Once is the informal name of a neighborhood in Buenos Aires city. It is located in Balvanera neighborhood, which also includes Congreso and Abasto.
This district with fuzzy limits has one of the main three train stations of the city, being an important transport hub with lots of buses and subway station around Plaza Miserere. Most dwellers live in apartment buildings erected on small lots. Population density is very high, and the amount of green space is deemed insufficient. The meager green space of Plaza Miserere is usually taken up by illegal peddlers, people queuing for their bus, and preachers of all stripes. Jewish legacy is very important in Once, you will find Jewish schools, cultural centers and temples. For most of the 20th century, Once had a lively Yiddish theater scene; the IFT theater still stands on Boulogne Sur-Mer street, where mural paintings celebrate its rich history.
By subway, bus or train
Once is served by Subte lines H and A:
- The H line runs north-south under Avenida Pueyrredón, with the 2 stoppings in the neighbourhood at Once - 30 de diciembre (next to the Once railway station, interchange with line A and suburban train Sarmiento) and Avenida Venezuela. The H lines links the neighbourhood to Abasto to the north and Parque Patricios to the south.
- The A line runs east-west under Avenida Rivadavia, with 1 stopping in the neighbourhood at Plaza de Miserere (next to the Once railway station, interchange with line H and suburban train Sarmiento). The A line links the neighbourhood to the city center at Plaza de Mayo via the nearby neighbourhood of Congreso and southwestern barrios of Caballito and Flores.
The suburban train Sarmiento heads west from the Once Railway station and passes by barrios such as Caballito, Flores, Floresta all the way to Moreno in the Buenos Aires Province.
- Plaza Miserere: is one of the main plazas of Buenos Aires. It is located in the heart of the Balvanera neighborhood. It was supposed to be the name of the Line A—Buenos Aires Metro station located below it, but the station is more popularly known as Plaza Once, and is located alongside the Once de Setiembre Station of the Sarmiento railroad.
- Basílica Santuario de Santa Rosa de Lima Romanic-Bizantine style church from the 20th century. The main altar has a replica of Michelangelo's Pietá. Av. Belgrano y Pasco.
- Parroquia Nuestra Sra. de Balvanera Built between 1799 and 1860 this is the parish that gives the original name to the district. Very popular among local people from all the city that comes to pray to San Expedito, Saint of impossible causes.
- Casa de los Pavos Reales, ☎ +54 11 4867 2199. In Avenida Rivadavia this modernist building by architect Colombo is an iconic piece of Buenos Aires original early 20 century architecture. There is a bed & breakfast in the building and you can arrange visits too.
- Gran Templo de Paso. Founded in 1930 is one of the oldest synagogues in the country and a traditional cultural centre for the Jewish community. Paso 423.
Many streets in Once are cheap shopping streets
- Lavalle street has lots of shops for fabrics, and also for costumes.
- Paso street for clothes shopping of any kind.
- Azcuenga street has Chinese wholesale shops, selling everything from plastic flowers to kitchen knives. Ask first for "compra minima" the minimum amount they accept to sell, it can be something around 100$.
- Belgrano avenue has furniture shops and carpets. Ranges from cheap plywood to expensive Luoise XV chairs.
- Pueyrredón The block of Pueyrredón avenue across Plaza Once features a busy bazaar-like commercial area known as La Recova.
- Spinetto Shopping Founded as a city market in 1894 selling fruits and vegetables until the eighties. Afterwards became a mall with a supermarket belonging to El hogar Obrero, a consumer coop that was at the time the biggest in South America. After going bankrupt it was sold and now belongs to the COTO branch of supermarkets. Only a shadow of better times, it still has cinemas, bowling and food court.
- La Perla del Once Café. Rivadavia 2800. Cafe & Bar. Jorge Luis Borges used to gather here to write in his young years. Later in the sixties it became a place for local rock bands, and stills has shows today.
- Banchero. Traditional pizza chain. Av Pueyrredón 123 and delivery service.
- La conga. Peruvian food. La Rioja 39
- Luey Hotel. The Luey is a convenient city hotel in the heart of Buenos Aires, located on the commercial Rivadiva Avenue. It offers classical rooms with free Wi-Fi and complimentary parking. Av. Rivadavia 2902
- Hotel La Perla. Is 3 star hotel with a prime location on the corner of Jujuy and Rivadavia avenues, next to the Plaza Miserere. Ave Jujuy 36
- El Edificio de los Pavos Reales. Accommodations are something in between a Bed & Breakfast and an apartment rental.
- María Tango. Accommodation and Tango lessons in a typical house from the 19th century.
- Once is well known for having small cheap hotels of dubious quality and reputation, they are oriented to locals, not tourists and should be avoided. Also some hotels are aimed to internal tourism from the provinces or belong to worker's unions, those might be a budget traveller's option, ask locals for advice.
- For more diversity and better accommodation go to the near Congreso or Abasto neighborhoods.
- While some streets might look sketchy the area is fairly safe during the day, you should try to blend in with the locals, avoid any sign of being a tourist for best results.
- Like around any big train station of a big city you have to be specially careful of pickpocketing and petty crime around Plaza Once.
- At night you might encounter some prostitutes on the streets, and some drug dealing as well. If you are staying in the neighborhood ask locals for advice on which streets are safe by night.