Whether it’s quality leather goods, a bargain antique or a souvenir football shirt you’re after, there are no shortage of shopping options in Buneos Aires, which is officially a UNESCO city of design. The San Telmo neighbourhood is famous for antiques, souvenirs and vintage clothing, Palermo Soho for the latest trends in both independent and mainstream fashion and design, Retiro for quality leather, and Recoleta for upmarket boutiques offering both international brands and unique local crafts.
And if you're looking for art, the city's creative talent is on display everywhere, with a host of boutique art galleries in neighbourhoods such as La Boca, San Telmo, Barracas, Puerto Madero, Recoleta, Retiro, Villa Crespo and Palermo. They're well worth a look to see the vanguard of Latin American art even if you're not in the market for buying, and you'll also find groundbreaking art exhibitions at some of the city's cultural centres such as the Centro Cultural Borges and Centro Culural Recoleta.
Some of the largest shopping malls are listed below. The Galerías Pacífico (pictured) is worth a visit to see the design of the building alone.
Argentina is famous for its leather and for traditional silverwork and other crafts. Many shops sell leather jackets, belts and bags, and there are polo-themed shops and crafts markets that sell traditional gaucho accessories such as gourds for drinking mate, boleadores (stone balls on a chord used for catching cattle), silver knives and alpargatas (espadrille shoes, traditionally made with rope soles). As well as leather, another traditional material used to make belts, wallets, purses, and other items is the skin of the capybara/carpincho, the world's largest rodent. You'll also find a wide range of arts and crafts using textiles and techniques from the Andes and the north of Argentina.
See our lists of the best fairs and markets in the city, frequented by locals and tourists alike, and our list of arts and crafts shops by neighbourhood. These are the ideal places to find that unique gift or souvenir. For food markets, see Food Fairs & Markets.
For discounts on national and international brands, head to these areas:
As well as receiving a VAT refund on accommodation, foreign tourists are eligible to reclaim tax (VAT) on purchases of domestically-manufactured goods with a value over ARS $70 when bought from stores displaying the Tax Free logo.
The Global Blue website has information in English on the tax reclaim process. AFIP, the Argentine tax authority, also has information in Spanish here: www.afip.gob.ar/turismo/. Remember to ask in store for a Tax Free Form and have your receipt, form and goods ready to show at the Customs Office (Aduana Argentina) at the airport, port or border as you leave the country.
Buenos Aires hosts several major annual events including Feria Puro Diseño, Designers Buenos Aires, the bookstore night Noche de las librerías, Bafweek (Buenos Aires Fashion Week), Gallery Nights, Gallery Days, Buenos Aires International Book Fair, ArteBA, Buenos Aires Photo and the Festival Internacional de Diseño.