Galerías_Pacífico_-_200808a

Buenos Aires Shop and Walk

RECOLETA – AVENIDA ALVEAR

Recoleta is a downtown residential neighborhood of great historical and architectural interest. I love to explore this area on a Sunday morning and visit the craft fair, the surroundings of the Alvear Hotel is a perfect place to relax in one of its parks and have lunch on a terrace under the sun.

 

This is a place which brings together luxury French style buildings and stylish boutiques.  The walk along the Avenida Alvear is a feast for the eyes and senses. Start at the square Carlos Pellegrini, whose surroundings are one of the most impressive of Buenos Aires. Some of the most luxurious residences facing the square are the Jockey Club,  in what was the Palace of Concepcion Unzue de Casares, the Brazilian Embassy in the stunning Palacio Pereda and the French Embassy, in what was the Palacio Ortiz Basualdo, a great example of Beaux Arts architecture. Seven wonderful blocks from here to the Alvear Hotel show lots of historical buildings that are now embassies, hotels and public buildings. It is worth pausing to see the Fernández Anchorena Palace, now the headquarters of the Vatican embassy in Buenos Aires, one of the few residences of the upper class of the early twentieth century that survives on Avenida Alvear.

In those same streets are the most exclusive shops in the city: international brands like Armani, Hermès, Escada, Louis Vuitton,  alternate with sophisticated small boutiques and the charming Promenade Alvear.  Patio Bullrich,  is an  upscale shopping mall on Posadas street, directly across from the Caesar Park Hotel.

Great casual lunch spots in the area are Liber, Av. del Libertador 690, on the corner of Libertad Street, and Valenti, a famous deli store inside Patio Bullrich, second floor.  Both are perfect for a shopping break.

RECOLETA – BARRIO NORTE

Includes the area of Santa Fe Avenue between Plaza San Martin and Callao Avenue, and nearby streets.  This is my mother’s favourite spot, she strongly believes  she has not been to Buenos Aires if she does not walk the area.

Santa Fe Avenue is the main retail area, it has everything from sports shops, clothes and shoes, teen clothing, bags, home decor, and several cafes, restaurants and ice cream shops.   Casa Lopez, Marcelo T de Alvear 640 & 658, Plaza San Martin, is highly recommended to buy fine leather goods.  Plata Lappas , Santa Fe 1381, is one of the best places to buy holloware ad flatware pieces, and silver and crystal objects.

Do not just walk down the Santa Fe Avenue, explore all the side streets such as Arenales, Montevideo, Juncal, Guido, Rodriguez Pena, Quintana, Talcahuano.  A cool place to have a coffee with a deliciuous cake or just a quick bite is Como en Casa, Av. Quintana 2, or even better, stop by the store at Riobamba 1239, hidden in an annex of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. The nice colonial courtyard with trees and a fountain in the center is very calm and relaxing.  Volta is another great place to go. Is an ice cream and coffee shop that has many stores in Buenos Aires.  Ice creams are delicious, try the Dulce de Leche Volta or the Dulce de Leche Temptation.
CALLE FLORIDA

Walking down Florida street in downtown Buenos Aires is not one of my favourite things to do, but I recognize that this pedestrian street is an iconic place in the city.  Is a popular tourist area that combines street vendors, shops, office workers and talented tango street dancers.  The walk begins at the Plaza San Martin and can reach Avenida de Mayo, close to the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral and near to Plaza de Mayo and the Casa Rosada, the Presidency of the Argentine Nation.  I must confess I never go that far, the furthest I get is to the Galerias Pacifico, at the intersection of Florida and Cordoba.

Image Veronique Debord

Galerias Pacifico is an elegant shopping mall created in 1889, inspired by the famous Galeries Bon Marché in Paris and Vittorio Emmanuele in Milan. The mall houses many upscale stores as  Cardon, best for traditional country textile and leather clothing and accesories, Adolfo Dominguez, Bobbi Brown, Hugo Boss, La Martina and many more.

When you take a taxi and ask to go to Palermo, surely the driver will ask you which Palermo?  Because Palermo is divided into Palermo Chico and Palermo Viejo, which is subdivided into Palermo Hollywood, Las Cañitas, Palermo Soho and a new one called Palermo Queens.  To avoid getting lost ask the driver to leave you in the corner of Gurruchaga and Honduras, the heart of Palermo Soho and the mecca for every shopper.   Nearby is the famous Plaza Serrano or Plaza Cortazar.  On Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm, there is a busy arts and crafts fair, which I try to avoid when I visit the neighborhood, for while it is  a favorite shopping place among teenagers, is always crowded and it is difficult to shop in a relaxed way.
Palermo Hollywood and Las Cañitas offer various dining options such as pubs, literary cafes and international cuisine restaurants.
Palermo Queens  also know as Villa Crespo, begins in Córdoba Avenue at the junction with Julian Alvarez and adjacent streets. This is a new circuit to shop with discount prices, several local brands have been installed their outlets: Armani Exchange, Paula Cahen D’Anvers, Rhapsodia, Wanama, Hush Pupies, Timberland, Portsaid and Bowen.

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