Explore Santiago on Your Terms
Chile’s bustling capital has a lot to offer visitors – markets, museums, cultural centers, lovely parks, and delicious restaurants. You can start your exploration in the Plaza de Armas, often considered the historical center of Santiago. This square is surrounded by historical buildings, including the Central Post Office, Royal Court Palace, and the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral. Here, people gather to relax, painters come to sell their works, all enjoying the lovely plaza.
For a bit of a hike and a fantastic view, you can visit the Cerro San Cristóbal, which sits in the middle of the city. Here you will find the National Zoo, a Japanese-style garden, and at the top, a 22 meter statue of the Virgin Mary, from where you will get the best panoramic view of the city.
As any capital should, Santiago also have a plethora of fantastic museums to visit – you can start with the Museo de Arte Pre-Colombiano (Museum of Pre-Colombian Art), which has an invaluable collection of art, including pottery, sculptures, monuments, and more, bringing to life a long lost world and cultures from all over the land now called Chile. You can then visit the Museo de la Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art/Museum of Contemporary Art). This museum brings the best of not only Chilean art, but art from all over South America. This museum is the oldest gallery in South America, first established in 1880.
Then when you are ready to do a bit of shopping, you can explore some of Santiago’s colorful street markets, the most famous being Los Domínicos and Santa Lucía, which are full of traditional arts and handicrafts. While they are kind of aimed at tourists, you can still find a wealth of authentic tradition and folkloric culture.
When coming to Chile, the vibrant capital of Santiago is a great place to start your Chilean adventure, before you head to the wilds of Patagonia, lush vineyards, or stark Atacama Desert.