Palermo Area Walking Tour (Self Guided), Buenos Aires

Palermo is one of the most famous areas of Buenos Aires - it's well known to locals and among tourists as well. It's also the largest neighborhood of the city, and is divided into smaller sub-districts, namely: Palermo Chico, Palermo Viejo, Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, Las Cañitas and Alto Palermo. Check out our walking tour of the most popular places and buildings in these areas.
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Palermo Area Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Palermo Area Walking Tour
Guide Location: Argentina » Buenos Aires (See other walking tours in Buenos Aires)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 10
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Author: irenes
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • National Museum of Decorative Arts
  • Museum of Latin-American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA)
  • Jardín Japonés
  • Planetarium Galileo Galilei
  • The Statue of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
  • Spaniards Monument
  • Rose Garden
  • Museum of Plastic Arts "Eduardo Sívori"
  • Campo Argentino del Polo
  • Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo
National Museum of Decorative Arts

1) National Museum of Decorative Arts (must see)

The National Museum of Decorative Arts (Spanish: Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo) is a repository of European and Asian sculpture artifacts and paintings. It is housed in a building once owned by the Argentine ambassador to France.

The museum is housed in the ornate neoclassical mansion that once belonged to Matias Erazurriz and his wife Josefina de Alvear whose grandfather Carlos Maria de Alvear was an Argentine independence-era leader. It was designed in 1911 by French architect Rene Sergent and completed in 1916. The couple decorated the building with their vast collection of art and artifacts. Matias Erazurriz donated the building to the government to establish a museum after the death of his wife in 1935 and the present museum opened its doors in 1937. The museum plays host to choral concert performances and houses the Argentine Academy of Letters, an organization established in 1944 for research and development of the Spanish language.

The museum has twelve exhibition halls with nine permanent collections. The 4000 works of art include El Greco’s Jesus Bearing the Cross Uphill, Edouard Manet’s Portrait of Abbe Hurel, the Deer Hunt by Alfred de Dreux, the Eternal Spring sculpture by Auguste Rodin and a vast collection of Asian art including crockery and cutlery, figures, miniature art and tapestry. The collection is also complemented by temporary exhibits, and the museum hosts regular choral concerts as well as classes and seminars.

Why You Should Visit:
If you're curious to see how the Argentine elite lived a century ago, this is your place.
Extensive, interesting in-house collection and very good rotating schedule exhibitions.
Downstairs guided tour is helpful to appreciate the many architectural curiosities but there are also descriptions of each room in English.

Near the front entrance, there is a very good onsite café ('Croque Madame') for tea/coffee and light dining.

Operation hours:
Tue-Sun: 12:30-7pm or 2-7 (times vary)
Museum of Latin-American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA)

2) Museum of Latin-American Art of Buenos Aires (MALBA) (must see)

The mission of this art gallery in Buenos Aires is to promote contemporary Latin American artists and to display the brilliant and vibrant 20th-century artists of Latin America. It houses the vast, diverse and valuable collection of Argentine business magnate, Eduardo Constantini.

The Museum of Latin American Art, popularly known as MALBA opened its doors in 2001. It is run by the nonprofit organization, Foundation MALBA. The unique building in which the gallery is housed was designed by Argentine architectural firm, AFT architects. The permanent collection has over 200 artworks by 20th-century artists and temporary exhibitions from all over the world are held by the museum. Collections are constantly updated and the MALBA promotes the works of new contemporary artists across Latin America.

Collections at the MALBA include works by Diego Rivera, Frida Kalho, Xu Solar, Jorge de la Vega and the Argentine painter Antonio Berni. The art collection features works by well-known artists from Cuba, Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica and Venezuela. Exhibits include painting, sculpture, photographs, prints and sketches. The second floor has a theatre where classic and contemporary films from Argentina and around the world are filmed. The gift shop stocks books on Latin American Art in English and Spanish and also has a range of souvenirs like postcards, jewelry and notebooks.

Why You Should Visit:
Relatively small museum but collections (both permanent and temporary) are great.
Contemporary, defying, interactive, happening...

Entrance is no longer free but worth the (small) investment.
Great little coffee shop (right outside) and gift shop (inside).
If you plan to eat after looking around, book a table on your way in.

Opening Hours:
Thu-Mon: 12-8pm; Wed: 12-9pm
Jardín Japonés

3) Jardín Japonés (must see)

The Japanese Garden is a tranquil green space in Palermo, Buenos Aires. The lush green garden has over 150 species of plants brought to Argentina from Japan.

