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Top 10 Tango Things to do in Buenos Aires


If you're anything like me as a traveler, you've probably spent your preparation time pouring over various travel guides and underlining various paragraphs, trawling through numerous travel blogs, navigating Google maps to try and get a sense of the city, and written copious lists of 'Things to I want to do in BsAs' on various scraps of paper.

Top 10 (or 20) guides are abundant on the web and rightly say that it is nigh on impossible to do all the wonderful things that this bountiful city has to offer if you only have a few days.

But if you want a distinctly tango flavour to your trip, here's a list of some Top 10 Tango Must-dos that you should try and fit in whilst in the city. Remember, they are in no particular order and by no means definitive.

If you've got anything you'd like to add, just let us know in the comments section - we'd love to hear from you!



1. Visit La Boca

If you're interested in where tango evolved from, then you need to make a visit to La Boca. This gritty suburb is the oldest in Buenos Aires and was the arrival platform for the many waves of immigrants that Argentina had at the turn of the 20th Century. Colourful and historic, La Caminito street is a living representation of what La Boca was to the immigrants that had to make it their home. Check out some of its history before heading there to make the most of your experience.

2. Meander at the San Telmo Markets

The San Telmo Antique Market is held every Sunday in Plaza Dorrego. Tango is in every breath of this vibrant market, from the living legend of Carlos Gardel on his platform, to the dark El Afronte orchestra who drag out a piano onto the cobblestones for their performances.  You can always catch someone dancing tango in the main square and rumour has it that there is occasionally a milonga from 8pm. This is if they can overcome the candombe drummers who usually congregate together and encourage passerbys to join in the dancing. Well worth seeing if you're around.

3. Catch a Tango Show

For a special evening out, why not treat yourselves to a dinner and a tango show. There are many options to choose - from intimate dining or tango theatre or spectacular stage show, there is something to fit everyone. The dancers of the tango shows in Buenos Aires are well trained and bring you a style of tango called Stage Tango, which you aren't going to see on the milonga circuit in town.  If you're unsure about which one to choose, check out our Guide To Choosing a Tango Show, which will help you in your choice.

4. Take a tango lesson

There are a myriad of ways you can whet your appetite for tango dancing. Some tango shows offer a free class before hand (remember to mention it when booking your ticket), some milongas such as Glorieta have beginner classes offered prior to the milonga beginning, or you can opt for group classes or a private class with one of the many fantastic teachers that work in the city. There are plenty of Tango Schools (including Escuela Argentina de Tango) with many reviews to help you choose where to begin.

5. Soak up the atmosphere of Cafe Tortoni

A historic cafe in the heart of the city, Cafe Tortoni is well worth a visit to admire its palatial interior hung with memories of the artistic greats of Argentina's history.  It's popular with tourists so be prepared to queue if you've arrived at a busy time of day. It even has its own tango show. Listed as one of the Bares Notables of Buenos Aires, it's apparently rated amongst cafes from Prague, Paris and Rome for its beauty. Add to that the mysterious seductiveness of tango and you've got a gorgeous atmosphere within which to be sipping your coffee in.

6. Visit the Carlos Gardel Museum

Carlos Gardel is one of the most loved sons of tango. Bringing tango to life in the recording studio, his first hit Mi Noche Triste (My Sad Night) sold thousands of copies. Prior to this 1915 hit, tango was instrumental and it was his voice and interpretation of tango that created him into a tango superstar. With a fascinating story over where his birthplace and a tragic end to his life, this small museum offers fans the opportunity to see old memorabilia within the star's old house. There are also free tango classes on offer depending on the day. More information: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/argentina/buenos-aires/sights/museums-galleries/museo-casa-carlos-gardel

7. Enjoy an evening in the park at Milonga Glorieta

What puts Glorieta apart from the other milongas is that it is set outside. On those balmy summer nights, there's no better way to enjoy the evening than to sit out in the park listening to the strains of tango music while a gorgeous rotunda is filled with dancers from all walks of life enjoying the one passion that brings them together. Located near Chinatown in Barracas de Belgrano, this al fresco milonga captures the heart of locals and tourists alike. Visitors with cameras are welcome. For more information, see Dancing under the evening sky.

8. Go tango shoe shopping

Okay, so this suggestion is probably geared more towards the non-dancing ladies, than non-dancing men, but there is something irresistible about those colourful high heels that the women tango dancers wear and if you're a shopper, then you'll probably enjoy the experience of getting your own pair of sassy tango shoes.  With an abundance and variety of shops, if you're thinking about taking lessons when you get back home, it's well worth grabbing a pair of shoes while you're in the city itself and your feet will thank you for it later. Head to Comme Ill Faut for a unique experience (they bring out the shoes one at a time depending on what colours or style you think you'll like) or see Tango Shoes in Buenos Aires for more high-quality made tango shoe brands to check out.

9. Dance a tanda or two at Milonga La Viruta

Milonga La Viruta is well known to both locals and tourists. While offering a modern take on the 'milonga' by offering rock n roll and chacarera tandas within the tango mix, it is also one of the only all night milongas on offer on Friday and Saturday nights, with free entry after 3pm. If you're worried about being able to stay out that late, from 4am onwards La Viruta offers coffee and medialunas - which are arguably some of the best medialunas in all of Buenos Aires. Get in quick though as it can be hard to get the waiter's attention through the throng of dancers.

10. Catch a live show of tango in a small bar

This is where you find the real essence of tango that permeates this city's everyday life. Tucked away in historic little bars, you can find some of the great local talent showcased. Offering either guitarists, singers, bandoneon players or a mixture of them all, it is a great way to enjoy a quiet moment in this romantic city.  Check out either El Boliche De Roberto in Almargo (get there early to nab a seat - this place is tiny) or El Faro in Villa Urquiza (at the end of Subte B).


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