Discover Palermo Soho: Buenos Aires’ Trendiest Expat Neighborhood

Recognized as Buenos Aires’ trendiest neighborhood, Palermo Soho is known for its fashion and art scene, synonymous with the “Soho” moniker of New York. The neighborhood is filled with restaurants, nightlife, and chic boutiques. This Buenos Aires guide explains why Palermo Soho is so popular with expats. minutes

05/07/24

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About the author

Hi, I'm Marco Sison. I worked in finance for Fortune 50 companies before retiring early at 41 years old. I have been an expat for over 10 years, living in over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries outside the USA. I am a trusted resource on personal finance and overseas retirement for US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Association of MBAs, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller- Abroad: Expats That Thrive.

QUICK SUMMARY- PALERMO SOHO BUENOS AIRES

  • Affordable cost of living compared to US standards, with reasonable housing and dining options
  • Palermo Soho is known for its fashionable vibe, art scene, and nightlife
  • Home to a diverse range of international cuisine, from traditional Argentine steaks to exotic fusion dishes
  • Highly walkable neighborhood with close proximity to public transportation
  • Palermo Soho can be noisy and crowded, especially during weekends and peak hours
  • Rising prices due to gentrification and the increasing popularity of the neighborhood among expats
  • Limited green spaces and parks within the Palermo Soho district itself

Hey expats! My latest video from the Nomadic FIRE YouTube channel is part of a new series I’m releasing on the best neighborhoods for expats and foreigners in Buenos Aires.

I’m now on month 6 of living in Buenos Aires. With my most recent move to Argentina’s capital, I’ve completed over 12 international moves in the last 10 years. I know a thing or two about what it’s like to move to a new country and try to find a place to live.

I’ve learned first-hand that having a new place feel like home isn’t just choosing the right country or even the right city. Choosing the right neighborhood can make or break your expat experience.

For most expats in Buenos Aires, Palermo Soho is that neighborhood.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may get a commission if you purchase something using my link. Please note, there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.

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To show you why expats love it here, Sandra and I walked these streets, capturing every detail and tasting every treat, to offer you a preview guide to life in Palermo Soho.

This isn’t just another district; it’s a rhythm, a lifestyle, woven into the very fabric of Buenos Aires. Whether searching for the best steakhouse, the cheapest happy hour drink specials, or shopping for fresh fruits at a local farmers market, every experience reveals a hidden gem.

So, buckle up as I walk you through the bohemian chic streets of Palermo Soho and show you why this neighborhood is the current expat hotspot in Buenos Aires.

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Palermo Overview

First, understand that Buenos Aires is a massive metropolis boasting a staggering population of 15 million. The metro consists of 15 communes and 46 official neighborhoods.

Buenos Aires Neighborhoods by Size and Population

NameArea in km2PopulationCommune
Agronomía2.141,8941
Almagro2.239,1751
Balvanera2.16,6291
Barracas2.838,6351
Belgrano2.328,6671
Boedo1.223,1981
Caballito5.9165,4942
Chacarita4.4137,5213
Coghlan2.146,4943
Colegiales7.673,3774
Constitución3.143,4134
Flores6.260,4654
Floresta3.737,7914
La Boca4.1128,2065
La Paternal2.645,5635
Liniers6.8170,3096
Mataderos7.8142,6957
Monserrat3.854,6387
Monte Castro9108,1708
Nueva Pompeya4.113,9958
Núñez8.639,4778
Palermo4.342,0839
Parque Avellaneda7.362,2069
Parque Chacabuco5.151,6789
Parque Chas2.337,24710
Parque Patricios2.632,78210
Puerto Madero2.434,08410
Recoleta1.413,55610
Retiro2.631,85910
Saavedra1.313,68110
San Cristóbal3.455,50211
San Nicolás6.467,71211
San Telmo2.234,20411
Vélez Sársfield2.232,24811
Versalles1.318,02112
Villa Crespo5.648,95612
Villa del Parque3.338,55812
Villa Devoto5.485,58712
Villa General Mitre6.8126,81613
Villa Lugano2.352,39113
Villa Luro4.549,01913
Villa Ortúzar15.9225,24514
Villa Pueyrredón2.113,96315
Villa Real3.125,77815
Villa Riachuelo2.219,05815
Villa Santa Rita1.418,92615
Villa Soldati3.683,64615
Villa Urquiza1.821,25615

Palermo is the city’s largest neighborhood (barrio in Spanish) in terms of both size and population. Palermo is so big, that it is further subdivided into unofficial smaller neighborhoods.