The Japanese community of Buenos Aires established the five-acre garden in gratitude to the new nation where they made their home. It has all the amenities of a traditional Japanese garden including bridges, an artificial lake, a waterfall and a tea house. It was first laid in 1967 by the Japanese Cultural Foundation of Japan. The foundation maintains the garden till today. In 1977, it was redesigned by Japanese landscape artist, Yasuo Inomata based on the design of the Zen Gardens in honor of the visit of the Japanese Emperor to Argentina.

The Japanese Garden comprises a large artificial lake with bridges leading to small man-made islands. The lake has plenty of koi fish and the garden shop sells fish food for visitors who wish to feed them. The main island is the Island of the Gods. The curved Buena Ventura Bridge takes visitors to the Island. There is a monument to the immigrant within the garden and a large Japanese peace bell. There is also a Japanese restaurant and a tea house where Japanese cultural exhibitions, performances and events take place frequently. On weekends, tours are conducted to teach visitors the meaning and significance of a Zen garden.

Why You Should Visit:
To enjoy a Japanese culture sample in the heart of a Latin American city.
Good escape from the streets and plenty of areas to take photos.

After a zen stroll, have lunch at the on-site restaurant (best by reservation). Not cheap, but the sushi quality is one of the best in BA.
Along with your meal, you will get to see displays of Japanese culture, art & clothing and to access a viewing balcony that overlooks the Jardín.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
Planetarium Galileo Galilei

4) Planetarium Galileo Galilei

Rising like a large spaceship from the midst of the Palermo area of Buenos Aires, is the Planetarium Galileo Galilei. There are several educational programs for children, embossed equipment with audio visual effects for the visually challenged and displays through pictures and subtitles for those who are hard of hearing.

The Planetarium Galileo Galilei was designed by architect, Enrique Jan and construction was completed in 1966. At the time, the structure had a unique modernist style that was unusual in Buenos Aires. It consists of a large central sphere supported by three arches. It has five floors. The planetarium is a Zeiss Model MV located at the heart of the building with over a hundred projectors. The framework is cylindrical with separate projectors for the Sun, Moon and the planets visible from Earth, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.

Visitors are greeted by a metallic meteorite found in the Chaco province of Argentina at the entrance terrace. There is also a lunar rock brought by the Apollo XI mission and gifted to the planetarium by the American President, Richard Nixon. Fossils found in Argentina’s Neuquen province are also displayed. The planetarium hosts an array of astronomic programs geared towards young visitors. All the tours and programs are in Spanish. Telescope viewing sessions are held from Thursday to Sunday and a sun viewing session is held every Sunday.
The Statue of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

5) The Statue of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento

The city's monument to Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, the seventh president of Argentina, was created by famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin in 1900. It's located right next to the marble Monument to the Spaniards and the Japanese Garden. This statue of Latin America's father is made of bronze, and was designed in the Art Nouveau style.
Spaniards Monument

6) Spaniards Monument

Monumento a La Carta Magna y Las Cuarto Regiones Argentinas is a large marble and bronze statue popularly known as the Spaniards Monument. It is located at the intersection of two large boulevards in Buenos Aires, the Avenida del Libertador and Avenida Sarmiento.

The Spanish monument was donated by the Spanish to the Argentines in 1910 to commemorate the hundred year anniversary of the May Revolution. A design competition was held and the winner was the Spanish sculptor, Agustin Querol. Querol and his successor Cipriano Flogueras died soon after work on the monument began. The Prince of the Asturias, the Spanish ship that was carrying the bronze and marble for the statue sank of the coast of Brazil in 1916. Finally, in 1927, the statue was completed and the Count of Amalfi gave the symbolic delivery on behalf of the Spanish King to the then President of Argentina.

The Spaniards Monument is 24.5 meters high and is made of brass and Carrara marble. It consists of the statue of liberty on a towering pedestal. It has a large frieze at the base and stands on a pool with fountains. The Bronze figures surrounding the statue are dedicated to the Argentine constitution and the four regions of the country.
Rose Garden

7) Rose Garden (must see)

The Rose Garden or El Rosedal de Palermo is a tranquil escape from the bustle of Buenos Aires. It has over 15,000 species of roses in a spectrum of colors and lies on the banks of an artificial lake.

The land that is now the rose garden belonged to Juan Manuel de Rosas, a former Argentine soldier and governor. The government assumed the land after his defeat and subsequent exile. It was designed by French-Argentine landscape architect, Carlos Thays who also designed the botanical gardens. It was opened to the public in 1914. The garden is surrounded by a wrought iron fence.

