Let’s talk about centros culturales in Buenos Aires. Those hole in the wall spots that are scattered throughout every neighborhood. Seriously, they are everywhere, which is no surprise in a country where many people declare that culture is a basic right for every citizen. Most of these spaces offer workshops to the community and showings in all mediums of art. And as can be expected with politics of inclusion, the prices are so affordable you can get your fill of culture multiple nights a week. Many offer options that are free of charge, “a la gorra” (donation based), as well as discounts for youths, students, and retirees.
In the realm of all things culture in Buenos Aires, there aren’t many places to see “what’s on, where” compiled in one place. The Buenos Aires Government’s “Agenda Cultural” is alright, but leaves out most of the underground things, which are arguably the most interesting here. The strategy of most people is to check out Facebook page events, and hope that your cool friends are “interested in” something that will then show up in your “Popular in Your Network” events. This works, but it’s totally not effective enough, and the majority of those events will be DJ’s spinning at Crobar—note to self: get artsier friends. The better plan is to have a go-to list of cultural centers, follow them on Facebook, and check out their page when you’re itching for a night out.
Here are a couple of our top picks:
Club Cultural Matienzo | Pringles 1249, Villa Crespo
This spot is everything we didn’t know we needed. First of all, they are a CLUB Cultural, not a Centro, and it definitely has some nightlife vibes to it. Step 1: Go to their Facebook page (hint: this will always be step one for any business is BA). Step 2: Click on the Cover Photo. Step 3: Revel in their jam packed agenda of events for the week that is updated every Tuesday. Some are events that occur weekly, like Tuesday night Stand Up Comedy or Wednesday night indie film screenings. Then there is a mix of workshops, live performances, exhibitions, screenings, and other special events. Also, their bar is on point.
El Camarín de Las Musas | Mario Bravo 960, Almagro
Great classes, great performances, great ambiance, Nothing more and nothing less here. This is a jewel in Almagro that is the perfect example of that laid back centro cultural space. They are also a stone-throw away from the bar scene nestled between Av. Cordoba, Salguero, Av. Corrientes, and Gallo. This adds up to your perfect night out.
Teatro El Extranjero | Valentín Gómez 3380, Abasto
Contrary to its name, this theater is not for foreigners. It is a bonafide, neighborhood spot that is frequented by Abasto and Almagro dwellers. This spot is a theater and literary bar, complete with bookshelves for visitors to find a text to their liking and read over a cup of joe (or whisky; whatever you’re into).
Centro Cultural Recoleta | Junín 1930, Recoleta
For those who don’t know, the whole Centro Cultural Recoleta got a major revamp this year, introducing an impressive new array of workshops, and more live performance and exhibits than ever before. We’re hype about it. You should be too. Most exhibits here are free, and their live performances are super affordable at $30 (with 2×1 for visitors under 30). I see a new trend of reverse fake-IDs coming…35 going on 29, anybody?
Ciudad Cultural Konex | Sarmiento 3131, Abasto
If you haven’t been here for La Bomba del Tiempo yet, go. If you’ve only been here for La Bomba del Tiempo, go again. This is a really cool space—a huge, repurposed industrial structure that has been transformed into several auditoriums, stages, and exposition rooms. In the spring and summer there are festival-like events that take place in the outside plaza area. Picture yourself with a huge plastic cup of fernet and coke, listening to a new indie band that no one knows about yet. The best part of the whole Konex experience is buying a pan relleno from the dreadlocked vendors outside.
More worth checking out:
El Porton de Sanchez (Sanchez de Bustamante 1034, Almagro), Centro Cultural Kirchner (Sarmiento 151, Retiro), Centro Cultural de la Cooperación (Av. Corrientes 1543), Teatro Timbre 4 (México 3554, Balvanera)