Palermo Districts

Palermo Soho is the red area on the map. The neighborhood’s borders are formed by the avenues Cordoba, Scalabrini Ortiz, Paraguay, and Juan B. Justo.

  • Soho
  • Hollywood
  • Pacifico
  • Nuevo
  • Zoologico
  • Botanico
  • Alto
  • Chico
  • Norte
  • Villa Freud

Why is the neighborhood called Soho?

Palermo Soho wasn’t always this upscale. The area started off as a part of a working-class area Palermo Viejo (translated to Old Palermo in Spanish). In the late 1990s, designers and artists attracted to the neighborhood’s cheap old homes and abandoned warehouses and factories moved their art studios and boutique shops into the area

Fast-forward a decade of gentrification, and by the early 2000s, the transformed neighborhood had become the new chic fashion area of Buenos Aires. With the designer outlets and galleries came an increased concentration of upscale restaurants, chic cafes, and nightlife.

Locals began informally referring to the area as “Soho” due to its creative energy and fashion vibe, which resembled the famous Soho neighborhood of New York City. The moniker stuck, and Palermo Soho is now the most common way to refer to the neighborhood.

Why Choose Palermo Soho?

Walking through the streets of Palermo Soho always fills me with excitement and inspiration. This hip, creative hub of Buenos Aires has become my go-to fun spot, whether I’m in the mood for nightlife, the charm of its boutiques, or simply a peaceful corner in one of its many cafes.

My first encounter with Palermo Soho was purely accidental, a happy detour during one of my early explorations of the city.

Sandra and I finished up with a tango class and got lost wandering the city. We didn’t know the name of the area or even where it was on the map, but walking its cobblestone streets, adorned with artistic graffiti, immediately gave me a European-artsy flashback, but with a distinctly Argentine twist.

By the time we finished sipping our first cortado in a quaint café with ceramic mugs, we were completely enamored by Soho’s bohemian energy and international vibe.

Marco enjoying a cup of coffee at a Palermo Soho coffee shop

INSIDER TIP: Avoid The Noise- If the hustle and bustle aren’t music to your ears, and your weekend vibe is more serenity and chill, then Palermo Soho is not for you. It’s hard to avoid the noise and crowds that pile into Buenos Aires’ nightlife hub.

If you want to live somewhere close to the energy but away from the noise, check out my neighborhood- Palermo Hollywood. I describe Palermo Hollywood as the perfect blend of thrill and chill. Hollywood is the yin to Palermo Soho’s yang – which you will discover in part two of this series.

For The Affordable Cost of Living In Palermo Soho

The days when Buenos Aires was “cheap” are gone. Prices are going crazy due to record-breaking inflation and the increasing strength of the exchange rate in Argentina.

However, even in 2024 and even in more expensive expat neighborhoods, the cost of living is still affordable by US standards.

Here are some examples of prices in Palermo Soho.

screenshot of a typical $800 a month apartment for rent in Palermo Soho

Housing- Here is an example of an average one-bedroom apartment rental in Soho.

For $800 a month, utilities with wifi and cable TV included, you get a modern finished apartment with luxury amenities like a pool, jacuzzi, and gym in your building. 

Here is a Menu del Dia, or Menu of the Day at a mid-range restaurant serving Argentine food.

You can spend $6 for lunch and get soup, steak, side dish, dessert, and a glass of wine.

a $6 menu del dia at a typical Palermo Soho Argentine restaurant with steak, side dish, salad, dessert and a glass of red wine.
A $3 breakfast special at a Palermo Soho cafe consisting of a coffee, fresh squeezed orange juice, and two medialunas

Unlike in the US, breakfast here is a light meal. A typical Argentine desayuno (Spanish for breakfast) is coffee, medialunas or facturas (local pastries), and fresh squeezed orange juice.

My girlfriend and I ate this 3-4 times a week at different coffee shops in the neighborhood for less than $3 per person.

