Santiago, the Chilean capital, is filled with culture, lights, good food, panoramic views, parks, museums and countless incredible places to visit. It is sure to surprise you with its varied barrios (quarters), hidden corners and traditional icons, which invite you to discover the history and the architecture of these districts – often not shown on the map but sure to enchant you. So, put on your walking shoes and go out to explore the most interesting corners of Santiago.
But which of Santiago’s barrios should you visit?
Barrio Bellavista: Bellavista lies between Cerro San Cristóbal and the Mapocho river. By day there is a wealth of art to see, and at night it is a focus of partying and Bohemian nightlife. Here you will find the houses of various intellectuals and artists who lived in the capital, such as the famous “La Chascona”, once the home of Nobel poet Pablo Neruda and now a museum. On the weekend you can go “window-shopping” at the Pío Nono street-market, and then rest or have lunch in one of the restaurants of Patio Bellavista. The district also gives access to Cerro San Cristóbal, with a cable-car to take you to the top. Another “must see” is the impressive view of the Andes from Mirador Cordillera, located in “El Hundimiento”, a sector of Santiago’s Metropolitan Park. The viewpoint has a 3D Marca Chile logo – take a selfie with one of the best panoramic views from Cerro Cristóbal!
Barrio Lastarria: This is a historic barrio in downtown Santiago, full of tourist attractions and offering a variety of cultural activities, festivals and artistic shows. Lastarria is full of life, energy and architectural interest. Visit El Biógrafo, a small cinema that opened in 1987, with red velvet seats that take you back to the middle of the last century. Visit the Visual Arts Museum, which contains a private collection of contemporary art, and then go and have a cup of coffee in one of the many small bars in Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro. Lastarria street is full of restaurants with varying styles and prices, an ideal place to have lunch or dinner. Don’t miss the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center, an urban focus which puts on exhibitions, concerts and plays. On weekends it attracts skateboarders and street dancers.
Santiago Center: The center of Santiago contains countless historical corners and buildings to explore. Museums, the Central Market, the Plaza de Armas (Main Square), the Cathedral, Cerro Santa Lucía and many more. For those who like to eat well and are keen to try delicious new flavors, textures and typical Chilean food, we recommend a visit to La Vega, one of the best markets in the world. You can visit the Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art, the Fine Arts Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum. La Moneda Cultural Center, located in front of the south facade of La Moneda Palace, offers exhibitions, activities, workshops and a cinematic center where both old and modern Chilean films are shown. Don’t miss the Santiago Municipal Theater, built in 1873, which is the principal theater for opera, ballet and symphonic concerts in the city.
Barrio Yungay: A very old barrio in Santiago. It is known for the Plaza Yungay with its homage to the Roto Chileno, a character inspired by Chileans who fought in the Battle of Yungay in 1839. The barrio contains theaters, museums, churches, art studios, cafés, libraries and many other corners full of history and culture. Don’t miss Los Capuchinos church, built between 1853 and 1861 to the Florentine design of Eusebio Chelli. The generous and varied selection of cultural sites includes the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the Museum of Sound and the Workshop Museum. A classic place to eat is La Peluquería Francesa.
Barrio Brasil: With more than 100 years of history, this corner of Santiago, full of fine houses, cobbled streets and ancient trees, is a treasure-trove of Santiago’s heritage. The predominant architectural styles are neoclassical, neogothic and art nouveau. Visit the iconic Plaza Brasil, full of multi-colored sculptures; and two blocks away the Basílica del Salvador, a catholic church dating from 1932. Enjoy the rich culture and nightlife that fills San Pablo, Brasil and Cumming streets, as well as the Alameda, in the heart of the capital.
Barrio Huemul: A barrio full of history, built as a model district in 1910. On your visit you can see the typical houses, the Savings Bank branch office and the Huemul Theater. The theater is like a miniature of the Municipal Theater, with 200 seats. You can also see the house where poet Gabriela Mistral lived in 1922. Another interesting building is the Santa Lucrecia parish church, with its beautiful architecture and fountain. In 2016, Barrio Huemul was declared a Typical Zone, and the theater a National Monument. The houses still have their charming original facades, which will take you back to the early 20th century.
Barrio El Golf: In this eclectic barrio, also known as Santiago’s financial and business district, you will find offices and stores rubbing shoulders with family life. The backbone of the district is Avenida Isidora Goyenechea, full of restaurants, coffee shops, hotels and luxury clothing and fashion stores. The avenue ends in a park graced by the church of Nuestra Señora de Los Ángeles. On Sundays, you can visit stalls selling antiques in Plaza Perú. The cultural highlights are the Las Condes Interactive Museum and the Las Condes Municipal Theater.
Barrio Italia: If you are looking for antiques, the first place that comes to mind is the famous Barrio Italia. Here you will find furniture restoration workshops and antique shops alongside designer stores, bookshops, shoe shops, plants and home decoration, not to mention one of the best selections of restaurants in the city. On weekends, all the terraces of Italia street are filled with families and groups of friends.
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