Central Buenos Aires is made up of Barrio San Nicolás, a rectangular area bordered by Avenida Córdoba to the north and Avenida de Mayo to the south. It’s rarely called Barrio San Nicolás and has taken on the name El Centro. Microcentro is a smaller section of El Centro to the east of Avenida 9 de Julio. This entry focuses on El Centro west of Avenida 9 de Julio.
I walked to Plaza Lavalle on a short but pleasant pedestrianized section of Diagonal Norte from Avenida 9 de Julio. Plaza Lavalle sits a block west of the massive avenue.
In the center of the plaza is a small park and a monument to General Juan Lavalle. There was some interesting public art as well as a gigantic tree.
Other than the back end of Teatro Colón, there are some beautiful buildings surrounding the plaza. On the southwest corner is the Palacio de Justicia, Argentina’s Supreme Court building completed in 1905. On the southeast corner is Escuela Presidente Roca, a school built in 1903.
On the northeast corner is the Templo de la Congregación Israelita (Templo Libertad), a synagogue and an Argentine Jewish history museum built in 1897. Across the street is the Teatro Nacional Cervantes, which opened in 1921.
Avenida Corrientes, just a block south of Plaza Lavalle, is fun to walk down. This is considered the Broadway of Buenos Aires. There are lots of theaters, restaurants, and flashing lights located on the street as well as some public art. I found it more enjoyable at night. I walked down it late on a Saturday night and it was packed with people.
One of the most important theatres on Avenida Corrientes is Teatro General San Martín. It was built in the 1950s and seats 1,100 people. A cultural center is attached to the theatre.
On the very western fringes of El Centro are a few other landmarks I noticed. The first is a block north of Avenida Corrientes on Avenida Callao, Escuela Normal Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. It’s a school built in 1886. A large church, Iglesia del Salvador, sits a couple blocks north.
The other important building is Palacio de Aguas Corrientes. It was built in 1887 as the former headquarters of the public water works, Aguas Argentinas. It definitely doesn’t fit in the neighborhood and is easily the most beautiful water pumping station I have ever seen. There is also a museum inside explaining the history of water treatment.