|  Category: Culture and Curiosities

In front of closed doors

Buenos Aires quite rightly holds a reputation for its unrelenting and diverse night life offering countless theatres, clubs, bars and restaurants to keep porteños (people of the port) and visitors occupied. There’s certainly more than enough to do behind the doors of the city’s night-time haunts (for a good resource on keeping up to date with the daily range of events see: but there are other more unofficial events taking place on the streets themselves. Indeed, a surprising aspect of life in the city particularly for northern European visitors is the sheer number of people walking the streets after dark. Perhaps most famous amongst these nocturnal activities are when the locals gather in the plazas, seemingly spontaneously, to dance tango and drink mate. Less well publicised and harder to track down are the groups of graffiti artists working their magic on the walls of buildings throughout the city.

Nightlife in Buenos Aires

However, if your luck’s in it’s possible to catch the young artists in the act. One fresh early August evening I was lucky enough to stumble across a group of friendly graffers on the streets of Villa Crespo. Far from being camera shy the guys were happy to talk about their art, as well as sing and dance for an audience. Graffiti offers a fascinating insight into various elements of life in the city and Argentina more generally, not least the more politically-motivated pieces which often direct incisive abuse at, or offer advice to, various different politicians and political parties. The work of these graffers was not directly political but no shortage of planning and thought had gone into their work, as they talked animatedly amongst themselves over their sketched plans for the wall. It’s perhaps unnecessary, if not impossible to place graffiti artists into one neat and uniform subculture but these particular young people were heavily influenced by hip-hop, accompanied as they were by bass-heavy beats. Other influences and examples of graffiti styles in Buenos Aires can be viewed at

Nightlife in Buenos Aires

In many guide books porteños seem to get a bad name as being unapproachable and unfriendly but in general they are extremely open and happy to talk to extranjeros or foreigners. Of course, talking to as many people as possible on the streets provides an excellent opportunity to practice Spanish and learn about life in the city from the perspective of porteños themselves. Walking around the same streets of Buenos Aires after dark presents a unique chance to get an insight into the nocturnal workings of this huge city. Although considered by some as being increasingly risky, with local advice it’s possible to walk around the streets without any problems and if your luck’s in you can witness some of the activities which make this city so culturally vibrant and colourful.

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