One of Buenos Aires’ oldest public squares, Plaza San Martin is a pocket of greenery sandwiched between the central Retiro train and bus station and the lively shopping hub of Florida Av. A popular spot for picnicking locals and fatigued shoppers, the majority of the plaza is parkland shaded by ancient jacaranda and magnolia trees and including a small dog park frequented by the city’s ubiquitous dog walkers (often seen on the city streets handling a dozen or more dogs). The focal points of the park are its many monumental statues, including the Torre de Los Ingleses (English Tower), gifted to Argentina by the British in celebration of the 1810 revolution; the grand Monument to General Jose San Martín, after whom the park was named; and a poignant monument to those who lost their lives in the notorious Malvinas (Falklands) War.
Once home to Argentina’s last standing bullring (dismantled after the bull fighting ban was passed in 1819), Plaza San Martin remains a center of entertainment, often transmitting sporting matches on giant video screens, showcasing outdoor art exhibitions or hosting cultural events. A number of impressive 20th century buildings also line the square, including the Kavanagh, a National Historic Monument towering 120 meters over the plaza, and the luxurious Paz Palace, built by Argentine diplomat Jose C. Paz.