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Top Things To Do in Santiago

By: Cityseeker
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Perched at the foot of the Andes, Santiago thrives as a modern city with traditional roots. Its skyscrapers and telecommunications networks attest to this, but to get to know it fully one must explore its charming neighborhoods that brim with culture and heritage.

La Chascona

This spectacular home was the residence of Pablo Neruda, the acclaimed Chilean poet who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. The home has its unique style, in great part designed by the poet himself and can be found at the bottom of San Cristóbal Hill. It was built in 1955 by Pablo and his wife, Matilde. There is a beautiful library filled with a vast collection of books, paintings and other objects belonging to Neruda.

0192 Fernando Márquez de la Plata, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

This informative museum was installed in the Real Aduana building, which was built in 1805 and 1807. Now it hosts important traveling exhibitions that bring in a large number of visitors. Permanent exhibits include valuable ceramics, paintings, sculptures and significant pre-Columbian textiles, from Mexico to Chile. Guided tours are available on request.

361 Bandera, Santiago, Chile, 8320298
Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago

A monument emanating resplendent beauty and displaying an awe-inspiring visage, the Catedral de Santiago is a regal structure which is an important landmark of Santiago. The construction of the religious edifice spanned quite a few decades, right from the mid-1500s to the late 19th century. Though the building sustained damage during the numerous earthquakes in Santiago, the cathedral has stood its ground, quite literally! The existing building was refurbished and reconstructed by Joaquín Toesca in the baroque and classical styles, with two elegant towers flanking the central nave. The interior is a splendid blend of towering gilded columns and intricately crafted tiles, with ornate frescoes adorning the vaulted ceilings. Magnificent stone beams were discovered in the confines of the church in recent years and the tomb of the first Chilean Cardinal, José María Caro, is located here.

Plaza de Armas, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Museum of Memory and Human Rights

The Museo de la Memoria was opened in 2010 to give an account of the human rights violations of the Chilean people between 1973–1990. It intends to raise awareness and to promote reflection and discussion on these events. It holds a permanent collection of archives and objects meant to teach the history of the country under Pinochet. There is also space reserved for temporary exhibits to deepen understanding of the magnitude of these events.

501 Avenida Matucana, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Costanera Center

With its towering skyscrapers and glittering glass facades, the Costanera Center stands in stark contrast to its surroundings. The sprawling complex encompasses a shopping mall, several restaurants, two hotels, luxury apartments and office spaces. The Gran Torre Santiago, at the Costanera Center, boasts of a height that is unmatched by any other building in all of Latin America. The center is also home to one of South America's largest shopping malls. From high-end flagship stores and fine-dining restaurants to casual eateries, gyms and cinemas, at the Costanera Center, there is no dearth of entertainment and wonder. Visitors can spend a day at the center, admiring the panoramic views of the city as well as the mountainous scenery that unfolds beyond the fringes.

2425 Avenida Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Barrio Bellavista

This interesting bohemian neighborhood was once known as part of the Barrio de la Chimba, which in the Quechua language means 'the other side of the river'. This area has a romantic and picturesque quality that attracts locals, artists and tourists alike, making it a happening night spot with many cultural activities, art galleries, theaters, restaurants and dance halls. Pablo Neruda's residence La Chascona can be found in this neighborhood. It is highly recommended during the day for jewelry shopping; the jewelry is made using lapis lazuli, a semiprecious stone that can be found in countries like Chile and Afghanistan.

Antonia López de Bello, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Santa Lucía Hill

Located in the heart of Santiago, Cerro Santa Lucia is a large hillside that has been transformed into a beautiful and alluring park and outdoor space. Tourists visiting the picturesque attraction can immerse themselves in Chilean history as they stroll through the lush gardens adorning the former military lookout point. They can also admire the intricate architecture of the park's buildings and fountains, with the vantage points providing a panoramic view of the city upon reaching the summit of the hill. Ascending the carved stairwells and staircases is an invigorating experience and visitors are exposed to the stories embedded in every nook and cranny of the structure.

Santa Lucía Street, Santiago, Chile
La Moneda Palace

A stately-looking building, the Palacio de La Moneda represents the official seat of the Chilean government. Dating back to 1805 and credited to Joaquin Toesca y Ricci, it was originally the National Mint, hence its name: the Coin Palace. The architecture of the sprawling building is distinctly reminiscent of the neoclassical style, with spires adorning the balconies and gilded windows embedded into the schematics. From 1845 onward, it was transformed into the presidential residence and government headquarters. After its destruction on September 11, 1973, the palace had to be extensively rebuilt and refurbished during the first years of the military dictatorship. Following one of the first decrees of the present Head of State, President Ricardo Lagos Escobar, the courtyards of the palace were once more opened up to public access. The measure has been warmly received by the local populace, who pass through the building, and toss coins into the ornate fountain in the Orange Grove Patio.

Moneda, Centro, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
Plaza de Armas

A remnant of time and history which constitutes the center of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas is a beautiful area that traces back to Pedro de Valdivia and the year 1541. In that era, there existed a protected region in the middle for guarding the arms. Its name was taken from the military and has been called that ever since. All distances in the country are measured from this spot today. The beautiful surroundings of the park convey the history of the country, represented by important buildings such as the Real Audiencia and the Home of the Governors of Chile. The architecture is reminiscent of old Spanish styles, and the city's cathedral is located on one of the sides. Also, the equestrian statue of Pedro de Valdivia, founder of Santiago, is situated here.

Plaza de Armas, Centro, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
San Cristobal Hill

Hiking their way to the top of San Cristobal Hill or catching the Bellavista funicular to its peak, are two of the options available to tourists who wish to revel in breathtaking views of the city and the Andes in the distance. Part of the metropolitan park of Santiago, the hill has long been a source of wonder. The Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception is situated at the top, with its iconic statue of the Virgin Mary and its open-air amphitheater. The statue watches over the city from atop this perch and is bathed in colorful lights during the night. On and around the San Cristobal Hill, visitors are met with the chance to explore several attractions including the Chilean National Zoo, two swimming pools and a botanical garden. Whether tourists choose to work their way to the top or simply catch a ride, the panoramic vistas and beautiful sights that await them at the top are well worth the effort.

Avenida Pedro Bannen, Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, Santiago, Chile, 8320000
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