Buenos Aires Parks & Plazas

Buenos Aires Parks & Plazas, Buenos Aires, Argentina (D)

A selection of parks and plazas in the heart of Buenos Aires, a city renowned for the European style green spaces. Joggers, cyclists, sunbathers, and bookworms frequent these places all year long. With mature trees, tropical flora, grassy banks, and benches, these are relaxing areas in the bustle of the city.
How it works: The full article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the sights featured in this article. The app's navigation functions guide you from one sight to the next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Buenos Aires Parks & Plazas
Guide Location: Argentina » Buenos Aires
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Attractions: 10
Author: Roy Heale
Author Bio: I was born, raised and educated in London, England but spent the next forty years living in Canada. Five years ago I decided to relocate to Buenos Aires, Argentina for my semi-retirement days. My work experience has been in all levels of advertising, marketing, public relations, and publishing. I am now based in Buenos Aires and occupy myself as a freelance travel journalist for global magazines and websites.
Author Website: http://www.royheale.blogspot.com
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Plaza General San Martin
  • Centennial Park---Parque Centennario
  • Plaza del Congreso
  • Plaza Italia
  • Plaza Dorrego
  • Parque Francia Recoleta
  • Plaza De Mayo
  • Parque Las Heras
  • Plaza General Manuel Belgrano
  • Barrancas De Belgrano
Plaza General San Martin

1) Plaza General San Martin

Located high on a bluff overlooking the Puerto Madero neighborhood and the River Plate, The Plaza San Martin is in the heart of downtown Buenos Aires. Situated at the northern end of Florida Street pedestrian Mall, it is a place where downtown workers and shoppers often go for some relaxation. With a history dating back to the 18th century, today the park is encircled by many architectural monuments to Argentina's history. The large, aged trees provide excellent shade on a Buenos Aires hot sunny day, and the pathways and park benches revolve around a 200 year old rubber tree.

Some of the Plaza's features include the great Ombú tree, the monument to José de San Martín---the plaza's namesake---and the monument to the fallen in the Falklands War. Historic structures around the park which are now used as Federal government offices include the Second Empire Paz Palace with its spectacularly large wrought iron gates, Beaux Arts San Martín Palace, and the 19th century Neogothic Haedo family palace.

On the southwest corner of the Plaza, the Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro is conveniently located to enjoy the sidewalk cafe tables. Close to the downtown business district, many historic sights, and the bustle of the Florida Street pedestrian mall, it is also the perfect respite for a break from strenuous activities affording time to stop and smell the roses in an otherwise frenetic day.
Centennial Park---Parque Centennario

2) Centennial Park---Parque Centennario

This historic park is located in Caballito just three blocks from the Angel Gallardo station on the subte (subway) B Line and is extremely popular due to its circular shape and surrounding historic buildings.

In 1908 The Buenos Aires City Council approved the purchase of a 10 hectare (25 acre) plot belonging to Parmenio Piñero, a local brickmaker, for the purpose of a creating a "Westside Park" based on the city's spreading growth in that direction at that time. As with many other green spaces in the city, the project was entrusted to the City Parks Administrator, the renowned Charles Thays, who completed the project in time for the 1910 centennial of the May Revolution. Thays created a circular green space anchored by a fountain in the center.

Fringe lots were made available to a number of cultural and scientific institutions, notably the Louis Pasteur Institute (founded in 1927), the Marie Curie Oncological Institute (1931), the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, and the Central Naval Hospital. President Juan Perón had the central fountain replaced in 1951 by an amphitheatre, a structure lost to arson in 1959. During the late 1970s, Mayor Osvaldo Cacciatore had a large lake created in the central section of the park which later became populated with ducks, swans, and other waterfowl.

The mile-long perimeter became a popular joggers' route and visitors relax under Buenos Aires' characteristic tipa trees.
Plaza del Congreso

3) Plaza del Congreso

Often the site for political demonstartions and rallies, Congressional Plaza is a public park in front of Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires. The plaza is part of a 7.5 acre open space comprising three adjoining plazas to the east of the Congress building. All road distances measured in Argentina begin here at The Kilometre Zero milestone on the Plaza.

Two years after the Argentine Congress was inaugerated in 1906, President José Figueroa Alcorta signed a Congressional Bill to create the plaza. The design by Municipal Parks Director, French Argentine urbanist Charles Thays, was approved based on its merit and because it required a minimal clearing of existing real estate.