INSIDER TIP: La Cabrera Happy Hour- It’s hard enough finding someplace that serves dinner earlier than 9 pm in Buenos Aires, much less a top quality steak at 40% off. But La Cabrera in Palermo Soho offers a massive discount if you eat the “Early Bird Special” from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm (last seating at 7:15).

40% off the entire menu is an awesome deal from one of Latin America’s Top 50 Best Restaurants.

Anytime I write that a neighborhood is popular with expats, you need to know that prices go up. Call it gentrification or supply and demand, but expat neighborhoods always cost more than barrios with mostly locals.

But for all the reasons I list below, the uptick in prices is worth it.

INSIDER TIP: Most Expensive Neighborhood In Buenos Aires- Palermo Chico has a reputation as Buenos Aires’ most exclusive upscale neighborhood. However, due to the proximity to several Embassies and luxury apartments, it also has the highest property prices. Housing in Chico averages $465 to $555 per square foot ($5000 to $6,000 per m2).

I recommend that most expats look to the Palermo Soho and Hollywood areas for a better balance of the cost of living, atmosphere, and amenities.

For The Best Foodie Scene In Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is my second favorite food city in Latin America (props to Lima, Peru, for holding down the #1 spot). Foodies will find themselves in culinary heaven in Palermo Soho.

The neighborhood boasts the city’s most dense and diverse array of restaurants, from traditional Argentine steakhouses to modern international fusion eateries. Whether you crave a juicy steak, fresh empanadas, or exotic flavors from around the world, Palermo Soho has something to satisfy every palate.

Want a modern take on traditional Argentine Street Food?

If you want an upscale twist to the local classic sausage sandwich, Chori takes the traditional chori and adds a bit more oomph. Sure, you can get the authentic choripan grilled over wood charcoal and topped with chimichurri, but why not try one topped with french fries, melted queso blanco, and a special guasacaca sauce of cilantro, onion, garlic, and bell peppers?

Chori was featured in the Netflix series “Somebody Feed Phil

a choripan from Chori Restaurant in Palermo Soho
Prices for a Chori pan sandwich start at ~$5 USD / 4800 Pesos

Want a Michelin Star fine dining experience?

When you need to impress out-of-town visitors or want to splurge, Don Julio is considered one of the world’s 50 Best Restaurants and the owner of a Michelin star. Just remember to book ahead. Reservations are hard to come by. Prices for steaks start at ~$50 USD / 55,000 ARS.

Buenos Aires Cemented Itself As A Foodie City By Clean Up Several Michelin Awards:
1 Two MICHELIN Star restaurant (Buenos Aires)
6 One MICHELIN Star restaurants (2 in Buenos Aires and 4 in Mendoza)
7 MICHELIN Green Star restaurants (4 in Buenos Aires and 3 in Mendoza)
7 Bib Gourmand restaurants (all in Buenos Aires)
57 restaurants also recommended for the quality of their cuisine (42 in Buenos Aires and 15 in Mendoza)
MICHELIN GUIDE 2023

Tired of local fare and want something more exotic?

International cuisine isn’t on the side here; it’s front and center. With Vietnamese Pho at Saigon Noodle Bar to All-You-Can-Eat Korean BBQ at KBBQ Parrilla Coreana to Sipan’s Peruvian-Japanese Fusion within blocks of each other, Soho allows you to explore the world one bite at a time

Recognized by the government of Peru as the best Nikkei cuisine restaurant outside of Peru.

Shift from savory to sweet with an Argentine twist to Italian Gelato

Argentine ice cream, known as “helado,” holds a special place in the hearts of locals and expats alike. Here, gelato is not just a treat but a tradition – a deliciously creamy lineage tracing back to the country’s Italian immigrants.

At Palermo Soho’s Heladoerias (Ice Cream shops) like Antiche Tentazioni, you can indulge in creamy Italian gelato mixed with classic Latin American flavors like dulce de leche to innovative combinations queso azul y peras (blue cheese and pears).

One scoop in a cup (vaso) or cone (cucurucho) starts at ~$2 USD / 1900 ARS

To Enjoy Weekend Vibes and Nightlife

During the day, the outdoor cafes and restaurants around Plaza Serrano (also known as Plazoleta Julio Cortázar) serve lunch and coffee, but at night, they transform into al fresco bars with live music and 2 for 1 Happy Hour drink specials.

