An Art-lover’s Guide to Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires’ museums, street art, murals, and architecture make it a haven for art lovers. Experience one of the world’s capitals of artistic expression.

Jun 4, 2024By Matt Dursum, BA Geography and GIS Systems

art lover guide buenos aires


Buenos Aires is a city of contrasts, colors, and some of the world’s greatest artists. If you’re an art lover, few cities in the world will captivate you more than Argentina’s fast-paced capital.


You’ll be surrounded by stunning 19th-century architecture, murals of fileteado, its homegrown style of calligraphy and decoration, and some of the best street art in South America. Dozens of world-class museums also await, giving you an art-centric experience like nowhere else.


1. Explore the World-Famous Architecture of Buenos Aires

buenos aires architecture
Buenos Aires Architecture by Sasha Stories, source: Unsplash


Getting around the city is easy, with its walkability and efficient metro system. Buses, taxis, and Uber are also very convenient. This accessibility puts all the city’s museums, public art, and venues within reach. No matter how long you stay for a visit, Buenos Aires’ art scene will captivate you. Do what the locals do and take your time wandering around this amazing city. Get lost in its beauty and take the time to visit the world-famous destinations below.


Some people, locals included, like to compare the city to Paris or Milan. However, maybe Paris and Milan should be comparing themselves to Buenos Aires. Regardless, the city has some of the most stunning architecture in the world.

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During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Argentine economy was once one of the strongest in the world. To beautify their city, government officials and companies hired Europe’s best architects to build their masterpieces. Aided by an almost endless supply of funding and creative drive, the city’s skyline grew into a symphony of styles.


museum historia sanitaria
Museo del Agua y de la Historia Sanitaria. Source: Wikipedia


Walk around the downtown neighborhoods of Recoleta, Monserrat, and Retiro and you’ll see the best examples of this architecture. Although some facades resemble those seen in European cities, it is the mixture of styles in Buenos Aires that makes it so unique.


Neoclassical styles of architecture are present in buildings such as the National Congress Building, Colón Theatre, the University of Buenos Aires’ law school, and several elegant buildings along Recoleta’s Avenida Alvear. Art nouveau is another prominent style in the city. The curved geometric lines and asymmetry are best represented in historic places such as the Palacio Barolo, an early 1920s masterpiece built by the world-famous Italian architect Mario Palanti. The best example of Eclecticism is seen in the Museo del Agua y de la Historia Sanitaria, a former water pumping station in the heart of the city. This building was built between 1887 and 1894, and is still one of the city’s most beautiful and iconic landmarks, with its French green slate roof tiles and elaborate facades.


2. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes

rembrandt young woman portrait
Portrait of a Young Woman by Rembrandt, 1634. Source: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires


For lovers of art, nothing beats the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Recoleta. Since 1896, the museum has housed one of the finest collections of fine art in South America. Step inside and you’ll walk through stunning exhibits featuring a revolving collection of paintings, carvings, and intricate pieces created by some of the world’s most renowned artists. It’s not surprising that some of Argentina’s best works of art are displayed here as well.


Masterpieces such as Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman and Jackson Pollock’s Shooting Star are on permanent display. Along with the classic masterpieces are revolving exhibits from artists such as Pablo Picasso and León Ferrari. What makes this museum even better is that, like most public museums, entry is free. You’ll see visitors from all over the world, students, and everyday people enjoying the fantastic museum and its world-class exhibits.


3. Marvel at the Floralis Genérica

floralis generica buenos aires
Floralis Generica by Matías Ramo. Source: Unsplash


Just across from the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes on Avenida Presidente Figueroa Alcorta, you’ll find a giant metal flower. This towering structure is the Floralis Genérica and is one of the city’s most popular landmarks. The Argentine architect Eduardo Catalano finished it in 2002 and dedicated his work to the city. He describes his work as a synthesis of all the flowers and a hope that is reborn every day.


The huge metallic structure stands 65 feet tall above Plaza Naciones Unidas Park. The stainless steel and aluminum sculpture’s pedals move according to the time of day. Powered by hydraulics and photoelectric sensors, it mimics a real flower, absorbing sunlight during the day and closing up at night. Visit in the early morning or evening for spectacular light reflections off the pond surrounding the sculpture. Make sure to do as the locals do—bring a mate and hang out in the green space admiring the Floralis Genérica and the beautiful cityscape around it.


4. Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA)

malba buenos aires
MALBA by Henrique Sosa. Source: Unsplash


Argentine architects Gastón Atelman, Martín Fourcade, and Alfredo Tapia were given the task of building a home for the massive Costantini Collection of Latin American art. For years, the collection didn’t have a permanent home, and in 2001 it got one. Today, the MALBA is one of Latin America’s most popular and visited museums. Its mission is to preserve and further create awareness of the importance of Latin American art and artists.


The MALBA is also a center for film and literature. It holds several film and literature programs for writers and filmmakers and also has an impressive archive of films that cover Argentine and Latin American films in various genres. When you visit, you can get lost in the beautiful space and its diverse collection. The ground level has a wonderful cafe and store where you can relax after spending your time admiring the collections.


5. Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art (MAMBA)

maria orensanz estructura primaria
Estrutura Primaria by Marie Orsensanz, 1968. Source: Museo Moderno, Buenos Aires


In the heart of the historic San Telmo neighborhood is the MAMBA. This impressive art museum houses some of the most distinctive collections of art in the city. It’s run by the Ministry of Culture and is worth spending several hours in. Since 1956, the museum has shown a revolving range of art from local and international artists. It is the place to be when looking for avant-garde pieces. It’s also good to come here if you’re up for exploring thought-provoking activist art.


You’ll find huge projects that take up entire halls and small cerebral works where you and others will be locked in concentration. For a city so celebrated for its past, the MAMBA is a wonderful leader in promoting the future of the city’s artistic movements and sharing them with locals and visitors alike. The museum also offers visitors plenty of events and educational opportunities, from art lessons to lectures. It’s also a center for artistic innovation, promoting local and visiting artists and linking the city’s thriving art community.


6. Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (MNAD)

museo nacional de arte buenos aires
Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo (MNAD), by Pompi Gutnisky, Source:


Another must-see museum in the Recoleta neighborhood is the MNAD. Inside the French neoclassical restored palace are beautiful collections of over 6000 objects, from paintings, sculptures, porcelain figures, and furniture. You’ll get to see elaborate pieces that span the golden age of Victorian Buenos Aires. Classical pianos and other decorations were gifted from private residences, making the place look like a royal estate. Outside the museum, you can walk around the beautifully manicured garden and admire the museum building. After your visit, don’t miss a lunch or snack at the Croque Madame, a relaxed but popular cafe in the museum’s courtyard.


7. Museo de Arte Español Enrique Larreta

museo larretta buenos aires
Museo de Arte Español by Michel Caicedo. Source: Unsplash


Spanish art and architecture are on full display at this former mansion-turned-museum. Based on the personal collections of author Enrique Larreta, this unique museum will make you feel like you are stepping back in time. From classical Spanish furniture to the author’s personal collection of paintings, sculptures, and murals, you’ll be immersed in some of the most beautiful and well-known collections in the city. You’ll also see the author’s formal wear and military uniforms.


What also makes this beautiful museum popular among fans of art is its courtyard. Amongst the beautiful gardens and trees are areas where you can admire the museum’s architecture and even see the exhibits through the large open windows. After you’re done with the museum, don’t miss a chance to visit the Croque Madame. This is the sister restaurant to MNAD’s popular cafe. Here you can enjoy a classic cocktail or a traditional Argentine coffee and sweets while sitting under the beautiful courtyard trees of the museum.


8. Enjoy the City’s Famous Street Art 

buenos aires street art
Buenos Aires Street Art. Source: turismo.buenosaires


Buenos Aires is one of the great capitals of street art in the world. You don’t have to travel far to see world-renowned examples, with styles ranging from graffiti, sticker art, murals, and street installations. You’ll find one of the world’s longest murals in the neighborhood of Barracas. This beautiful mural is called The Return of Quinquela. It was painted by the artist known as Alfredo El Pelado Segatori.


In the touristic neighborhood of Palermo, in the alleyways around Plaza Serrano, there are wonderful murals, sticker art, and graffiti. Here, locals and visitors gather for photoshoots. In Palermo, you will also find street art masterpieces such as the Campos Jesses’ Frida Kahlo.


In the residential neighborhood of Saavedra, well off the beaten tourist trail is the Avenue Parque Roberto Goyeneche. Along this avenue are expansive green spaces where joggers and locals come to hang out, drink yerba mate, and relax in the sunshine. Along the walls of the buildings facing the park spaces are some of the city’s most celebrated murals and graffiti. Starting at the corner of Avenida Congreso, walk along the bike path north and you’ll find endless street art that few visitors get to see.

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By Matt DursumBA Geography and GIS SystemsMatt is a freelance writer and journalist from Michigan who’s currently living in South America. When he’s not writing, Matt is studying languages — so far Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and French — visiting museums, surfing, and traveling.