Buenos Aires shopping and insider tips

Buenos Aires shopping is excellent, confusing, unique and taken very seriously. Many things can be very difficult to find without a little help from an insider. There are places that tourists shop, and places that locals shop at half the price. Which do you prefer?

 

There are 3 basic things you need to know about Buenos Aires shopping.

1. When shopping in Buenos Aires, keep your receipts: the 21% VAT tax, included in the sales price, is entirely refundable for purchases exceeding $200 at stores displaying a duty-free sign. When you depart, plan enough time to visit the return desk at the airport to obtain your refund.

 

2. Shopping centers are open until 10pm and often until 12am.

 

3. You will pay more for anything bought in a shopping mall. Most of the stores are mom and pop shops and small businesses. These are scattered throughout the city however there are zones for specific goods. The Argentina government protects small businesses and offers incentives and kickbacks. There are a few Argentina corporate giants but that is these are the exception.

 

 

 

 


 

There are 6 major Buenos Aires shopping malls worth the visit.

Buenos Aires shopping 1. Gallaria Pacifico – A stunning interior with painted ceilings and domed structures. The Galerias Pacifico, centrally located on Florida street has to be the most architecturally beautiful shopping center in Argentina. It was built in the late 1800s and inspired on the Bon Marche in Paris, and it was the major shopping galleria in Buenos Aires, until the 1960s, when the building was taken over by the state-run railroad offices and fell into disuse and disrepair. In the early 1990s it was awarded to a private company as part of the overall privatization drive in Argentina and in 1992 it reopened in its current form, including the amazing glass ceilings and the restored murals. Check the central dome, with frescoes from some of the most important painters in Argentina, which were done around 1945. Also it’s a nice place to check around Christmas time, since they do decorate a lot and install a huge Christmas tree under the dome.

 

 

– Good place to catch a quick bite, since the food court downstairs has a great variety of offerings. Beware, it gets very busy around 1 PM when the surrounding offices let out for lunch, so you may want to either stop by earlier or a bit later, otherwise you won’t find a table. Some evenings there are quick shows presented on the food court stage. – Most of the international chains that operate in Argentina have branches here. Check Giesso for men’s suits, Chevignon for some trendier, young men’s items. – Most shops show the “Tax Free” sign – when you buy from those shops, present your passport or other foreign ID, save the receipts and you can claim back most of the VAT at Ezeiza airport upon leaving Argentina (about 16%, so you will get a nice refund) – On the ground level, check the information booth and ask them about the discount coupon book, which is available for all tourists and includes discounts to many of the shops there.

 


Buenos Aires shopping 2. Patio Bullrich – located in Recoleta on Posadas street and Montevideo. This shopping mall glitters and is known to be one of the best in the city for clothes and other high end products. Patio Bullrich is owned by an Argentina family and has been in existence for over 50 years. The shopping mall is where horse actions used to take place and it almost looks the same as it did in those days. Patio Bullrich is typically a little more expensive than any other shopping mall. There is a very nice food court located upstairs.


Buenos Aires shopping 3. Florida street is essentially an outdoor shopping mall that lasts 10 blocks. Located in the Microcenter (the downtown of the downtown) it begins at Santa Fe and reaches until Ave de Mayo. There are also galleries on Florida Street which are tucked away old theaters turned into shopping centers. Florida Street is known for excellent electronic variety as well as Argentina leather, clothes and just about everything else. Typically, Florida Street serves the tourists and therefore the prices for some things, if you speak English, can be higher. But the reverse is also true. It is quite possible to find excellent bargains on Argentina leather and electronics because there is so much competition. Best advice is to walk up and down a few times and check prices before buying. Also, be careful of pick pocketing on Florida Street.

Buenos Aires shopping pictures 4. Abasto Shopping Center, Av. Corrientes 3247, Tel. 4866-4616. Abasto is located in the center of the city of Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Abasto. Easily reached by subway line B. Abasto is filled with lots of good quality clothing shops and other important international chains. There is an amazing children’s museum located in this mall with a miniature city and even a small mock theater for children to act out various scenes.

Buenos Aires shopping 5. Alto Palermo Shopping Mall – located at the intersection between Ave. Santa Fe and Coronel Diaz. Easilly accessed by subway line D at the Bulnes exit. This is a new shopping center that opened a few years ago. It serves the Palermo area and is of course very nice. Great restaurants inside as well as a few nice outdoor cafes. This is a medium priced shopping center, and quite beautiful. Excellent for clothes and the typical goods found in malls.

 

6. Martinez Unicenter shopping mall. – This is a large shopping mall in the suburbs of Beunos Aires located in the center of the neighborhood called Martinez. LOCATION – Paraná 3745 and La calle Alvear.


Arts and Crafts Fairs

There are excellent out door arts and crafts fairs that happen every weekend throughout the city. Sometimes a neighborhood will have a fair for a month’s duration and these can spring up at anytime, anywhere. Here are a few of the consistent and recognized outdoor fairs worth experiencing.

Recoleta Park (Plaza Francia) – Every weekend this park hosts the most popular outdoor crafts fair in Buenos Aires. People from all over South America line up their booths and stands to show off the home made arts and crafts. The prices are good and the vendors are interesting. At times it can be very crowded so watch out for pick pocketing. Location of this Buenos Aires shopping center – Ave Libertador and Ave Puerrydon in Recoleta.

