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Buenos Aires is just as famous for tango as it is for steak, soccer, and Malbec. In fact, the iconic dance was born here! So where could be better to watch a tango show than the Argentinian capital?
Not only is watching a tango show a great way to dive into the history and culture of Argentina, but it’s also a ton of fun. Since Buenos Aires is a huge city, there are lots of different types of tango shows available, from big, glamorous affairs to more intimate and budget-friendly experiences.
Whatever kind of evening you’re looking for, seeing a tango show is an absolute must on your Buenos Aires itinerary. That’s why we’ve written this guide containing everything you need to know before you book one!
- 1. The history of tango in Buenos Aires
- 2. What to expect at a tango show in Buenos Aires
- 3. What are the best tango shows in Buenos Aires?
- 4. How long is a tango show in Buenos Aires?
- 5. What should you wear to a tango show in Buenos Aires?
- 6. What is the food like at tango shows in Buenos Aires?
- 7. Can you learn to tango In Buenos Aires?
- 8. Are tango shows suitable for children?
- 9. Should you book a tango show in Buenos Aires in advance?
- 10. Is a tango show in Buenos Aires worth it?
- Other Activities to do While You're in Buenos Aires
- Where to Stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Planning your Trip to Argentina
- Thanks for reading!
- Why We Book Tours with Viator
- Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
1. The history of tango in Buenos Aires
Tango dates back to the late 19th Century. It actually originates from both La Boca in Buenos Aires and as well as working-class neighborhoods in Montevideo, which sits just across the river. La Boca was a poor neighborhood that was home to many immigrants, which explains the mixture of European, African, and Argentine influences present in the dance.
There are a couple of different theories as to how the tango came to be. The most popular one is that the city’s brothels were overrun, so the dance was invented as a way to keep clients entertained while they waited.
As a result, tango was looked down upon by high society for a long time. In fact, dance halls would often be raided and shut down by the police. That is, until a tango craze swept the city of Paris, and suddenly this style of dancing was all the rage among the upper classes.
Nowadays, tango is all over Buenos Aires, from street performers to milonga dance halls and, some of the most popular Buenos Aires tours include a tango show!
2. What to expect at a tango show in Buenos Aires
Hotel pickup (if selected)
Often when you book a tango show in Buenos Aires, there will be the option to include hotel pickup and drop off. This can come in handy depending on where you’re staying in Buenos Aires. It’s a huge city, and some of the top shows are spread out around town.
If you want to be picked up, your tour operator will contact you on the day of your show. They’ll confirm the exact time that you should be ready. When we went, we were picked up right on time in a very comfortable minibus.
Once you get to the show, you’ll have dinner first. Every show is slightly different, but you usually get three courses and several different options to choose from. However, most people go for steak because, well, this is Buenos Aires after all!
Along with your meal, you normally get a bottle of red wine to split between two people. Additional drinks may or may not cost extra depending on the tour that you choose.
After dinner, the main event begins! The tango show itself usually lasts between 1 and 1.5 hours, and you’ll see lots of talented performers at work. One thing I really like about tango in Buenos Aires is that it’s not just a young person’s game. The tango show we went to featured older dancers who would put most 20-year-olds to shame!
Related Read: For another amazing experience in Argentina, you can read about visiting Iguazu Falls. It’s just a 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires, and there are even day tours like this one that will plan your entire trip.
3. What are the best tango shows in Buenos Aires?
This tango show is actually a tribute to a famous composer and bandoneon player, Astor Piazzolla. The bandoneon is a beautiful-sounding instrument used in tango music and looks a bit like an accordion (as you can see from my photo above).
Most tango shows include some singing, but this one has quite a lot, thanks to its musical origins. So if you’re looking for a beautiful combination of dance and musical performances, this is it!
The Piazzolla Tango Show takes place in the beautiful art deco Galeria Guemes building. After the show, we actually headed to the top floor of the building for some rooftop cocktails. We’d recommend doing the same if you have the energy! If not, you can just be dropped back at your hotel.
