Tradition in Bariloche: The Civic Center

The Civic Center is a classic tour in San Carlos de Bariloche and a natural viewpoint towards the vastness of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Both represent the best-known face of the city.

Some people say that if you have not walked around the Civic Center square you have not been to Bariloche. They compare it to not eating its famous chocolate or failing to face windy Lake Nahuel Huapi.

Its main attraction is the majestic U-shaped 70-year-old architectural set. The buildings remain intact and their greenish stone makes contrast with the wooden details on doors, windows and balconies: impressive to the tourist eye.

They have housed local municipal offices, the Río Negro Provincial Police, the National Parks Administration, Customs and Sarmiento Library for ever.

  • National Historical Monument

    National Historical Monument

  • The citizens of Bariloche feel really proud

    The citizens of Bariloche feel really proud

  • The main buildings are well-lit

    The main buildings are well-lit

  • The classic Saint Bernard dogs

    The classic Saint Bernard dogs

We walked around the small square paved in slates worn out not only by the passing of tourists but also by the rain, the frost and the snow, typical of this area. Gral. Julio A. Roca’s monument shares this space with the classic Saint Bernard dogs whose silhouettes are offered in photographic souvenirs.

As we sat on one of the wooden benches to appreciate the set, one of the “doggies” came to us wearing a long sad face and showing off a small wooden barrel tied around its neck. They are famous mountain rescuers. We stroked him and he lay to our feet as he became our new friend.

Photos? One Photo with Olaf and his Pups?

Trying no to move so that we would not bother him, we observed the details we had not detected yet. The Town Hall building featured a tower with a couple of clocks ornamented with a transparent sphere and Roman numbers. Its bell tolls every half hour. The municipal gallery shelters the access to the Tourist Office, an unavoidable sight when reaching the city.

Below the National Parks Administration building, two huge arches let vehicles through onto Mitre Street, the main commercial artery in downtown Bariloche. Behind, gardens with trees and ornamental plants complete the set and provide a perfect closure to the area.

We were marveled to hear that the Civic Center is not a monument isolated from the rest. We must thank the team of visionaries who back in 1930 struggled for an excellent tourist destination in Bariloche. Dr. Exequiel Bustillo, as president of the National Parks Administration, encouraged a project that integrated the Civic Center with the construction of a five-star hotel: the Llao Llao. In addition to this, a 25-kilometer-long road would join both urban settlements.

We went down the stairs that lead to the waterfront and the wharf. From that spot, the view of the whole set of buildings featuring Central European architecture was impressive. Likewise, the view of the lake with the buildings at Port San Carlos in the foreground provided hierarchy to the place.

Situated in a strategic location in town, the Civic Center is a mandatory stop for those who use the waterfront or reach this area following either Bustillo or De los Pioneros Avenue.

As we bade farewell to the Civic Center, we noticed that the use of local materials was the start San Carlos de Bariloche needed to provide the same style to the rest of the traditional constructions.

Autor Mónica Pons Fotografo Eduardo Epifanio

Bear in mindBear in mind: The square is quite busy during the day; at night, the main buildings are well-lit and display solidity through the light arrangements.
If you come along by car, it is convenient to park somewhere in the waterfront area. Parking is not allowed in the Civic Center inner streets.
The Culture Office offers cultural topics and exhibition rooms free of charge.

A reasonable price is charged to access Dr. Francisco P. Moreno Museum of Patagonia.


Activities and tours in San Carlos de Bariloche

Hotels and accommodations in San Carlos de Bariloche

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