We love this time of the year in Buenos Aires because it’s the beginning of warm weather before it gets steamy hot; everyone has fully come out of their hibernation and the energy in the city is amazing! What more exciting is that this is the season when major outdoor music festivals happen! Let’s get to it – the run down for 2014:
Personal Fest 2014, the usual suspect in the music festivals agenda. This year’s event will take place on Saturday November 8 and Sunday November 9. It’s unfortunate that it coincides with Creamfields (why?!!). This festival always brings in super fun bands from all over, this year’s headlines include Arctic Monkey, MGMT, The Hives, Morcheeba, Calle 13, just to name a few. Go to their official site to find out more.
If you don’t want to miss out the biggest and the best dance music party in Argentina (yes, not just Buenos Aires), then mark down Saturday Nov. 8 on your calendar. That’s the date for Creamfields 2014. 5 stages, begin at 4pm till 6am. You can dance till sunrise. More info at creamfieldsba.com.
A newcomer has joined the party this year and it is the Music Win! Festival. A 2-day event, Sunday November 23 and Monday November 24 (public holiday!), that brings in international musicians and bands of all genre. A true feast for all music fans. Check out their website for more info.
Like all the art cultures in Buenos Aires, there’s something for everyone. Prefer a more chill than rocking out music experience, we have that too. This year’s Buenos Aires International Jazz Festival will take place from Nov. 19 – 24, 2014. Since the organizer for this festival is the city government, that means other than ticketed events, there are also many free concerts for all to enjoy. At the time of publishing this blog, the 2014 edition website and program is not up yet, so keep checking the city’s general festival site for updates.
Last but not least, if the occasional music events aren’t enough to quench your thirst, then we have PM Open Air Music. Started a couple of summers ago in an alley in Palermo Soho, cool DJs and bands play live every Saturday under the BA sun. This weekly event has become so popular that now during this Summer season, you can find it every Saturday 3pm to10pm at Punta Carrasco (Av. Rafael Obligado 2221), a beautifully located venue space next to the river. Free entry till 4:30pm. Ticket at AR$80 afterwards. Go early if you want to make sure you can get in or buy advance tickets at INFINIT (an eye glasses shop at Thames 1602, Palermo Soho). More info at their FB page.
(Above photo from PM Open Air Music. By Julian Farina Ph)
Other than juicy steak, Argentina is also known for our red wine, especially Malbec which is our signature wine, and Mendoza is our famous wine region; these are just the tip of the iceberg of the wine culture here. In fact, beautiful wines are also produced as north as Salta, Catamarca and Tucumán, the northern region specifically known as los Valles Calchaquíes. Taking advantage of their higher altitude and different cultivation conditions, on top of the usual suspects (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay), they also produce wines like Tannat and Torrontés, which are made especially well from these regions.
Some other examples of grapes that are less well-known for Argentine wines but you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to try them out are Bonarda, Syrah, Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc. Moreover, do you know espumantes (sparkling wines) are also very popular among Argentines? Before dinner as an apéritif and/or end the dinner on a high note is a common scene. Chandon is the most sought after brand but many vineyards are also producing their own now, from extra brut to brut nature to sparkling Rosé. Varieties are evergrowing when you go to the supermarket.
With all these choices, what should one do you wonder? Wine tasting is always a good choice but what even better is the Wine Expo! This year’s Expo Vinos y Bodegas is going to take place over 3 days from Friday October 30 to Saturday November 1 at La Rural, Palermo. (Halloween is not a big thing here so wine show would very well be the better plan for the weekend!) There will be over 40 wineries offering tastings, gourmet food market and live music. Whether you are a wine lover or not, this will be a great opportunity for you to see why Argentine wine is a lot more than Malbec.
For more info, visit the Expo Vinos y Bodegas site here.
Drink responsibly. ¡Salud!
The most famous Argentine comic “Mafalda” is celebrating its 50th Anniversary! If you already know a bit about ‘Mafalda’, then you won’t want to miss out “El Mundo Según Mafalda (The World According to Mafalda)” exhibition at Usina del Arte, which is currently going on till November 30.
If you don’t know who she is yet and have been walking around Buenos Aires, you may have probably seen her images in various public spaces and wondered why is she everywhere? To help you get to know HER better, and to understand why SHE is such an icon in Argentine culture, check out Who’s This Girl? PART 1 and PART 2.
Better yet, for those who can’t make it to the exhibition in person, here is a great video (the first part) about it:
Cultura Latina 11: Mafalda 50th Anniversary & MALBA Museum from Mauricio Izquierdo on Vimeo.
