Delve beneath the surface of Argentina’s most fascinating city while seeing the major attractions, and getting a good idea as to where everything is in the city in a thorough tour with convenient pick-up and drop-off at your hotel/Airbnb/cruise port.
Are you planning a trip to Buenos Aires and want to make the most out of your time in Retiro? This guide is the ultimate traveler’s handbook to exploring a residential and surprising district in Argentina’s capital city.
Retiro at a glance:
This district is located towards the northeast of Buenos Aires, and it has a rich history as towards the end of the XVII century it worked as a slave center and later on it hosted a bull ring and a dissenters’ cemetery. Today, former colonial vibes have vanished and Retiro offers an interesting combination of French architecture, modern office buildings and residential areas.
Upon arrival you will quickly realize this is a neighborhood with outstanding contrasts: while it is crowded with locals as it is one of the most important transportation hubs in the city (including train, bus, and cruise terminals), it also offers many options for travelers with plenty of places to visit, comfortable hotels and a wide range of restaurantes to taste some local or international dishes.
Where to stay in Retiro, Buenos Aires
If you start looking for accommodation in Retiro, you will find a wide range of options, but these are our top recommendations as travel & leisure experts:
Sheraton Buenos Aires
Location: San Martín 1225, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
A 5* hotel very close to Florida street, the most important pedestrian street in Buenos aires. It offers comfortable facilities, wonderful views and 24-hour front desk service.
Location. Av. Leandro N. Alem 1193, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Located next to Sheraton, this is a luxury hotel with world-class services and options, plus: the views from its rooms are spectacular!
Four Seasons hotel
Location: Posadas 1086, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Excellent location, very close to Recoleta district. Just 5-minute walk from Patio Bullrich, one of the most important high-end shopping centers in the city. You can pamper yourself at the spa, enjoy a meal at its quiet restaurant or discover many other services.
It you prefer something really exclusive, then your choice will be “La Mansión Presidential suite”. It is decorated with original antiques evoking French elegance. You will find 180 m2 (1937 sq. ft.), a dining room and exclusive services and amenities.
Sofitel Buenos Aires
Location: Posadas 1232, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Another option with excellent location, just opposite Patio Bullrich shopping center. You will find wonderful facilities and services.
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Things to do in Retiro
If you are into museums, shopping, walking around, or all of them (why not?) Retiro is a must while staying in Buenos Aires.
Known as Latin America’s culture capital, Buenos Aires is a city where you can find more than one hundred museums (art, science, history, among others) and Retiro district hosts many of them.
Museo de Armas de la Nación (National Museum of Weapons)
Location: Av. Santa Fe 702, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
The museum is located on one side of Palacio Paz, a former residential palace owned by one of the country’s richest families. In fact, back in the XVIII-XIX centuries, this building was renowned as the largest private residence in South America. The whole building was designed by architect Louis Sortais and it is one a clear example of French architecture in the city.
It hosts a large collection of machine guns, swords, pistols, guns, cannons and many other items. If you are interested in weapons, it is worth being visited.
Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac F. Blanco (Spanish and Latin American Art Museum)
Location: Suipacha 1422, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
One thing is sure: the architecture and design of the building will blow your mind away. Also known as Noel Palace, architect Martín Noel designed this beautiful place according to Spanish architecture, which is not very common in Buenos Aires anymore. It was his home and was later sold to the City government and then the museum was opened.
Besides the exquisite architecture you have a unique art exhibition that includes religious icons, paintings, silverware, furniture, fans, musical instruments, and much more. Definitely not to be missed!
What about shopping?
Retiro hosts one of the trendiest high-end shopping centers of Buenos Aires.
Location: Av. Del Libertador 750/Posadas 1245, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Originally built as an auction house for the Bullrich family. When they decided to sell the building, it was bought by a developer company which inaugurated Patio Bullrich in 1988. There visitors can find many local and international brands, and some lovely and quiet restaurants to relax before going back to their hotel.
The last blocks of Florida street, the most important pedestrian street in the city, are located in Retiro neighborhood.
If you want to buy some souvenirs, this is a good option. On it you can find different types of shops, being the leather ones the most famous among travelers. Also, there are a couple of coffee shops to stop by and admire the architecture you will find around.
Plaza San Martín
Location: Av. Santa Fe and San Martín, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Intimately related to the city’s and country’s history, this was a site for slave trade, there was a bull ring and later, Gral. José de San Martín (Argentina’s most important national hero) established the barracks for his Mounted Grenadiers during Argentina’s independence war against the Spanish Kingdom.
By the end of the 19th century, the landscaper Charles Thays was commissioned to design the “plaza”. Today, a wide variety of trees decorate the area, being the most traditional ones the silk floss trees, jacarandas, rosewood and coral trees.
