Buenos Aires, Argentina is a city full of interesting things to do and see. Culture lurks around every corner, and the streets are always filled with lively events and people. And the best part? You don’t have to splurge to soak it all in. As sophisticated as the Argentine capital is, it’s overflowing with incredible things to do for FREE! Read on, budget travelers, backpackers, or those of you who couldn’t resist this city’s great shopping, and save your pretty pennies for another city.

 

Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Put away your blue-dollars, grab a free map from wherever you’re staying, and mark down all of our top picks listed below! Whatever type of sightseeing you’re craving, we’ve got it for you!

 

Read more: The Best Street Fairs of Buenos Aires

 

Explore Famous Avenues

Part of that “Paris of South America” nickname comes from the beautiful layout of this bustling metropolis. The most European city you’ll find south of the Equator, every wide avenue or skinny alley is lined with personality, unique facades, and little shops and restaurants that change entirely with each neighborhood. Here are our favorite streets to roam to grasp that Buenos Aires “je ne sais quoi” in just a couple of blocks.

Avenida Corrientes

Classic Buenos Aires, this is the main artery of the culture-rich city (if you don’t believe us, you can listen to just about any tango song ever and hear them sing about it). One of the largest thoroughfares of Buenos Aires, it’s lined with elegant old theaters, decadent bookstores, old-school pizzerias that never close, dusty newsstands supplying people rushing to work, and a clear-cut view of the Obelisco, the city’s most iconic landmark.

La Boca

Easily the most famous, La Boca is the colorful little stretch of homes right near the port. No more than two blocks, it fills to the brim with tango dancers in full costume, local artists selling paintings and souvenirs, and every tourist in the city snapping away their colorful Buenos Aires moments. Make sure to walk a little further and check out the La Boca soccer stadium (the city’s place of worship), but don’t stray further in the surrounding neighborhood.

 

La Boca, Buenos AIres, Argentina: The Best Free Things to Do & See! -- The Borderless Project

 

Calle Lanin

A lesser-known (but longer) street than La Boca, Calle Lanin is also known for it’s colorful facades that came to life after one artist resident began painting his in rainbow hues almost 20 years ago. Completely unknown to most tourists, it’s part of a working class neighborhood (Barracas) where the residents continue to turn their street into a work of art. There are tours that go, but the area isn’t dangerous and you can easily check it out on your own for free!

Barrio Chino

Buenos Aires’ Chinatown may not be the biggest or best in the world, but it is definitely a change of pace in the big city and unlike anywhere else in Buenos Aires. It’s not too long, but worth passing through (and definitely worth coming if you love exploring markets or want to nom on some great oriental food). Those not from South America might find it interesting to see the intersection of the Latin and East-Asian cultures, which does make it unique from the more famous Chinatowns of New York or San Francisco.

Neighborhoods

Make sure to also wander through the most popular neighborhoods in the city to get some perspective on the different areas. Trendy Palermo Soho & Palermo Hollywood are full of personality, as is artsy (but more bohemian) San Telmo. Upscale Recoleta is calm and clean, and El Centro is bustling, old-school and full of life.

 

Best Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Plaza de Mayo --- The Borderless Project

 

Street Fairs

If you haven’t gathered from our many posts on markets and street fairs around the world, we may or may not believe they’re one of the most authentic ways to experience a new city. Buenos Aires is famous for it’s giant selection, with a different one happening in a different corner of the city every day of the week (and trust us, they’re leagues ahead of the same old handicraft fairs you’re used to). You can read our post detailing the top 10 (so you’ll have more than one option each day) and what each one offers so you can spend an afternoon like the locals do!

 

Read our list of The Best Street Fairs & Markets in Buenos Aires here for all the details. Our top two can’t-miss are the Feria San Telmo and Feria de Mataderos!

 

Best Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina : San Telmo Market --- The Borderless Project

 

Cultural Landmarks

El Obelisco

The obelisk structure is the centerpiece of Buenos Aires, staking it’s spot on the infamous 9 de Julio avenue. You can’t go inside, but it’s an iconic landmark to snap a photo in front of, and gives you the perfect landing spot to look out at where the whole city comes together. Locals often hang out around the base, and it can be great for people watching.

Cemeterio de la Recoleta

Probably the best-known point of interest in the city, the Recoleta Cemetery is anything but creepy. Housing the tombs of many of Argentina’s most-beloved, the extravagant architecture of these mausoleums attracts tourists from far and wide.

Plaza de Mayo

This historic plaza is surrounded by beautiful government buildings, including the Casa Rosada (a popular point of interest). Most days you can catch a protest, a favorite Argentinian pastime and a great way to see the spirit of the city’s residents while tuning in to the current issues. If you come on a Thursday afternoon, it will usually be an especially emotional experience as this is when the Madres de Plaza de Mayo march just as they have since 1977, in commemoration of their daughters and sons who disappeared in Argentina’s notorious “Dirty War”.

