A bustling city of wide, leafy avenues, atmospheric plazas and cosmopolitan cafes, Mendoza is a trap. Even if you’ve (foolishly) only given it a day or two on your itinerary, you’re bound to end up hanging around, captivated by the laid-back pace while surrounded by every possible comfort.
Ostensibly it’s a desert town, though you wouldn’t know unless you were told – acequias (irrigation ditches) that run beside every main road and glorious fountains that adorn every main plaza mean you’ll never be far from the burble of running water.
Lively during the day, the city really comes into its own at night, when the bars, restaurants and cafes along Av Arístides fill up and overflow onto the sidewalks with all the bright young things, out to see and be seen.
All over the country (and in much of the world), the name Mendoza is synonymous with wine, and this is the place to base yourself if you’re up for touring the vineyards, taking a few dozen bottles home or just looking for a good vintage to accompany the evening’s pizza.
The city’s wide range of tour operators also makes it a great place to organize rafting, skiing and other adventures in the nearby Andes.
Strictly speaking, the provincial capital proper is a relatively small area with a population of only about 120,000, but the inclusion of the departments of Las Heras, Guaymallén and Godoy Cruz, along with nearby Maipú and Luján de Cuyo, swells the population of Gran Mendoza (Greater Mendoza) to nearly one million.
The city’s five central plazas are arranged like the five-roll on a die, with Plaza Independencia in the middle and four smaller plazas lying two blocks from each of its corners. Be sure to see the beautifully tiled Plaza España.
Av San Martín is the main thoroughfare, crossing the city from north to south, and Av Las Heras is the principal commercial street.
A good place to orient yourself is the Terraza Mirador, which is the rooftop terrace at City Hall, offering panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.
Best places to stay in Mendoza
10 most beautiful places in the world to wake up in
Even if you’re not a morning person, opening your eyes in a fresh destination is guaranteed to give an extra kick to your spirits. And when you’re surrounded by lotus ponds, mountain-filled horizons, a symphony of fountains, or views of minarets, the sound of the alarm clock is the sweetest thing you’ll ever hear.
Mendoza destination guides
Deluxe Mendoza Half-Day Wine Tasting Tour
Argentina produces world-renowned wines, so don’t miss this chance to escape the city for the day on a wine-tasting tour. Travel through the beautiful Argentine wine country to some of the most prestigious wineries in the Mendoza area. Visit two wineries, and learn about Argentina’s rich wine-growing culture and the many varieties of world-class wine produced in the area.
Active Chile & Argentina
Striking the perfect balance between active outdoor adventure and lively nights out on the town, this 11-day sojourn between Santiago and Buenos Aires has a little (okay—a lot) for everyone. Thrillseekers will love hiking the Chilean Andes, biking between Argentina’s wineries and exploring the mountains of Tucumán on foot.