While temperatures cool after the scorching summer months, the city’s passion and energy remain red hot. Winter sees Buenos Aires in full flow, with a packed calendar of art, theatre, tango and much more. Here are just some of the reasons to visit:
Winter’s the perfect time to soak up the old-world atmosphere at the city’s many elegant old cafes. Get cosy with a book (preferably one by Borges or Cortázar) and a café con leche y dos medialunas (white coffee and two croissants) or chocolate y churros (fried dough pastry tubes with chocolate for dipping), and watch the world go by. Café Tortoni (Av. De Mayo 825) is the most famous, but there are more than 70 registered “notable bars” in the city, including Los 36 Billares (Av de Mayo 1271), where you can join the old timers for a game of pool or billiards, and El Gato Negro (Corrientes 1669), which offers a range of spiced teas and coffees, perfect for warming up. Throughout July, many of the city's listed historic cafés are hosting live performances of tango, flamenco and other genres of music.
As temperatures drop, many locals seek solace in the warmth of a tango embrace on the dancefloor at one of the city’s many milongas – traditional dance events. You can visit milongas yourself, either to dance or just to watch and have something to eat or drink. And in August, Buenos Aires hosts its international tango festival, including the tango world championship, which attracts some of the best dancers from far and wide with a programme packed with classes, performances and dance events, culminating in the championship final at the Luna Park stadium.
“La Rural” is one of the most important agriculture and livestock fairs in the world, and it’s been taking place every July since 1886. Organised by the Argentine Rural Society, and hosted at the society's exhibition centre and belle-epoque showground, the event became a fixture on the upper classes’ social scene in the early twentieth century and remains a spectacle. The exhibition features hundreds of stands and thousands of animals, particularly cattle, with competitions in various categories, as well as displays of acrobatic gaucho skills.
Winter also sees Argentina’s most important patriotic holidays – Revolution Day on May 25, Flag Day on June 20, and Independence Day on July 9 – and there are often events organized to celebrate, with music, dance, parades and hot chocolate for all.
Some of Argentina’s most traditional dishes would be unimaginable in summer – a time for barbecues and salads – but make perfect sense in winter. Hearty stews from the north and Andean regions begin to appear in the city’s restaurants. Dishes like locro, a stew made with meat and corn, are as filling as they are warming, and are particularly popular during the patriotic holidays. We recommend a glass of Malbec on the side for the perfect winter meal.
Now's the time to get that leather jacket or poncho! While shops in the northern hemisphere are stocking nothing warmer than a summer maxidress, Buenos Aires’ fashion houses are showcasing their winter ranges. For something unique, check out the designer boutiques in Palermo, while there are plenty of leather stores in Villa Crespo, in and around Calle Murillo, and the traditional Feria de Mataderos offers the chance to shop for artisan products alongside real gauchos. See more about shopping in Buenos Aires.
Winter sees the city’s packed cultural agenda at its peak. There are 300 theatres in the city, including the internationally acclaimed Teatro Colón Opera House, which stages Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier this winter, as well as hosting the Barenboim Festival. For a more truly physical spectacle, check out Fuerza Bruta at the Recoleta Cultural Centre, while the Centro Cultural Kirchner at the city's former central post office is launching it's first full season, with free concerts and the world-class acoustics of the ballena azul (blue whale) auditorium, and the Usina de Arte in La Boca also has regular free concerts, ranging from classical music to jazz, tango and folk.
On the art scene, the MALBA celebrates its 15th anniversary with Verboamérica, a major exhibition drawn from its permanent collection, and there's Japanese art and a Luis Felipe Noé exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes.
There's also a selection of cool festivals to look out for in winter. The week-long Buenos Aires Diversa in August is one of the city's biggest events for the LGBTIQ community, and Ciudad Emergente alternative music festival in September offers a chance to catch some of the city’s best up and coming bands.
On top of all that, the last two weeks of July offer one of the best times to visit the city with kids thanks to the hundreds of activities - many of them free - put on to keep children occupied during their school winter holidays.
While some might find summer in the city excessively hot, winters are mild in Buenos Aires, with frequent sunny days. Temperatures rarely fall below around 8°C (46.6 °F) at night, and daytime temperatures can reach 20ºC (68ºF) and beyond, so it's still possible to enjoy the city's many parks and open spaces, to rent a bike and explore different neighbourhoods using the city's cycle lanes, and to take advantage of Buenos Aires' free guided walking tours, bike tours, and guided treks.