In this park you can find two important monuments: an equestrian bronze monument to Gral. José de San Martín, and the other one to the Soldiers who lost their lives during the Malvinas war in 1982.
An important slope reminds us that the lower part was our natural coast for the “De la Plata” river which borders Buenos Aires to the East and acts as a natural border between our country and Uruguay. Nowadays you will not see the river from San Martin Square since a lot of land was reclaimed from it to build the city’s harbor and a whole new neighborhood.
During the endings of the XVIII century and the beginnings of the XIX century this area was chosen by many wealthy families to build important residencies and palaces:
Palacio Paz (Paz Palace)
Location: Av. Santa Fe 750, Retiro.
Designed by a French architect upon request of Mr. José c. Paz, owner of one of the most important local newspapers (La Prensa). Today it hosts the Military Officers’ Association. As we mentioned above, the building also hosts a museum, but note that you can also enjoy lunch or dinner at the wonderful restaurant.
There are also guided tours to the palace, but you have to book in advance.
Palacio San Martín (San Martín palace)
Location: Arenales 761, Retiro.
You will be speechless by its architecture and size!
Built in 1909, it was designed for the Anchorena family, the most renowned aristocratic family in the country, by the architect Alexander Christophersen (it is considered his masterpiece).
Many of the materials used in the construction were imported from France by cargo-ship, something very usual in those years. The building has three independent residences which then converge in a central hall. You can let your imagination fly and think about the lifestyle of a wealthy family during the Belle Epoque.
The national government acquired the building to become the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This wonderful palace can be visited, booking in advance.
How to get to Retiro and move around
Retiro neighborhood is located towards the north of the city, close to Recoleta, so many of the places that we mention in this post are located within walking distance. Anyways, Gral San Martin metro station(line C) is just in front of San Martín square. There are also many bus stops; buses connect different areas in the city.
We really suggest moving around by taxi, they are very cheap and it is easy to find them anywhere. Remember to take the ones having the “Radio taxi” sign, they are the safest ones. Consider having some pocket money available. Taxis have a meter showing how much has to be paid. That amount is expressed in local currency (Argentine pesos).
If you want to delve beneath the surface of Buenos Aires city while seeing Retiro and other major attractions leaving the organization up to someone else check out our Small-Group Buenos Aires City Tour, a great tour to do if you want to get a good feeling of the city and discover places to keep exploring afterward.
Another possibility could be booking a private tour, which is more convenient if you want to have a fully customized experience based on your particular interests, have a closed tour exclusively for your travel group, and have all of the tour guide’s attention for yourself. If this is the case, we recommend you to take a look at both our Private Highlights of Buenos Aires Tour and our Private Customizable Walking Tour to see which option is best suited for your needs and budget.
Where to eat in Retiro, Buenos Aires?
You will be surprised by the range of options you will find in this area.
Something that may get your attention while visiting Buenos Aires is that lunch time and dinner time are a little later than in many other cities in the world, being roughly between 1 and 3 PM the most popular hours for lunch, and 9 to 10 PM the usual dinner time. But don’t worry. Most restaurants open earlier, so you will not have problems for an early lunch or dinner.
As Retiro is also a business district, you will find way more options for lunch than for dinner, as many restaurants cater workers. Some of the options that we recommend you, that are open for lunch and for dinner are:
Location: Posadas 1000/1050
This is not a specific restaurant. At this point, Posadas street goes under a bridge of a local highway. So, along that block you will find several options: restaurants, cafés and bars. Among them we recomend:
Location: Posadas 1089, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Italian cuisine and Argentinian dishes.
Location: Posadas 1011, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Italian traditional dishes and house specialties.
El Mirasol de la Recova
Location: Posadas 1032, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Location: Posadas 1053, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Traditional restaurant with a varied menu.
Sushi Club Recova
Location: Posadas 1089, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Location: Posadas 1059, Retiro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Traditional coffee shop. Make sure to taste their world renowned “alfajores”, two soft cookies filled with “dulce de leche” and covered in chocolate. An Argentine classic.
Location: Libertad 1264, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
You will be surprised by a French style palace with art nouveau details. It hosts the “Circolo Italiano di Buenos Aires”. The restaurant is located at the bottom of the main floor where you will be able to enjoy a peaceful garden.
Location: Talcahuano 937, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
Ideal place to enjoy a local experience. Friendly atmosphere, lots of pictures and football shirts decorate the walls. Lots of pizza options. You will need some extra time as it is always quite crowded.
Location: Arroyo 872, Retiro, Buenos Aires.
In this case, it is a bar, a pub, with some options to have dinner. Chosen among the 15 best bars in the world (according to The World’s Best 50 Bars), Florería Atlántico is a real surprise. As you get to the entrance, you will find a flower shop. Then? The basement hosts this speakeasy which opens in the evening.