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. Arte Étnico Argentino

    Palermo Viejo | Household Items/Furniture

    Naturally-dyed weavings and hand-hewn wooden basins are some of the items made by indigenous craftsmen at this shop-slash-gallery, which prides...Read More

  • 2. Bartolomea

    Palermo Hollywood | Household Items/Furniture

    The adorable collection of kitchen ceramics at Bartolomea is hard to resist. Pastels breathe new life into vintage-inspired dinnerware, while...Read More

  • 3. Calma Chicha

    Palermo Viejo | Household Items/Furniture

    The fun household items in this warehouselike shop are proudly Argentine: quirky cowhide chairs, patchwork placemats, funky leather rugs, and...Read More

  • 4. Casa Chic

    Palermo Viejo | Household Items/Furniture

    A hotel-boutique hybrid, this charming housewares haven specializes in rustic chic. There's an emphasis on lace, velvet, and crocheted textiles...Read More

  • 5. Cualquier Verdura

    San Telmo | Household Items/Furniture

    Set up like the 19th-century home it once was, Cualquier Verdura gives the otherwise antiques-dominated neighborhood a much-needed kitsch injection...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. Fueguia

    Recoleta | Household Items/Furniture

    It makes perfect scents to visit Fueguia's perfume and candle-making laboratory to create your own eau de . Named after the nine-year-old native...Read More

  • 8. Pehache

    Palermo Viejo | Household Items/Furniture

    Replicating a private home, this classic two-story edifice is filled with eye-catching items sourced from 80 Argentine designers. Browse among...Read More

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