Attractions within the Rose Garden include the Andalusian Pavilion which is a paved space surrounding a fountain donated to the city in 1929 by the Spanish city of Seville, a magnificent white wooden bridge over the artificial lake constructed in 1914 based on the design of architect, Benito Carrasco, a poets garden with busts of well known Argentine and international poets including Shakespeare and Jorge Luis Borges and the lake itself with its wooden piers, swans and amphitheater. There is an arbor covered with a range of climbing rose species and red gravel paths wind around the many rose bushes that give the garden its name.

Why You Should Visit:
Charming, relaxing and free, with gardeners working continuously to keep the place tip top.
The surroundings are perfect for a bike ride or a walk by the lake where pedal boats can be rented.

Will be packed on nice spring and summer weekends, so if looking to enjoy a quiet time, try going during weekdays in the early hours.
The garden is also beautiful out of season but highly recommended to see when it is blooming.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 8am-5pm
Museum of Plastic Arts "Eduardo Sívori"

8) Museum of Plastic Arts "Eduardo Sívori"

The Museum of Plastic Arts, “Eduardo Sivori” is dedicated to the works of Argentine artists and sculptors. Besides displaying a range of artwork, it also hosts salons or exhibitions and art competitions.

The Museum of Plastic Arts was established by the initiative of a city councilor of Buenos Aires, Fernando Ghio in 1933. It first formed part of the municipal council building. The museum moved to several buildings after the Eva Peron foundation took over the city council premises in 1952. Mayor Jorge Dominguez made the effort to find a permanent home for the museum and in 1995, it moved to its present location in the former El Hostal del Ciervo Café facing the Rose Garden. The Norman styled manor built in 1912 was renovated to house the paintings and sculpture and two modern wings were added in 1996.

The Museum of Plastic Arts “Eduardo Sivori” covers 4000 square meters and has over 4000 works by Argentine artists. It has permanent exhibition halls and one hall for temporary displays. The museum also has an art library, a restoration workshop and the Gordon de Grimaldi Scupture Garden. Works by Argentine artists, Libero Badii, Rogelio Yrurtia, Russeo Correo Morales, Anotonio Pujea and Guillermo Roux form part of the collection.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday: 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm; Saturday - Sunday: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Campo Argentino del Polo

9) Campo Argentino del Polo

The Campo Argentino del Polo is a multipurpose stadium in the heart of Buenos Aires mainly used for polo matches. Today, it is also used for other sporting and performing arts events.

The Campo Argentino del Polo was inaugurated in 1928 and has hosted many major polo tournaments since. Before its establishment the area had many sporting fields. It was the site from which Argentine socialite Aaron de Anchorina and local pilot Jorge Newberry set off to Uruguay on the first airplane flight across the Rio de la Plata. Polo has become a popular national sport in Argentina since its introduction in 1877. Its popularity is attributed to its similarity to a native game of the country called the Pato. Argentina has been the undisputed champion in the sport since 1949.

The Campo Argentino de Polo can hold over 30,000 people. Several important tournaments take place here. It hosts polo, pato and field hockey matches. The best known polo tournament in the country, the Compeonato Argentino Abierto de Polo takes place here annually since its inauguration in 1928. The Americas Polo Cup tournament between the best team in Argentina and the best team in the U.S.A has also been held at the stadium several times. It is also used for concerts including the famous performance by the British rock band Oasis in 2006.
Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo

10) Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo (must see)

The Argentinean Hippodrome or the Hipódromo Argentino de Palermo is one of the most important horse racecourses in Argentina. Today, it houses a range of activities in addition to horse races.

The Argentinean Hippodrome was inaugurated in 1876. The design was a grand neoclassical style that reflected the prosperity of the country at the time. In 1898, a sales floor for auctioning thoroughbred horses was inaugurated. In 1908, the French architect designed an elaborate belle époque style main entrance and grandstand. A lake was created in the midst of the race tracks and a tree-lined space and marble statues were placed to add to the ornamentation of the venue.

The Hippodrome has been the scene of an advancement in horse racing technology called the Photochart, a photographic device that recorded the exact moment that the horse crosses the finishing line thus helping to decide the winner in neck-to-neck races resulting in the well-known term used in horse racing, ‘the photo finish’. Electric lighting was introduced in 1971 resulting in night races. In 1992, a private company took over the Hippodrome and made extensive renovations. Today, it houses a casino, high-end restaurants, a shopping center, theatre and a space for holding temporary art exhibitions.

Why You Should Visit:
The building itself is beautiful and in line with the elitist sport that is horseracing.
There are regular gastronomic shows and occasional open-door exhibitions as well as famous-brand outlets.
You can get close to the horses and the jockeys who let the crowds get near and caress their animals.

Free access, no liquor, races every half hour, slot machines 24/7.

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