You can choose to either just watch the show for $117 USD per person or have dinner beforehand for $145 USD in total. Both options include pickup from central locations, but drinks are only included if you choose the dinner option. The dinner starts at 7:30 pm, and the show begins at 9:30 pm and lasts about 2 hours.
This night provides the perfect window into Argentina’s famous tango composers and dance. To experience it firsthand, don’t hesitate to book this tour online here!
La Ventana is one of the most famous shows in Buenos Aires. It takes place in San Telmo, which is an artsy, historic neighborhood with a cool bohemian vibe, so that’s already a plus in our opinion!
But the reason it really stands out from other tango shows in Buenos Aires is that it showcases a lot of folk music and dance styles from places across Argentina, including Chamame and Zamba. You also get to watch a Gaucho band as well as a tango orchestra, which is pretty awesome.
At this show, you get a lot more than just tango. It’s a deep dive into Argentina’s musical culture, and the venue is one of the biggest on this list, so the atmosphere is always pumping.
You’ve got three different options when it comes to booking La Ventana Tango Show. The show-only option, without transfers, costs $50 USD. This one might be a good idea if you’re already staying in the San Telmo neighborhood, which is a pretty popular tourist area. Just make sure to arrive in time for the show’s 9:30 pm start.
If you only want to see the show but do want your transport included, then it costs $60 USD per person. However, if you’re staying in Palermo (one of the most popular areas), you can’t organize pickup from your specific hotel. Instead, you’ll be given a meeting point.
And if you want to do the show and enjoy the 3-course dinner, then an evening at La Ventana will cost you $105 USD per person, including the transfers. Dinner will begin around 7:30 pm, and the show starts at 9:30 pm.
All of the options we’ve just talked about include alcoholic drinks, so you’re covered in that department! I mean, it’s only right to enjoy a glass of Malbec along with your tango, after all.
“Ventana” actually means window in Spanish, and this show really does give you a window into Argentina’s varied music and culture. So if you want to see tango but crave more variety – book this tour online here!
House of Tango
When I visited Buenos Aires, I went to this tango show, and I absolutely loved it!
It’s marketed as an early tango dinner show because, in Buenos Aires, things tend to kick off pretty late. Some tango shows don’t even begin till midnight, but this one was over by 10:30 pm. So, it’s perfect if you can’t party like a porteño and prefer to be in bed early (like me most nights!). This one is also a more intimate type of tango show, so it’s great if that’s the kind of experience you’re looking for.
We were picked up right on time at 6:30 pm and taken to the historic quarter of Montserrat. Once we arrived, we were seated straight away, and dinner was served not too long afterward! I had pumpkin soup, steak, and then flan for dessert – but to be honest, I was too stuffed to finish it all. Arrive hungry!
The tango show itself was spectacular, and the dancers were so talented. Plus, there was some gaucho dancing in this show, too, which was actually my personal favorite part of the show – especially when one of the dancers started swinging boleadoras around at lightning speed.
One thing that also really stood out to me about this experience was how friendly the waitstaff were. Our waiter even gave us a free glass of Malbec after we complimented the one they served during dinner!
The tango show and dinner costs $98 USD per person, and I would definitely recommend this based on how fantastic our experience was. However, you can also do the show alone for $45 USD, but be aware that this option doesn’t include pickup and dropoff. As such, you’ll need to make your way to Aljibe Tango for the 8 pm show start.
There is a third option for the show only, with transportation for $78 USD per person. However, I’d advise against this if you want to save some money. You’re better off ordering an Uber and making your own way there. Just make sure to leave plenty of time for rush-hour traffic!
If you run on an earlier schedule, you don’t need to miss out on seeing a tango show. Just book this early dinner and show online here!
Café de los Angelitos
Café de los Angelitos definitely wins in terms of the best setting for a tango show! By day, the cafe is a historic coffee shop/dining room. Writers, philosophers, and artists have flocked here ever since it was founded back in 1890. By night, it’s a tango theater where you can watch jaw-dropping feats of dance.
