Sleek buildings line the Rio de la Plata waterfront at Puerto Madero, the largest urban development project in the capital. Puerto Madero served as the main port of Buenos Aires during the late 19th century, but larger cargo ships soon made it obsolete. The port fell into decay until 1989 when it was decided to turn the aging warehouses into something grander: buildings that could be used as residences, restaurants, shops and other businesses. To give the project a bit of flair, all streets in the district were named after women. Strolling through the Puerto Madero is a great way to spend a pleasant afternoon.
The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts), located in the Recoleta district, earns high praise from visitors, some of whom have compared it to a mini-Louvre because of its outstanding collection of European and Argentine artists. There are not too many places where people can see this art and for free, to boot. The museum opened in 1895 and moved to its present location – a renovated drainage pump station – in 1933.
Opened in 1908 with a performance of Verdi’s “Aïda,” the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires was designed by a succession of architects, which may explain the structure’s eclectic style. With nearly 2,500 seats and standing room for 1,000 people, the Teatro Colón stood as the world’s largest opera house until the completion of the Sydney Opera House in 1973. It remains one of the top tourist attractions in Buenos Aires.
Carlos Thays was a French landscape artist who came to Buenos Aires when he was 40 years old, and proceeded to change the face of the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Under his supervision, a number of parks were developed and existing ones renovated. But the botanical garden was his pet project. Located in the Palermo district near the zoo, the botanical garden is home to more than 5,000 species of plants, many in organized displays and others not.
El Obelisco is a much-loved attraction that stands 68 meters (223 feet) high over the city. It was built in 1936 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the city, naming the city as the national capital and as the site where the Argentinean flag first flew. The flag actually first flew in 1812 at the church of St. Nicholas de Bari, which was demolished to build the obelisk.