The Congressional Plaza was inaugurated in January 1910 by Mayor Manuel Güiraldes and President Figueroa Alcorta.

Directly across from the Congress building, Congressional Plaza itself stands out due to the Monument to the Two Congresses, the work of Belgian sculptor Jules Lagae set on a Neoclassical esplanade designed by his fellow countryman, architect Henri d'Huicque, and completed in 1914. The monument's centerpiece, the Allegory of the Republic, and the remaining bronze sculptures are set entirely in stone from Nancy, France. The monument is also known for its adjoining terraced fountain and its bronze Neptunes, the scene of light shows accompanied by George Gershwin and Jacques Offenbach music.
Plaza Italia

4) Plaza Italia

Appropriately today this is a major transportation hub for the City of Buenos Aires, because the first electric tram departed from Plaza Italia in 1894. This is commemorated in a small mosaic placed on the northeast side on Santa Fe Avenue. Plaza Italia is a small park in the barrio of Palermo where Santa Fe Avenue and Avenida Sarmiento meet and is considered to be the entrance to the Palermo Woods. Next to the plaza are the main entrances to the Zoo and the Botanizal Gardens, and the la Rural Expo Center.

In the center of the park there is an ecuestrian statue to Giuseppe Garibaldi, which opened on 19 June 1904 in a ceremony attended by President's Julio Argentino Roca and Bartolomé Mitre.

Beneath the park there is a metro station of the same name in the "D" line of the system.

The oldest monument in the city is located here on the north west corner of the Plaza. It is a Roman column, 200 years old and originating from the Roman Forum, donated by the city of Rome.

The park construction works were started in 1898, previously the area was called Plaza de los Portones (Plaza of the Big Gates), due to the big gates existing at the entrance to present-day Sarmiento Avenue. The name was changed by city ordinance in 1909 to the present name.
Plaza Dorrego

5) Plaza Dorrego

Recognized as one of the oldest public spaces in the city, Plaza Dorrego dates back to the 18th century, when it was an area set aside for the wagons which brought in produce to Buenos Aires from all over the country.

A long standing tradition on Sundays year round is the San Telmo Antique Fair when thousands crowd into the community to enjoy the food, entertainment, and shopping. In the center of San Telmo, the Plaza Dorrego is a square where the original world renowned San Telmo antique market began in 1970. The historic buildings located around the square maintain their original character thanks to the help of grants from the Comisión del Museo de la Ciudad.

Currently, its surroundings are full of cafes, bars, and pubs, which fringe the square with outdoor dining patios. There are also several antique stores which inspired the Sunday market when they placed tables on the square to display their wares. Musicians, mime artists, and dancers---particularly tango performances--- are part of the Sunday entertainment. Each week the city authorities close Defensa street to traffic, and this part of San Telmo explodes into a mass of thousands of people, locals and tourists alike.
Parque Francia Recoleta

6) Parque Francia Recoleta

Located in Recoleta, one of the more affluent neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Plaza Francia is a major tourist landmark. Opposite the renowned Recoleta Cemetery, the Design Center, and the cultural center, is the Plaza Intendente Alvear, commonly known as Plaza Francia. The historical center of the neighborhood is the Church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar, construction of which was completed in 1732 and it is still standing today. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing time at La Biela, originally a small sidewalk cafe and grocery opened in 1850.

Since the 1960s the plaza has become famous for the weekend crafts fair that stretches along the many pathways snuggled into the sloping terrain.

A major attraction is a 50 meter wide rubber tree---over 200 years old---whose huge lower branches are supported by wooden posts and it provides shade for diners on La Biela's popular terrace.

The Recoleta Design Center is a small shopping mall with high-end stores offering household items and imported furniture plus a grand terrace with outdoor cafes overlooking the parklands.
Plaza De Mayo

7) Plaza De Mayo

The Plaza de Mayo designed in 1580 is the main square of central Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since being the scene of the 25 May 1810 revolution that led to independence, the plaza has constantly been a hub of political life in Argentina. Plaza de Mayo is the heart and center of the city’s political and social protests. In the plaza’s center is the Pirámide de Mayo, a small obelisk built to mark the first anniversary of independence from Spain. Prominent on the plaza’s north side is the impressive Banco de la Nación (1939), the work of renowned architect Alejandro Bustillo.

