LA PLATA, ARGENTINA BY MARIANA ARDANAZ:
Unlike nearby Buenos Aires, whose crooked street pattern is difficult to navigate, La Plata is a perfectly planned grid; 36 blocks by 36 blocks of (usually) bustling pedestrians, cafés and market stands selling clothes, shoes, books and trinkets. Splitting the grid is two main diagonal streets which converge at the city’s centre.
“The city was designed by the architect Pedro Benoit and his objective was to plan an ideal city, where everything was rational, orderly and where human beings were in permanent contact with nature,” artist Mariana Ardanaz says who calls La Plata home. “It is known as ‘The City of Linden Trees’ because those were the trees chosen to afforest the layout of its main streets.”
At the heart of this custom-built grid, a neo-gothic cathedral stands tall. “I lived part of my life very close to her – exactly five blocks – and I would always look at the cathedral out my window,” Ardanaz says.
“This city connects me with my childhood; my grandparents’ house, the games we would play in the squares every six blocks, the smell of the linden tree,” Ardanaz continues. “As many students from different provinces of Argentina come to study at the university, the city is full of life. That is why its cultural and artistic activity is enormous and wonderful.” Many film students study here and can be seen filming projects in the streets all the time.
According to Ardanaz, the perfect 24 hours in La Plata would see you visit “Charola” for homemade cakes and breads on 51st Street. Along walk along the boulevard would take you through the city’s forest before arriving at the Museum of Natural Sciences.
“In the evening, you used to go and see the rise of the full moon in the Rio de la Plata before dining at one of the restaurants on the water front,” Ardanaz says. “At midnight, my recommendation is to return to the centre of the city and visit all the thematic bars and hop halls on diagonal 74. You can have a beer at a table on the sidewalk and enjoy a warm summer night. We always go to ‘Futther’, a bar on 47 and 11Street.”
Follow Mariana Ardanaz @maruardanaz
SHOP THE CITY
CHAROLA COCINABAZAR, CALLE 51 N 479 ENTRE 4 Y 5, LA PLATA 1900 ARGENTINA