Travel and Tourism in Santiago de ChileThis Santiago de Chile travel guide includes the most important places to visit during your stay in this city. Tourism in Santiago de Chile offers several alternatives, and we have a great variety of tours, for you to visit places like Santiago Main Square, the Presidential Palace, and the Fine Arts Museum, amongst others. If you ever wondered what to do in Santiago, this is the place to look at:
- Plaza de Armas (Main Square): this is the square around which the city was founded. It is surrounded by the city Cathedral (1748-1775), the Central Post Office (1882) , the Ex Palacio de la Real Audiencia (current National History Museum) (1807), the ex Real Casa de Aduanas (current Pre-Columbian Museum) (1807), the Court Palace (1929), and the ex Congress (1876), all of which are national Monuments.
- Palacio de La Moneda(Presidential Palace) (1784-1785): located in Santiago city center, it is surrounded by two squares: de la Constitución and Libertad. In front of it you will see the monument to Bernardo O'Higgins. Just one block away, Bandera street is one of the city's most important financial centers. There you can find the Club de la Unión, the stock market, and the headquarters of the majority of the Chilean banks.
- San Francisco Church: a catholic temple and a historical monument. It dates back to the colonial age, and it was built between 1575 and 1895, being the oldest architectural landmark in Chile. Its old Franciscan convent is now a museum, with religious and popular art relics.
- Museo Histórico Nacional (National History Museum): Located on the north side of Plaza de Armas, the building was founded in 1808 to work as the Palacio de la Real Audiencia (Justice Court) during the last years of the Spanish colony. After Chile's independence, it was used as a presidential palace, but in 1981 it became the National History Museum, which had been operating since 1911 but never with a stable location. The objective of this Museum is to recreate Chile's history through objects, models, and documents of various different ages. The building, a national monument since 1969, is open from Tuesdays to Sundays between 10:00 and 17:30.
- Museo de Historia Natural (Natural History Museum): located in the Quinta Normal Park, on the corner of the streets Matucana and Catedral, this building was built in 1875 to house the institution founded by the naturalist Claudio Gay. Even thogugh it was destroyed during the earthquake of 1927, after its remodellation it has been operating uninterruptedly to show the Chilean flora and fauna with 16 permanent exhibitions, and several temporary activities. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays betweent 10:00 and 17:30.
- Pre-Columbian Art Museum: It features 3.000 different pieces that portray the history of the American man, with pottery works and ancient weaves. It has a store selling reproductions of objects, jewelry, and fabrics. (361, Bandera St.)
- Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum): Located next to Mapocho River, it was declared a typical area in 1997. It construction started at the beginning of the 20th century, following the model of the European parks of that epoch. Through its West access you can get to the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC). Apart from itinerant exhibitions, the Fine Arts Museum has a permanent exhibition of Chilean paintings. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays betweent 10:00 and 18:45.
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo MAC (Contemporary Art Museum): MAC is located in Parque Forestal, in Santiago, and it is run by Universidad de Chile. Its collection features over 2.000 works, featuring sculptures, paintings, and installations, which give you a glance on contemporary art. There are different exhibitions displaying the most modern tendencies in art. It is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 11:00 to 19:00, and on Sundays from 11:00 to 18:00. There is also an office at Parque Quinta Normal.
- Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM): It is the most modern museum in South America, and its innovative approach involves the visitor's experience by touching, feeling, and using their imagination actively. Its covers topics of mechanics, energy, water, light, earth, life, electromagnetism, art, history, and society. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday (90, Sebastopol st, Parque Brasil, La Granja).
- Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda: located beneath Plaza de la Ciudadanía, in front of the south side of “La Moneda”, the CCPLM offers high quality artist and patrimonial displays, as well as audiovisual material related to our country. (26, Plaza de la ciudadanía, Santiago Centro).
- Museo de la Memoria: It is a space destined to make visible and remember the violations to the human rights committed by the Chilean government between 1973 and 1990. (501 Matucana, Metro Quinta Normal, Santiago).
- Museo de Artes Visuales: this place promotes the preservation, development and diffusion of contemporary and pre-Columbian Chilean art. (307, Jose Victorino Lastarria, Santiago).
- Museo de la Moda (Fashion Museum): its objective is to preserve and spread the importance of fashion, fabrics, clothing, accessories and architecture, such as patrimonial objects that represent a determined culture (4562 Vitacura Ave, Vitacura).
- Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM): GAM center is a meeting place for audiences and creators, specialized in stage and musical arts. It has rooms to rehearsal rooms and theaters for musicians, actors, and dancers, and rooms to hold seminars, visual arts displays, a recording studio, and a library. (227 Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins Ave).
