Buenos Aires

Whether you're looking for a unique handicraft, the latest boutique-vineyard malbec, a one-off pair of rhodochrosite earrings, or jeans no one's got back home, you're bound to leave Buenos Aires with your suitcases full. Argentina’s designers inject their wares with creativity, and innovative items can be found everywhere from elite boutiques to neighborhood street fairs.

If you love the hustle and bustle, elbow your way through the city's outdoor ferias. The array of open-air markets testifies to the fact that locals enjoy stall-trawling as much as visitors do. Crafts—whether traditional or contemporary—often take center stage, with artisans proudly selling their own creations; however, the selection can also include art, antiques, curios, clothing, jewelry, and assorted household goods.

At the other end of the spectrum, this city certainly isn’t lacking in high-end couture. During Fashion Weeks (www.bafweek.com.ar) in February and August, Buenos Aires turns the spotlight on both its world-class designers and its talented up-and-comers. But at any time of year you can swank it up at Patio Bullrich or at posh Recoleta boutiques where the security is as tight as an airport.

Clothing bargains are harder to find than they once were, but that doesn’t mean visitors should pay through the nose. Although haggling isn’t commonplace, do ask for a discount if paying in cash, especially if you decide to snap up leather wrist cuffs for all your cousins at a sidewalk stall. Also look out for the tax refund sticker in many shop windows.

Argentina is cow central, and leather goods—from boots to jackets to polo saddles—are an excellent value. Buenos Aires' well-established antiques trade is also thriving, but modern houseware shops are putting up some fierce competition. On the wine front, many local vintages still aren't exported, so this may be your only chance to try wines from regions other than Mendoza.

It’s not just about retail therapy, either. Part of the Buenos Aires experience can be wandering around and stepping, unexpectedly, into a restored mansion selling silk frocks and vertigo-inducing heels, then taking a break at a bistro or juice bar. People-watching is the name of the game. Known for their good looks, Argentineans like to watch and be watched from the café sidelines.

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  • 1. Autoría Bs As

    Microcentro | Clothing

    Fashion meets art at Autoría Bs As. After browsing the ready-to-wear women's collections by Mariana Dappiano, Min Agostini, and Vero Ivaldi...Read More

  • 2. Carpincho

    Centro | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    As its name suggests, this spot specializes in supersoft, stippled carpincho leather from the capybara—the world's largest rodent, native...Read More

  • 3. Casa López

    Centro | Clothing

    Don't let the drab storefront put you off: you're as likely to find a trouser suit in floral-print suede as a staid handbag for grandma at this...Read More

  • 4. Cousiño

    Retiro | Other Specialty Store

    Veined pinky-red rhodochrosite (Argentina's national stone) comes both in classic settings and as diminutive sculptures at this second-generation...Read More

  • 5. Falabella

    Microcentro | Department Store

    There's no love lost between Argentina and its neighbors, but when this Chilean department store opened, the affordable prices soon had locals...Read More

  • 6. Falabella Hogar

    Microcentro | Household Items/Furniture

    A block away from Falabella (the excellent Chilean department store) is its home-ware branch, Falabella Hogar. It does a roaring trade in cheap...Read More

  • 7. Galerías Pacífico

    Microcentro | Shopping Centers/Malls

    Upscale shops line the three levels of this beautiful building, designed during the city's turn-of-the-20th-century golden age. Stores are organized...Read More

  • 8. La Martina

    Microcentro | Clothing

    Feel part of the jet set when you browse the clothing line of Argentine polo team La Martina. It's not just about boots and jodhpurs; there...Read More

  • 9. La Martina

    Belgrano | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    ...Read More

  • 10. Ligier

    Recoleta | Wine/Spirits

    Ligier has a string of wine stores across town and lots of experience guiding bewildered drinkers through their impressive selection. Although...Read More

  • 11. Mickey

    Microcentro | Clothing

    You won't see any billboards around town for Mickey: reputation is a far better way of advertising. Generations of porteños have been coming...Read More

  • 12. Oíd Mortales

    Centro | Music

    Listen, mortals": so begins Argentina's national anthem, which this ultrahip music store has taken as its name. You may be mortal, but the staff...Read More

  • 13. Ona Saez

    Centro | Clothing

    The ultrafitted jeans at Ona Saez are designed to be worn with sky-high heels and slinky tops for a sexy night out. The menswear is equally...Read More

  • 14. Ona Saez

    Barrio Norte | Clothing

    ...Read More

  • 15. Plata Nativa

    Jewelry & Watches

    Tucked into an arcade, this tiny shop is filled with delights for both boho chicks and collectors of singular ethnic jewelry. Complex, chunky...Read More

  • 16. Segunda Generación

    Microcentro | Other Specialty Store

    For custom-made, haute-couture tango wear and accessories (including fabulous feather hairpieces), visit the family-run Segunda Generación. ...Read More

  • 17. Universo Garden Angels

    Microcentro | Spas

    Despite the New Age brand name and emphasis on inner beauty, these cosmetics mix hard science with color and aromatherapy to create......Read More

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