When other cities choose to go to sleep, the darkness makes Buenos Aires come alive. One thing you'll notice immediately in this city is that people love the nightlife. From the Teatro Colón to dimly lit tango salons to the big techno clubs, Buenos Aires offers an exceptional variety of nightlife.
The evening usually begins for Porteños with a play or movie around 8pm followed by a late and long dinner. Then, after 11pm or midnight, it'll be time to visit a bar or two. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it's time to really stay out late, with Porteños hitting big dance clubs and bars in places like Recoleta, Palermo and Costanera so late that by the time they start walking home, the sun is coming up. The nightlife in summertime is quieter, because most of the town flees to the coast, moving their nocturnal activities to places like Mar del Plata and Punta del Este.
But Buenos Aires's nightlife is not just about clubbing. It also has a large number of cultural activities for the visitor and resident alike. Performing arts in Buenos Aires are centred on the highly regarded Teatro Colón, home to the National Opera, National Symphony, and National Ballet. In addition, there are nearly 40 professional theatres around town (many located along Av. Corrientes between Av. 9 de Julio and Callao and in the San Telmo and Abasto neighbourhoods) showing Broadway- and off-Broadway-style hits, Argentine plays, and music reviews, although most are in Spanish. Buy tickets for most productions at the box office or through Ticketmaster (tel. 11/4321-9700). The British Arts Centre, Suipacha 1333 (tel. 11/4393-0275), offers productions and movies in English.
For current information on after-dark entertainment, consult the English-language Buenos Aires Herald, which lists events that are held in English and Spanish, and often features events held by Irish, British, and North American expats who have moved to Buenos Aires (www.buenosairesherald.com). Clarín, La Nación, and many of the major local publications also list events, but only in Spanish. QuickGuide Buenos Aires, available in the city's tourism kiosks and in various hotels, also has information on shows, theatres, and nightclubs. Ciudad Abierta (www.buenosaires.gov.ar) is a free weekly published by the city government telling what is going on culturally all over the city, but it is in Spanish only. Ciudad Abierta is also an interesting cable-access channel, which, like the weekly, highlights cultural and tourist interests around the city, and is usually channel 73 on hotel cable systems. Llegas a Buenos Aires lists culture, arts, tango, and other events. This newspaper is published weekly and distributed free at locations across the city. Additionally, you can ask the Buenos Aires City Tourism offices for the "Funny Night Map," which lists bars and clubs throughout Buenos Aires.
Tango Show Palaces
With tango as the main draw, Buenos Aires says, "Let me entertain you." Numerous show palaces, from the simple Café Tortoni to the over-the-top special-effects-laden Señor Tango, compete for your tourist dollar. All of the shows are excellent, and, surprisingly, each is very unique, proving that tango can mean many things to many people, the performers themselves most of all. Many of the show palaces include dinner, or you can arrive just in time for the show only. Usually, the price differential for the show only is minimal, making it worth coming early for dinner.
Seeing a variety of tango palaces is important, since each show has its own style. Smaller spaces lead to a greater intimacy, and often more interaction between the dancers and the audience. Sometimes the dancers even grab a few people, so watch out if you're close to the stage! Some of these shows, like Señor Tango and El Viejo Almacén, offer bus services that pick you up at your hotel.
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