it, over Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, is the University of Buenos Aires' School of Law —continue past it into Plaza Naciones Unidas and the giant metal flower sculpture Floralis Generica.

Art and Barrio Parque

Cross back over Avenida Figueroa Alcorta and weave through Plaza Uruguay and Plaza República de Chile. The white stone mansion on the other side of Libertador is the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo. Continue along Rufino de Elizalde, a curving cobbled street that's part of the Barrio Parque mini-neighborhood. Writer and socialite Victoria Ocampo commissioned the house at Number 2831 as a homage to Le Corbusier. The architect, Alejandro Bustillo, also designed the French neoclassical building opposite it at Number 2830, now the Belgian embassy.

Other mansions line the rest of the street and adjoining Alejandro M. de Aguado, which leads you back to Avenida Figueroa Alcorta. The block-long brown building opposite is the Palacio Alcorta, built by an Italian, Mario Palanti, for an American automobile company, Chrysler, but now bearing a French name, the Museo Renault. Consecrated modern Latin American masters are on display next door at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), and up-and-coming ones are at the Daniel Maman gallery at Libertador 2475, two blocks away down San Martín de Tours.

Los Bosques de Palermo

Steel yourself for two blocks along busy Avenida Libertador, then cross back into green space at Cavia: a diagonal route through Plaza Alemania takes you to the entrance of the Jardín Japonés —stop off to see the bonsai and pet the carp. Then wander on through the Parque Tres de Febrero roughly following Avenidas Berro and Iraola to Infanta Isabel. Skirting the lake's south side takes you to the Paseo del Rosedal, a large rose garden. Stroll southeast through Plaza Holanda, parallel to Libertador. The white-marble column at the intersection with Sarmiento honors four Argentine regions (note the bronze allegories in the pool at the base), but is known as the Monumento de los Españoles. Turn right onto quiet República de la India, which flanks the Buenos Aires Zoo —you can glimpse century-old pavilions and some animals through the railings—or turn right when you hit Avenida Las Heras to the entrance on Plaza Francia.

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