Top Five Free Reasons to Put on Pants and get OUT this Weekend

Buenos Aires makes my head spin sometimes. Yes, its a big city. And yes it probably has too many people and cars, but that’s not why I get overwhelmed. There is such an overload of things to do and see–so many of them free–that I almost always feel like I am missing out somehow.

I have always been interested in doing the cheap/free events in BA, especially when I studied here. But If I thought I was being frugal then, this is a completely different story.

I have recently given myself a budget of 30 pesos per day…including food. This week my solution has been to ply free meals out of my wonderful, loving boyfriend (3 dinners and 3 lunches to be exact). Thank god for boyfriends. Can I get a holla back from anyone other “en negro” foreign workers who are feeling the effects of the end of the month?

These broke-girl circumstances have led me to search for free activities with a kind of desperate fervor that tends not to make for the best schmoozing conversations. I will admit, I get a little too into it. That and searching for recipes…

So I’m going to ask that you guys help me out. Even though they are free, gratis, SIN CARGO, I couldn’t possibly get to all of these things on my to-do list. I need my beauty sleep, of courseMy new theory is that if I post about all the cool things that there are to do over the weekend I’ll feel a little less guilty about not getting to all of them! I’m no superwoman anyway.

So check ’em out and GET OUT. You’ll have fun. I promise!

BAFICI Short Films in Microcentro

110c-baficiplaza

If you thought BAFICI was over, think again! You still have today (Friday) to enjoy some independent film action, no matter how odd. Starting at midday today (12:30 PM) you can see the projections BAFICI’s short film selection in Plaza Estado el Vaticano, along side the Teatro Colon. The plaza was inaugurated in 2012 as a modern space integrated with the old opera house. I have to wonder though, can you hear anything over the roar of 9 de Julio? Let me know!

Feria del Libro- Noche de la Ciudad

This yearly festival celebrates books! What a lovely idea. Taking place in La Rural in Plaza Italia, the event runs from yesterday (oops) until May 13th, but has one night of book bliss FREE on Saturday, April 27th starting at 9 PM and running till 1 AM (the feria can be your previa before the boliche!!). Check out the whole schedule here. Also, apparently it will be free for students next week as well? Worth checking out!

A couple of other cool tidbits:

Brazilian musician Toquinho will be playing a free concert, an homage to Vinicius de Moraes, in Plaza Italia starting at 7 PM on Saturday (27).

And if you don’t mind paying the entrance fee, there will be some food authors speaking on Friday (26) and Saturday (27). Including Narda Lepes…oooooo.

Waiter and Waitress Race (Carrera de Mozo y Camarera)

Photo Credit: Agendacultural.buenosaires.gob.ar

Photo Credit: Agendacultural.buenosaires.gob.ar

This event needs no explanation. But I guess blogging demands it: this is a freaking race where waiters and waitress walk carry trays AS FAST as they can. First service member to cross the finish line without spilling their goods wins! Piece of cake. Or cafe con leche y medialunas. Depends what you order.

(Why this event reminds of Washington DC’s Drag Race, aka High Heel Race I don’t know.)

Saturday 27, from 4-6 PM on Avenida de Mayo.

I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one wearing the “I’m a FAN!” apron. 

Theatrical Neighborhood Walking Tours

This is a new thing. Someone in the city thought (rightly) that tourists tend to stick to the same parts of the city too much and needed to be coaxed into discovering more of Buenos Aires! Genius person. Love him/her.

This is one of the most unique free tours I’ve ever heard of! I am totally dying to do one (expect a post about it when I have), but farted around too much before heading to Mataderos last Sunday. No worries, though, because they will be running from now until October. Two cool ones this weekend though, in San Telmo and Boedo. Make sure to check them out!

Foto Credit: bue.gov.ar

Foto Credit: bue.gov.ar

Los Fantasmas de San Telmo, Saturday April 27: this tour shows the well known neighborhood’s mysterious underbelly, giving visitors the chance to see the creepier (and ghost filled?) side of its history. The one-hour tour starts at 6:30 PM from Plaza Dorrego.

