One of the things I made sure to do before leaving Buenos Aires was to go back to San Telmo one more time. Every Sunday there is huge street market. It’s a bit touristy but you see plenty of locals there too.
The market is very lively, with all kinds of performers.
If you want to watch tango for free there are shows around Plaza Dorrego. Really you should tip them a few pesos if you watch or take photos. It’s quite funny to watch people edging away towards the end of a performance, so as to avoid having to put money in the box.
There are plenty of little shops to poke around in too. If you go during the week it’s a lot quieter without the hustle and bustle of the market, although I much prefer the hustle and bustle.
It definitely pays to heed all the warnings about keeping a tight hold of your purse. I saw a bag snatch whilst I was there this week; a man on a motorcycle grabbed a woman’s little clutch bag and roared away. I usually go with no bag and everything in my pockets; then you just have to worry about the pickpockets.