Make sure to take a look at Teatro Colon which stands here- it’s famous for some of the best acoustics in the world, and was built in 1908.

Puente de la Mujer

The “Woman’s Bridge” in the port is a modern and simplistic structure to which a ton of tourists flock for a photo, although many aren’t sure what they’re looking at. When you go and take a look, keep in mind that the designer hoped it would resemble the outline of a man and woman dancing the tango. Another example of beautiful things to look at for free in this city!

 

The Best Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina: Puente de la Mujer --- The Borderless Project

 

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

 

This treasure chest of a bookstore may not be considered a “landmark” by all, but it should be! A renovated theater, it’s a book-lover’s happy place. Even if you hate reading, this may still be your happy place. If you have even the slightest interest in beautiful things, you should stop in for even a few minutes and we’ll be shocked if your jaw doesn’t drop.

Our personal recommendation is to come sit with a cup of coffee and a new book for hours and revel in it. Grand Splendid is an understatement.

 

Floralis Generica

The giant metal flower sculpture sitting in the United Nations Park is one of our favorite large-scale works of art decorating the city of Buenos Aires! It’s opens and closes in the morning and evening, just like a real flower.

 

Parks

How every local in Buenos Aires loves to relax: Grabbing some maté tea, friends, maybe a guitar, and sprawling out for hours in one of the city’s gorgeous green spaces. The parks here are next level, one is practically a full-blown forest, and each has a culture and set of activities all it’s own. There are so many, we gave our parks their own post. Check out our post on The Best Parks in Buenos Aires, and read up on what each has to offer! Nothing says “free” like nature!

 

Best Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina: bosques de Palermo --- The Borderless Project

 

Museums

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts)

This museum is always free, and has a permanent collection of some of the biggest names including van Gogh & Degas, while also housing rotating exhibits of South American artists.

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires

Also known as MALBA, this museum does charge admission for most people- but is free to students & teachers every Wednesday! Our absolute favorite museum in the city, this one shouldn’t be missed.

 

The Best Free Things To Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina! Recoleta Cemetery --- The Borderless Project

 

Entertainment

 

Tango

While “tango” may be one of the first things people think of when you mention Buenos Aires, it’s slowly transitioned over time from being the dance of the city to a giant tourist trap. But those all-you-can-eat-and-drink high price tag shows aren’t the only way to see it. Go back to the roots of tango and see locals who dance it for fun! Milongas are the dance halls where it traditionally is danced, and you can find a list of them throughout Buenos Aires right here.

We like La Glorieta, a popular spot that offers free entrance to their outdoor milonga on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays from 7:00 to 10:00pm.

(You may notice that some of them do charge a small fee to get in. If this is the case, it’s usually next to nothing!)

 

Music

Do you like free classical music concerts? The University of Buenos Aires’ School of Law offers them to the public different weeknights, you can check the current schedule here.

The Roxy venue in Palermo also hosts concerts on Friday nights, and if you add your name to the list online it’s entirely free!

We also love Tuesdays & Fridays at the classic Teatro San Martin. It’s not live music, but they play rare recordings of classic songs and you can sit back in the famous theater and enjoy for free! It’s something different, and very Buenos Aires.

The Horse Races

In Palermo you’ll find the historical Palermo Argentinian Racetrack. Argentinians are very into sports on horseback, and this one is great because – you guessed it- it’s free! The venue itself is quite impressive, and you can get dressed up and see the show and only have to pay if you want to bet or have drinks.

 

El Ateneo Grand Splendid Bookstore: Best Free Things to Do in Buenos Aires, Argentina -- The Borderless Project

 

Free Tours

But of course, the ultimate “free” exploration- Free walking tours! The reason we’ve nudged this obvious free things to do down to the bottom of the list is because, as any decent human will tell you, you’re kind of a jerk if you go on a “free” walking tour and don’t tip (unless it’s run by the government- see below- that one is actually free). We completely think good walking tours are worth every cent, but we don’t recommend going on one if you don’t plan to spend just a little. Most of those guides are students, so it’s important to support the cause!

If you are up for shelling out just a bit, BA Free Tours goes out every Monday-Saturday, and they’re worth it. If you’re going to take one, we suggest doing it the first day of your trip so you can get some perspective for the rest of your stay. (And if you’re wondering how much you should tip, it’s usually about $3-5USD, but we recommend asking when you sign up because they always offer a “suggested” amount).

If you’re a real cheapskate (just kidding), there are some free free walking tours. The catch: Spanish only. If you’re Spanish is up to par (or you know a few words and just feel like seeing where it gets you), the BA Tourism Bureau offers free guided tours of historical & cultural spots throughout the city. Unlike the volunteer student guides on the other walking tours, these people are paid by the government to show you around, so they’re actually free tours. Check the schedule here.

 

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