The theater itself is beautiful, and there are a couple of VIP options here, so if you’re really looking to go all out with a tango show, then I think this is the best one to choose. A visit here will really make you feel like a member of the 20th Century glitterati.
The show-only option begins at 10 pm and costs $75 USD. It is one of the pricier shows on the list. But as I say, this is the treat-yourself option! It’s also worth remembering that this price still includes drinks and pickup, too.
Meanwhile, the standard dinner and show option costs $110 USD per person, including pickup and drinks. You can expect a delicious 3-course meal beginning around 8 pm.
However, if you want to elevate your experience, go for the executive option. You’ll get a special VIP menu and your own private balcony table. You’ll also be treated to Trumpeter wines, which are definitely of the nicer-than-average variety. This option costs $195 USD per person, including pick-up in a private car.
Last but not least, if you really want to go all out, splurge on the VIP option. You’ll get everything I just mentioned, plus the very best seats in the house and free-glowing Rutini wine (one of the top-rated wines in all of Argentina). This full VIP treatment costs $250 USD per person.
For a tango show in a gorgeous building, choose your favorite option and book it online here!
This tango show seeks to recreate the Golden Age of tango in Buenos Aires. This era occurred in the 1940s when the upper classes finally accepted this working-class dance as a legitimate form of art and entertainment.
It’s one of the biggest shows around, and it takes place in a big venue with over 40 cast members. Tango Porteño really stands out thanks to its excellent production value and wonderful costumes. So if you’re into big, lavish productions, this is the perfect tango show to see!
Another thing that makes Tango Porteño stand out is the fact that you have the option to take part in a tango class before the show!
For $317 USD, you can get an hour-long tango lesson from a professional and learn the basics of this romantic dance. After working up an appetite, you’ll enjoy a 3-course meal and the show itself. I think it’s such a fun way to dive deep into Argentine culture, and you’ll get some exercise while you’re at it! Please note that this option doesn’t include transfers, so make your own way to Tango Porteño for a 7:30 pm start.
If learning to tango is not your thing, you can do the show-only option for $60 USD or $74 USD, including a transfer. The transfer, dinner, and tango show combo costs $130 USD per person and begins at 8 pm. After dinner, expect the show to last about 75 minutes.
To step back in time and enjoy tango’s Golden Age, check availability and book this tour here!
El Viejo Almacen
El Viejo Almacen means “the old grocery store”, and indeed this intimate venue in historic San Telmo has certainly been around for a while. In fact, some of the city’s top tango dancers have performed here. I personally love the old-school atmosphere that just oozes out of this place.
If you want to see some really traditional tango, I would recommend this one! It’s not as ritzy and elaborate as Tango Porteño, but the performers are amazing, and the focus here is all on the dance itself.
If you just want to go for the show, buying a ticket will set you back $55 USD (or $70 USD for the show plus drinks). For $99 USD, you can upgrade to VIP seats with drinks included. The drinks can be wine, beer, soft drinks, or water. If you’re just seeing the show, pickup begins around 9 pm.
You can also do the dinner and show option for $120 USD (or $150 USD with the VIP seats upgrade). All the options include transfers, which is super convenient! Dinner pickup begins around 7:30 pm, and the show itself starts at 10 pm. You can expect everything to wrap up just before midnight.
If tango is what you’re after, this show provides that authentic feel! So, choose your preferred options and book online here.
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
4. How long is a tango show in Buenos Aires?
Usually around 4-5 hours if you go for dinner and a show with transfers. Our experience took 5 hours altogether, and our hotel in Buenos Aires was pretty far out from the venue. The journey there took a while as we left during rush hour, and we probably spent around 3.5 hours at the theater itself.
I liked that the dinner didn’t feel rushed, and we had time to really enjoy our food. The show itself lasted for roughly 75 minutes. When it ended, we had just enough time to finish our drinks before getting back on the bus to go home.
