Rosario On a Budget
SightsThe National Flag Monument is probably Rosario's most recognizable landmark. It was built as a memorial to the creator of the Argentinian flag, Manuel Belgrano, who first revealed the flag on an island in the Parana river, just off the shores of Rosario, in 1812, and underneath the monument lies his tomb. The memorial is a stunning spot to grasp panoramic views of the city. The tower section of the monument is open on Monday from 14h to 18h30 and from Tuesday to Sunday from 9h to 18h30, to visitors who wish to climb to the top and look out over Rosario. Another popular sight in Rosario is its Catedral Basilica Santuario. Rosario's central cathedral dates from the late 19th century, and can seem quite plain from the outside but the interior is ornately decorated, with carved marble columns, a delicately painted sanctuary, and stained-glass windows, many of which portray the history of the city. It is located in Plaza 25 de Mayo, which is considered to be the oldest part of the city and consequently is home to a number of other historic buildings, including the municipal building and central post office. You will also find that many tourists and mostly fans of Ernesto 'Che' Guevara gather in front of the revolutionary's birthplace, an attractive neoclassical apartment building in the central district of the city although he only lived there for a short time. It is owned privately, so visitors cannot enter. Finally, Rosario is home to a number of parks where visitors can take some time out to go for a walk of just relax. Parque Independencia is the largest, with a lake, fountains, various gardens, follies, and food vendors. Visitors can rent a paddle boat to take out onto the lake, a perfect activity for a sunny afternoon. Also within the park are the football stadium and history museum, as well as a fun children's play area (Jardin de los Ninos). Parque de Espana is by the river, which makes for a pleasant walk, as does Parque Urquiza.
ActivitiesLocated right in the middle of the Parque Independencia is Rosario's main history museum. It is home to a number of excellent exhibits, ranging from indigenous artifacts to post-colonial religious displays, as well as an intriguing display of mate-related items. The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 9h to 18h and on weekends from 14h to 19h. Rosario's Museum of Contemporary Art, also known as MACRO, is housed in a strange looking building right by the riverside, which used to be a grain silo and is now home to ten floors of modern artwork, mostly by young local artists. Do not forget to take a look at the top floor of the building, which provides great views of the river and the city. Finally, Rosario's Museum of Fine Art is considered the best fine art museum in Argentina, outside of Buenos Aires. It houses around 4,000 works of art from both Argentina and Europe, mainly dating from the 19th and 20th centuries up until 1930. Both museums are closed on Tuesday and can be visited from 14h to 20h during the rest of the week.
While Rosario's museums are fascinating, most people come to the northern part of Rosario for its beach zone including Catalunya and La Florida Beaches. You can expect these popular spots to be very animated from October to May, as they are both home to plenty of restaurants (many serving freshly caught fish) and other amenities. The river may be brown, but from silt rather than pollution, and it is a safe area in which to swim. Some islands in the Parana river, just off the shoreline of Rosario, have been turned into parks. Isla Espinillo is the most popular, as it has various restaurants, bars and spaces to relax, and offers a few water sports activities such as jet skiing and windsurfing. You can take a ferry across to the islands, where it is also possible to book boat tours and other activities.Two great ways to explore Rosario and the surrounding area are either cycling to get around the city quickly and see all the sights, or kayaking on the Parana river, a great way to escape the city for a while and see some local wildlife. Kayaks and bikes can be rented either individually or as part of a group tour with a guide who can provide some local insight.