Boedo Antigo, Barrio de HistoriasSunday April 28: this tour tells the story of Boedo! I’ve never been there and the description is sparse. Guess that’s a reason to go and check it out. The one hour tour starts at 3:30 PM on Esquina Homero Manzi (Av san Juan y Boedo).

Photo Credit: bue.gov.ar

Photo Credit: bue.gov.ar

Free Concert at the Teatr: Quinteto Filarmonico

Photo Credit: agendadebuenosaires.blogspot.com/

Photo Credit: agendadebuenosaires.blogspot.com/

Want an excuse to see the inside of the incredible Teatro Colon? This Sunday, as part of the “Interpretes Argentinos” series, the Quinteto Filarmonico will be performing for free. The show starts at 11 AM and tickets can  be picked up starting 48 hours in advance in the Teatro Colon ticket office. Its early, but who wouldn’t want to start their Sunday with some beautiful classical musica? Depends on what we did the night before I suppose…

Check this link for a little Mozart played by the Quinteto boys.

My Bookmarks: Top 10 Best/Useful Buenos Aires Websites

Top 10 Best/Useful Buenos Aires Websites

What better way to be a cheap bastard than to use free resources to do it? Over the past couple of years I have bookmarked a fair few Buenos Aires websites, but there are only a few that I really come back to again and again. When looking for suggestions, clear, honest advice suits me best and keeps me on my toes. If you have a dollar sign system I am happy; tell me the prices to expect and you’re on my most trusted, no BS list. When shopping, I just want to know how to avoid ridiculous prices. Sometimes I feel so lost without yelp or a vibrant craigslist community! You know what I mean?

Like so many here in BA, I have high expectations and a low budget. I literally can’t afford to fool around on this stuff.

So what have I done? I’ve amassed a lot of random BA info. But it’s been with the help of more than one voice. If anything were a BA bible it would be the combined wisdom of these guys.

Here are my top websites that consistently give me my dose of needed information, helping me to maintain my budget and still live BA life like I want to:

1)   Pick Up the Fork

An amazing burnch at Malvón, at PUtF's suggestion.

An amazing burnch at Malvón, at PUtF’s suggestion.

This chick Allie knows her food. Like really. If you haven’t heard of her yet, she reviews restos, cafes, bars, etc. all with that humor and no BS attitude that I crave. Her suggestions and advice are some of the first I look for (really, I should probably go to more places rather than just salivate in my desk chair) and PUtF (can I do that?) has become one of the best English language food blogs in the city—by a long shot. Allie rides the rollercoaster that is the BA food scene, maybe not gracefully, but with attitude and honesty that is way better anyway. I can’t always afford her picks, but at least its free food porn along with lower budget finds!

2)   Agenda Cultural

Buenos Aires is incredible for the student, intern, low earner, or frugal traveler. Every night there is some event, festival, concert, or party that is free (or very cheap) to any soul that stumbles upon it. The BA City Gov’s Agenda Cultural catalogs them all. There is even a whole section for free events that welcomes tourists along with natives. If you are a twitter person, this is also a great way to get quick updates of what’s happening in the city every day.

3)   Planeta Joy            

Picada at Bar Perón Perón, from a list of Perón themed bars/restos

Picada at Bar Perón Perón, from a list of Perón themed bars/restos

This is my Spanish-language everything food-and-drink-related Bible. Not necessarily thorough reviews (although some stories do a very good job of being more specific), this is my favorite place to go for “Top…” lists. From a list of the top 10 best picadas in the city  to the best and largest food in ba (for my fellow yanquis who still can’t get over the size of “burritos” here), Planeta Joy will tell you whats up. I always type a google search, like “bares para grupos grandes planeta joy” to get directly to the page. Great selection and suggestions, with creative themed lists. PJ knows the city.

4)   Guia Oleo

Guia Oleo is the closest thing we’ve got to Yelp.com in BA for food reviews. As THE restaurant review site in the city, it’s the first and last place you should go when looking for a restaurant. Complete with tools to narrow your resto search and ample reviews, you can at least trust that if it got a very high or a very low rating that it’s probably close to right. Another amazing thing for budget eating is the Cuponera which provides between 20-50 percent off restaurants by printing out coupons from their website (see cupon star  for a more limited but equally accessible selection as well…for movie discounts too!).

