Home to the artsy and the quirky, San Telmo is a go-to for free spirits, merrymakers, and tourists. Named after a priest who preached to the poor, it is the neighbourhood to stay in during a holiday in Buenos Aires.
First settled in by Africans, then developed by tradesmen, San Telmo used to be the residence of wealthy aristocrats who built lavish homes. After an epidemic of yellow fever however, they fled and left their mansions behind, most of which are today’s attractions. Cobbled avenues and graffitied walls serve as the backdrop of this barrio, where pedestrians mingle with clowns on stilts, street musicians, and human statues.
Eye candy is on display at the Modern Art Museum, where sculptures, photographs, drawings, and other works by Argentinian virtuosos are on display. The National Historical Museum recounts the country’s history through its furniture, weapons, paintings, and other articles from the past. Another piece of the Argentinian tale is the San Lorenzo Passage, where a former slave once lived. Pop inside Bar Seddon for a little bit of history, and a little more rum.
Sundays are busy at Feria de San Telmo, where 270 stalls open for bargain hunters, antique collectors, and souvenir shoppers. The purchases you can make from days gone by include perfumes, paintings, canes, fans, stamps, musical boxes, table cloths, ivories, and more. Loads of arts and crafts are sold as well.
When night falls, it’s time to lace those dancing shoes on and head out to Plaza Dorrego for the Milonga party. Under the warm glow of lamplight, locals flock to this place to show off their skills at the tango. Shimmy on with a partner, or grab one of the outdoor tables to watch them get their groove on.