This final walking tour of the architecture of Buenos Aires takes you from the Centro Cultural Kirchner and through the city’s theater district. While it brings you into contact with the city’s full range of architectural styles, it places particularly emphasis on exposing you to Art Deco and the Argentine form of early modern referred to as racionalismo.
Related: The Architecture of Buenos Aires: An introduction & guide
Related: Architectural Styles of Buenos Aires
Related: Avenida de Mayo Walking Tour
Related: Calle Florida & Plaza San Martin Walking Tour
Related: Recoleta Walking Tour
The map provided below outlines the suggested route of this tour. Buildings of architectural significance are specified by the map’s blue icons, with information on style, architect and year of construction accessible by clicking on the relevant icon. Recommended locations to pause for a drink and/or food are provided in red. (See the article on Buenos Aires’ historic “Café Notables” for further information). Additional walking tours for different parts of the city are also provided in the main article.
The main route from Centro Cultural Kirchner to Teatro Colón covers approximately 4 km, making it a relatively longer walking tour than those presented previously. With an optional extension that would add a further 2.5 km, the total excursion would likely require a half- to full-day depending on your pace and number of stops you make along the way. As always, make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and devote time for rest.
Main Route (⟺): Centro Cultural Kirchner to Teatro Colón
▷Total Distance: 4.0 km
▷Highlights: Centro Cultural Kirchner, Edificio Bunge & Born, Farmacia Suiza, Teatro Gran Rex, Teatro Ópera, Edificio Antonio Pini, Hotel Luxor, Obelisco, Teatro Metropolitan, Palacio de Justicia, Teatro Colón, Templo Libertad, Teatro Cervantes
Extension (⟺): Avenida Córdoba to Avenida Santa Fe
▷Total Distance: 2.5 km
▷Highlights: Casa de los azulejos, Palacio de Aguas Corrientes, El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Edificio Roccatagliata
The tour begins at the Centro Cultural Kirchner (CCK) – the impressive former headquarters of the nation’s postal service and now home to the largest cultural center in Latin America. Originally built in the Beaux-Arts style, modern touches have been added to the mansard roof as well as to the interior. The latter is well worth a visit and contains a number of free art exhibitions (and a child-friendly floor) usually showcasing the work of local artists. Make sure to appreciate the epic scale of the monument to Juana Azurduy in front of the entrance as well as the Beaux-Arts Buenos Aires Stock Exchange located directly across Avenida Alem.
After exploring the CCK, head north on Calle Bouchard to Argentina’s version of Madison Square Garden: the Art Deco style (Stile Moderne) Estadio Luna Park (located at the corner with Avenida Corrientes). As the beginning stretch of Corrientes is lacking in notable architecture, opt instead to continue on Bouchard and take a left on the more pleasant Calle Lavalle upon reaching Plaza Roma.
Immediately after crossing Alem you will be greeted by the Flemish neo-gothic Edificio Bunge y Born on the northwest corner of Lavalle. After passing this building, take your next left onto Calle 25 de Mayo and return to Avenida Corrientes. As you arrive, you will be greeted by the neo-Plateresque Jousten Hotel.
Head west on Avenida Corrientes for two blocks where you will encounter the early modern Edificio SAFICO and Edificio Transradio Internacional as you approach Calle San Martín.
Turn right and head north on Calle San Martín for two blocks. As you pass the intersection with Lavalle, take note of the Art Deco Edificio Argentino located on the southwest corner.
Continue north where you will find two pleasant buildings as you approach the southeast corner of Calle Tucumán: the Beaux-Arts Casa Roca and the eclectic-style Edificio del ANSES.
Turn left (west) onto Calle Tucumán, keeping an eye out for the Claridge Hotel on your right. The interior to this 5-star hotel retains much of its historical charm and the “café notable” located inside on the ground floor provides a peaceful place to break for a beverage and make use of the bathroom.
Continue west on Tucumán to the intersection with Calle Maipú, where you will be greeted by the splendid Art Nouveau-style Farmacia Suiza, built incorporating elements of both the French and Catalan styles of the movement. If open, consider popping into the pharmacy that still operates on the ground floor as it maintains some of the original Art Nouveau craftsmanship (pay particular attention to the skulls carved into the wood on the closet doors behind the counter).
Head south on Calle Maipú and take the following right to return to Calle Lavalle. About 40 meters on your left you’ll pass Le Caravelle – a charming “Café Notable“, providing a decent spot to grab a quick espresso and a pastry. Continue on Lavalle, taking note of the Art Deco Cine Monumental on your left shortly before arriving at Calle Esmeralda.
Turn left on Calle Esmeralda and pause briefly on Avenida Corrientes to appreciate the Art Deco Teatro Ópera and the early Modern-style Teatro Gran Rex (influenced by Radio City Music Hall) directly opposite. Return to Esmeralda and continue south to Diagonal Norte (Avenida Presidente Peña).
