An introduction to the capital of Buenos Aires, La Plata and things to do and see as a tourist taking a vacation.
La Plata is the capital city of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is easily seen on a daytrip if you are staying in Buenos Aires and there are also plenty of hotels there is you want to stay the night.
Getting to La Plata
To travel to La Plata from Buenos Aires you can take the Costera Metropolitan buses that leave almost every hour. These leave from Retiro Train station and run through the night too. When you get to La Plata, the bus terminal is on Calles 4 and 42.
Basics about La Plata
La Plata was planned to serve as the capital of the province after the city of Buenos Aires was declared as the federal district in 1880. It was officially founded by Governor Dardo Rocha on November 19, 1882.
Governor Rocha decided to start from scratch and build a new city to act as the provincial capital and provide the framework for government institutions and a new university. La Plata was designed by urban planner Pedro Benoit. La Plata has the shape of a square with a central park and two diagonal avenues, north-south and east-west. This design is copied in a self-similar manner in small blocks of six by six blocks in length. Other than the diagonals, all streets are on a rectangular grid, and are numbered consecutively. Thus, La Plata is nicknamed “la ciudad de las diagonales” (“city of diagonals”). It is also called “la ciudad de los tilos” (“city of tilia”) because of the large number of linden trees lining the streets.
Interesting fact: The city was renamed in 1952 as Eva Perón but later changed back in 1955.
What to see in La Plata
Although La Plata is not bursting with tourist sites there are a couple of things to do in the city.
The Cathedral – completed in the year 2000 after 115 years in the making, La Plata’s cathedral is a lovely example of neo-Gothic architecture.
Paseo del Bosque – to the north of La Plata is the 60 hectare Paseo del Bosque that offers a variety of activities. Visit the Paseo del Bosque website.
La Plata University – founded in 1897 and nationalized in 1905, it is well-known for its observatory and paleontology museum.
Jardin Zoologico – the local zoo not too far from the observatory.