Buenos Aires is a truly kid-friendly city. Not only are porteños (what the locals are called) super family-oriented and inclusive of kids (no matter how rambunctious) in almost all settings, but there are playgrounds in every neighborhood and tons of activities for families with little ones. We’ve lived here for four years so have a pretty good sense of it. Here is a little guide on how to spend a day in Buenos Aires.
Beware though, Argentines stay up (really) late and wake up late. So while it’s perfectly acceptable to bring your kids to dinner with you, most places don’t open until 9 pm. On more than one occasion, we’ve seen families with small children arriving at 11.30 pm as my husband and I were leaving places (sans kids)! Below, I’ve included some tips on how to navigate Buenos Aires if you’re more on an early-to-bed-early-to-rise schedule.
Ninina is one of our favorite local spots for breakfast. With their first café in Palermo Soho and now a second one in the MALBA (more below) as well as Villa Urquiza and Recoleta, their locations are great for visitors and locals alike. With pancakes, eggs, and avocado toast, their breakfast menu definitely leans towards continental American. Check out their IG for some food inspiration.
Click here for the location.
The only catch is that they open at 9 am. So if you (or your little ones) tend to wake up early, you could order one of their breakfast kits (see website) the night before, or head over to…
Le Pain Quotidien which opens at 8am. With over a dozen locations throughout the city, this Belgian chain brings its signature breads and pastries, as well as organic and vegetarian options, to Buenos Aires. Or you could do what we do: pick up pastries in the evening, so you have them available the next morning, no matter how early your kids wake up! Check out their IG.
MALBA is the Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires. Its permanent collection covers classics of modern Latin American art and the special collections and exhibits vary from photography to painting to sculpture. It is accessible enough that it is a standard field trip for our school’s pre-K 4-year old class. The modern building is completely stroller accessible. Pre-pandemic, they had workshops for kids on the weekend, but it doesn’t look like they’ve reinstated them yet. But check the website for details:
If the idea of taking your kid to a museum doesn’t sit well with you, check out the Florealis Genérica giant moving sculpture. Unveiled in the year 2002, it was probably the world’s first mobile public sculpture to be controlled by hydraulics and photoelectric sensors. It opens and closes with the sun. You can then stroll down the block to the Parque Thays with its outdoor sculpture garden.
Florealis Genérica is located here!
Dashi, across the street from the MALBA, is a great option if you want to stay in the neighborhood. While primarily a sushi restaurant, it has an expansive enough menu that there should be something for everyone. With continuous service from 8 am to midnight, you don’t have to worry about trying to find an open kitchen outside of standard Argentine dining hours. Note: as they offer take-out, you could also place an order to go and eat it in one of the nearby parks.
If you want to explore a different neighborhood, head over to Palermo and check out the restaurants around Nicaragua and Arévalo. On the weekends, they close Nicaragua between Arévalo and Dorrego, so Birkin, Narda, and the other restaurants on the block take over and there’s plenty of outdoor seating (and space to run around).
Our favorites are:
La Mar: (reservations recommended)
There’s also a crêpe place, a sandwich place, a Japanese grill, and more.
Ecoparque is the recently revamped zoo, now much more eco-friendly and interactive. My kids love that most of the animals are just roaming around the space. It’s a great place to see different animals native to Argentina. Bonus: admission is free!
Find the Ecoparque location here.
The Teatro Colón is world-renowned for its acoustics and classical musicians make it a point to come to play here. Pre-pandemic, the Colón offered a kids program, Colón Para Chicos, in which they either had special productions, like Alice in Wonderland and The Little Prince or abbreviated their standard programming for Sunday morning matinées. Note, tickets sell out fast, so it’s worth booking as soon as the annual program comes out (usually in February). If your kids are pretty well behaved, you can generally score tickets for a Sunday afternoon regular (adult) production, even at the last minute. Tip: if you can afford a private box (palco), it offers a bit more privacy and flexibility as you can move the chairs around in your box to suit your needs. We saw the ballet Coppelia with 3 5-year olds and moms that way and it worked out great. Plus the kids were excited that they could see into the orchestra pit.
You can find Teatro Colón here.
The Rosedal and the Bosques de Palermo is the ideal place for an afternoon stroll. The picturesque lake rose garden and extensive lawns are great for winding down. If you’ve still got some energy to burn, you can rent bikes or rollerblades. For a bit of delight, check out the carousel which is between Libertador and the eateries in the Arcos del Rosedal on Av. Infanta Isabel.
It’s practically impossible to come to Argentina and not have an abundance of meat. If you want a true parilla experience that is also great for kids, we recommend La Payuca, hands down. It’s a great steak house that also has a supervised playroom. If you sit upstairs, they even have CC-TVs so you can keep an eye on your kids while enjoying your ojo de bife and Malbec. Note: dinner service starts at 8pm, lunch at noon. Reservations recommended. For the location, click here.
If the idea of eating lots of meat late at night doesn’t tempt you, check out the restaurants in the Arcos de Rosedal on Infanta Isabel. These more casual dining options offer continuous service from morning until 9 or 10 pm. So if you want to have dinner with your kids at 5 or 6 pm, it won’t be a problem… Argentines will assume that you are having a late lunch or snack. 😁
Our favorites are :
MÖOI (modern cuisine with plenty of gluten-free/vegan/vegetarian options) :
Rock n Ribs (American style BBQ)
Best of The Rest
Anything else you think people should check out. Could just be a quick bullet point list of must-do with links, directions, and a quick tip.
There is a lot to explore in Argentina besides Buenos Aires. While you’ve probably considered wine tasting (and yes, you can bring along the kids), it might not have occurred to you that Argentina is also a great place to see dinosaurs!
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