Upon arriving at Diagonal Norte (Av. Pres. Peña) you’ll be treated to notable architecture at all corners. Located immediately to your right (northwest corner) you’ll find the Art Deco Edificio La Unión, while the early modern/”racionalismo”-style YPF Building can be found on your left (northeast corner). The opposite side of the street, meanwhile, includes the Art Deco Shell Mex Building (southeast corner) as well as Edificio Volta.
Heading northwest on Diagonal Norte in the direction of Obelisco, you will find the upscale “café notable” Bidou, which provides a good location to pause for a beverage and experience a taste of Buenos Aires’ Belle Epoque period. Continuing on Diagonal Norte, you will again come across a concentration of architectural treasures at the intersection with Sarmiento and Suipacha. On your right, take note of the Eclectic-style Edificio Antonio Pini which combines elements of Art Deco, Neo-Renaissance and Moorish Revivalism. Moving clockwise, you’ll also note the Art Deco Hotel Luxor with its wonderful low-relief carvings, followed by the striking neo-Plateresque Roque Sáenz Peña 917 (northwest corner) and Art Deco Edificio Dorrego (southwest corner).
Upon arriving at Obelisco, take some time to appreciate the buildings that border the surrounding area. Cross Avenida 9 de Julio and continue on Avenida Corrientes where you will you pass the Art Deco Teatro Broadway on your right followed by the Neo-Renaissance Teatro Lola Membrives on your left. Continue walking until you reach the Art Deco Teatro Metropolitan SURA. Cross the street and treat yourself to a slice of pizza at one of the most iconic pizzerias in the city: Güerrin.
Double back on Corrientes and take your next left onto Calle Talcahuano. Within one block you’ll arrive at Plaza Lavalle. Greeting you as you arrive will be Argentina’s Supreme Court: the neoclassical Palacio de Justicia (immediately on your left). Continue past the Supreme Court to the corner with Calle Tucumán where you’ll encounter the renovated Art Nouveau Mirador Massué.
Head southeast across the Plaza where you will note the Art Deco Edificio Candame. This corner also includes the “Café Notable” Petit Colon, which provides a wonderful spot to pause for refreshment. Making your way north along the east side of Plaza Lavalle (Calle Libertad) you’ll encounter the neoclassical Escuela Presidente Roca before reaching the Eclectic Teatro Colón: one of the world’s premier opera houses.
The Main Route of this walking tour concludes at the northeast corner of Plaza Lavalle. Here you’ll find a series of notable structures, including the synagogue Templo Libertad – incorporating Romantic and Byzantine influences – which is topped with the ten commandments in a manner nearly identical to that of the Supreme Court found diagonally across the Plaza. Opposite the Templo is the Spanish-baroque style Teatro Nacional Cervantes. Not to be missed as well the Art Deco building at Av. Córdoba 1184 next to the Templo Libertad.
This marks the end of the Main Route of the Walking Tour. From here, there is the option of continuing onto the suggested extension for a further 2.5 km, where the highlights include the Palacio Agua Corrientes and El Ateneo.
The extension begins by continuing north on Calle Libertad. Take a left (west) on Calle Paraguay and continue on until you reach the wonderful Art Nouveau residence – Casa de los Azulejos – shortly after the intersection with Calle Talcahuano.
Note the building’s classic Art Nouveau features, including asymmetry, a polychrome façade, and exposed wrought iron with whiplash effects (including in the design of plant/floral motifs). Unique in comparison to most Art Nouveau structures in the capital, this building also has a large ceramic painting on the façade, depicting a bucolic scene with a man and a woman at work in the countryside. This highlights the blending between humans and nature, while its similarity to a romantic era painting highlights its influence from the Stile Liberty style of Italy.
Continue west on Calle Paraguay and take a right, heading north on Calle Paraná followed by a left on Calle Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear. In two blocks you will arrive at Plaza Rodriguez Peña where you will note the Beaux-Arts Palacio Sarmiento on the Plaza’s eastern end.
Proceed diagonally across the Plaza toward the southwest corner and continue south on Avenida Callao for two blocks. Take a left heading west on Calle Viamonte and walk for one block until you arrive at Calle Riobamba. Here you will note the massive Palacio de Agua Corrientes which occupies an entire city block.
Turn right on Riobamba and admire the building’s eastern façade, taking note of the Art Deco building at Riobamba 739 located on the opposite side of the street. At Avenida Córdoba, turn left and continue to appreciate the northern façade of the Palacio de Agua Corrientes. As you arrive at Calle Ayacucho turn right, taking note of the Beaux-Arts building at the southwest corner of the intersection.
Cross Avenida Córdoba and continue north for one block, taking a right on Calle Paraguay followed by a left on Calle Riobamba and then head north for two blocks. Arriving at Avenida Santa Fe, turn right where a short 30 meter walk will bring you to El Ateneo Grand Splendid – one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. After exploring El Ateneo’s interior, consider making the short journey to the intersection with Avenida Callao where you will find the electic Edificio Roccatagliata (designed by the same architect responsible for Palacio Barolo).
Congratulations! You’ve completed the 4th and final walking tour. Now go treat yourself to an huge meal and excessive amounts of wine somewhere in Palermo.