El Ateneo in Buenos Aires

El Ateneo stage cafe

Monday was a holiday in Argentina, Dia del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural, and many businesses were closed. We’d come across town to visit El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the largest and most beautiful bookstores in the world, and we were relieved to find it was open.

El Ateneo bookstore

This former theater in the Barrio Norte section of Buenos Aires featured some of the greatest tango artists and premiered the first sound films in Argentina.

El Ateneo ceiling

There are Italian ceiling frescoes and original theater boxes where you can relax and browse through books.

El Ateneo bookstore

We spent a couple of happy hours in the cafe located on the former stage.

El Ateneo bookstore