Like many big international cities, Buenos Aires has a lot to offer in terms of shopping, from cheap clothing and trinkets to designer fashion and home-wares. For newcomers to BA the shopping options can be a bit overwhelming, so I’ve put together a quick summary of some of the key areas that are worth a visit, depending on your tastes and needs.
On Expanish’s doorstep, Florida is a pedestrian street and a great first stop if you want to cover everything in one trip. It has everything from chain stores like Zara and Adidas to cheaper discount clothing stores (closer to the Plaza de Mayo), and street vendors selling cheap clothing, toys and tourist goods. Florida has a good selection of specialist leather shops if you want to buy that last minute gaucho belt for dad!
Alternative to Florida: The street of Sante Fe is only slightly further afield and offers very similar shopping to Florida, but the street is a little bit longer and less compact.
Famous for its antique shops and markets, San Telmo has enough to fill a day of meandering. Hundreds of antique stalls and an indoor market can be found around the street of Defensa and Plaza Dorrego. My suggestion would be to go with an open mind and be prepared to end the day with something you never knew you wanted (the other day my friend bought an antique telephone from 1925). San Telmo offers more than just antiques though, with some great little fashion boutiques and gift shops. I’d advise you not to miss the Sunday market (Feria de San Telmo) which takes up the entire length of Defensa to Plaza Dorrego, selling everything from head massagers to paintings, photography and clothes.
If you’re feeling a bit more flush, Palermo offers a great range of lovely boutiques offering independent and higher-end fashion shops (some of them are worth checking out just for their window displays). The main shopping artery runs along the street of Honduras (from Godoy Cruz through to Scalabrini Ortiz), but lots of great shops can be found in the surrounding area. There is also a market around Plaza Serrano on Saturdays where the bars and restaurants let designers showcase their stuff.
Alternative to Palermo: head to Recoleta to go even more upmarket
At the other end of the scale, Once is cheap cheap cheap, if a little crowded and hectic. But if you put the hours in and know what you’re looking for, Once can be rewarding. You can find anything and everything from T-shirts to tablecloths. Be prepared to wade through lots of “not-so-great items” to find the diamond in the rough. To find the main shopping area head down Avenida Pueyrredón from Recoleta into Balvanera where the discount outlets begin and continue through to the Once train station.
Alternative to Once: Calle Avellaneda
Note to all:
Buenos Aires has a slightly different shopping schedule than most countries, opening times tend to be Monday through Friday from 9am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm (don’t get caught out trying to shop on Saturday afternoons). However, shopping malls are open 7 days a week from 10am to 10pm.