What would Buenos Aires be without tango? The music and dance are irrevocably intertwined with the fabric itself of the city, with statues, paintings, plaques, restaurants, bars and clubs devoted to the art of tango all over the city. From stage shows to milongas (dance parties), here are our favorite places to see—and try—the world’s most sensual dance.
This unassuming dance hall in Almagro offers three nightly classes from Monday to Friday, an opportunity to get your bearings before things kick into high gear after 11 p.m., when the serious dancers arrive. Tango is sometimes looked as something for the older set, but crowds of 20- and 30-somethings come to this relaxed neighborhood spot in a former dairy factory. The full restaurant and bar here help make this a great night out.
Housed in the basement of the Armenian Cultural Center in Palermo Soho, La Viruta draws a mix of locals and tourists for early lessons and late-night parties La Viruta is big on live music, offering everything from classic big bands to electronic or rock ’n’roll–tinged tango. The pressure-free vibe makes it a great place to learn the step.
Also known as Milonga Parakultural, after its original location in San Telmo, this club in Palerma Soho has been home to one of the best dance floors in the world for more two decades. The milonga, which always features live bands, takes place on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Expect to see dazzling dancers in an atmosphere that’s respected by connoisseurs but not intimidating for beginners.
Open since 1999, El Beso claims to be the only dance hall in the world to host milongas every single day of the year, in the afternoons and evenings. This is a place for serious dancers — many of them are locals — but the classic porteño locale is a good place to watch the experts.
Café de Los Angelitos
A former haunt of tango legend Carlos Gardel, today this venerable spot puts on a sensational show, with 21 professional dancers staging a history of the tango while the audience enjoys a fine-dining experience.
If you’re into glitzy shows, catch the cabaret tango performance at the über-ritzy Faena Hotel. It’s probably the most expensive ticket in town, but it features top dancers and Broadway-caliber production.
If you’re more into the music than the dance, Piazzolla Tango may be the place for you. Set in an Art Nouveau theater with ornate balconies, this dinner-theater experience does include dancers, but seeing the musicians in the Piazzolla Tango Sextet up close and personal is an experience in and of itself. You can skip dinner and just do the show, but the combined price for both is a good deal.
Bar Los Laureles
If you don’t want a fancy dinner or a glitzy show, head to Bar Los Laureles, a tiny spot on the city’s gritty south side that has been a tanguería since the early 20th century. Dancing happens from Thursdays to Sundays, with locals often taking the stage to perform as well. They don’t make ’em like Los Laureles anymore—which is why it has been designated as a Notable Bar for its cultural importance.
Tango was born in the immigrant-laden, port-adjacent neighborhood of La Boca, and El Caminito — an alleyway named in honor of the classic tango song — is a veritable open-air museum dedicated to that history. Walk the cobbled streets, past brilliantly painted tin houses, and you’ll hear tango coming from every restaurant and bars, with many dancers performing on street corners. Yes, it’s touristy, but it’s a Buenos Aires must-see.