Immediately surrounding the Recoleta Cemetery, there are any number of restaurants with conspicuous English-language signs and inflated prices. Do yourself a favor and resist the bait. Instead, take a short five-minute walk to Restaurante El Sanjuanino on Calle Posadas, a classic in the area, with incredible food and excellent prices.
Allow me to introduce Juan Carlos Balvidares, the "Caminante Argentino", who's been around the world, sharing his music beyond the borders of his native land. We met him in front of the Recoleta Cemetery, where he was performing. Finding out that I'm from Germany, he told me that he's been there and also walked across the rest of the world, making money by playing his original songs on the streets. Usually, you can find him in front of the cemetery, but on Sundays you might run into him at the Antique Market in San Telmo. Visit his site to hear some of his music. And if you run into him on the streets, strike up a conversation! He's more than happy to share his stories.
One of the world's best opera houses is found in Buenos Aires. Built in 1908 at the height of the city's Golden Age, the Teatro Colón is a grandiose testament to the rivers of money that once flooded the Argentine capital.
"Hey, what do you feel like eating?" Every time I've been asked that, every single time during the course of my entire life, the answer has been "pizza". Even when it was 8am. Even when I was 18 months old. It's the only honest response: there are other things I should eat, things which might even taste better. But pizza is what I want to eat. Always.
Before we began our exploration of Once, we spent some time walking around the southern end of Balvanera, and happened upon the Basilica Santa Rosa de Lima, on Avenido Belgrano. Built in the Roman-Byzantine style in 1926, this church is most impressive for its mammoth cupola. Santa Rosa was a Peruvian catholic from the 16th century, who would become South America's first saint. She died a virgin at the age of 31, after having predicted the exact date of her death.
One of Buenos Aires' most beautiful neighborhoods is also one of its most exclusive. They won't let just anyone move in, so if you're looking for a new home here, there are a couple of inflexible prerequisites: you must be rich, and you must be dead. Being famous helps.
The neighborhood of Balvanera is so large that, when talking about it, residents usually split it up into a number of unofficial sub-barrios. There's Congreso and Abasto, but we spent a sunny Saturday exploring Once (OWN-say).
After watching a few barrel at breakneck speed down San Telmo's tiny cobblestone streets, more inclined to use their horns than breaks when approaching an intersection, we concluded that buses must be the fastest way to get around Buenos Aires. And funnest.
On one of our first days in Buenos Aires, we approached the dour neo-classical building on the northwest corner of the Plaza de Mayo without having any idea what it could be. My best guess was a courthouse, with those massive stone columns that evoke the Parthenon, and I was surprised to discover a cathedral behind the facade.
For such a congested tourism hub, La Boca has a few wonderful places to escape the throngs. The surprisingly fun Wax Museum is one, and the excellent modern art museum Fundación Proa is another.