Discover Santa in the Summer with Christmas Shopping in Buenos Aires

If you hail from the northern hemisphere, you may initially be confused come Christmastime. There is no cold and no snow in Buenos Aires: just plenty of heat, shorts and ice cream! Fortunately, Christmas is a unique time to be in the Argentine capital and Christmas shopping in Buenos Aires can be loads of fun.

You can find a lot of unique items for sale like mate gourds and handmade jewelry at the open air markets, such as the Feria de San Telmo in San Telmo and Feria de Plaza Francia in Recoleta. But for a totally Argentine shopping experience, head to the Feria de Mataderos where you can explore Argentina’s rural side and gaucho culture. Otherwise, more mainstream shopping is abundant at Buenos Aires’ blissfully air-conditioned malls. Here you can find all the major international brands as well as some great Argentine brands that you will not find anywhere else. Stock up!

For electronics, it is usually a better idea to buy them outside of Argentina, but for clothes, home goods, decorations and other items, you can find some really delightful things in Buenos Aires. Your loved ones will likely be thanking Santa for his good taste this year.


A large mall with a wide variety of stores, Alto Palermo is a favorite shopping hub amongst the Palermo neighborhood's locals and foreigners. Here you will find a mix of national and international brands like Las Pepas, Starbucks and Zara. Alto Palermo mostly consists of clothing shops, but you can also buy things like food and electronics. Even if you're not in a buying mood though, it's still good to keep Alto Palermo in mind as a point of reference; for if you ever get lost anywhere near the Palermo neighborhood, just ask anyone for directions and they should be able to point you back to Alto Palermo.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Alto Palermo is central, has good shopping and everyone in BA knows about it.

Sarah's expert tip: Generally speaking, the higher the floor is at Alto Palermo, the more you should be willing to spend. Consult your wallet before continuing up the escalators.

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From their quiet shop on Sarmiento street, Neo Tango sells both men's and women's tango shoes for beginning to advanced dancers. Though the styles tend to be bright and showy, you can find something more understated too, if that's what you're after. When in doubt about what you need, ask. Besides being knowledgeable about the shop's wares, the staff at Neo Tango dance tango too. They can tell you where to go or that good tango shoes, especially for women, are the key to starting out on the right foot with Buenos Aires' sexiest and most famous dance. When you purchase a pair of shoes, they'll give you a starter shoe bag emblazoned with the store's logo and contact info.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Tango shoes are one of the best gifts you can buy in Buenos Aires.

Sarah's expert tip: Just point to the shoe styles you would like to try on. The staff don't look kindly upon you taking shoes off the display shelves.

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This weekend artisan market located next to the Recoleta Cemetery and the Buenos Aires Design shopping center is one of the best places in the city to stock up on relatively well-priced souvenirs, local crafts and trinkets. At Feria de Plaza Francia expect to find piles of mate gourds, unique handmade jewelery, toys, shoes, bags and other crafts made from leather, textiles, ceramics, metal and wood. When you are done shopping, feel free to hang out on the lawn and enjoy the good weather. Otherwise, head to Buenos Aires Design for a convenient bite when your stomach starts to rumble.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: It is popular with both locals and tourists for shopping and hanging out when the weather is nice.

Sarah's expert tip: Come for all the unique handmade goods that you will not find at the city's malls and help support Buenos Aires' local artisans and craftspeople.

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San Telmo Market is great for shopping as well as sightseeing. It is an institution in the neighborhood where it is located as well as a National Historic Monument. San Telmo Market was built in 1897 with a wrought iron interior by Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo. Today you can go there to find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, cheese and unique local antiques, as well as coffee from trendy Coffee Town. The latter is a slice of modernity amidst San Telmo Market's more traditional atmosphere. You can enter the market from Carlos Calvo, Bol�var, Defensa or Estados Unidos streets.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Historic San Telmo Market has a variety of perishable and non-perishable items for sale.

Sarah's expert tip: While the market itself is open throughout the day, the individual stalls set their own schedules, so some may be closed at lunchtime while their owners eat.

Read more about Mercado de San Telmo →

This shopping mall occupies one of the city's most arresting buildings, a huge former wholesale market for fruits and vegetables. It was inspired by Paris' famed Les Halles and built in the late nineteenth century, but then remodeled in striking deco style in the 1930's. It closed down in the 1980's but was then reborn as a shopping center in the 1990's. Today, the Abasto de Buenos Aires is a busy mainstream mall that contains stores and food options from all the usual suspects, both international and national. However, do look for the statue of tango singer Carlos Gardel outside; he is revered like a god in Buenos Aires.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: It is a great place to shop as well as a base to experience the area's sights.

