Buenos Aires is one of South America’s most vibrant and diverse cities.A big shock for first-time visitors is its sheer size.Buenos Aires is made up of 48 neighborhoods spanning 78.5 square miles, and is home to over 3 million porteños, a name given to those who live in the port city.
Europeans immigrated in waves to this city of “good airs” during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Smaller waves followed from Australia, South Africa, United States, and Asian countries.Then, during the 1990s, there was a substantial influx of immigrants from neighboring South American countries, mainly from Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The Italian, Spanish and French influences are very apparent in the architecture and customs.For example, when meeting a friend or someone for the first time, it is standard to give a kiss on one cheek.The “late” European lifestyle has also been adopted by Argentina.It is unheard of to go out to dinner before 8 or 9 pm, and closer to 10 or 11 pm on weekends.Nightlife gets going after dinner and can last until breakfast the following day.There are many international influences in the nightlife as well.Irish and English pubs, Salsa and Tango dancehalls, large discotheques bumping house and electronic music, more intimate venues featuring national rock or cumbia, and a broad array of theater options are a fraction of the eclectic offerings of Buenos Aires.
The gastronomy closely resembles the Mediterranean cuisines of Italy and Spain.All traditional cafetería, or cafe, menus include homemade pizzas and pastas, simple salads, and main meat and poultry dishes.Sizeable Arab, Armenian, Korean, Japanese, and Chinese communities also contribute to the variety of cuisine available throughout the city.Innumerable types of cuisine can be hunted down in the gastronomical melting pot of Buenos Aires.
In terms of religion, most porteños are of the Roman Catholic religion, although they are generally not known for being devout.Very large Jewish and Muslim populations also contribute to the city’s overall diversity.Latin America’s largest Jewish community, the fifth largest in the world, centers around the Once neighborhood of Buenos Aires, or the “garment district”, where colorful fabrics are made, traded and sold daily.Once, along with the Abasto district, is also home to many immigrants from neighboring Latin American countries.
“The Paris of South America” is commonly used to refer to Buenos Aires.The culturally rich streets take visitors on a tour through some of Europe’s most electric cities.This strong European influence that is visible in the architecture and culture is very prominent in the advanced and upbeat feeling of the city and its inhabitants.It is easy to look around and truly forget where you are.
This unparalleled diversity of Buenos Aires creates for a culturally enriching setting for any visitor, tourist, or student!