Buenos Aires is a city known for its shopping steals. Visitors come from around the globe to purchase leather goods and chic sweaters that would be four times the price abroad. However, with a little persistence and a few more pesos put towards a longer cab trip, you can do even better—shop like the locals.
Many of the more well known and expensive malls and shopping streets cater to the affluent and the tourists, but these stores often have other outlets away from the affluent circuits of Santa Fe and Florida streets.
One girl working at a leather purse store blocks away from the Olleros metro stop in the barrio of Belgrano informed me that they have an identical store on the calle Florida, but the purses (which included large, over-the-shoulder leather quilted bags and brightly-colored suede clutches) are at least double the price in the Florida store. Another neighborhood vendor said that a shirt priced at 200 pesos on Santa Fe Avenue could be purchased for 60 in the Flores neighborhood.
These farther-a-field shopping areas will be comfortingly similar to those along Florida and Santa Fe—popular Argentine brands will be intermixed with lesser-known brands. Most of the products that can be purchased for significantly less will not be the Argentine first-tier brands (Chocolate, Bensimon, etc); visitors will find the real deals in these “no-name” outlets. Other stores, such as Portsaid, feature clothing from last season (which coincides with the gear appropriate for present Northern climates).
Visitors should bear in mind that many of the amenities that come with more expensive prices are not available. Fewer shop assistants speak English, and service may be less attentive. In the barrio of Once, pick-pocketing is common, but the neighborhood is considered safe—an assertive and alert attitude is all that is necessary to avoid an unfortunate situation.
Finally, if you are an avid shopper, don’t miss out on the smaller boutiques and local designers that are found primarily in Palermo and Recoleta. The cheaper products located in these “bargain” areas are primarily wardrobe basics like leather goods and simple dresses or shirts, rather than one-of-a-kind design.
Bargain Shopping Areas
Avellaneda Avenue in Flores
This is one of the more popular destinations for locals. All the big-name stores are found here, but deals abound. This area is the most out of the way from traditional tourist areas, and not accessible by metro, but a stroll around the Flores and Floresta train stops will reveal dirt cheap prices.
Cabildo Avenue in Belgrano
This is a convenient location for tourists staying in Recoleta or Palermo- the shopping area is just a few stops down on the D-line metro. Get off at the Jose Hernandez subte stop and walk the blocks up to Congreso de Tucuman station before heading back.
Córdoba Avenue in Villa Crespo
Shops here are walking distance from Palermo, but prices are much lower than the expensive boutiques around Plaza Serrano. Stroll along the streets surrounding Scalabrini Ortiz, a few blocks from Malabia metro station. This locale is packed with people on the weekends. At times there are even lines to get into stores. A sure sign of great deals.
Corrientes Avenue in Once
This neighborhood is ground-zero for bargain hunters. In many shops, prices can be negotiated. There is also a large mall (the Abasto Shopping Center) located in the barrio, but don’t expect prices to be as low as in the surrounding area. For the area saturated with the most shops, visit Corrientes Avenue in the blocks surrounding Pasteur Station.
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