Buenos Aires has become a hot-spot for tourists in recent years, and it’s easy to understand why. Internationally renowned restaurants, shopping, museums, theater, and sports are all part of the fabric that makes this South American mega-city a popular destination for any traveler. But in a city of roughly 14 million people, it’s easy to get lost in the enormity and sprawl that is modern Buenos Aires.
It’s because of this enormity that the casual traveler only gets to see a small-albeit still heavily populated- portion of the actual city. In Buenos Aires, there are always the constants: boutiques and restaurants in Palermo, shopping and discos in Recoleta, cafes and antiques in San Telmo. Few tourists and even many Porteños get to see the real heart of the city, or as locals call them, “barrios“.
Parque Chacabuco is one of Buenos Aires’ up and coming barrios that has yet to hit the mainstream radar. Located roughly 6 kilometers north of Plaza de Mayo, in the geographical center of the city, the neighborhood has many of the usual downtown amenities, but at a fraction of the cost. Whether you’re just visiting or living here, you can stretch your peso much further than you could in almost any other part of the city.
The neighborhood’s main commercial drag Avenida Asamblea, which runs from Avenida de la Plata to the actual park, is known for its bargain clothing stores, as well as restaurants, bakeries, and other various food markets. To put things in perspective, a woman’s blouse will run you about $7-$15 USD, and a kilo of bread costs around $0.80 USD.
While the restaurants here lack the variety of those downtown, you can still find some of the best pizzerias and parillas (grills) in the city. And much like the other stores, at a fraction of the cost. Your average dinner for two usually costs about $15-$25 USD including wine. For lunch, you can grab some empanadas, $0.40 USD each, or a Milanesa (fried steak) sandwich, $1.25 USD, at one of the many local “sandwicherias”. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you can easily find many outdoor fruit and vegetable markets, as well as two organic food and vitamin stores.
The park itself is rather large by city standards. It’s pretty calm during weekdays, but on weekends livens up with practicing local drum groups, soccer matches, block parties, and artisans selling hand-made trinkets and jewelry. The neighborhood is very popular with dog lovers too, so don’t be surprised if you see 4 or 5 dogs, both leashed and un-leashed, on every block.
Parque Chacabuco can be reached by Subway via the Avenida de la Plata stop on Linea E, or by one of 15 or so city buses (check your “Guia T“). Taxis from downtown run anywhere between $4-$6 USD, or $12-$18 Argentine Pesos.
Thanks to Morrisey for the first photo!