Related Read: If you’re visiting other cities in Argentina, you’ll need to plan ahead! One of my favorite places is Mendoza and you can check out the best things to do in Mendoza here.
5. What should you wear to a tango show in Buenos Aires?
My advice would be to dress as you would when going out for dinner! Most people were wearing semi-casual attire.
With that being said, you’d probably want to dress up a bit more if you’re going to opt for VIP seating or attend one of the ritzier productions (like Tango Porteño) as opposed to one of the smaller and more intimate shows.
But really, there’s no need to stress about it too much, as there are no strict dress codes!
6. What is the food like at tango shows in Buenos Aires?
Buenos Aires is one of my favorite cities in South America, especially for food. At a tango show, you usually get a 3-course set menu, and steak is always an option for your main course. However, there will be vegetarian options, such as pasta. The portions are super generous, and you’ll probably feel very full afterward.
I really enjoyed the pumpkin soup I had at the early tango show I saw, and my steak was cooked to perfection. I also feel like having dinner before the show made the whole evening feel more special. It felt like a complete cultural experience.
Related Read: You can try (and cook!) more amazing food on The Argentine Experience in Buenos Aires.
7. Can you learn to tango In Buenos Aires?
Yes, you definitely can!
Some tango show tours include a tango lesson with a professional, such as The Tango Porteño Show.
You can also book private lessons at $56 USD for one person or $70 USD total for two people, which is a more budget-friendly way to take a class.
8. Are tango shows suitable for children?
Overall, yes, you can take kids along to a tango show. None of the shows have age limits, but no one under the age of 18 will be served alcohol.
Given tango’s history and the fact that it’s a famously sensual dance, it’s understandable why you might have reservations about bringing children along. But these shows aren’t raunchy or sexual.
The House of Tango Show I saw was definitely family-friendly, and there were kids in the audience!
9. Should you book a tango show in Buenos Aires in advance?
Yes! Tango shows in Buenos Aires are really popular, and they can book up fast. It’s best to secure your spot well in advance.
The good news is that when you book through Viator, you get to cancel or reschedule your booking for free up to 24 hours in advance. This offers a lot of flexibility.
I definitely recommend booking in advance to make sure that you don’t miss out. You can always change your booking later on if necessary. You don’t get this when you book direct, which is why we always go through Viator when possible!
Related Read: If you’re a fan of tours, check out the best tours in Ushuaia, Argentina as well!
10. Is a tango show in Buenos Aires worth it?
Yes, it’s a must-do when visiting Buenos Aires!
It’s such a great cultural experience, and the dancing is absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Plus, Buenos Aires is the home of tango. If you’re going to watch a show anywhere in the world, it should probably be here! It really is a fantastic way to spend an evening out in the city.
Other Activities to do While You’re in Buenos Aires
A tango show is just one of many fun things you can do in Buenos Aires. So if you’re looking for even more activities, check out some of my favorites below!
- Gran Café Tortoni – Gran Café Tortoni is an iconic Buenos Aires coffeehouse. it’s one of the oldest cafes in the city and has even been named one of the most beautiful cafes in the world! This is the perfect place to grab a late-morning coffee or medialunas (Argentina’s mini croissants).
- Wander around La Boca – This is our favorite neighborhood in Buenos Aires! La Boca is famous for being so colorful and you’ll often hear tango music while you’re walking around here. There are some great bars and art museums or just walk around on a sightseeing tour or on your own and see what you find!
- Eat amazing food – One of the best meals I’ve EVER had was at The Argentine Experience in Buenos Aires. This was an interactive night out with a bit of cooking and a lot of eating. It was so much fun and you can book a spot online here to experience it too!
- Visit the River Plate Museum – The River Plate Museum is one of the biggest sports museums in the world, so it’s a must for any soccer fan. It’s located in the Monumental Stadium, and you can get skip-the-line entry with this museum and stadium combo tour.