You can check a databaste with the Chilean museums in www.basemusa.cl
Libraries, theaters, galleries, and others
- Biblioteca Nacional (National Library): It is one of the largest libraries in South America. Its majestic, French style building was constructed between 1913 and 1924. It was declared a National Monument in 1976.
- Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theater): Built between 1853 and 1857, it offers shows for opera lovers, concerts, or ballet. The most active season takes place between April and November, with guided tours which you can book calling at 369-0282. It was named a declared a National Monument in 1974.
- Barrio Italia (Italy neighborhood): To learn about Chilean design and visit antique shops.
- Art galleries: Most of them are located in the district of Las Condes, but you can also find some in hotels like Marriott or in the district of Providencia. In them you can find several exhibitions of national and international artists. An important art centre is Centro de Extensión de la Universidad Católica, located in the university itself.
- Los Dominicos: In the end of Apoquindo Avenue you can find the Graneros del Alba crafts centre, which is commonly known as Pueblito de Los Dominicos. In its 180 workshops you can buy beautiful handicrafts. It also has a botanical garden, and antique shops.
Santiago has a large amount of green areas distributed amongst Santiago's districts. The most popular are:
- Quinta Normal: A park with a lagoon and boats, ideal for a family day. In in you can visit the Natural History Museum and its exhibitions, the Museo Ferroviario (rail museum) with 14 old locomotives, and the interactive Artequin Museum.
- Parque Forestal: it is a vast green area starting at Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho, then passing by the Central Market (1872), which has traditional Chilean cuisine restaurants. Further down the park you will find mplaces like the Museo de Arte Moderno, Museo de Bellas Artes, and the beautiful Fuente Alemana.
- Cerro Santa Lucía (Santa Lucía Hill): it is a green lung located in the city centre. It was named by Pedro de Valdivia in 1543. It is a good spot for family trips, and in its top you can find the Castillo Hidalgo Castle, now an events center.
- Cerro San Cristóbal (San Cristóbal Hill): located next to the Santiago Zoo, the hill has a cable car which boasting an impressive view of the city from the heights. In its peak you will find a big statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción, which is visible frmo nearly every corner of the city.
- Parque O'Higgins: Once named Parque Cousiño, it is located in Santiago city center, next to the metro station bearing the same name. It has green areas, lagoons, sport facilities, as well as Chile's largest amusement park: Fantasilandia. Also, within the park there is the Movistar Arena, a multipurpose stadium that holds hundreds of concerts and activities a year. Near this park you will also find the Club Hípico, where horse races are held.
- Parque Alberto Hurtado(Ex Parque Intercomunal de La Reina): It is located on the east side of the city, along Francisco Bilbao ave. It was built in the eighties as a recreational center where to enjoy picnics, barbecues, sports, and outdoor activities. Amongs its facilities you can find soccer fields, mini golf, children's playground, an amphitheater, a lagoon, cycle paths, and more.
- Parque Balmaceda: It is located in Providencia, along the bank of Mapocho river. It starts in Baquedazo square and ends in Torres de Tajamar, being the natural continuation of Parque Forestal towards the east. Named after the president José Manuel Balmaceda, some of its facilities are the Café Literario, the museum of Tajamares del Mapocho, and the Aviation Square with its beautiful fountain which lits up at night.
- Parque Bustamante: It is born next to Baquedano metro station, next to Plaza Italia, and it goes along General Bustamante street, heading south until Marín st. It has a Literary Café, a skate park, and also features several bars and cafés.
To go out at night and enjoy a drink:
- Barrio Bellavista: a bohemian and artistic neighborhood by nature, it was created in the 1920 as a residential area. Currently, it has not only pubs and discotheques, but also theaters, art galleries, handicraft shops, and a great variety of international cuisine restaurants. Some famous places are Patio Bellavista and "La Chascona", one of the houses of the literature Nobel Prize, Pablo Neruda.
- Plaza Ñuñoa: A traditional place in the district of Ñuñoa, with a bar circuit, restaurants, culture centers, such as Teatro de la Universidad Católica and La Batuta, where you can go see live bands, and la Fuente Suiza.
- Barrio Brasil: Along with the neighborhoods Dieciocho, Concha y Toro, Yungay, and República, this was an upper class neighborhood in the XIXth century, with buildings featuring neo-gothic and neo-classical architecture. The high classes migrated towards the eastern side of the city, but many of these buildings have been restored and turned into bars, cafés, and culture centers.
- Barrio Lastarria: it is located around Veracruz church (Historical monument), next to Santa Lucía Hill, and it is famous for being a bohemian, intellectual neighborhood, with several cafés, bars, restaurants, and design shops. In its surroundings you can also find the Museo de Artes Visuales, El Biógrafo cinema, and the famous house in Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro, built in the early XIXth century.