It was on this very spot that the city was founded in 1580 by Juan de Garay, and it became the city’s plaza mayor ("main square"). Over the years, the space changed names several times before the square acquired its final and current appearance in 1884 with the union of two squares.
The buildings that ring around the square are also politically and historically significant, from past to present.
One view of the Plaza de Mayo — Photo courtesy of Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
The first one you notice will probably be the Casa Rosada. Once the central post office, today the pink presidential palace is the seat of Argentina’s executive power. (The Argentine president works here but lives elsewhere.)
The other buildings include the Metropolitan Cathedral, whose construction was completed in the 19th century; the Cabildo, Buenos Aires’ city hall from 1580 to 1821; the current government of Buenos Aires’ headquarters; the National Bank’s main branch; AFIP, Argentina’s tax collection agency; and SIDE, Argentina’s intelligence agency.
The Plaza de Mayo is the center of political life in Buenos Aires and Argentina. A political party was founded there. Demonstrations during the Peron era occurred there, too. Argentine mothers have marched there for decades in their search for what happened to their children during the military dictatorship.
Even today, the most important celebrations as well as protests regularly take place at Plaza de Mayo.
On a normal day, however, you can stroll through the square and see the white obelisk that commemorates the May Revolution, a statue of Argentine hero Manuel Belgrano, some palm trees and jacarandas, fountains, paths and patches of grass.
You can also look around and get a better view of the buildings that surround the square.
You will find the Plaza de Mayo at the subway (subte) stops Plaza de Mayo on line A, La Catedral on Line D and Bolivar on line E. Otherwise, there are plenty of taxis and buses that will take you there.
After checking out the Plaza de Mayo, you're in a perfect place to check out other neighborhoods. To the south, you will find Montserrat and then San Telmo. To the north is San Nicolas and then beyond that Retiro. To the west is Congreso, and to the east, you will find Puerto Madero. It's also a relatively short walk to Puerto Madero’s beautiful white bridge, Puente de la Mujer.