As the sun sets, Palermo Soho comes alive with energy and excitement. The neighborhood is the hub of nightlife in Buenos Aires.

Bars, clubs, and live music venues that ring the square and branch off to the adjacent streets offer a vibrant nightlife scene where residents can unwind, socialize, and dance the night away.

Whether you’re looking for a cozy wine bar or a lively nightclub, Palermo Soho has something for everyone. You can dance under the starlit sky, engage in lively conversations with locals, or just people-watch with a cold cerveza.

INSIDER TIP: Palermo Soho Food and Drink Tours- For a crash course on all the neighborhood has to offer, check out these unmissable local experiences:

Foodie Lovers Tour: A perfect blend of culture and cuisine—this is my kind of tour. An essential piece of a country’s culture is its culinary traditions. This tour allows you to sample eight local dishes and drinks at four of Palermo Soho’s unique local restaurants. Get smart and get fed.

Argentina Steak Tour: This one is for carnivores only! Enjoy three of Palermo’s top parrillas for a taste of Buenos Aires’ finest beef while an expert guide explains the cuts and cooking techniques that make Argentine steak world-renowned. Includes a wine paring

Local Wine Tasting Tour: Savor a local boutique wine tasting in Palermo Soho’s Miravida cellar with a local sommelier. Enjoy an intimate tasting session, exploring Argentina’s finest wine varietals like Malbec and the less-known but equally rich Torrontes.

Explore The Street Art: With a local guide, explore the street culture and art of Palermo Soho. Discover hidden underground murals, talk to the artists, and learn about their inspirations.

To Savor The European Coffee Culture

After living several years in Europe, I value the unhurried, laid-back vibe of European coffee culture. Add in my Pacific Northwest coffee snobbishness, and it suffices to say I appreciate a good cup of coffee.

This is another instance where I thank the heavens for the influence of European immigrants in Buenos Aires. Coffee and cafes in Palermo Soho do not disappoint. Whether you prefer a strong espresso or a creamy cappuccino, you can find your perfect brew in one of the many cozy coffee shops that pop up seemingly every block.

You find yourself nestled in the quaint cafes of Palermo SoHo, offering a taste of European coffee culture, where coffee is not just a beverage but a pastime—a ritual steeped in conversation and the languid enjoyment of life.

Unlike in the US, where coffee is treated like a warm caffeinated energy drink slurped out of a paper cup while rushing to work, the charming outdoor cafes in Palermo Soho are about slow sips from a ceramic mug while you bond with friends and let the laid-back charm of the city unfold.

INSIDER TIP: Hidden Gem Discovery DUCA – Caffè & Apericena: I remember stumbling upon a beautiful cafe in Palermo Soho, tucked away from the bustling streets. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the baked goods instantly drew me in, but the view from the rooftop terrace made it my go-to spot for quiet mornings and productive afternoons.

For Fitness, Fun, and Calisthenics Parks

Whether it’s hitting the gym, finding your zen in a yoga class, or prepping for a CrossFit competition, Soho has your workout needs covered. Staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is easy in Palermo Soho. There are even free outdoor calisthenics parks where residents can exercise and stay fit on a budget.

If you are looking for something other than sports clubs, running, or strength training to keep you in shape, my Muay Thai gym and Tango studio are both Palermo Soho, offering alternative ways to stay fit and healthy.

  • Hakkyo Muay Thai Gym- Monthly memberships start at roughly $20 USD.
  • Infinity Tango- Private classes for locals start around $20.

Need Some Retail Therapy and Boutique Shopping

Shopping enthusiasts will delight in the unique boutiques and designer stores that populate Palermo Soho. From contemporary boutiques to artisanal craft shops, the neighborhood offers a diverse shopping experience that caters to all tastes and budgets.

Head to Distro Arcos to shop for international brands like Adidas, Nike, and Levi’s. But know ahead of time that imported goods can be even more expensive than what you pay for back home, due to Argentina’s taxes and weaker currency.

Regardless, the real gems in Soho are found in the local boutiques and small-scale designer shops, where you’ll stumble upon unique and budget-friendly finds.

