The Commercial Appeal
Reconquista and Bartolemeo Mitre, which opened in 1856. In addition to performances you can take a guided tour, see exhibitions or get something to eat.
Uruguayans eat dinner late, as late as 11 p.m. on weekends, but you can find places ready to feed you by 8 p.m. (though it will be quiet if you’re that early). A good place in the old city is Dueto, 1386 Bartolome Mitre, which serves innovative food with a fixed price menu of around $25.
If you’re staying in the old city, a good choice is Alma Historica, 1433 Solis, a new boutique hotel in tree-shaded Plaza Zabala. A blend of modern convenience and one-of-a-kind antique furnishings, the hotel has a hot tub-equipped rooftop terrace. Rooms start at $160. For places close to the beach, look in the Pocitos and Carrasco neighborhoods.
Taxis are plentiful and an easy way of getting around. As always, ask for the rate before you get in.
The city feels relatively safe but be alert, especially at night.
The Rambla runs about 17 miles along Montevideo’s coastline. Take a stroll or A street vendor in Montevideo sells the traditional gourds and metal straws used for drinking mate (pronounced ma-TAY), a popular drink in Uruguay made by infusing the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant. rent a bike to explore the wide sandy beaches.
Walking around the old city is the best way to take in the city’s mix of architecture; the pedestrian thoroughfare, Peatonal Sarandi, is the main drag and will take you past art galleries, shops and street stalls. Check out the traditional calabash gourds and metal straws used to imbibe yerba mate (ma-TAY). The drink is hugely popular and it’s common to see people walking with gourd in hand and a vacuum flask of hot water tucked under their arm.
On Sunday mornings you’ll find an open-air market on Tristan Narvaja and surrounding streets, starting near Avenida 18 de Julio.
Places near Montevideo worth a visit include the Atlantic resorts of Punte del Este and the somewhat quieter Jose Ignacio.
Uruguay is an emerging wine country known for tannat, a red wine. Day trips can be arranged to wineries near Montevideo and beyond. A new addition to the wine scene is Bodega Garzon, about a 2½ hour drive from the capital, which is making a reputation for whites as well as reds with a sauvignon blanc and albarino. The hilltop winery, including a 7,500-square-foot living roof, has panoramic views of surrounding vineyards and an elegant restaurant.
Nearby attractions range from balloon rides to biking to taking part in the olive harvest, usually from March to May. Worth checking out in the small town of Garzon is the Hotel and Restaurant Garzon by Francis Mallmann, one of South America’s most celebrated chefs and a master of asado.