 

Plaza Dorrego in San Telmo – On the weekends, especially Sunday, this neighborhood square turns into an antique heaven. Items from the 1900’s can easily be found however they may be expensive. All the really good antiques have been long sold, but there are interesting and unique treasures littering this outdoor fair of Buenos Aires shopping. Location – Defensa and Humerberto in San Telmo.

Caminito in La Boca – This arts and crafts fair is also on the weekends and consists mainly of souvenirs of Buenos Aires. There are some great ones and the price is often right. Once again, be careful of pick pocketing in this crowded Buenos Aires shopping area. Location – Garabaldi and Magallanes in La Boca

 

El Tigre – If you take the train from Retiro in Buenos Aires to El Tigre, and find your way to the rivers edge, you will strike gold. This area is a gigantic arts and crafts and shopping center on the weekends and also during the week. Many portenos shop for inexpensive items for their homes and apartments. The selection is huge, and there is everything you could want and more usually at better prices than you could find in the city. You will be glad you took the trip. The only trouble is getting all your newly bought items back to the city. You will see many people on the train trip back, arms filled with bags and goods from el Tigre. Location – Riverfront in El Tigre.

 

The Buenos Aires Shopping Train To El Tigre.


Buenos Aires Shopping Districts

Shopping districts for Buenos Aires shopping – There are certain areas of Buenos Aires that are good for shopping for specific things.

 

 

Sante Fe and Pueyrredon in Recoleta – The neighborhood along Sante Fe down to Callao is the best Buenos Aires shopping area for womens clothes. The best and most expensive clothing shops line the main streets throughout this area.

Recoleta Village – This little area is great for a few things like books, women’s clothes, art and household items. This 4 block neighborhood is host to the Recoleta Cemetery and great museums as well. But the Recoleta Village is by far the best place to grab a bite to eat. There are hundreds of good restaurants and outdoor cafes in this 4 block area for Buenos Aires shopping. Location – Junin and Vicente Lopez.

 

 

San Telmo – San Telmo has interesting Buenos Aires shopping. It is the antique district as well as the arts district. Along Defensa, the oldest street in Buenos Aires, you will find an endless supply of antique dealers. Don’t be afraid to explore too. Just one or two blocks off Denfensa you will find amazing treasures for fantastic prices in San Telmo.

 

 

The Microcenter – This area has just about everything you could think of from tuxedos to Argentina leather, to second hand shops as well as numerous women’s clothing. This is fast past and efficient Buenos Aires shopping.

Florida Street – As noted earlier, this is an outdoor shopping center than lasts 10 blocks. Also, Lavalle street intersects with Florida and is a pedestrian mall. This area of the Microcenter has everything you can think of. They have excellent electronic shops and Argentina leather shops.

 

 

Corrientes and Anchorena – This is the most inexpensive Buenos Aires shopping district. For the absolute best prices on everything from clothes, to Mate cups, to mannequins, this entire neighborhood is a shopping frenzy for locals. Few tourists venture here but it is well worth it. The streets of this center are absolutely packed with people shopping every day of the week. The sidewalks overflow on the weekends. This Buenos Aires neghborhood is referred to as Abasto. Abasto can be easily reached by subway on line A at the Plaza Miserere exit.

 

 

Palermo Viejo neighborhood – Near the Buenos Aires zoo is the neighborhood of Palermo Viejo. In this district is Plaza Serrano. Here you can find all the avant-guard Buenos aires shopping items such as clothes, decorative pieces and art. Many of the shops double as bar-boutique. Well worth the visit.

 

Arroyo and Suipacha – This area is very upscale and borders Recoleta and the Microcenter. Here you will find the best art galleries in the city. (Also the most expensive.) There are great antique shops here as well.

Telcahauno and Corrientes – This is where you find all the music stores for musicians and musical instruments. You will find acoustic guitars made in Argentina for about 70$USD. Also located around this area are good electronic shops for computers and computer related gear.

Belgrano and Av Entre Rios – This neighborhood is referred to as Congresso or Monserrat, or simple The Center. And along Belgrano you will find furniture shops at competitive prices. Many hand crafted wood items are found here for cheap. Interesting and unique Buenos Aires shopping in this area.

Sanez Pena and Hipolito Yrigoyen – This area of Buenos Aires shopping focuses on textiles. It is the garment district and the city blocks here are filled with various cloth and clothes material at fantastic prices. Most of the material was made right here in Argentina from the other provinces.

 

 

 

 


Spanish terms for Buenos aires shopping stores

 

Polirrubio – 24 hour stores similar to drug stores.

 

Kiosks – on every neighborhood. Usually one per block but sometimes more. Few are 24 hours but there are some. They sell mostly cigarettes and chocolates, gum and batteries, sometimes a pancho (hotdog)

 

Edificios/Comprar – The typical street shops that are found on the first floor of buildings.

 

Galerias – Small shopping malls or gallerys.

 

Shopping Centro – Large shopping malls

 

Exterior Fiestivo– Crafts fair and outdoor shops usually in parks and plazas.



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About the author of this blog.

Tom Wick is an American expat living in Buenos Aires. An expert travel consultant and tour guide offering free travel inforamtion and private guided tours of Buenos Aires.

Contact Me

Please write to me about any Buenos Aires Argentina travel information or about living in Buenos Aires as an expat. tangohistorytours@gmail.com

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