This delightful, city-center park stretches from the grand, British-built Retiro station at the bottom of the hill up to shady, tree-lined walkways at the top, which is the northern end of the pedestrian shopping street, Calle Florida. The park is surrounded on all sides by historic, iconic buildings: the art deco skyscraper Edificio Kavanagh, once the tallest building in South America; the Bas�lica del Sant�simo Sacramento, an ornate church; the early 20th century Palacio San Mart�n, the palace once owned by the wealthy Anchorena family; and the Palacio Paz (now the C�rculo Militar), built as the residence of wealthy newspaper founder, Jos� C Paz. You can't miss the park's giant ombu tree, a native herb of the Pampas renowned for its tremendously wide trunk and canopy-like branches. Near Retiro station is the black marble monument to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Falklands War. With an irony not overlooked by the authorities, it stands opposite the Torre Monumental (more commonly known by its previous name, Torre de los Ingleses), which looks like Big Ben and was a gift from Anglo-Argentines to Argentina for the centennial celebrations.
A landmark in the Puerto Madero neighborhood, the Puente de la Mujer (meaning Women's Bridge in Spanish) is a white, asymmetrically-shaped footbridge designed by Spaniard Santiago Calatrava and said to resemble a couple dancing tango. Pedestrians use the bridge to cross from one area of Puerto Madero to another, or simply to enjoy the views from the bridge. Built in 2001, the bridge was not originally part of the Puerto Madero neighborhood's urban renewal project, to convert the old port zone into an area of expensive shops, restaurants and homes; however, the bridge quickly became the most recognizable symbol of modern Puerto Madero.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The bridge is fun to walk across and the views are nice.
Sarah's expert tip: While the Women's Bridge makes a great pedestrian path, the bridge was designed to swing open in case there are ships that need to pass through.
In a noisy metropolis like Buenos Aires, the romantic and fairy-tale setting that is the Rose Garden with its boating lake (with pedal boats and row boats for hire) and pretty white trellises (usually occupied by courting couples) is a much-treasured gem. Stroll the manicured paths or sit on the benches to admire all the beautiful roses as well as statues and fountains. Nestled in a corner of the garden, you can find the Patio Andaluz with its painted tile from Sevilla. Part of Palermo's extensive Parque Tres de Febrero (also known as Bosques de Palermo), it was, like the Botanical Garden, the design of Frenchman Carlos Thays.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The BA rose garden is a beautiful place to explore.
Sarah's expert tip: The Rose Garden is open year round and it is lovely at any time of the year. Also, there are restrooms on site when nature calls.
The work of French landscape architect Carlos Thays, this Palermo park, which dates back to the late 19th century, is still a glorious oasis in the modern city. The gardens are dotted with sculptures, fountains and busts, and the green-minded will find plenty of interest among the thousands of plants and trees. Popular with locals searching for peace and quiet (or a place to read or sunbathe), Buenos Aires' Botanical Garden is also inhabited by a huge population of stray cats. Try popping in for a daytime stroll when you need a break from all the shopping and socializing in nearby Palermo Soho.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Botanical Garden is a popular and pretty slice of green in the city.
Sarah's expert tip: The Botanical Garden closes on the days that it rains, so if you suspect inclement weather, it's best to have a backup plan handy. Luckily, there's plenty to do in the area.
Located in the legendary Bombonera football (soccer) stadium that is home to the Boca Juniors, the city's most popular team, this museum is a must for football fans. It features slick, informative displays and a very well-stocked, blue-and-gold-dominated gift store. You can also have your picture taken with a bronze statue of Boca's most famous player, Diego Maradona. For the fuller Boca picture, book a stadium tour with your ticket, but for the real deal, be sure to grab tickets for a match. And if they are playing against the rival team River, even better!
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: You can soak in the city's sports legends at this museum.
Sarah's expert tip: While the Boca Juniors are great, the neighborhood is not so much. If you can, come with a tour or take a remise or taxi.
Considered one of the finest opera houses in the world and an impressive sight even from the outside, the Colon opened its first season in 1908, after some 20 years of construction. Its classical horseshoe auditorium makes for great sight lines and acoustics, and it is often cited as one of the top five opera houses worldwide. During the season (meaning not January or February) you can buy tickets to see grand opera and ballet productions, as well as hear the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra. Otherwise, there are guided tours throughout the day every day, even on most holidays, where you can get a closer look at this Buenos Aires jewel.
While gondolas are forever associated with Venice's charms, Buenos Aires has joined mother Italy in offering visitors a unique type of boat ride. Local gondoliers navigate the calm waterways of Buenos Aires' Puerto Madero area, including under the city's emblematic Women's Bridge, and give passengers a unique perspective from which to enjoy the area's sights. Rides last for about an hour. While rides are not exactly cheap, they are a pretty cool experience to have in Buenos Aires. The company has a small fleet of gondolas, one them named after Pope Francis. In addition to standard routes, they offer special packages.
Buenos Aires' Japanese Garden gracefully transports you to the Nation of the Rising Sun with its tranquil complex of gardens, cultural center, restaurant, tea house, bonsai greenhouse and gift shop. The Zen-like garden areas include beautiful plants like cherry blossom trees as well as stone statues, a red bridge and a network of footpaths over the lake. (You can feed the fish.) In the tea house you can observe the Japanese tea ceremony and drink green tea. Then in the restaurant, you can watch the sushi chefs prepare different dishes and enjoy the views of the garden and the water.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The garden complex makes an interesting field trip to another continent.
Sarah's expert tip: There is always an admission fee to enter; however, if you eat at the restaurant the admission price is deducted from the cost of your bill.
Looking for a bit of nature in the big city? Though there are many parks in Buenos Aires, the Reserva Ecol�gica is the city's favorite and most rugged green lung. At this 350 hectare park you can enjoy walking, running and cycling along the paths while taking in the trees and natural landscape. If you sit quietly, however, you can observe some of the birds that live in the park. The Reserva Ecol�gica is normally open from 8 am to 5 pm, but the park also hosts a monthly full moon guided walk on the Friday closest to the full moon. The four hour walk has to be booked in advance.
Imagine Disneyland, but run by the Catholic Church; you'd not doubt get something very close to Tierra Santa. This unique Buenos Aires theme park is based on the Bible, the life of Jesus and the city of Jerusalem. For Christians, the park brings faith-affirming stories to life, like the scenes depicting Jesus' crucifiction while for non-Christians, the park represents a novelty and a day of family fun. The park is nothing if not creative. From ticket sellers to entertainers to bathroom cleaners, all of the park's staff are dressed up to get in on the act. You will see costumed Romans, friars, Arabs and others roaming around going about their jobs in this mini city of fake palm trees where fountains offer up water from water bearer statues and you can climb onto the backs of inanimate camels (or into a chariot) to get your picture taken.
Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: No matter what you believe, the park can be fun for the whole family.
Sarah's expert tip: The theme park is in Buenos Aires but it is located next to the airport. To get there, you can take a taxi, bus or remise (private car).