5)   Daily Secret Buenos Aires   

A pretty recent edition to my repertoire, Daily Secret has become a good resource for a mixed bag of BA ideas. The scouts do a good job of reporting on places that tend to be a little more off the beaten path and in a variety of neighborhoods—not just Palermo. Although their site isn’t necessarily focused on the cheaper side of Buenos Aires, the site is really good at separating its mini-reports into categories: things to do, food, restaurants, bars, shops, services, and outside the city. Daily Secret is also available in other world capitals, like Lima, Santiago and beyond.

6)   Wifi Gratis

Map of wifi spots! Address on website.

Map of wifi spots! Address on website.

The city government website listing all the places in the city, like parks and plazas, which have free wifi. Perfect for when you need to choose a place to write your latest blog post and get your tan on next to the guy in the zunga.

7)   Baexpats

I wouldn’t really trust all the advice you get (it’s a hot bed for people at both ends of the spectrum like any online forum tends to be) but the classifieds have been pretty damn handy. Because it’s mostly travelers and expats, moving sale items are usually pretty new and cheap as owners try to shed their crap as quickly as possible. I recently helped my boyfriend purchase a king size bed for only AR 3,500.

8)   Facebook

Terrazas del Este...at 6 AM

Terrazas del Este…at 6 AM

Weird, right? You would be surprised just how many tips and tricks are on company facebook pages. A good rule of thumb, always check the fb page of a club earlier in the night before you go. Often times there is a list you can get your name on so entrance is free or cheaper. For example, I have never and will never EVER pay to get into Terrazas. And I’ve gotten free drinks for being on the list too.

9)   Mapa.buenosaires.gob.ar

Having a tool to demystify your transportation route can really help avoid paying taxi fares. You can carry around the good, old Guia T or you can consult Mapabeforehand online. If you’re more of an in the moment kind of person you can still use it on your smartphone, or download the Como Viajo app (also integrated into Mapa), which gives you transportation directions from point A to B.

10)   Craigslist Buenos Aires

The BA version may not have nearly as big of a selection as in other cities, but it has definitely worked for me. I found my (relatively well paid) job on there. And it was just about as easy as finding my boyfriend in a bar…which at least in my case means it was surprisingly easy. Also really good for moving sales finds.

Anyone have another useful site? 

Get Outside: Buenos Aires Jazz Festival 2012

Free Jazz Festival in Buenos Aires 2012

Buenos Aires is arguably one of the best cities in the world for free cultural events. Its nearly impossible to attend every free concert, festival, museum opening, class etc. that you can find on a weekly basis. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try ! So I found another one for you, and I hope  that I can get to it myself (with Thanksgiving coming up I can’t help becoming a slave to my pumpkin pie recipe).

Jazz Festival BA 2012

The international jazz festival kicks off tomorrow with concerts all over the city. Ticket prices and locations vary…but that doesn’t concern me!

The best deal is the free concert series on the terrace of the Centro Cultural de Recoleta and in the amphitheater in the Park Centenario in Almagro. They will be hosting (mostly) Argentine jazz artists for free outdoor concerts starting Wednesday, November 21st.

Sounds like the perfect excuse to down a quilmes–and don’t forget your envase (empty beer bottle) for the cheaper price!

Don’t you love spring in Buenos Aires?

Buns of Steel…for FREE?

Looking for free, creative ways to exercise in Buenos Aires?

I always do! Gyms are expensive and, considering they are closed on Sundays, not always convenient for us professionals. My thinking is that if you can work out outside, you should. Anyway, it’s probably better for our lungs AND our self esteem (any one see those gorgeous leggy Argentine girls in Saturday evening tops, leggings and their hair down? ugh). I also downloaded the GymPact app that literally takes money from your bank account (with your permission of course) everytime you miss your weekly workout goal. Harsh, but useful. Sort of like my mom charging my sister for leaving things on the floor when she was younger, its definitely using the stick rather than the carrot. But hey, if it works…

So don’t think this is about to be an infomercial pill that will whip you in to shape. I expect you to actually work for those glorious glutes. But I’ll at least give you a hint as to where you can exercise without having to drop the cash that gyms in the city ask for.

