El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires

4.7
#3 of 379 in Shopping in Argentina
Browse an extensive collection of books in a spectacular setting at El Ateneo Grand Splendid, a bookstore housed in an early 20th-century theater. The theater first opened in 1919, and was later converted into a cinema. Today bookshelves replace seats in the stalls and galleries. Ascend to the top floor for a bird's-eye views of the floor below. Look up to admire the intricate ceiling frescoes. The theater boxes remain, converted into reading nooks where you can peruse a book before you buy. On the stage and backstage area, enjoy a coffee or empanadas at the onsite cafe. Although the store primarily stocks Spanish-language books, they also carry a wide range of English-language titles. Use our Buenos Aires visit app to add El Ateneo Grand Splendid and other attractions to your Buenos Aires vacation plans.
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El Ateneo Grand Splendid Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
16,752 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Simply amazing, beautiful, historic, sensational. One of my favorite places in the city and passing mandatory.
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  • It is not a library and nor is it a theater, it is a unique combination between these two, where we are sure that you will get more than books! If you visit Buenos Aires it is a place that you can't miss!
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  • Beautiful bookstore where you can t9mar a nice coffee. Book lovers this is a place not to be missed. Pena q I don't read Spanish well.
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Google
  • Definitely, one of the most beautiful bookstores (if not the most) in the world. An old burlesque theater turned bookstore, the Grand Splendid is the flagship store of El Ateneo chain, which aside from distribution also has a huge publishing stake in Argentina and South America. Four levels, including the basement, showcase a formidable variety of Spanish language text from fiction to non-fiction to art to science to history to esoterica, you name it, they would surely have it. They also cater to English, Portuguese and French readers, but with a significantly less varied inventory. You just have to stroll along the old aisles and balconies, where the audience used to seat for the show, and search for the book you are interested in. While there you can also have a cup of coffee with an "alfajor," or maybe a some wine, at the coffee shop, which happens to be right in the middle of the old stage.
  • Wonderful book store from their very popular book store chain except it's in a former theatre! It's wonderful to just walk through and enjoy! Definitely grand and awesome! Many people were setup in the booths just reading it was great to see!
  • It's a beautiful and peaceful place to go with some friend, there are (of course) thousands of books that you can enjoy, and if you really liked them, buy them. There's a special place where you can sit and read any book that you want. There's also a cafe and some live classical music. It's a huge place, it's architecture it's simply gorgeous and in the streets near it there are a lot of places to go and enjoy too. But if you are in Buenos Aires you can't miss the opportunity to just go, even for five minutes and delight yourself with this place
  • If you're only going to take a picture and leave, don't come. This branch of the Ateneo is what everyone says, a beautiful place, but like most places that you'll appreciate for the beauty of it, don't get out of your way to come, if you're just trying to snap a quick picture, it's a good place to go, look at some books, and enjoy the atmosphere. The con is, at the center where it used to be the theater's stage, there's a coffee shop, which would be lovely to enjoy the place a little bit more while getting something to drink, but it's one of the worst coffees I've had in my entire life. Saw many reviewers complaining it was bad, and I was a non believer and had to try it myself. Don't be like me, trust the reviewers on this one.
  • They've kept the original theater's decoration, balconies and all, which makes for a beautiful sight. Large choice of books (not many in english) and music. I recommend seeing it.
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