El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Speciality & Gift Shops • Architectural Buildings
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Situated in an old theater, El Ateneo is one of the most popular bookstores in Buenos Aires.
Suggested duration
< 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighborhood: Recoleta
Characterized by the French-style mansions which are the legacy of its aristocratic past, Recoleta is the true “Paris of the South.” Walking around this neighborhood is an experience like no other in Buenos Aires: its streets are lined with elegant apartment buildings, exclusive boutiques, and former mansions turned into high-end hotels and embassies, which exude an alluring air of sophistication and class. You'll also find a rich cultural scene centered on the National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Library, and the Recoleta Cultural Center; as well as some great shopping spots, like the Buenos Aires Design Mall with an artists' fair set up in Plaza Francia every weekend.
How to get there
  • Facultad de Medicina • 7 min walk
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
23,096 reviews
Excellent
17,149
Very good
5,002
Average
784
Poor
111
Terrible
50

Missaera
New Jersey16 contributions
Aug 2022 • Friends
One of the most beautiful libraries in the world! Amazing interior. Glad they kept the historical aspect of this building. There’s a cafe inside where you can grab a coffee and read a book but it gets really crowded there. So glad I ended up here on my endless walks around Buenos Aires.
Written August 16, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eireann32
Boston, MA49 contributions
Nov 2022 • Couples
I was expecting something completely fabulous when we walked into this bookstore but the reality was a bit different.
Yes it is pretty, when you compare it bland, run of the mill chain bookstores. But the lighting could use some help in order to highlight some of the more beautiful elements of the building.
The pictures of the interior flatter to deceive and are very generous as to the overall beauty of the surroundings.
Go, check it out so you can expedite for yourself.
Written November 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

averastravels
New York City, NY71 contributions
Apr 2022
Most beautiful bookstore!
A must-do in Buenos Aires. This former theater is a work of art starting with the painted ceiling, most beautiful bookstore I've ever visited. The ability to purchase great books is an added benefit.
Written April 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Owen B
Australia717 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
A must when in Buenos Aires, especially on a wet day! Definitely the most beautiful bookshop in the world. Walk up to the first floor for better views, but don’t get in the way of locals browsing for books. Also, this place is a private business and can only remain open if people buy something from the shop or the cafe. We saw a bus load of tourists walk in, take photos and leave. That doesn’t seem very responsible or sustainable.
Written February 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris W
Sorede, France776 contributions
Feb 2020
Well, the Ateneo Grand Splendid is a ‘splendid bookstore’ but for me that is it, a view not shared by my wife who thought it was wonderful! The reason for that is that the vast array of books (and I mean a vast array of books) are housed in what was, at one time, the Grand Splendid Theatre, During its time as theatre, it was an important venue for concerts, and ‘early film’ screenings. Why it was converted to a bookstore, I do not know but, yes, it is something special.
It has an imposing façade but it is the interior that surprises you. This is because it has retained a lot of the features of a theatre such as the sweeping balconies, the stage, which now houses a cafeteria that is framed to one side by the original theatre’s red velvet curtain and the ‘openness’ of what a theatre offers.
We must not forget the books! I am not sure how many are housed there but it must be millions, covering every subject imaginable.
Do not be surprised though that the view of the bookshop might be as that shared between with the wife and I.
Definitely worth a visit though.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

MelBr75
Curitiba, PR1,754 contributions
Feb 2020 • Family
Situated on Santa Fe Avenue in Barrio Norte,[3] the building was designed as a theatre called Teatro Gran Splendid (May 1919) The ecleticist building features ceiling frescos and staged a variety of performances, including appearances by the tango artists Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo and Ignacio Corsini.
Ir became a bookstore around 10 years ago and over a million people walk through its doors annually. It’s truly a beauty.
Written February 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

IN_Travelers47906
West Lafayette, IN4,718 contributions
Jan 2020
There is nothing about the outside that hints at the splendor inside. In some ways, it is just a bookstore. Come and go, no entrance fee, lots and lots of books, spend as long as you want browsing a book or the entire store, go on stage for a coffee and roll. Spend 5 minutes or spend the day. Just another bookstore, except it is located in a beautiful old theater that is as ornate today as it was the day it opened.

Be sure to check out the box seats on both sides of the stage. They are set up as secluded reading areas.
Also, there are thousands of books, but a very limited selection in English. Enjoy!!

Suggestion: A visit to El Ateneo Grand Splendid connects well with a self-guided walking tour to the Waterworks Palace, the Teatro Colon opera house, the Obelisk, the Buenos Aires Cathedral , Plaza De Mayo and the Puerto Madero. All within easy walking distance in a convenient line that leads you through some of the finest parts of this beautiful city.
Written March 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ricfeliu
24 contributions
Apr 2022
Very exaggerated description.

This is a library in a theater, yes it is beautiful, but whoever described this as the most beautiful library in the world has not seen anything else on the planet, nor knows many libraries.
For the Spanish reader it is a paradise, but it is oriented towards tourism and the prices of souvenirs, etc. are not cheap at all.
Written May 6, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ari T
Seattle, WA67 contributions
Jan 2020 • Solo
Beautiful and worth a look around even of you're not looking to buy. In a main area and easy enough to get or walk to, it has a cafe on the old stage if you want to spend a bit more time as well. One of the coolest bookstores anywhere for sure!
Written January 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Trekkieboots
Dublin, Ireland593 contributions
Dec 2019 • Couples
This is a must visit if in BA. It is a beautiful space that use to be an old theatre and now turned into a bookshop with a cafe. It has retained all its old features. The cafe is situated on the stage area behind the red curtains and serves light snacks, cakes, tea and coffee. This is such a beautiful space and its great to see that the original features were all kept and converted. Its worth popping in for a coffee just to see the architecture!
Written November 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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El Ateneo Grand Splendid (Buenos Aires) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

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