Estaciones Saludables:

This new city initiative to get porteños fit provides some wonderful exercise opportunities that anyone can take advantage of. The stations offer a variety of services and activities including basic health information, yoga and aerobics classes, and access to bikes. The stations are all over the city, located in different parks. On a recent Sunday in the Rosedale in Palermo I was lucky enough to get there just in time for the dance aerobics class. Oh yeah. I shook by bum like the rest of the ladies and was informed that the class had actually started at 930 AM with a jog/walk around the lakes and that dancing would be followed by yoga/stretching. Not too bad for free.

 
Days and time vary from station to station and activities I believe, change frequently. It seems like the only way to really know whats going on is to go, so pull on your running shoes and run hop the subte over to your closest park to check out whats going on!
o

Mejor en Bici:

This free city bike service lets you pick up a bike from a bunch of stations around the city and use it for a full hour without paying a cent. Sounds like the perfect excuse to see the sites and work up a mighty sweat at the same time. Register here.

NOTE: You have to have some sort of proof of residency to do this. So if you pay a bill you might be able to take advantage. I, of course, cannot. Snap.

o

Outdoor Gym:

hate the idea of working out in side but love the way those gym machines make your muscles bulge? Get the best of both worlds with one of the free outdoor gyms provided by the city. Thank Israel in Palermo Park’s Plaza Israel by using the machines the country donated (cute, but still wondering who came up with that one). Or have a view of that massive silver flower to keep you motivated (why, I don’t know). Add in the biking/running lanes right in front of both areas and these open-air gyms become the cheapest way to get in shape. (Plaza Justo Jose de Urquiza, in between Ave. Libertador and Ave. Figuero Alcorta and next to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes OR Plaza Israel inbetween Av. Figueroa Alcorta y Los Ombúes, in Parque Tres de Febrero).

Classes at your Neighborhood Centro Cultural:

Just about every neighborhood in the city has a cultural center that provides free or super low cost classes. In terms of exercise, centers have everything from yoga to tango classes. Do a little of your own research and check our your best bet using this list . Many centers have their own webpage with listings too so here is a more general list of what some centers offer.

Blogilates:

And if its raining or just gross outside, google your free personal trainer Cassey Ho. She may be over bubbly for someone doing squats, but Cassey will make you sweat and curse her at the same time. Do 3 videos and call it a day. (Another similiar (but not quiiite as fun) website is FitSugar.)

o
Best butt wins a prize!  A ‘frugal’ prize of course…and what that means not even I know.

Country Olive Oil in the Big City

If you have ever once wondered why BA supermarket olive oil is so expensive and, uh, bad unsatisfying to the pallet, I’m with you. But when I found Quetec I knew the days of oddly perfumed food were over. Located in three different areas of Capital Federal, this shrine to all things Mendoza is so so so worth the trip. The quality of their products is wonderful, but the best part is their prices. Or maybe its the olive oil and olive tastings. You can decide for yourself when you get there.

1 liter of olive oil (really good and what I use for cooking and drizzling alike) is something like $35 pesos. A WHOLE liter! Aside from olive oil they have green and black olives, a huge wine selection, jars of jam and other preserved treats and even a cold area where they can serve you up a part of a whole leg of jamon crudo and dried chorizo. They also have massive jugs of table wine which I haven’t been brave enough to ask about (or carry) but which look like they could be a fun party additive.

If you are mesmerized by the wine selection and can’t seem to choose there was one that I thought was delicious, especially for its price: La Íride, Cabernet Savignon. At $33 pesos I felt it was just what my asado needed.

Last time I went to the store on Riobomba they had these deals:

1 bottle of wine + 1 liter of olive oil (mixed olives) = $70 pesos

1 Liter of olive oil (mixed olives) + 1/4 liter of olive oil (single olive) + 1/4 kilo of olives = $55 pesos

So next time you think about buying Cocinero olive oil for $40+ pesos in your local Carrefour, think again.

Quetec

Riobamba 448, Congreso/Balvanera area
Gallo 1640, Barrio Norte/Palermo area
Av. Cabildo 196, Palermo Hollywood/Las Canitas area