Destination guide: Santiago, Chile

Santiago is Chile's economic and cultural heart. From the Financial District to the outlying residential areas, travelling to Santiago presents visitors with numerous possible avenues to explore.

There are many other sights to see in the city. Enjoy one of the manytours available to showcase the beauty of modern day Santiago. Afterward, enjoy a stroll through the Fine Arts Museum, or along one of the bustling streets of this lively city.

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  • Santiago - Things to do

    Sights

    Cementerio General

    More than just a graveyard, Santiago's Cementerio General is a veritable city of tombs, many adorned with works by famous local sculptors. The names above the crypts read like a who's who of Chilean history: its most tumultuous moments are attested to by Salvador Allende's tomb and the Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y del Ejecutado Político, a memorial to the 'disappeared' of Pinochet's dictatorship. To reach the memorial from the main entrance, walk down Av Lima, turning right into Horvitz for another 200m; it's over the bridge to the right.

    Latitude: -33.4161470626508 / Longitude: -70.6498897075653
    Sub-Type: Dark
    Opening Hour:8:30am-6pm
     
    Address: Av Profesor Alberto Zañartu 951 - Transportation: Underground Rail
     Telephone number: (56-2) 2737 9469 - website:www.cementeriogeneral.cl

    Cerro Santa Lucía

    Rising out of the eastern side of the Centro is Cerro Santa Lucía. It was a rocky hill until 19th-century city mayor Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna had it transformed into a beautifully landscaped park where the grassy verges are still a favorite with canoodling local couples. A web of trails and steep stone stairs leads you up through terraces to the Torre Mirador at the top. Charles Darwin proclaimed the view from here 'certainly most striking' in 1833 - the smog-and-skyscraper-filled 21st-century version may have changed a little but it's still well worth the climb. You need to sign in with your passport details when you enter.

    Latitude: -33.4403408605595 / Longitude: -70.6434416770935
    Sub-Type: Hill
    Opening Hour: 9am-7pm Mar-Sep, 9am-8pm Oct-Feb
    Extras: Entrances at cnr Alameda & Santa Lucía, & cnr Santa Lucía & Subercaseaux
    Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Santa Lucía or Bellas Artes

    La Chascona

    When poet Pablo Neruda needed a secret hideaway to spend time with his mistress Matilde Urrutia, he built La Chascona,which he named for her unruly hair. Neruda loved the sea (but disliked sailing) so the dining room is modeled on a ship's cabin and the living room on a lighthouse. Guided tours walk you through the history of the building and the collection of colored glass, shells, furniture and artworks by famous friends that fills it The Fundación Neruda, which maintains Neruda's houses, has its headquarters here and runs a swank gift shop and lovely cafe.

    Latitude: -33.4309399267278 / Longitude: -70.6349229812622
    Sub-Type: Museum
    Pricing: Admission by tour only, adult/child in Spanish CH$2500/1000, in English CH$3500
    Address: Márquez de La Plata 0192, Bellavista - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Telephone number: (56-2) 2777 8741

    Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art

    Exquisite pottery from most major pre-Colombian cultures is the backbone of Santiago's best museum, the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. As well as dozens of intricately molded anthropomorphic vessels, star exhibits include hefty Mayan stone stele and a fascinating Andean textile display. More unusual are the wooden vomit spatulas used by Amazonian shamans before taking psychoactive powders. Note that though Sunday admission is free, groups of two or more are pressed into a 'voluntary' contribution.

    Latitude: -33.4388457325278 / Longitude: -70.6522285938263
    Sub-Type: Museum
    Opening Hour: Adult/child CH$3000/free, free Sun
    Pricing: Admission by tour only, adult/child in Spanish CH$2500/1000, in English CH$3500
    Extras: Real Casa de Aduana (Royal Customs House)
    Address: Bandera # 361, Centro - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Plaza de Armas
    ATelephone number: (56-2) 2688 7348 - website:www.precolombino.cl

    Palacio Cousiño

    'Flaunt it' seems to have been the main idea behind the shockingly lavish Palacio Cousiño. It was built between 1870 and 1878 by the prominent Cousiño-Goyenechea family after they'd amassed a huge fortune from wine-making and coal and silver mining, and it's a fascinating glimpse of how Chile's 19th-century elite lived. Carrara marble columns, a half-ton Bohemian crystal chandelier, Chinese cherrywood furniture, solid gold cutlery, and the first electrical fittings in Chile are just some of the ways they found to fritter away their fortune.

    Latitude: -33.4523278118816 / Longitude: -70.6567132472992
    Sub-Type: Architectural, Cultural
    Opening Hour: 9:30am-1:30pm & 2:30-5pm Tue-Fri, 9:30am-1:30pm Sat & Sun, last tours leave an hr before closing
    Address: Dieciocho # 438 - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Toesca
    Telephone number: (56-2) 2698 5063 - website:www.palaciocousino.co.cl

    Eat

    Galindo

    Retro neon signs adorn the wood-backed bar at this long-running local favorite, which is usually packed with noisy but appreciative crowds. It's easy to see why: unlike the precious restaurants around it, Galindo's all about sizzling parrilladas (mixed grills), burgers and fries, and hearty Chilean staples washed down with freshly pulled pints.