Grand 19th century buildings line the plaza, but with the passage of time the colonial arches that once circled the plaza have slowly vanished. Nearby are the city council buildings known as the Cabildo, and dominating the north end of the plaza is the Casa Rosada government buildings---originally the President's official reseidence. The Cabildo houses a museum where the archives include municipal documents and occasional exhibitions are held. Home to the offices of the Buenos Aires Archbishop, the Catedral Metropolitana, at the left side of the Plaza, is a neo-classical building completed in 1863, similar to La Madeleine of Paris.

Although their role has changed over the course of the years, the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo---mothers of the disappeared---continue to march for social justice causes on Thursdays at 3:30pm all year long.
Parque Las Heras

8) Parque Las Heras

Spanning several city blocks and bordering Recoleta and Palermo, Las Heras Park is six acres of lush green lawns and trees in the heart of an upscale neighborhood. This relatively new park, is bordered by the avenues General Las Heras and Coronel Diaz and the streets Jerónimo Salguero and Juncal.

Until 1962 this land was the site of the National Penitenitiary until it was demolished. It was left as a vacant lot for many years and the local youth found it to be an excellent place for soccer practice and games. After 1983 the area was officially declared valuable as an urban park and only then began the landscaping, tree planting, games construction, trail design, etc.

In the southwest corner (near the corner of Juncal and Av Colonel. Diaz) there is a relatively modest Catholic Church for the parish of Our Lady of Loreto, the work of modern functional architecture.

Later in the 1990s on the south Juncal Street Elementary School was built. In 2007 it was declared a historic site of the city of Buenos Aires by the Legislature of Buenos Aires. The name comes with military honors to Argentine patriot Juan Gualberto Gregorio de las Heras, a participant in the Wars of Independence .

It is heavily wooded and has areas for games and for dogs, several walking trails, and in summer it is very common to see many people there sunbathing in a swimsuit, despite being surrounded by numerous elegant buildings and high-rise apartments on Avenida Las Heras or other avenues.
Plaza General Manuel Belgrano

9) Plaza General Manuel Belgrano

In the heart of Belgrano, close to the Cabildo Avenue shops, the Plaza General Manuel Belgrano is a relatively small park surrounded by historic architecture. Named in 1949 to honor the distinguished politician and Argentine militant of the War of Independence who was alos the creator of the national flag. Named on November 8 of 1949, it occupies a square city block and has a monument to Manuel Belgrano. On weekends this is home to one of the city's most popular artisans fairs. Particularly beautiful in springtime when the jacarnda trees are in bloom, around the square are three representative buildings of the area.

The Museum of Spanish Art Enrique Larreta, across Juramento Avenue, is a neocolonial house with a beautiful Andalusian-style walled garden which was the residence of Argentina writer Enrique Larreta.

The Immaculate Conception Parish church, nicknamed "La Redonda", because of its circular shape, built in Italian renaissance style with massive columns and completed circa 1870.

Sarmiento Historical Museum, is dedicated to the history of Argentina, in particular it houses exhibitions about Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, a writer and politician, who led the country between 1868 and 1874.

The central monument with a life-size bronze image of Manuel Belgrano on a red granite platform, which was opened in the year 1961, was created by Argentine sculptor Hector Rocha.
Barrancas De Belgrano

10) Barrancas De Belgrano

The lush park Barrancas de Belgrano was designed by the famous French-Argentine landscape and park architect Carlos Thays, who designed many open spaces in the city. It spans several city blocks and is overlooked by highrise apartment buildings. The same neighborhood had an ancient eighteenth century Franciscan chapel close to where now stands a City Government building. Currently a memorial plaque marks the place where the chapel was located.

Las Barrancas de Belgrano is located on the slopes of the old river banks which, until the early nineteenth century, delineated the River Plate when it was in flood.

With mature trees and grassy slopes, the Plaza has over sixty species of trees and plants including ombúes, palms, magnolias, paradise, lime, oak, honeysuckle, coral trees, banana trees, and more. It also has laneways built with nineteenth century cobblestones, benches for resting, a playground for children, tables for playing board games. Many people meet there for various exercise routines including gymnastics, Tai Chi, and aerobics. Among the sculptures is an exact scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, produced by the same creator of the statue of the same name in New York---Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It also has a large bandshell where neighbors gather to dance the tango, musicians perform, which hosts frequent music recitals on warm summer evenings.

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