Sarah's expert tip: The Abasto neighborhood isn't one of the city's nicest, but it is well known for its long associations with tango and its most famous son Carlos Gardel.

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You don't need to be looking for a specific book to enjoy a trip to South America's largest book store – and one of the world's most beautiful. Housed in a splendid old theatre, the Ateneo Grand Splendid has been carefully restored to retain the original features and fittings. Feel free to curl up with a book. Otherwise, grab a coffee behind the red curtains on the old stage, now a cafe, and, if you dare, imagine what it was like to star in a play there. Though most books are in Spanish, a selection of English-language books are available too.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: It's a beautiful place to buy books and enjoy being at a theatre without having to sit through an entire play.

Sarah's expert tip: Head upstairs (or take the elevator) to enjoy a different view of the old theatre. Also feel free to take photos even if you don't buy anything.

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Housed in a wonderful frescoed building dating back to the turn of the 20th century, this upmarket mall, located on Calle Florida, the city's pedestrian shopping street, is a one stop shop for international fashion names like Dior and Cacherel, as well as local threads from the likes of Paula Cahen D'Anvers, Vitamina and Uma. The mall also houses many additional stores selling everything from leather goods to computers, from shoes to mattresses, from books to cosmetics - and everything in between. Come to browse or do some serious shopping; either way you'll be in the center of the Microcentro action.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Besides all its shopping options, Galerías Pacífico is a centrally located landmark.

Sarah's expert tip: Monday through Friday there are guided tours of the building offered in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French. Also, if you get a Rewards Card, there are 10% to 20% discounts at many of the stores.

Read more about Galerías Pací­fico →

Outlying areas

While Buenos Aires often likes to take pride in its worldliness and cosmopolitan side, the Feria de Mataderos is like a cowboy theme park that is fiercely proud of its rural Argentine roots and its home-grown cowboys, the gauchos. At the Feria de Mataderos you can browse and shop at the market stalls selling unique and gaucho-themed items, try Argentina's country style food and watch performances of folk bands and folk dancing. If you're a quick study, you can join in the folk dancing too. Both the fair and neighborhood are named after the slaughterhouses that were located in the area.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Here you will see a completely different side of Buenos Aires with Argentina's rural and cowboy culture proudly on display.

Sarah's expert tip: The Feria de Mataderos is far away from central Buenos Aires and almost all of the city's sights, but if you have the time, it's worth the trip.

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Located in Buenos Aires' Recoleta neighborhood, Buenos Aires Design is a cool, upscale mall dedicated to home design. It sells everything you'd want to renovate or decorate your home. From faucet fittings and Jacuzzis to couches and vases, you'll find lots of things to capture your imagination or upgrade your home. Even if you don't have a house in Buenos Aires, there are plenty of small decorative items for sale that can easily fit into a suitcase and the top floor has a series of restaurants with outdoor cafe seating where you can take advantage of the views to the green below.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Slick and cosmopolitan, Buenos Aires Design is nicer and more relaxing than most other malls.

Sarah's expert tip: Start at the bottom. By the time you get to the top floor, you will have earned that cup of coffee or glass of wine.

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Begun in 1970, the Feria de San Pedro Telmo is an antiques fair that takes place every Sunday around Plaza Dorrego in Buenos Aires' historic San Telmo neighborhood. An estimated 20,000 people - a mix of Argentines and foreign tourists - descend on the weekly fair to admire and shop for clothing, books, paintings, jewelry, music boxes, siphon bottles, telephones, coins, plates, watches, picture frames and a host of other antique objects. Credit cards are not accepted, so do bring cash; however, many stall owners will accept dollars and euros as readily as pesos. And while you're there, don't forget to enjoy the architecture around you.

Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The Feria de San Pedro Telmo is as much an experience as a shopping destination.

Sarah's expert tip: You will find all sorts of unique goods here, so come with an open mind and lots of time, and you will probably walk away with something really cool.

Read more about Feria de San Pedro Telmo →


Meet Sarah Rogers

Born and raised in northern California, Sarah grew up to become an expat, traveler and wordsmith. She spent seven years in Madrid, Spain and now calls Buenos Aires, Argentina home. She has had...  More About Sarah