Shopping in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires Shopping

Whether you're looking for a unique handicraft, the latest boutique-vineyard Malbec, or jeans no one's got back home, you're sure to leave Buenos Aires with your bags full. In recent years there has been an explosion of local design so it's easy to find a distinctly porteño imprint on anything from clothing to jewelry to homewares.

If hustle and bustle are your thing, elbow your way to the stalls at the city's outdoor markets on weekends, or through the crowds of office workers that keep Centro buzzing on weekdays. In Recoleta elegant old buildings that house hallowed brand names inspire a statelier pace (or maybe it's the price tags). Things are slower in Palermo and San Telmo, too: strolling their cobbled streets or people-watching in corner cafés are just as popular as buying.

Clothing bargains are harder to find than they once were, but there are still local chains and young designers turning out the latest trends at distinctly postdevaluation prices. Quality varies, but it'll be out of fashion next year anyway, so who cares? From the kings and queens of local couture you can expect world-class design with a porteño edge; although their price tags aren't particularly South American, you still get top-quality garments for less than you'd pay at home. A handful of these designers are beginning to export or open stores stateside; here's your chance to shop at the source.

Argentina is cow central, and leather goods—from shoes and jackets to polo saddles—are also excellent value. Buenos Aires' well-established antiques trade is thriving, but modern houseware shops are putting up some fierce competition. Many local wines still aren't exported, so this may be your only chance to try them.

Just because there's a favorable foreign-exchange rate doesn't mean you have to shop like a foreigner. Here's how to navigate the shopping scene with local savvy.

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