There is no shortage of things to do in Ushuaia. Your trip will most likely include big activities like taking the End of the World Train to Tierra del Fuego National Park, cruising through the Beagle Channel, or visiting the penguins on Martillo Island. But what happens when your tours are over, when the weather turns bad, or you have to spend a few days while you wait for your ship to Antarctica? There are a number of things to do in the picturesque city of Ushuaia to keep you entertained.
1. Get your passport stamped
If you’re heading all the way to the End of the World, what better way to prove it than with a stamp in your passport? Stop off at Ushuaia’s Tourist Information Office by the Tourist Pier, and get a “fin de mundo” stamp in your passport. Alternatively, if you’re heading into Tierra del Fuego National Park, visit the southernmost Post Office in the world and get your stamp there. You do need to pay for this one, but it’s well worth the price for the bragging rights. This is also a great place to send a postcard to your family and friends back home.
2. Meander around the Museums
This part of Argentina, cut off from the mainland, has an interesting history as a penal colony, which is worth delving into at one of Ushuaia’s museums. The one must-see museum is the old jail, or presidio. This is where Argentina’s most dangerous prisoners and political prisoners were sent from Buenos Aires, far out of sight. They played a big role in the development of this area, for example, building the Southern Fuegian Railway, or the Train at the End of the World.
Today the old prison is the Maritime Museum. The other crucial part of Ushuaia’s history has been its naval history, and this museum explores the area from point of view of the seafarers. Within the building, there is also an art gallery, the prison museum and an antarctic museum. Ushuaia’s Maritime Museum is an intriguing place with a lot of history, and if you make it to only one museum, it should be this one.
Of course, Tierra del Fuego has had a number of other inhabitants. Visit the End of the World Museum to learn about the area’s natural and indigenous history. Or find the building with intriguing bodies decorating it, the gallery of Pequeña Historia Fueguina (the small Fuegian history). This museum, Ushuaia’s answer to Madame Tussauds, is an ode to Tierra del Fuego’s inhabitants, from the indigenous population, to Darwin, and the prisoners. It’s an entertaining and educational place to spend an afternoon.
3. Shop ’til you drop
Looking for interesting souvenirs from your trip to the southern tip of Argentina? There are plenty of options in Ushuaia. The city has even recently opened its first proper shopping mall, Paseo del Fuego, an indicator of how much the city is growing. If you need to do a spot of shopping, are seeking a warm refuge or looking for some rainy day entertainment, the mall and its cinema provides you with more options of things to do in Ushuaia.
Alternatively, head to Ushuaia’s main shopping strip: San Martin Avenue. Here you can find everything you need, including clothing and equipment to buy or hire. Here you’ll also find Atlantico Sur Duty Free Shop.
Boutique del Libro has a great selection of books and travel guides on this area, with English copies as well. And since the rich literature about Patagonia is the reason it has captured so many imaginations, what better place to pick up a book on the area?
If you want a more personal gift, pick up some locally crafted handicrafts at the Artisan fair with takes place near the docks.
4. Casino Entertainment
If you want to escape the cold, or are looking for some entertainment after a day of sightseeing, Ushuaia has a number of casinos to keep locals and tourists entertained indoors.
Casino Club Ushuaia, the casino at the End of the World, is a modern establishment with plenty of usual games on offer, plus shows at night.
5. Ushuaia’s Nightlife
While the casino remains a good option at night, if you’re looking for a cosy bar or a nightclub to dance the night away, head back to the trusty San Martin Avenue, where you’ll find a number of great options.
– The Galway – proof that you can find an Irish bar just about everywhere, this one holds the accolade of being the world’s southernmost Irish bar.
– Bar Ideal – the oldest bar in the city, at 60 years old, this is a classic establishment, and a good place to grab a hearty dinner.
– El Nautico Disco Pub – a great night club with a great atmosphere and music, this is the place to party into the wee hours in Ushuaia.
– Milongo del Fin del Mundo – tango is not just in Buenos Aires. It doesn’t get more unique than learning to tango at the End of the World!
6. Enjoy a Hot Chocolate
Is there anything better when it’s cold out (and it is usually cold this far south, with the icy Antarctic wind blowing in) then a steaming mug of hot chocolate? You can find plenty of chocolate shops around town, and many places offer divine hot chocolate. As usual, San Martin Avenue should be your go to. Visit Chocolate Artesanal for its many delicious chocolatey treats.
If you’re looking for things to do in Ushuaia when the weather is bad or you have some time in the city, then there are a number of options and activities. While it may not be the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires, the gorgeous surroundings, in every direction, will give you plenty to look at and take photos of, wherever you are in town.
Heading to Ushuaia at the end of the year? Take advantage of our special offer in Ushuaia and El Calafate and Spend the End of the Year at the End of the World!