For those whose sightseeing tours consists of finding the best places to shop, look no further than Buenos Aires’ temples to the purchase and cash register—it’s shopping centers.
These shopping complexes, as many of them of more aptly described, provide adequate opportunity to satisfy any purchasing desire or can serve as an excellent jumping off point for further forays into the porteño shopping experience.
For dedicated shoppers and architecture lovers alike, this beautiful Beaux-Arts building is not to be missed. Calling the Galerías Pacífico a mall is a bit of a disservice if only because it calls to mind bland, mind-numbing spaces when this art museum and railway office building cum chic shopping center is anything but.
Dating from the early 1890’s, Galerías Pacífico features a sky-lit rotunda with 12 gorgeous, frescos done near the mid 20th century by Argentine new realism artists. Its downtown location at the intersection of Florida and Córdoba allows a respite from the crowds and performers on Florida.
Three levels of stores compete for attention with the murals as does the center’s fountain. An extensive food court is at the base of the activity, a good place to stop in for a rest and a java jolt to keep on shopping.
The ground floor boasts a children’s area and a travel agency. Most of the large Argentine clothing chains, in addition to some well-known stores such as Wrangler and Tiffany & Co., occupy the main level accessible from the street. The second floor’s wide marble walkways lead past more expensive clothing and leather shops.
Hint: At the tourist information center on the first floor, don’t forget to inquire about tax free shopping if you plan to do some serious damage. Also, there are free, 30-minute tours of the building, which include explanations of the murals, that meet at the central dome Monday through Saturday at 11:30am and 4:30pm, and from Sundays at 1 and 4:30pm.
Open Monday through Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 12-9pm
Bus routes:6-22-23-26-28-33-45-50-56-61-62-74-91-93-99-109-115-126- 130-140-143-152-195
Subte: B Line, Florida stop or C line, Lavalle stop
Although slightly more removed from the high tourist density center, Abasto, the largest shopping mall in Buenos Aires, is definitely worth the visit if you’re a serious bargain shopper.
Less marble flooring and more stores is the mantra of this locale that seems to cater more to the local in search of affordable price tags rather than top designer duds. Don’t be fooled, however, with over 230 brands and 2000 square meters one can easily spend it all in one stop here. In addition, the fourth floor has a large food court with access to the Museo de Los Ninos and Neverland Park to keep the kids entertained. Be prepared for crowds!
Hint: The Neverland Park has a small indoor Ferris wheel that you can see from the food court. There is also an exhibition space on the third floor if you need a break from shopping. Follow the “Acceso al shopping” signs for a direct entrance into the shopping center from the subte. There is a currency exchange booth, as well as several ATMs, immediately after entering from the subte on the ground floor.
Tel:(5411) 4959-3400 / Open everyday 10am-10pm
Bus routes: 24-26-29-41-62-64-68-71-99-110-115-118-124-132-146-168-188
Subte: B line, Carlos Gardel Stop
Located in Recoleta, the smallest of the main shopping malls in the city, Patio Bullrich lives up to the neighborhood’s reputation, and has a price tag to match.
The sky-lit roof and elegant interior design bestow an aura of airy sophistication. The modest, although more heath-conscious, food court occupies half of the third floor. There is a small play area for children above. Don’t be surprised by the large ratio of leather goods to clothing stores. Although mostly Argentine brands, there are several international brands including Diesel and Armani Exchange.
Hint: Like many of the shopping malls in Buenos Aires, there is a movie theater on the bottom level. The bookstore on the third floor has a relatively large English language section. Expect to hear a lot of English while browsing the stores, as this seems to be another favorite tourist stop on the shopping circuit.
Tel:(5411) 4814-7400 or 4814-7500 / Open everyday 10am-9pm
Bus routes: 62-67-92-93-110-124-130
Another large bastion of modern-day commercialism, Paseo Alcorta is nestled at the southern tip of the boutique-laden Palermo. Dominated by a gigantic Carrefour supermarket on the ground floor, this center touts three jam-packed floors of chain clothing stores interspersed with more unique fashion outlets. What it lacks in elegance compared to Patio Bullrich it makes up for in pure quantity. You can find an unassuming food court on the top floor along with a distinctive, outdoor kids area.
Hint: After an exhausting day hunting for the right top or great pair of jeans, take a stroll or lounge in one of the many nearby parks; the Jardin Japonese is especially worthwhile. The MALBA museum is also just a few steps away if you’re looking for a different kind of cultural experience.
Tel: (5411) 5777-6500 / Open everyday 10am-10pm
Bus routes: 37-67-102-130
Reminiscent of a typical, higher end shopping mall in the United States, this hub of shopping euphoria contains a good balance of decently priced and designer stores. It provides a quality shopping experience away from the frenzied tempo of Avenida Santa Fe. Divided into four levels, with the obligatory food court and kids section on the uppermost, the foreign shopper is comforted by familiar international brand names including Tommy Hilfiger, Quicksilver and Hushpuppies shoes while also getting to experience the typical Argentine chain stores and more individualized boutiques.Take notice: there is even a small Apple store on the main floor!
Hint: There are lockers on the main floor if you don’t want to drag around all of your goodies all day. If your hunger for shopping is still not satiated, walk out onto Santa Fe and you can be in Palermo or the center of town with a short walk.
Tel: (5411) 5777-8000 / Open everyday 10am-10pm
Bus routes: 12-15-29-39-64-68-92-111-128-152
Subte: D Line, Bulnes stop
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