If you are looking for artwork or local handmade crafts, both Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia have weekend markets with trendy, one-of-a-kind clothing, handmade jewelry, and original accessories from local artisans.

Appreciate The Street Art and Artistic Spirit

One of the defining features of Palermo Soho is its colorful street art scene. Building and walls become the canvas for massive murals and graffiti showcasing the bohemian-chic creativity and cultural expression of local and international artists.

Walking through the streets of Soho is like browsing an open-air art gallery, where every alleyway and corner tells a story and asks for artistic interpretation.

These murals aren’t just decorations; they’re stories painted on urban fabric, reflecting the city’s soul.

In Palermo Soho, the art is not confined to galleries—it’s a living gallery that invites you to be part of it.

Because Your Close To Green Spaces and Parks

The biggest con about living in Palermo Soho is the lack of green space. Plaza Inmigrantes De Armenia (the official Spanish name for Plaza Armenia), Soho’s only major park, offers a small retreat for picnics, leisurely strolls, and an outdoor playground for kids.

But if you want to really escape the urban hustle and bustle, the Botanical Gardens and Palermo’s massive parks are only several blocks away.

These green areas are filled with futbol-playing friends and families looking for a nature break to recharge before diving back into the bustling city life.

For Easy Public Transportation Access

Did you know that the average American spends over $1,000 per month on transportation? Car payments, gas, insurance, and parking add up quickly.

The good news is that you can save that money living in Buenos Aires.

Getting around Palermo Soho is easy. Walking across the entire neighborhood is a little over .6 miles / 1 km and only takes 15 minutes.

If you need to leave the district to check out other parts of the city, Argentina’s capital has the best public transportation network I’ve found outside of Europe.

Soho is well-connected to several public transportation options. I use the Subte MetroLine D almost daily, as it conveniently runs every 5 minutes on peak weekday hours. The neighborhood also intersects several bus lines ensuring that you can efficiently navigate to and from Soho to other areas of Buenos Aires.

A metro ticket costs $0.75 US cents / 757 Pesos, and the average bus ride is $0.27 US cents / 270 ARS. My transportation budget is less than $100 a month, even with frequent Uber rides.

Those are not typos. Those cheap fares are updated for residents using the latest 2024 price increases.

Wrapping Up: Next Stop, Palermo Hollywood

As we conclude our exploration of Palermo Soho, it’s worth mentioning its neighbor – Palermo Hollywood. Hollywood is where I spent most of my time living in Buenos Aires. While it doesn’t have the ambiance and electricity of Soho, Palermo Hollywood was my favorite district, offering the perfect blend of cuisine, convenience, and chill vibes.

FAQs: Expat Life In Palermo Soho

Palermo Soho is no-holds barred the most popular neighborhood for expats, tourists, and backpackers in Buenos Aires. A distant second place goes to the more chilled Palermo Hollywood, and Recoleta is a distant third place.

How much does it cost to live in Palermo Soho?

My budget for Palermo Soho was roughly $1500 to $1800 per month. This included a high-rise loft-style apartment with a swimming pool, eating out 5-7 times a week, and nearly daily coffees and pastries at a local coffee shop.

What Is the Difference Between Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood?

Each has its unique charm, catering to different tastes and lifestyles. Both areas have an excellent selection of Argentina steakhouses, international restaurants, and chic cafes. But Soho has a much better nightlife, while Hollywood is quieter and more laid-back.

What is the most expensive neighborhood in Buenos Aires?

As an expat neighborhood, Palermo Soho is one of the pricier neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, but not the most expensive. The area in Palermo Chico near all the foreign Embassies and Consulates is considered the most exclusive and expensive area in the city.

The purchase price for an apartment in Palermo Chicoaverages $465 to $555 per square foot ($5000 to $6,000 per m2).

Is Palermo Soho a good neighborhood for expat families with kids?

No. I wouldn’t recommend Palermo Soho for families with kids for two reasons.

  • There are not a lot of parks, playgrounds, and green areas for kids to play.
  • It’s noisy and hectic on the weekends. As a nightlife destination for fun-loving expats, young locals, and foreign tourists, the area gets loud with the late-night party crowds.


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About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last eight years to over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Association of MBAs, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller, Abroad: Expats That Thrive . [view press...]


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