What to do in Santiago de Chile
Santiago de Chile, or just Santiago, is the capital of Chile. Political and financial hub of the country, it’s also the most populated city with a little over 6 million inhabitants, which is about a third of the country’s population.
The international airport and a nearby border with the neighbouring country of Argentina make Santiago an ideal starting point for the majority of international travelers. Plenty of visitors sadly skipped this city before, which is a big mistake! Santiago has a lot to offer, besides being a hot spot to start your trip around Chile (for example, if you want to know how to get to Valparaiso, you can check it here). But wait! Don’t forget to dedicate a few days to this amazing city, starting with…
Plaza de Armas / Catedral Metropolitana
Ideal starting point to get to know the historical city centre of Santiago. You’ll be pretty close to many landmarks, like the Metropolitan Cathedral, the National Congress, the Post Office, the National Historic Museum.
Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral and admire its beautiful neoclassic style, finished right at the end of the 18th century.
Mint Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)
Located in the Constitution Square, this is today the Presidential Palace. There are free tours available inside, that can be arranged via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In 1973, the president Salvador Allende committed suicide in the context of the coup that brought the country into Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. If you’re not interested in going in, it’s still a beautiful area to walk by. The changing of the guard ceremony happens every 48 hours at 10am, 11am on weekends.
San Cristobal Hill
This hill has plenty of activities and landmarks, like the Virgin Mary statue, the National Zoo, two swimming pools that open during the summer, and multiple observation decks.
To get to the top of this hill you get to ride a funicular, or if you dare, walking or cycling (might take a bit less than an hour by foot). There’s also a car access. The prize at the top? An astounding view of Santiago with the Andes in the background.
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
An impressive museum showing the period when Augusto Pinochet ruled the country (1973-1990). Vital to learn about the human rights violations in the country and what the Chilean people went through in this dark period of their history. Files, photographs, testimonies, objects from those times, there’s a lot to see. Being a museum with free access, there are audioguides available in different languages well worth their price!
Santa Lucia Hill
Is a smaller hill, but it still has a lot to offer.
Among the landmarks you’ll find you have the Neptuno Fountain , the Japanese Garden and the Hidalgo Castle.
It’s not a very long hike, but it gets quite steep. It’s still manageable and due to the small size, it’s easy to move around without getting lost.
Museum of Fine Arts / Forest Park (Museo de Bellas Artes / Parque Forestal)
The Museum of Fine Arts of Santiago is located in a building that was designed to celebrate the centennial of the Chilean independence (1810-1910), so the building itself is already impressive. This is one of the museums in the city that you can access for free, and it’s located in the middle of the Forest Park (Parque Forestal), with beautiful scenery to enjoy alongside the Mapocho River. Take a step back from your rushed holiday schedule and enjoy a quiet stroll around it.
Markets of Santiago
Wine, pisco sour, seafood, local fruits and vegetables, pure Chilean vibe. That’s what you’ll get to experience and sometimes in beautiful landmark buildings. Visiting the markets around Santiago is one of the typical activities, find out a bit more here. And remember, plenty of the markets we selected are quite close to these main activities, so it’s ideal to combine them in your itinerary.
Pre-Columbian Chilean Art Museum
The permanent collection features pieces from different pre-Hispanic American cultures, organized by region. You’ll see paintings, sculptures, everyday objects, clothing, all showing a comprehensive approach to these cultures.
Wine in Chile has experienced an amazing growth in the past couple of decades, and the quality of the Chilean wineries is recognized worldwide, particularly the ones from the Central Valley area, where Santiago is. Different companies offer a wide variety of tours and possibilities.
The Great Tower of Santiago – Observation Deck Sky Costanera
This skyscraper is part of the Costanera Centre Project. With 300m (almost 1000 feet), the design belongs to Argentine architect, Cesar Pelli (maybe you remember him because of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). Is one of the tallest buildings in Latin America, and will give you a full view of Santiago City from the 61st and 62nd floors.
Map of Atractions