I have a separate post about visiting the wineries here. This post is about hanging out in Mendoza proper.
Mendoza is a city of almost 2 million people, but even in it's busiest parts it feels like a small town. There is one central tourist area that the locals will warn you to stay within, but some of the best things in the city are outside of those areas. For example, Mendoza has a large park that the locals are very proud of and that park is outside of the main tourist section. As with all travel in cities: be aware of your surroundings, don't walk down dark streets alone, keep an eye on your belongings and you will be fine. Here are a few of my favorite things in Mendoza:
1. The Plazas- Mendoza has a ton of green spaces carved out in the city. Independence Plaza, Plaza San Martin, Plaza Chile, Plaza Italia, etc. The Plazas have changed names over the years and ore currently named after the largest immigrant populations in Mendoza. I visited several and they are all beautiful in their own way. If you are into parks then it would be worthwhile to visit them all.
2. General San Martin Park- This park is HUGE and the local people will tell you not to go too much past the fountain because it's not very safe past that point. I decided to heed the warnings and just go to the gates and the fountain. I was there during siesta on a Wednesday and basically had the place to myself. Its a beautiful park with tree-lined streets and plenty of grass for lounging. It's worth the walk from the tourist section.
3. Nightlife- I'm usually in bed fairly early (because I'm old and tired) but the Argentinians like to be out late. They usually start dinner after 9pm. I think the siesta helps if you actually use the time for napping. Regardless, there is a street called Av. Aristides Villanueva that is lined with bars and restaurants. The music from these places flows out into the sidewalks where you can watch locals enjoy a nice outside meal or see the club girls outfits for the evening. It's a great place for people watching.
4. Food- There is not a shortage of places to eat in Mendoza. From actual restaurants to little bodegas with hot dogs or sandwiches, you are bound to find something delicious. A few of my favorites were:
Union Cafeteria: Don't let the name fool you, it is not like a cafeteria at all. They have lovely outdoor seating and great salads. They also serve Chandon and guacamole with potato chips. Sounds weird AF but it is SO GOOD.
Sushi Shop- This place is fantastic and located on the street I mentioned earlier that is great for people watching. They also accept reservations. I was so excited to eat my sushi that I didn't take a picture. But y'all know what sushi looks like.
Anna Bistro- Anna Bistro is outside of the tourist area but definitely worth the walk. My favorite thing about this place was that they had Tabasco!! I know you are probably rolling your eyes right now, but having Tabasco (which is made right near where I grew up) was a little taste of home I didn't even know I needed. Also, they have BOMB lemon pie.
5. I usually say this at the beginning of the posts, but go take a walking tour!! You will get a feel for the city and what you may or may not want to go back to see. Also they are a great way to make friends!
Have you been to Mendoza? What are some of your favorites? Tell me in the comments!