It is a hop, skip, and a jump (an hour) to the Old-World city of Montevideo with its European ambience, incredible architecture, botanical gardens, parks, and grand tradition in the arts, theater, and opera.
According to legend, the name of the capital came from a ship-hand onboard the Magellan voyage that discovered the area. That ship-hand said "Monte Vide eu! (I can see a hill!), referring to what is known today as the Cerro of Montevideo on the far side of the bay across from Ciudad Vieja.
From those humble beginnings, Montevideo has evolved into a world-class city of great cultural and historical significance. Ciudad Vieja is the heart of the old colonial city where numerous historical sites and architectural styles, from the colonial period, to early twentieth century Art Deco, can be seen.
The recently restored 150-year-old Teatro Solís offers both local and international theater, symphony, and opera performances year round. In addition to the Teatro Solís, there are dozens of other theater venues distributed throughout the city, from the traditional to the avant-garde.
Like Buenos Aires, Tango is the traditional passion of the city, and there are several places to see top professional bailarines, and others where the local aficionados like to dance. Try Fun Fun or El Farolito.
Montevideo is a beach town. Although officially on the Rio de Plata, the locals refer to it as the sea. There are several beautiful beaches, and a boardwalk that stretches from one end of the city to the other. On most days one will find the Montevideanos outdoors enjoying the sun, sea, and sports like sailing, kite surfing, rugby, and of course football (soccer).
Each part of the city offers its own charm and ambience. Ciudad Vieja and El Centro offer the historical and traditional, while Pocitos and Carrasco provide fine cuisine, chic nightclubs, and shopping.
There is something for everyone in Montevideo.