8 years and counting, La Bomba de Tiempo drumming show is still the thing to do on Monday nights in Buenos Aires. La Bomba de Tiempo is a 16-piece drumming group whose performances are completely improvisational and communications between the conductor and the percussionists are all done through signs and gestures. Since the group was formed in 2006, they have developed a system that consists of more than 100 signaling motions using hands, fingers and the body. They started performing at Konex Cultural Center every Mondays and their shows became an instant hit among the young hip crowd. As word spread, soon enough not only around-the-block line-ups outside the cultural center every Monday, but their popularity also brought them outside of Buenos Aires, touring and jamming with famous musicians including Calle 13, Café Tacuba and the likes.
If you enjoy outdoor music show where you can dance to energetic yet hypnotizing beat in a very buena onda (good vibe) environment, then you definitely have to pencil in La Bomba de Tiempo on your Buenos Aires MUST-do list!
To get a glimpse of what all this hype is about, check out this video. And don’t forget to go to Konex website for show information and get your ticket ahead of time.
While here in Buenos Aires it may still be easier to find a Quilmes or Brahma at your typical Argentine watering hole, the microbrew craze that is sweeping other parts of the world is certainly starting to take hold in the bar scene of Buenos Aires. As an avid beer drinker and someone who appreciates the art of artesenal beer making, I’m constantly on the search for new places that can placate my hops addiction.
First off we have our classic Buenos Aires bars that have made a name for themselves all in the name of good, artensal beer. These bars offer a wide variety of in-house brews that are served by the pint. Most have a happy hour special that is sure to make your after office filled with delicious malts, barleys, and hops. To name a few:
Cerveza Artesanal Antares:
Now with 3 locations in Buenos Aires, this Mar del Plata beermaker has become a staple in the city’s beer scene. Offering 8 standard beers and typically a pair more of seasonal brews, Antares is sure to have your perfect pint waiting for you.
Palermo: Armenia 1447; Las Cañitas: Arévalo 2876; San Telmo (New): Bolivar 491
Gibraltar (Perú 895, San Telmo), Bangalore (Humboldt 1416, Palermo), and The Shanghai Dragon (Aráoz 1199, Palermo):
These 3 bars, all under the same owner, offer some great microbrews as well as some delicious comida. They’re styled after your traditional English pubs (the latter not so much) and are a great place to get together with some friends to enjoy a quieter evening with tasty beverages.
The Temple Bar:
Also now with 3 locations throughout the city, The Temple bar offers a wide range of domestic and international beers while also serving on tap their own in-house brew.
Palermo: Costa Rica 4677; Recoleta: Las Heras 1822; Centro: Marcelo T. de Alvear 945
Buller Pub & Brewing:
Taking the honor of Buenos Aires’ first microbrewery, Buller makes all their beer on site in their brewery situated right in front of the Recoleta Cemetery. After a hot summer day soaking in some of Argentina’s cultural sites, Buller makes for a great refuge with a cold craft beer.
Recoleta: Pres. R. M. Ortiz
Buena Birra Social Club:
Once a closed door, beer aficionados members only club, Buena Birra now welcomes the public with some really next level craft brews. A small operation, Buena Birra enjoys the ability to constantly adjust and diversify their beers with innovative tastes and styles.
Los Colegials: Zapiola 1353
While not technically a bar, this burger restaurant offers something I think we’ll be seeing more and more of around the city – restaurants with good beer on tap. As of now, Burger Joint only has 2 beers on tap, but combined with an epic burger and fries, their Pale Ale washes everything down like a match made in heaven.
Palermo: Jose Luis Borges 1766
If you’re at all like me, a stocked refrigerator of good beer is a necesity. However here in Buenos Aires your supermarkets are still a bit behind the times in terms of beer selection. What microbrews they have are pricey and limited to a few select domestic manufactureres. Enter Pinta Point: Cervezas Tiradas para Llevar (Tap Beer to Go). Now with two loactions (Belgrano: Olleros 1693; Congreso: Hipólito Yrigoten 2201), Pinta Point offers an impressive selection of on-tap beers and a wide variety of bottled beer to go. As you stand in marvel of about 20 taps, you’ll notice Pinta Point has a unique system to deliver your beer to go. Using heavy duty plastic bottles, each beer has a special vacuum tap that fills your liter or half liter bottle while maintaining carbonation with little foam. The system is designed to keep your beer good for a week but lets face it, a week is more than enough time for that beer to disappear from the fridge. Pinta Point offers some really great beers like the Triple IPA, Honey Beer, Golden Ale, Bitter, Porter, and my favorite the Belgian IPA.
I’ll leave you with one last insight into the beer world of Buenos Aires: Organic Markets. I happily stumpled upon this discovery while visiting one of the organic markets that are springing up around the city. Alongside organic foods and products of all sorts, you’ll find some microbrews trying to get the word out about their beer. These scrumptious craft beers are bottled and ready for you to take home and most vendors have a tap or at least beer on ice to enjoy right away.
