Tango Salons in Buenos Aires

If you want to dance tango in Buenos Aires, where do you go?

A good question, but this depends on many things:  your age, what style you dance, what day or night of the week you want to go out, if you go with or without a partner, and so on…

Dancing social tango in Buenos Aires has nothing to do with the Tango Show Dancing on the streets of San Telmo, La Boca, calle Florida, or Recoleta, or the many Tango Cena-Shows with an orchestra, stage dancers and dinner. The first thing to know about tango is that what you’ll see in those places is a different dance – Tango Entertainment for Export. And that is another post entirely!

Types of Tango Salons in Buenos Aires

First, a tip: when checking where to go to mingle with the locals in Buenos Aires on the dance floor, remember that dances in the same salon vary greatly depending on the organizer, day of the week, time of day etc. In other words, every milonga at Región Leonesa or Canning will not be the same.
The following is a general break-down of the different types of places to dance tango in Buenos Aires, with some examples of each…


A formal atmosphere especially for dancing, with predominantly elegant attire, tables with tablecloths, uniformed waiters, tango codes are strictly respected, professional DJs play tango, vals and milonga music of the 1930’s-50’s, often with tandas (blocks) of Latin and Jazz music. The public here is older (50-80) with an intermediate to high level of dancing in the close-embrace milonguero style. Women and men sit on opposite sides of the salon and use the cabaceo (traditional nodding of the head as an invitation to dance). The afternoon milongas tend to be more formal and traditional than the late night dances.

Examples in Buenos Aires: Gricel, Lo de Celia, El Beso, Chique.


This old-fashioned type of salon has many of the same characteristics of the Salons de Baile, but also has a restaurant. The public is more varied, with lots of groups. An example is Confitería La Ideal, which is famous for its long life and its architecture. Nowadays only a few Salons de Baile have restaurants, such as El Beso, but they are milongas first, and only very few of the clients order food from the kitchen.

Dancing Tango at the Confiteria Ideal, Buenos Aires

Dancing Tango in the Confitería Ideal, Buenos Aires [Photo credit: Gerrysan]


The dance floors are cement basketball courts or the club restaurant. Meals are usually available. Predominantly attended by the neighborhood families and older married couples; the music includes tango, jazz and tropical.

Example in Buenos Aires: Sunderland


Informal atmosphere, young public (18-30), variety of casual dress, often with live music and dance exhibitions. More relaxed standards, a more diverse level of dancing, and more salon-style than close embrace. You will hear the music of Piazzolla, some rock ‘n’ roll, as well as salsa and cumbia.

Examples in Buenos Aires: La Viruta, Parakultural, La Catedral.


Outdoor milongas that attract a wide variety of dancers.

Examples in Buenos Aires: La Glorieta and Plaza Dorrego (year round) and La Calesita (in summer).


Informal, bare-bones ambiance, no professional DJ.
Examples in Buenos Aires: Cochabamba, El Motivo, Tangocool, Soho Tango.


Informal, relaxed atmosphere, anybody can dance with anybody, alternative music along with the classics.

Examples in Buenos Aires: La Marshall, Tango Queer.

[Article written by Cherie Magnus]

Reader interactions

5 Replies to “Tango Salons in Buenos Aires”

  1. Absolutely fantastic photos, Alan!
    Great job of mounting my little overview.
    And thanks for including the video.


  2. Hey Cherie,
    It should definitely be me thanking you for a great first post on this blog 🙂 Looking forward to your milonga reviews.
    I agree, the pictures are great – another reason to love Flickr.com!


  3. Hi
    Loved your videos-
    question–What is the best dstrict to stay in for Tango lessons/milongas? What is a good moderate hotel to stay in? How about “Petite Hotel” in San Telmo? Whate hotel do you use for your tours?


  4. Hola Rodrigo!
    There are many, many options of where to stay in Buenos Aires!
    The best location for a tango tourist is in El Centro, and many stay at the Hotel Castelar, Hotel Lyon, and the Grand Hotel Hispano.
    San Telmo can be fun for a guy backpacker, but I never recommend it for a woman traveling alone. Transportation is difficult there, the streets are very dark at night, and there are no milongas (except for Wednesday nights at the Hotel Dandi.) But maybe it’s an option you would want to explore. Still I think it’s better to check it out in the daytime, the better to appreciate the architecture.
    Some tangueros prefer to rent a room in a so-called tango house, which is good for first-timers.
    Others prefer to rent fully equipped tourist apartments.
    It all depends on your comfort level, but make sure the location is central; no Belgrano or Palermo.
    Un beso de Buenos Aires!


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