- Experience the Gaucho lifestyle – Gauchos are Argentina’s cowboys and an integral part of the culture. To experience this firsthand, take this Estancia Tour, which includes horseback riding, a barbecue feast, and stories from the gauchos themselves.
Where to Stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Before booking a tango show, you might want to figure out where you’re staying! Luckily, there are many great accommodation options in the city. As you’re narrowing it down, you can take a peek at our guide to the best areas to stay in Buenos Aires.
You don’t need to break the bank to stay here, but if you are searching for a luxurious getaway, you can find that too. Here are my top picks for various price ranges!
Hilton Buenos Aires – $$$
You can’t beat the location with the riverside Hilton Buenos Aires. You’ll be within walking distance to downtown as well as the Playa Reserva Ecológica Buenos Aires. There’s a rooftop pool to relax in or sit down for a meal or drink at the hotel’s restaurant or bar.
The service is exceptional, and the rooms are spacious. It’s a more expensive place to stay at $250-350 USD per night, but worth it if you’re looking for a five-star experience.
So for the ultimate luxury in Buenos Aires, book your stay at the Hilton online here.
Broadway Hotel & Suites – $$
Located in the heart of Buenos Aires, the Broadway Hotel & Suites offers really spacious rooms at a great price. The swimming pool on the roof has amazing panoramic city views and a sun deck to soak up some rays. The rooms feature large windows, minimalistic art deco-type décor, and bathrooms with marble fittings. You’ll also have plenty of choices for shopping and restaurants nearby. Plus, a junior suite here can be under $70 USD!
To snag this awesome deal, I highly recommend you check availability and book online in advance.
Selina Palermo – $
Stay in one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires on a budget! Selina Palermo puts you close to the best bars and nightclubs – giving you a great place to crash after a night on the town. The place feels really modern, and there are nice extras like a rooftop bar, breakfast, and bike rentals available.
Shared dorm rooms with bunk beds are around $20 USD per night. If sharing isn’t your style, there are affordable private rooms with nice balconies overlooking the city starting at around $90 USD. You can book your stay on Booking.com or HostelWorld.com to secure your room!
Planning your Trip to Argentina
Accommodation in Argentina
Booking accommodation is one of the biggest aspects of your trip, and we should know as we stay in a new hotel up to 40 times per year! Funny enough, we make 99% of these bookings on one website and that’s Booking.com – and there are a few reasons why we use this site!
Number one is the website is easy to use and sorts accommodation options. That takes the stress out of planning, which honestly still affects us, and we do it more than not.
Second is the price guarantee. We have literally booked a hotel months before and then 1 week out found it cheaper (we always do a quick search), and they’ll match that price from anyone’s website, including the hotels!
And third is the Genius loyalty program. If you make a certain amount of bookings per year, you get a Genius discount. We are level-two geniuses because we make more than 5 a year. At participating hotels, we get things like free breakfast included, early check-in, and up to 15% off.
You can check out all their accommodation options throughout Argentina!
Renting a car in Argentina
We enjoyed a rental car for our second trip to Argentina when we traveled in Patagonia – and wow, what a way to travel! But the best part was that we only paid $40 USD per day for a 5-person sedan!
But how? Well, if you’re renting a car, the cheapest company is Discover Cars. We often get questions from readers asking us if the website is fake because it seems too cheap! It’s a great website and the one we used for our rental.
If you do want to compare prices (and you should), do a quick search on Airport Car Rentals too. They’re another big competitor, and each company often has its own deals to offer!
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
As the birthplace of tango, Buenos Aires is a great place to catch a show! While there are tons of options out there, this list includes all of my favorites. These shows really connect you to the culture and are super entertaining. And if you go for a dinner and show, you’ll feel even more satisfied.
If you found this blog helpful, check out my other blogs about Argentina. I loved my time in this country and wrote lots of articles to help others as well. Below, I’ve linked to a few related reads that might come in handy. Thanks for reading!