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Tango in San Telmo, Buenos Aires
San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Tango in San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Australis

The city’s oldest barrio or neighborhood, San Telmo, Buenos Aires is a hot spot of sultry tango dancing, colonial architecture and lively street markets. It’s also considered the birthplace of tango; a dance which found its way onto the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2009. San Telmo remains an important district for learning about tango, which alongside gaucho culture, has become one of the most universally-recognized symbols of Argentina.

Believed to have developed from the milonga dance, tango includes African and European roots amongst its eclectic influences. Barrio San Telmo has historically been home to huge immigrant communities which amassed in the once lower-class districts of Buenos Aires, and the mixed ancestry of these residents was central in the creation of the tango in the late 1800s. Gaining international fame in 1913 when Argentine sailors arrived in Paris, it became a globally popular dance, but one which today still exists at the very heart of Argentina’s bohemian capital.

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Best places to see tango dancing in San Telmo, Buenos Aires

There are many ways of experiencing tango in this cosmopolitan city. But watching tango dances in music halls or on café-lined plazas, or even taking a tango class at one of the many schools rank among the best things to do in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

San Telmo, Buenos AiresA Sunday evening tango performance in Plaza Dorrego

Often filled with dancers, Buenos Aires’ second oldest square, Plaza Dorrego, is a San Telmo highlight. Particularly on Sunday evenings, but more regularly during the sultry summer months, professional couples come here to dance. Accompanied by live music as the sun sets on the neighborhood, it’s an engrossing sight.

 

Tango shows in the San Telmo District

An abandoned colonial-era grocery, bought in 1969 by tango singer Edmundo Rivero, El Viejo Almacén has been hailed as helping to revive tango culture in the last few decades. Today, it remains one of the best-known tango music halls, and is open for organized tango shows most evenings.

Bar Sur is another location for experiencing a tango show in San Telmo. With only nine tables in the whole bar, it’s a cosy, atmospheric setting for admiring the sensual steps of the tango.

San Telmo, Buenos AiresAnother highlight of the tango scene in San Telmo is the Centro Cultural Torquato Tasso. Known in Argentina as an example of a milonga, this is a dance hall where young and old come to dance tango, and is one of the most famous in all of Buenos Aires. Used as the set of a number of tango films, this intimate milonga doesn’t offer shows, but instead recitals and concerts by renowned tango stars, after which the tables are cleared to allow the audience to dance tango.

 

Dance classes in the San Telmo neighborhood

The best way of getting to grips with the culture of tango is to try it yourself.

Escuela Mariposita is one of the best for starting with the basic steps or even for those with previous experience in tango. Run from an old mansion in San Telmo, it has tango classes for all levels, regular workshops and even intensive, week-long classes of tango.  

 

What to do in San Telmo, Buenos Aires

Although tango is what draws the crowd to the San Telmo district, its charming streets are home to other attractions worth visiting.

 

Feria de San Pedro Telmo

The Fería de San Telmo is open from 10am-5pm every Sunday and sprawls over 10 blocks from Calle Defensa to Plaza Dorrego. Stalls here offer everything from antiques, handicrafts and souvenirs. An open-air market, its distinctive Argentine atmosphere is characterized by the street performances and tango dancers that grace its many cobbled streets.

San Telmo, Buenos AiresSan Telmo Food Market

Open all week, this market spans an entire block and offers fresh food and street food cooked on the spot, as well as a range of antiques for those with the patience to comb its extensive stalls.

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7 Comments

  1. 12 de October de 201608:11
    Buenos Aires Safety Tips for Risk-Free Travel in Argentina dijo:

    […] concierge before sightseeing as to the regions that you should avoid. At night time, even central tourist districts such as San Telmo can become dangerous, so being cautious when walking the streets and getting a radio taxi to take […]

  2. 8 de November de 201608:14
    Unmissable Sights in Historic La Boca, Buenos Aires dijo:

    […] Aires has acquired the status as an unmissable barrio on any tour of the capital. Adjacent to popular San Telmo district and easily accessible from Parque Lezama,it is a suburb with a distinctly European flavor and an […]

  3. 29 de November de 201608:06
    North Argentina Vacation Packages For Culture Vultures dijo:

    […] really absorb the culture though, head over to the San Telmo district for tango classes or to join a milonga and, when you feet are sore from dancing away the evening, […]

  4. 4 de December de 201608:06
    Popular Argentina Trips to Take From Buenos Aires dijo:

    […] more to see in the larger province of Buenos Aires. Exploring the historic tango neighborhood of San Telmo or wandering the colorful streets of harbourside La Boca are both excellent ways to better […]

  5. 6 de December de 201608:09
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    […] a beeline for the San Telmo district, the neighborhood credited with the birth of tango in the late 1880s thanks to the fusion of […]

  6. 4 de January de 201708:07
    Important Argentina Traditions and Where to Experience Them dijo:

    […] danced on the streets of San Telmo and other working-class neighborhoods in Buenos Aires in the 1800s, tango is probably the most […]

  7. 3 de April de 201707:31
    Travel Journal Ideas for Your Next Vacation dijo:

    […] trekking through the mountains of a Canadian national park or unwinding at a street side café in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires, this travel journal is on hand to record the […]

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