Reviews of 5 parks in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Five Great Parks in Buenos Aires For Chillng out, Mackin', Relaxin', or Coolin'
Every great city can lay claim to some great parks and Buenos Aires is no exception. Parks are great for escaping, if only for a moment, that frenetic energy that courses through the rest of the city. You can step a couple hundred feet back from the smog, the screaming brakes of the collectivos and the people on the corners shoving bits of paper advertising parillas, protests, or cellphones in your face. But make no mistake, Buenos Aires does not stop at the edge of these green spaces, each park is wholely and completely a part of the city. The ice cream man is still there chanting his mantra ‘Heeeeelaaaaado’, you can still hear reggaeton emenating from Argentines suprisingly loud cell phones and you can still buy a pancho (hotdog) somewhere, invariably.
However, the parks have a bit of their own culture and just as the culture varies from barrio (neighborhood) to barrio it varies from park to park. Choose your favorite based on what your culture is and how you think it would mesh.
Parque Tres Febrero
Located in Palermo this park reflects the upper-class, yuppy, population that lives there. One of the most family friendly parks in the city it has a lake, a nice whitewashed bridge, and a track running around it. You can rent little paddle boats and cruise around the lake or rent roller blades and cruise around the track. It is also home to the Rose Gardens where you can see, when in bloom, over 12,000 different examples of various types. The great thing about this park is that every weekend there is something going on, be it a dance show, a gymnast clown, or a man in drag on roller blades lipsynching to Diana Ross there is no end to the eye/ear candy. Also, if you have a boat, you can watch the shows from the lake.
Parque Las Heras
If you are looking to escape the sound of buses, traffic, and city life you may want to choose another park. Located at the intersection of Avenida Las Heras and Avenida Colonel Dias in Recoleta, you can see the street from basically anywhere in the park. However, this park does have its charm. If you've got the skills you can participate in a futbol game at one of the four enclosed fields, or you can cheer from the sidelines. There is also a playground if you’re with the kiddies. But the best part about the park is the people who frequent it. They are constantly doing some circus type of activity. They bring their own tightropes and set them up, juggle with pins or climb a tree, put up Cirque du Soleilesque contraption and hang in it. It's great to just lie back and watch what ensues.
This park on the border of San Telmo and La Boca is kind of the opposite of Parque Tres Febrero. There are no families clad in The Gap, but there are old men playing games of chess and sharing mate, couples going at it on the grass and homeless people taking naps under trees. It is a great place, it has character (but I wouldn't go there after sundown). If you're into chess, there is a giant chessboard painted on the asphalt (you have to bring your own giant chess pieces though). There is also a market on the weekends where you can buy all the usual knick knacks and oddities or you can catch a show though it's more likely to be Argentine 20-somethings rocking out than a tango show.
Parque Centenario is in the middle of a roundabout in Caballito. The park is another one with character. On the weekends it is encircled by a market where you can buy interesting clothing from small Peruvian children, the ever-present mate cups, bootleg CDs and really anything else you can think of. Inside you have a manmade lake bordered by several large statues of angels, a merry-go round, and the coolest part, a graffiti-covered ampitheatre. In the summer as well as fall you can see free shows there. When it's not being used for music it serves as a skate park for the locals.
Reserva Ecologica Costanera del Sur
Probably your best bet if you want to feel a bit of nature in the capital. This giant green space is located at the tip of Puerto Madero and is bordered by the Río de la Plata. It is a little bit of the pampas in the city. You can see flora typical of the region as well as species of birds from there. If you're really into nature identification you can take a guided tour. Otherwise go it at your own and do some communing. The best way to see the park is on a bike, which allows you to experience more of it's vast area.
So grab your music, a good book, a blanket, and some snacks and go experience some park culture.