    Latitude: -33.4430445595987 / Longitude: -70.6568741798401
    Sub-Type: Chilean
    Opening Hour: 12:30pm-2am Sun-Thu, 12:30pm-4am Fri & Sat
    Pricing: mains CH$2900-5500 - Price range: Moderate
    Address: Dardignac # 098 - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Baquedano
    ATelephone number: (56-2) 2777 0116

    Mercado Central

    Santiago's wrought-iron fish market is a classic for long lunches (or hangover-curing fish-stew breakfasts). Skip the overpriced tourist traps in the middle, and make for one of the tiny, low-key stalls around the edge, such as the cheap and friendly Pailas Denisse ([tel] 672-2926) at Local 16, where you can pick up tasty meals (CH$2500 to CH$3500)

    Latitude: -33.4337692672779 / Longitude: -70.6510162353516
    Sub-Type: Market
    Opening Hour: Food stands & restaurants 9am-5pm Mon-Fri, 7am-3.30pm Sat & Sun
    Price range: Low
    Address: San Pablo, Paseo Puente & Valdés Vergara - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Puente Cal y Canto
    Extras: bordered by 21 de Mayo

    Restaurant Majestic

    The chef at Santiago's only Indian restaurant is Bangladeshi and the menu revolves around rich northern dishes like Rogan Josh, tandoori meats and breads. There's a good selection of vegetarian curries, but let them know if you like yours hot. Predictably decorated with elephant statues and batik tablecloths, it's inside the Majestic Hotel.

    Latitude: -33.4371894228923 / Longitude: -70.6588590145111
    Sub-Type: Indian
    Opening Hour: 12:30-3:30pm & 7:30pm-midnight
    Pricing: mains CH$3900-6200 - Price range: Moderate
    Address: Santo Domingo # 1526 - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Santa Ana
    Telephone number: (56-2) 2695 8366

    Entertainment

    Blondie

    The '80s still rule at least one floor of Blondie, while the other could have anything from goth rock and techno to Britpop or Chilean indie.

    Latitude: -33.4495796430410 / Longitude: -70.6755584478378
    Sub-Type: Music
    Opening Hour: From 11pm Thu-Sat
    Pricing: cover CH$3000-5000
    Address: Alameda 2879, Barrio Brasil - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Unión Latinoamericana
    Telephone number: (56-2) 2681 7793 - website:www.blondie.cl

    Club de Jazz

    One of Latin America's most established jazz venues - Louis Armstrong and Herbie Hancock are just two of the greats to have played here - this large wooden building hosts local and international jazz, blues and big band performers.

    Latitude: -33.4555816386073 / Longitude: -70.5980533361435
    Sub-Type: Blues, Jazz
    Opening Hour: 10:30pm-3am Thu-Sat
    Address: Av Alessandri 85, ñuñoa Telephone number: (56-2) 2326 5065 -website:www.clubdejazz.cl

    El Diablito

    Old photos and vintage household items clutter the already dark walls of this smoky den. After dark, the tiny candlelit tables seem to invite you to huddle conspiratorially into the small hours; great value schop (draft beer) and pisco sours are two more reasons to stay.

    Latitude: -33.4374580157918 / Longitude: -70.6415963172913
    Sub-Type: Cocktail Lounge
    Opening Hour: 9:30am-3am Mon-Sat, 6:30pm-1am Sun
    Pricing: cover CH$3000-5000
    Address: Merced 336, Centro - Transportation: Underground Rail
    Details: Bellas Artes
    Telephone number: (56-2) 2638 3512

    Events Overview

    Santiago a mil

    This major theater festival draws experimental companies from around the world to Santiago's stages in January.

    www.stgoamil.

    Festival del barrio Brasil

    Exhibitions, theater, dance and music bring even more life to Plaza Brasil each January.

    Festival Nacional del Folklore

    In the southern suburb of San Bernardo, this five-day festival in late January celebrates traditional Chilean music, culture, dance and food.

    Feria Internacional del Aire y del Espacio

    The latest commercial and military airplanes attract an odd combination of arms merchants, pilots and plane-spotters at this major international air show, held every two years in late March.

    www.fidae.cl

    Rodeo Season

    In Chile, March is all about huasos (cowboys) and bucking broncos. The focus of the action is Rancagua, 145km south of Santiago, but events also take place in Santiago.

    www.rodeochileno.cl

    Santiago Festival Internacional de Cine

    Each August, the city's week-long film festival showcases choice independent cinema in several movie theaters.

    www.sanfic.cl

    Festival de Jazz de ñuñoa

    Free jazz and blues concerts from some of Chile's top musicians take place at the Teatro Municipal de Ñuñoa over a weekend in August.

    www.ccn.cl

    Feria internacional de artesanía

    Talented craftspeople show off their creations each November in Parque Bustamente, Providencia.

    Feria Internacional del Libro

    Scores of publishing houses and authors from throughout the Spanish-speaking world move into Estación Mapocho in the last week of November. New and antiquarian books are also sold.

    www.camlibro.cl