The Centro (Center) of Buenos Aires, constituted by several small neighborhoods, is house of some of the main landmarks of the city. You should schedule at least half a day to walk around, but you'll need much more if you want to visit some of the attractions like Casa Rosada or Teatro Colón. I've visited Buenos Aires, while living in Brazil, in an extended weekend, and had to manage time carefully to have an overview of the city. If you are staying longer I strongly advise to make some of the guided visits available.
A good place to start is Plaza de Mayo. This large and sunny square is not far from Puerto Madero and within walking distance from other neighborhoods like Retiro and San Telmo. Plaza de Mayo, which since the foundation of Buenos Aires (1580) has been surrounded by many of the most important political institutions of the city and of Argentina, was scenery for several important historical events.
In more recent history, this square was the place where the mothers of missing prisoners from the Argentinian military dictatorship (1976 - 1983), gathered in protest to know what happened to their children. This movement - Madres de la Plaza de Mayo - started their marches on 1977 and raised awareness, on local and global scales, for the atrocities committed by the regime. This association continues active and marching every Thursday in pursuit of action on other social causes.
The most striking building in Plaza de Mayo is the iconic Casa Rosada, the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. The pink building also houses a museum, and it has been declared a National Historic Monument of Argentina. Is possible to visit its interiors on weekends free of charges. You just have to schedule your visit beforehand in Casa Rosada site.
Across the square you can find the Cabildo that was used as seat of the ayuntamiento (City Hall) during the colonial times. Currently, the Cabildo hosts a Museum - Museo Nacional del Cabildo y la Revolución de Mayo - where you can have a guided tour held in English. The admittance is free on Thursdays.
Also in the square you can find the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires. The Cathedral of Buenos Aires was rebuilt several times since it was originally built in the 16th century. The current building presents a mix of architectural styles, with its 18th century nave and dome and the 19th century Neoclassical façade with 12 columns, representing the 12 apostles.
You can exit Plaza de Mayo to Avenida de Mayo, where you can find the famous Café Tortoni. The café inaugurated in 1858, it was named Tortoni after a famous Parisian café of the same name, located on Boulevard des Italiens. The café's decoration was inspired by Fin de Siècle French coffee houses and Café Tortoni is frequently considered one of the most beautiful cafés in the world. Like its Parisian counterpart, the Porteño Tortoni became the meeting point for the intelectual elite of the city. Currently is one of the must go's of many visitors to Buenos Aires and you can also add it to your list. A visit to look at the gorgeous decoration, an espresso and churros with dolce de leche are a good pretext to enter the number 825 of Avenida de Mayo. If you go in the right time frame you can even enjoy a Tango show.
After leaving Café Tortoni, keep walking the Avenida de Mayo until you reach Avenida 9 de Julio. You can't miss it, this is the widest avenue in the world, named to honor Argentina's Independence Day, July 9, 1816. Standing tall in Plaza de la República (located in the intersection of avenues Corrientes and 9 de Julio) you can find the Obelisk of Buenos Aires. This is a national historic monument and icon of of the city, erected in 1936 to commemorate the fourth centenary of the foundation of Buenos Aires.
Not far you can find Teatro Colón, the main opera house in Buenos Aires. The theater that reopened in 2010 after a 4 year renovation, is considered one of the best opera houses in the world. You can try to book a concert beforehand or to have a guided tour. Be prepared to hold in a line ir order to buy the tickets, but there are groups entering the theater every 15 minutes, so don't get discouraged by the long lines. The interiors are worth the waiting!
Walk Avenida 9 de Julio until it intersects Avenida Santa Fé, turn left and walk the avenue until you reach El Atheneo Grand Splendid, one of the best known bookshops in Buenos Aires. This gorgeous bookshop, was built inside a former theatre (called Teatro Gran Splendid) from the early 20th century. The interiors still hold many of its original features and in 2008, The Guardian placed it as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world. Either if you are a book worm (like me!) or not, I'm sure you will love it!
Before ending this postI want to thank to two amazing fellow Instagramers that came to my rescue in my shortage of nice photos to present you. You surely have noticed them in the pictures above and if you are not following them on Instagram I strongly advise you to. Tannia is a young lady suffering of a terrible case of wanderlust and you can find her colorful feed at Wanderlustladies. Tania and her travel buddy Erin have a travel blog where they tell us all about their adventures. Please visit Wanderlust Ladies, its really worthwhile. Juan Pablo has the knowledge of a local and a strong talent to photograph the beautiful city of Buenos Aires, please visit his amazing feed at Somebody 4 Someone. To both of them I'm much grateful!