Buenos Aires City Guide by Barrio: Caballito Guide
Caballito is located in the exact geographical center of Buenos Aires and is next to Villa Crespo, just past Almagro. It lies between Av. San Martin and Av. San Juan and straddles Av. Rivadavia
Caballito is one of the most traditional barrios (neighborhoods) of Buenos Aires city enjoying a rich history and beautiful architecture. It is located close to shopping centers, parks, museums, hospitals, schools and banks.
The name Caballito means “little horse” in Spanish and the barrio name is said to have come from a horse shaped weather vane from a local pulperia (bar). In 1921 an Italian, Nicolas Vila, became the owner of a block of land that today would be located next to Av. Rivadavia. He opened a pulperia there and at the entrance he placed a weather vane in the shape of a horse. As a result the bar started to be known as the “pulperia del caballito” (the Little Horse Saloon).
The original weather vane can be seen at the Lujan Museum and there is a replica you can see at Plaza Primera Junta. At the site of the original bar there is a plaque memorializing its memory.
As with every west neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Caballito saw considerable demographic and commercial growth with the arrival of the streetcar in 1857. Shortly thereafter, the arrival of a large number of immigrants to build the subway, the area was transformed and divided into two distinct parts one being elegant, expensive and quiet and the other louder and much more commercial.
Historically, Caballito was where wealthy portenos would go at the weekend to relax in their colonial style mansions. Many of those mansions are still standing today on Av. Rivadavia, such as the home of Wine baron Ambrosio Placido Lezica whose house is considered one of the most important of those old colonial style homes. It was later and featured in the creation of Rivadavia Park in 1928.
In many regards, the Caballito of today is very similar to the residential district of Belgrano which is located in the central eastern part of the City of Buenos Aires. As in Belgrano, Caballito lacks nothing and has nothing to envy in any other part of the city when it comes to services. For this reason, Caballito is an attractive place to visit or to live for tourists and locals alike.
Its many tree shaded avenues and streets form the perfect frame for its well preserved patrician apartment buildings, most of which have been completely renovated in order to offer all the modern amenities to its current residents.
Av. Pedro Goyena and its surrounding area makes up the heart of the best residential area in Caballito. Emilio Mitre, Miro, Puan and Victor Martinez make up but a few of the neighboring streets known for their beauty. Av. Rivadavia offers views of many of the older and more important colonial homes in the area and serves as a great connection to the central parts of the city and is one of the main commercial streets in Buenos Aires.
In Caballito one can find numerous points of interest. There are large green spaces to enjoy including two of the most important in the City of Buenos Aires: Parque Rivadavia on Av. Rivadavia and Parque Centenario (shared with the barrios of Almagro and Villa Crespo).
Opened in 1910, Parque Centerario was given its name to commemorate Argentina´s hundredth anniversary on May 25th, 1810. Parque Centenario was designed by the renowned French-Argentine urbanist Charles Thays, who also created the Jardins Botanico (Botanical Gardens) and many of the other important parks of Buenos Aires. The park is park is one of the largest in Buenos Aires and surrounding it is a host of public facilities to include a mile long jogging route, the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum, the Leloir Research Institute and local observatory, and the Marie Curie Hospital. In 2006 the park underwent and extensive refurbishment to include the replacement of two small ponds with a larger swan lake.
In Caballito there are numerous other points of interest to include the Cid Campeador Monument, giving homage to the Spanish soldier, one of the greatest myths of Spanish culture. There is the Caballito Shopping Mall, the “English District” with its beautiful British style Fin de Siecle architecture, the Ferro Carril Oeste Football Club, the Historic Tramway Museum of Buenos Aires, the old Mercado del Progreso, the Italian Club and the Portuguese Club just to name a few highlights.
Restaurants and Nightlife
Caballito has a select number of options for restaurants and nightlife that you can enjoy. Here are a few to get you started:
Locos por el Futbol (Av. Rivadavia 4751): a sports theme bar and restaurant!
The Oldest (Juan B. Ambrosetti 31 by Av. Rivadavia): probably not the oldest pub in Buenos Aires but it has beer on tap, cocktails, good food and great atmosphere.
Caballito day is February 15th.
Pros and Cons
If you plan to stay in Caballito, one of its strongest points is its affordability. Although it is a bit far from the center of town and the more touristic areas, thanks to its many attractions, beautiful building and overall character Caballito is a great place to consider.
On the down side, it is far from the “hotter” parts of town, particularly when it comes to nightlife.
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