Los Bosques de Palermo
The barrio of Palermo is popular for more than just restaurants, chic living, and nightlife. It also contains the most green space of any barrio in Buenos Aires. Acres of parks complete with lakes, gardens and even a zoo allow the residents of Palermo to escape the noise and bustle of the big city without leaving their neighborhood.
Sunny afternoons and weekends bring people in droves to the parks, known as Los Bosques de Palermo. Here they relax in the sun sipping mate, rollerblade or bike along the park’s paved streets, or rent a paddleboat andcruise one of the small lakes. Palermo’s park system extends from Avenida Santa Fe northeast following Avenida Sarmiento towards Jorge Newbery Airport and the Rio de la Plata river. The section of parks nearest the airport features a concentration of sport facilities including the Hipodromo, where throughout the year horses race in front of a grandstand built in the late 1800s. Polo is another passion of Buenos Aires, and Palermo is its proud home in Argentina. Near the Hipodromo are numerous Polo fields along with a rugby stadium, golf course, and tennis courts.
Parque 3 de Febrero is the largest of the parks. Completed in 1875 by architect Carlos Thays, its 25 hectors consist of a number of distinct parts including a few lakes, a rose garden (el rosedal) with a beautiful white bridge, Japanese gardens (jardin japones), and a planetarium. It’s worth taking an afternoon or more to explore this peaceful space. In fact it may become one of your favorite places to spend a few relaxing hours.
Avenida Sarmiento splits 3 de Febrero in two, and if you follow it South you’ll arrive at Plaza Italia. Here the intersection of Sarmiento, Avenida Santa Fe and Avenida Las Heras surrounds a large monument of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian general. At the top of this intersection sits the city zoo, where for only a few pesos you can view Bueno’s Aires collection of animals from around the world.
The botanical gardens lie in between Avenida Santa Fe and Las Heras. Also designed by Carlos Thays, Jardin Botánico reflects the strong European sentiment that influenced the upper classes of Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. This love for European styles, particularly the urban design and architecture of 1800s France, can be found throughout Buenos Aires, especially in Jardin Botánico. Among the park’s ornate greenhouses and meandering garden paths stand 33 works of art placed beside arrays of meticulously maintained flora. Not surprisingly these sculptors, monuments, and busts mimic important works of European art. The garden even features separate sections dedicated to the particular gardening styles of Italy and France.
A little quieter than 3 de Febrero, the botanical gardens is the perfect place to read a book or contemplate René Magritte’s theories of art. All of Palermo’s parks are free except for the Jardin Japones, which costs 16 pesos to enter.
If you wish for the thrills of a big city with the peacefulness of nature near by, than Palermo is the place for you.
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