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San Telmo

There is the smell of fresh pastries swirled with the smoke wafting up from cigarette-touting gentlemen drinking coffee or sipping wine. Young designers, dancers and artists sit on a doorstep chugging beer, laughing and discussing their latest inspirations and aspirations. Sidewalk cafes, cobblestone streets, old mansions, gypsy bands, tango dancers, live violinists, and streetside flower venders. An inexplicable sense of sensuality, color and passion. Alone, San Telmo square with its Plaza Dorrego is enough to be the Paris of South America. It is vintage Parisian romance mixed with that dash of relaxed, bohemian flair; it’s a seductive vortex that could sweep you away.

San Telmo is rich in history. Once home to Buenos Aires’ aristocrats, a yellow fever epidemic in 1871 propelled the elitists to flee this southern quarter and relocate to the north-central neighborhood of Recoleta. This move left San Telmo with empty mansions and a lost innocence. But to the fresh immigrants just off the boats from Italy and Spain, the architecturally astute facades were more than appealing.

The old homes were renovated into “conventillo,” hosting hundreds of newcomers, transforming this once-affluent-only district into a dazzling mosaic of diversity and culture. Nowadays, the neighborhood has been beautifully restored, fusing the old with the new, making it a microcosm of true porteño culture.

Sundays are perhaps the most exciting time to experience this unique and alluring ambiance. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. people of all nationalities flock to Plaza Dorrego for the weekly antique fair, Feria de San Pedro Telmos. Defensa Street between Avenida San Juan and Avenida Independencia is blocked off to motorists, while travelers and locals alike stroll through the marketplace, discovering the assortment of available antiques: dinnerware, old cowboy get-up, colored soda siphons, and costume jewelery.

And if you get tired of strolling, tuck yourself into a chair at one of the many outdoor cafés where you can sip an espresso, nibble on a fresh pastry and people watch. Like the locals, you might just find yourself contemplating the crazy world and wondering why not everywhere can be this carefree and pleasant.

Other neighborhoods in Buenos Aires: Villa Paranacito, Once, Las Cañitas, Palermo, Near Buenos Aires, Abasto, Recoleta/Barrio Norte, Barracas, Flores and Caballito.

03 Dec 2009

Things to do in San Telmo

Feria de San Telmo

117024Put on a smile and head to San Telmo on Sundays for the festivities of the feria, a neighborhood-wide flea market offering antiques, artesanias and good times for all. Stroll down the cobblestone of ...
City Walk
San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

City Gym

117002For gym buffs wishing to continue their routine, or indeed, for those beginning to regret all that dulce de leche consumption, GymCity is well-equipped with all the usual machinery for a traditional, ...
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San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo Histórico Nacional

Four hundred years of Argentine history are packed into this palatial, reddish-pink San Telmo mansion that is framed by beautiful greenery. Purchased by Italian entreprenuer José Gregorio Lezama in ...
San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Zanjon De Granado

This archeology-museum-meets-swanky-event-space is so well-kept it’s hard to believe that portions of the building date back to the mid-1700s. During a guided tour through the ...
San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Niño Bien

Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Escada, La Martina, Penguin, and Lacoste are just a few of the brand names that stock this upscale, preppy store, which keeps the polo crowds happy. More Polo than ...
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San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo De Arte Moderno De Buenos Aires

The Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA) is located in a former tobacco warehouse right in the heart of San Telmo. The museum exhibits the work of contemporary Argentine artists (artwork ...
San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo Penitenciario

The building for this darkly themed museum was built in 1760 as a convent, then it became a women\'s prison in 1974, before eventually settling as a museum – the logistical next step in its ...
San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
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