I love big cities. I love cafe-culture and, of course, I love reading. For those of us who like to curl up with the perfect book, Buenos Aires has to be one of the best places in the world to do it…Over the years, I have spent countless hours exploring the bookshop-cafes of San Francisco and Toronto, and if you had asked me a month ago, I would have never imagined that Buenos Aires could compare. Well, it does more than compare, it gives them a run for their money!
Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and the most European country of South America. Steeped in history, los porteños (Buenos Aires residents) effortlessly blend the past with the present. The eclectic neighborhoods of Recoleta, San Telmo and Palermo are home to a treasure trove of lovely outdoor cafes, historic tree-lined cobblestone streets and of course, bookstores.
Buenos Aires has a flourishing book industry that is one of the most competitive in Latin America. This is most likely reflected by the fact that their flagship higher education institution, the University of Buenos Aires, is one of the most highly regarded public institutions in the hemisphere.
While Buenos Aires’ major streets such as Corrientes, Santa Fe and Juramento host many large bookstores, including the chain bookstores found in the shopping malls, go off the beaten path…For rare volumes, first editions, antiquarian or other hard to find books, including foreign language, check out the bookstores on Avenida de Mayo or in San Telmo as well as the old bookstores on Corrientes avenue, between Callao and 9 de Julio avenues.
For those who prefer to get low-cost, second-hand, and rare books, the book fairs- mainly Parque Centenario, Parque Rivadavia, Plaza Lavalle, and Plaza Italia- are an excellent option to find interesting reads. Of course, if you are looking for that perfect cafe, take a cab to Palermo and get off at Plaza Serrano. Walk 5 minutes up Thames Street to #1762 and you will find my favorite of all the bookstores in Buenos Aires- Libros Del Pasaje.
Libros del Pasaje has a fine selection of modern and classic Argentine books, as well as a healthy section of English and foreign language books, not to mention a lovely cafe and resto-bar that is a great place to hang out, sip a cappuccino (or a glass of vino) as you plan your trip in Argentina.