Buenos Aires Travel Planet

Buenos Aires visitor’s guide

San Telmo

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It is impossible to visit Buenos Aires and not go and visit the historical and today very bohemian neighbourhood of San Telmo. Located in the south of the capital city, San Telmo offers visitors and locals something very special, very unique, and unforgettable.

San Telmo is the oldest neighbourhood in all of Buenos Aires and was once home to the wealthiest residents of the capital city. Due to this elite and upper class group, beautiful and spacious apartments were constructed, along with traditional cafes, sophisticated stores, and community plazas, and this modeling of San Telmo continued until the late 1800’s when a severe outbreak of the yellow fever spread through the neighbourhood and the wealthy packed their bags and spread out to the other parts of the city. In the early to mid 1900’s the theme of San Telmo changed; the homes became occupied by artists and musicians, landed immigrants who came over from Europe, free-thinkers and those who stood apart from the government, and anyone supporting the ‘people’s rights movements’ of this time. The cultural activity continued to grow in San Telmo throughout the mid 1900’s, and in 1969 locals opened up the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art creating a major and more concrete art influence in the area. Tango became very popular as well, mostly through the creation of various tango bars, milongas, and tango shows. The continued growth of art, music, and tango in San Telmo lead to great economic development in the area and today, locals and visitors alike visit the famous neighbourhood to enjoy the arts, local restaurants, galleries and museums, antique markets and fairs, tango shows, and much more.

San Telmo has seen plenty of reconstruction but the basis of the neighbourhood has remained the same; narrow cobblestone roads, high apartment buildings, and beautiful architecture are characteristics of the area, as well as a few famous plazas, churches and city sights such as Calle Defensa, where the Sunday Market takes place, Plaza Dorrego, the city’s 2nd oldest Plaza where Argentina’s independence from Spain took place, and the historical and beautiful church, Iglesia Nuestra Senora de Belen. San Telmo has adjusted well to its new found popularity and recent influx of tourists in the area; many foreigners’ who come to live in Buenos Aires choose San Telmo for its spacious living spaces, unique flavour, and affordable prices. More than ever before, there are business’ popping up that are catering mostly to a foreign clientele, as well as plenty of lodging besides local apartments, such as budget to high class hotels and plenty of traveler hostels. There are several forms of transportation available in San Telmo, making travel in and out of the area, easy and convenient.

**It is important to note that San Telmo does have its fair share of petty thefts and muggings, often to those not paying attention to their surroundings or out late at night. If you are spending the day in San Telmo, just keep a close watch of your belongings; for the night, always walk in groups and take a taxi when you can.

Check for more Buenos Aires neighborhoods in this Buenos Aires travel guide.

Place to See and Things to Do


Museo De Arte Moderno

Features contemporary Argentine art, as well as temporary art exhibits.

Parque Lezama

A lovely park in the heart of San Telmo, great to enjoy the sun or an outside lunch

Calle Defensa - Sunday Market

Every Sunday, several blocks of Calle Defensa fill to the brim with locals selling everything from Argentine souvenirs to household goods, bohemian clothing, artworks and crafts, food and drink, and much more. If you choose to visit San Telmo only one day, this is it.



This very famous restaurant/café in San Telmo is packed tight, especially on the weekends, with herds of people looking to enjoy the delicious argentine meat, fresh from the parilla, and served up sandwich or steak style.

Tango Shows

El Viejo Almacen

Open since 1960, this famous tango show features incredible performance from both dancers and musicians, and a great restaurant to enjoy some local fare.

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