Now go support the economy and drink a local craft beer!
The Argentine winter is quickly drawing to an end and here at Vamos Spanish we’re already thinking about warmer weather and enjoying sunny days in the city. My personal favorite way to get out and explore the city is by bicycle. Whether using the City’s bike share program, EcoBici, or maybe you found a classic bike in need of some TLC on MercadoLibre, the bipedal bustle is a sure way to have an idyllic day. To start you off on your bicycle adventures, below you’ll find some of my favorite places to spend the day cruising on la bici.
Los Bosques De Palermo (The Palermo Woods) is a popular destination for bikers, roller bladders, skaters, and runners. With numerous bike lanes and some bikers/pedestrians only streets, cruising around the lakes and shade of Los Bosques is a great way to quickly escape from the hectic streets of Buenos Aires.
Another great way to quickly escape the chaos of Microcentro is to head down to Puerto Madero and the Ecological Reserve. While meandering down the waterfront, it’s nice to take in the starkly contrasting modern architecture of Puerto Madero with the natural landscape that lies just beyond. Just outside the reserve is a string of Argentine vendors selling their infamous choripan (Argentine hot dog) and bondiola (pork shoulder) sandwiches which make great incentives to burn some calories afterward. After you’ve dowsed yourself in bugspray, head on into the reserve and enjoy kilometers of unadulterated nature paths and sporadic views of the Rio Plata.
If you’re in Buenos Aires for a few weeks you may be lucky enough to catch one of the bi-monthly bike gatherings called La Masa Critica (Critical Mass). The first Sunday of each month attracts hundreds and hundreds of bikers to the Obelisco for an all-day cruise through town all in the name of the oldest and best green technology. For the slightly more adventurous bike enthusiast, the second Masa Critica of each month meets on the night of the full moon for a party on wheels that lasts well into the wee hours of the morning.
I’ll leave you with one last outing that makes for a great day trip. Fill up a couple waterbottles and head up the shoreline to Zona Norte and Tigre. As you make your way out of the city you’ll catch some great glimpses of the Buenos Aires’ skyline as it fades into the distance. You’ll also stumble upon some shoreline restaurants to keep you fueled as you head north. Once in Tigre you can ramble around the waterways and relax by the water with your mate (your friend or the Argentine tea). The best part is if you’re feeling a little worn out from the ride up you can always hop on the train and be back in the city in no time!
Una bici más, un auto menos.
August is tango month in Buenos Aires because of our Annual Tango Festival and World Championship that takes place at this time of the year. The 2014 Tango Festival will begin on Wednesday August 13 and go till Tuesday August 26, 2014. It offers tons of free shows and activities like concerts, dance performances and exhibitions, tango classes and workshops led by well-known tango professionals, milongas, movie showings and tango merchandise market.
The Opening Concert will kick off this year´s festivities at Usina del Arte on Wednesday August 13 at 8:30pm. It will be a concert by Osvaldo Berlingeri and his orchestra, and then at 9:15pm another concert by Orquesta del Tango de la Ciudad Buenos Aires paying tribute to our great tango icon Aníbal Troilo. 2014 marks the 100th birthday of Aníbal Troilo, so you´ll see this recurring theme throughout the festival.
All of the shows and activities are free admission. However, due to limited capacity at certain venues, some events are on a first come first serve basis, and some will also require tickets. These tickets will be given out to the public an hour before the show starts, read here for more information on how to get them.
A full schedule of the festival can be found at the Official Website of Tango BA.
A lot of visitors have traveled to this side of the world lately because of World Cup in Brazil. Not sure how the coverage of this major sport event has been reported internationally but since Argentina and Brazil have been decades-old football rivalries, comparisons between them were made often in local media. Even outside of the football world, given we are neighboring countries and we are home to the 2 biggest and most notable cities in South America, Buenos Aires and São Paulo respectively, it is unavoidable from being compared from time to time.
Inspired by the Paris vs New York project , Brazilian illustrator Vivian Mota did just that but in a playful and artsy way. A friendly “illustrated battle”, as she put it, of Sampa (a nickname of São Paulo) and Buenos Aires. New ones are constantly created and added to the collection and you can check them out and even buy prints through the Sampa vs Buenos project website here.
These are some of our favorites!
Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti (or simply El Monumental) - River Plate
Av. Pres. Figueroa Alcorta 7597, Nuñez
El Monumental is considered to be Argentina’s national stadium because it is usually the venue of choice to host major events. Besides being the home of River Plate, it is also used for many important sporting events, such as when the Argentine National Football Team (La Selección) plays as host at home for World Cup qualification games. In the upcoming 2018 Summer Youth Olympics, which Buenos Aires will be the host city, the Open and Closing Ceremonies will take place at El Monumental. Given it’s easily accessible location in the nice Buenos Aires neighborhood, Nuñez, and it’s size being the biggest in the country with a capacity of 70,000+ , it is also the venue for big concerts. Most of the international superstar performers who came to Buenos Aires held their shows at this stadium. The recent ones who have come through town include Coldplay, Roger Waters, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyprus etc.
Estadio Alberto J. Armando (formerly known as Estadio Camilo Cichero) – Boca Juniors
Brandsen 805, La Boca
More popularly known as La Bombonera (the Chocolate Box) owing to it’s shape, where one side had to be built ‘flat’ due to limited space. The stadium is a well-known one because it’s owned by one of the most famous Argentine football clubs, Boca Juniors. It is because of it’s architectural uniqueness, it creates an unintentional amazing acoustic effect where you can actually feel the vibration when fans sing and jump in unison. Thus, offering an exceptional atmosphere unlike any other when watching a game at La Bombonera. However, due to football club politics and increased insecurity at football games, it’s getting more and more difficult to get tickets to see a game, especially Boca home games, at La Bombonera without having to pay a high fee and/or the connections to find one.
Estadio José Amalfitani – Vélez Sarsfield
Av Juan B. Justo 9200, Liniers
This stadium is the home of Vélez Sarsfield, an Argentine First Division football club, and is also the national stadium for Los Pumas, the Argentina National Rugby Union Team. It is widely called as El Fortín (The Small Fort). The stadium was originally built in wood in the early 40′s, but it was rebuilt in cement a few years later and further expanded to be used in the 1978 FIFA World Cup when Argentina was the host. International concerts were held occasionally at this venue. Rod Stewart, Elton John, Bon Jovi, One Direction were some of the visiting performers.
Estadio Pedro Bidegain - San Lorenzo de Almagro
Av. Perito Moreno y Varela, Bajo Flores
More widely known as El Nuevo Gasómetro (the new gas tank), it’s the new home of San Lorenzo team since 1993. They are a popular team locally but not much known in the international stage until recently because of Pope Francisco, who is from the neighborhood and is a supporter of San Lorenzo. The team is actually from Almagro and their original stadium, Estadio Gasómetro, was located in Boedo (just south of Almagro). However, in 1979 it was expropriated by the military government and the land was then sold to French retailer Carrefour. A huge Carrefour supermarket has taken up the lot ever since. For 14 years, San Lorenzo didn’t have a ‘home’ and had to move around playing at different stadiums until they managed to build El Nuevo Gasómetro not too far from their origin. This newly built stadium has the largest pitch in the country and it is known for the only stadium that has a real tunnel for the players to enter the pitch rather than through an inflatable one.
Any visitor to Buenos Aires could recognize that Buenos Aires is a very artistic-looking city, with all the beautiful sculptures, big statues in big street intersections, and art installations in parks and plazas. If art appreciation is your interest, then the city also has a lot to offer indoors because it has a wide variety of international collections, from classical to modern, displayed in the many art museums all over the city. The best of all is that many of them if not free entry every day, one day of the week is free, and here are the ones that you should not miss:
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Av. del Libertador 1473, Recoleta (Across from Recoleta Cemetery)
Tuesday to Friday 12:30pm-8:30pm Weekends and holidays 9:30am-8:30pm
Free ALL THE TIME!
Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo
Av. de Libertador 1902, Recoleta
Tuesday to Sunday 2pm-7pm
FREE Admission on Tuesdays
Museo de Artes Plásticas Eduardo Sívori
Av. Infanta Isabel 555, Palermo (inside Bosques de Palermo, in front of El Rosedal)
Tuesday to Friday 12nn-8pm Weekends and holidays 10am-8pm
FREE Admission on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA)
Av. San Juan 350, San Telmo
Tuesday to Friday 11am -7pm Weekends and holidays: 11am-8pm
FREE Admission on Tuesdays.
(Note: Don’t mix this up with Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires which is another art museum just a few blocks down the road. It has good exhibitions too but it has no free days but cheaper on Wednesdays.)
Centro Cultural Recoleta
Junín 1930, Recoleta (right next to Recoleta Cemetery)
Even though this is not a museum, it needs a mention because they always have great contemporary exhibitions going on and they are always Free Admission!
Lastly, just in case you wonder where is the guidebook-said-must-visit MALBA? Well, sorry to break it to you that it has no free days, it has cheaper days on Wednesdays though. With all the money saved up from the other places, there’s no reason why you need to leave it out of your to-do list. It’s totally worth a visit too!
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