A night at the theater is an enjoyable and very local way to spend an evening in Buenos Aires. There are always new plays and shows to choose from.
If you only go to one theater in the Argentine capital, though, try Teatro Nacional Cervantes ("Cervantes National Theater").
Argentina's national theater is a unique space that stages many types of contemporary plays, as well as occasional updated versions of classic literature.
For example, one showing had Hamlet reimagined in present-day Bolivia. It's an interesting juxtaposition actually – the traditional, historic surroundings and the often experimental entertainment!
Teatro Nacional Cervantes in Buenos Aires — Photo courtesy of Public Domain
The theater itself is located two blocks from Argentina’s glittering opera house: Teatro Colón. While Teatro Colón has a distinctive eclectic style that pays homage to several European nations, Teatro Cervantes is pure Spanish Baroque.
The project began with a Spanish theater producer and her husband, but wealthy locals as well as the Spanish king Alfonso XIII became closely involved. The theater was named after Spain's most celebrated literary figure, Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote.
It was constructed from Spanish materials: tapestries from Madrid, ceramic tiles from Valencia, seats from Sevilla and paint from Barcelona, among other contributions. In fact, the theater’s exterior is a copy of the University of Alcalá de Henares’ famous facade.
The theater was inaugurated in 1921. Since then, it has been part of Buenos Aires’ and the nation’s cultural fabric, staging a number of important plays. While the theater suffered a fire in 1961, it was rebuilt according to its original specifications and reopened in 1968.
The main hall, Sala Maria Guerrero, can accommodate 1,200 spectators – 860 in the main seating area and 340 in the boxes and balconies.
Today, the Cervantes Theater stages plays and shows from Argentina and all over Latin America. There's typically something to see four or five days a week.
The prices are quite reasonable, but make sure to buy your tickets in advance from the theater’s box office or else online from Ticketek. While there are lots of good places to sit in the main hall, sitting in one of the box seats (with separate entrances and damask curtains) is especially recommended.
There are plenty of places to eat a nice, leisurely meal in Buenos Aires, but if you're looking for a quick bite before or after a show, try one of the informal pizza places located on Corrientes Avenue.