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The Urbanist’s Buenos Aires

Hidden bars, strawberry burrata, and the pope's rubber bands.


Forget “Paris of the South.” Buenos Aires may be full of elegant old buildings and Belle Époque boulevards, but the city has been living in its own peculiar state of effervescent anxiety long enough to ditch the tired European comparisons. This is a metropolis that knows how to keep on going (with style) amid chaos: The country just endured its eighth default, while inflation keeps rising. If all this leaves porteños less than thrilled with their political leadership, at least they have the Cool Pope on their side. The bright news for tourists is that while prices are much higher than a few years ago, the emergence of a parallel currency market (illegal but widely accessible) means dollars still go a long way here, and it’s a particularly exciting time to spend them: In addition to all that cheap beef, there are now ­Caribbean-inspired seven-course tasting menus to be devoured, smoking underground cocktails to be sipped, avant-garde dresses to be purchased, and emerging neighborhoods (Almagro, Villa Crespo, Barracas) to be explored—easier now than ever thanks to extended subway lines and the addition of a bus network.


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