There is no city quite like Buenos Aires. That should come as no surprise because, of course, every city is unique. Anywhere that a few million people call home is bound to be bustling, will undoubtedly be exciting, and will certainly be a hotbed of cultural diversity. However, the allure of the Argentine capital runs deeper than this bustling, diverse surface; there is a genuine buzz to the place, an intangible atmosphere that exudes from its various neighbourhoods. There is a Buenos Aires lifestyle, which draws in residents and visitors alike.
Buenos Aires is laid out in the grid system that defines cities of the Americas, but with noticeable European influences: the wide, sweeping avenues, the quaint little cafes, the towering Obelisk monument, and the Italian-French architectural inspiration for the world renown Teatro Colon. Even the people fall under the European influence, with many claiming European ancestry.
But at the same time, it is an inherently Latin city, teeming with passion. Human interactions are purposeful: a fierce embrace here, a tender moment there. Buenos Aires does not do things by halves. There is that intriguing mix of the dramatically fast-paced and the casually laidback. Everything from cars to people to time can seem to rush, but then slow down, and almost stop when the situation demands it, when a friend is in need or when wine is ordered.
The various neighbourhoods of the city are nicely linked, but beautifully different. Wander through the cobbled squares and antique markets of San Telmo and head to Palermo, an eclectic mix of fashion and cuisine, where there are more independent restaurants than you can shake a stick at. But don’t forget the colourful buildings of La Boca, a slightly artificial place where tango dancers perform on the streets and allow tourists to pose for a photograph.
Tango deserves special mention. It is a thrilling dance. Going to see a tango show, in a dimly lit, cramped theatre is a highlight of any visit to Buenos Aires. Dancing couples are intertwined, their limbs seeming to join as one, their knees twisting and flicking at impossible angles. The teamwork is phenomenal. Perhaps the intensity of a well-performed tango show is only rivalled by the patriotic fervour of an international football match.
After a tango show and sumptuous dinner, a night out is in order, for Buenos Aires really is a city that never sleeps. Clubs open at 2am and rarely close before 8am, when commuters and clubbers share the streets. There is constant activity and excitement, with a range of clubbing options to suit any music taste. Somehow, the city keeps fatigue at bay and time really flies.
Being able to put your finger on just why anywhere is particularly exciting is challenging. Every person reacts differently to a place, depending on a multitude of factors from their own emotional state to the weather upon arrival. But there is a reason that Buenos Aires is fondly talked about by so many people who visit. The Latin-European hybrid of cuisine, culture and passion creates an atmosphere that is irresistibly intoxicating.