La Boca is undoubtedly the most colorful neighborhood in Buenos Aires, where the first immigrants settled almost a century ago. It was shaped by people from different countries, who arrived in Argentina with their luggage full of hope and dreams. Those people came with many different backgrounds and realities but a common challenge: to start a new life from scratch in a foreign yet welcoming country that was ready for a profound cultural transformation. This sociological approach is relevant when it comes to understanding the particular cosmopolitan atmosphere you feel as soon as you get into the district; a unique mix of colorful houses, street art, tango, soccer vibes, street food, and the remains of a multicultural explosion that took place in the early nine-teen-hundreds.
"Art is in the air" in Buenos Aires, and so is in La Boca, being one of the features that makes it unique. There are lots of art galleries and antique shops where visitors will find tons of unique pieces, from paintings to furniture, covering a wide range of styles. Quinquela Martin is a synonym of La Boca. The famous artist made a lot of well-known paintings, in which he addresses social, political, and cultural topics, with La Boca and the port of Buenos Aires portrayed as a common background. His artwork can be seen in "Benito Quinquela Martin fine-art museum" together with other artists' that found their inspiration in the cosmopolitan neighborhood.
There is also a very famous street called "Caminito" (which means a tiny path). There you will see a lot of street art among lovely houses that keep their old and peculiar facade, painted in different colors by the immigrants. It is a must-see when visiting La Boca. The scene is completed by street-artists offering their craft made rings, "mates" (Traditional argentine infusion), potteries, and much more.
When it comes to food, the Argentinian pizza is a must-taste in La Boca. It is not like Italian pizza, but it's much bigger, thicker, and full of toppings. Only those who are brave enough are willing to have an entire pizza for themselves. A traditional custom that remained from the old days is having a pizza slice with "Moscato" (a sweetish white wine) and "Faina," (baked chickpea flour and olive oil dough) while standing in the bar. Banchero, closeby the Boca Juniors' stadium, is one of the most famous "pizzerias" (Pizza restaurants) in the neighborhood. Apart from "Pizzerias," travelers will find a lot of “Cantinas” (typical restaurants) spread across La Boca. There, it is possible to enjoy local food served in huge portions while tasting “vino de la casa” (bulk wine served in a penguin-shaped jar), surrounded by a warm crowd, food smell, and tango. Nothing fancy, but tasty and real.
La Boca is also Tango. Visitors can enjoy it both on the streets and in specific places called "Milongas," where people can not only listen to music but also take dance lessons in a friendly and traditional environment. Although there are other places in Buenos Aires with a stronger tango culture, La Boca is a beautiful place to have a first approach to it.
Football is also part of the district's DNA since La Boca is home to Boca Juniors, which is among the most popular teams in Argentina. Its stadium, "La Bombonera," has been featured in an endless list of international media for being the perfect place to feel and live the Argentinian passion for football. Colorful tribunes, passionate people, and peculiar songs are some of the single ingredients that make it a cult place for Football lovers. Actually, the derby contested between Boca Juniors and River Plate is known as one of the ten must-attend sports events in the world. A lot of tourist agencies offer a guided tour to the stadium and also tickets for games.
All the above is just a brief description of what you can discover in La Boca, a charming district that is always ready to surprise and captivate both locals and foreigners. It is, indeed, one of the places nobody should miss when coming to Buenos Aires. I strongly recommend getting lost in its streets to discover the roots of the Buenos Aires culture.
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