El Ateneo Grand Splendid is Buenos Aires’ Most Beautiful Bookstore

Photo by Jeison Higuita on Unsplash

Passionate book lovers can’t resist visiting bookstores and libraries in each new city they visit. If you happen to be one of them, Buenos Aires won’t leave you disappointed since it’s home to one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world—El Ateneo Grand Splendid.

This splendid bookstore is housed in a classic building that once served as an ornate theater. It opened its doors to visitors in 1919 and had a seating capacity of over 1,000, but its time as a theater was short-lived and the future had something else in store for this magnificent space.

In 2000, Grupo Ilhsa leased the former theater with a clear vision in mind—transforming it into the flagship location of their bookstore chain. To make the whole thing better, they weren’t planning to change the original design. Many of the architectural details, including the beautiful ceiling, crimson curtains, and vintage carvings, still remain intact while former theatre boxes are now filled with bookshelves.

Both The Guardian and National Geographic called El Ateneo Grand Splendid one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores and that alone makes it worth the visit.

You can check it out and buy some books to take home with you every day. The store is open between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.