Destination guide: Santiago de Chile

Discover Santiago de Chile

Visit Santiago, Chile and marvel at its beautiful geography, historic sites, exquisite cuisine, ski resorts and all the magic of a modern city built on a colonial past.

Santiago's Metropolitan Cathedral

This Catholic temple - the largest in the country - is also the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Santiago. It is located in the heart of the city on the Plaza de Armas and is considered a national monument, along with the Archbishop's Palace and the Parish Tabernacle, which form part of the same architectural complex.

The interior of the temple houses a statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and an antique organ manufactured in 1756. Beneath the walkway are catacombs which hold the remains of former Santiago archbishops and important figures in Chile's history such as Diego Portales (a pillar of political organization); Jose Tomas Ovalle (who served as President from 1829 to 1831) and several young soldiers who served in the War of the Pacific.

Mapocho Station

This train station was built between the years of 1905 and 1912 for the centennial celebration of Chile's independence. In 1976, the building was declared a national monument, but it was shut down 11 years later due to damage. It was restored and reopened in 1991 as a cultural center. Since then, it has hosted activities such as book fairs, theater productions and musical events, among others. The Mapocho Station is located near the Cal y Canto Metro Station.

Quinta Normal Park

This lovely park is situated in the western sector of Santiago and rambles over some 40 hectares (98 acres) of land. The park interior boasts a man-made lake with paddleboat rentals. Visitors will also find tennis courts, soccer areas, a skate rink, and jogging and bicycle paths.

The park is also the site of several museums including Contemporary Art (MAC), Natural History, Science and Technology, a children's museum, the Railway Museum and the Balmaceda 1215 Cultural Corporation. This sector can be reached via subway (Quinta Normal Station, Line 5) or in car on Matucana Street.

Santiago's Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theater)

Since opening on September 17, 1857 with the Giuseppe Verdi opera Ernani, this theater has offered up some of the best performers in opera, music and ballet. Located at 794 Agustinas Street, the building is distinguished by its French neoclassic style and majestic interior that houses a massive teardrop crystal chandelier and red velvet backdrop imported from Germany that weighs 1200 kilograms (2645 pounds). The Municipal Theater has developed three solid components: the Santiago Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santiago Ballet and the Municipal Theater Chorus.

Fine Arts Museum and Museum of Contemporary Art

Located alongside Historic Downtown in the expansive Parque Forestal green area (Bellas Artes Metro Station, Line 5), these museums share a single building designed in the neoclassical style and are reinforced with touches of Art Nouveau and metallic structural detail.

The eastern extreme of the building is home to the National Fine Arts Museum (Bellas Artes) that was inaugurated September 18, 1880 as the National Art Museum. In addition to the valuable collections on display, it also contains an important registry of Chilean artists. Among the countless other works shown there, the Museum houses pieces by prestigious artists including a retrospective of Auguste Rodin that arrived in 2005.

Located on the opposite side of the building, the Museum of Contemporary Art took up residence in 1947. The museum offers a variety of interesting collections, and its inventory includes over 2000 works of art, engravings and avant-garde installations.

La Moneda Palace

This seat of the Executive Branch is located in the midst of Santiago's Historic Downtown nestled between the Constitucion and Ciudadania plazas, fronting on General Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue. Simply known as "La Moneda", the building serves as the main office for the President of the Republic, along with the Ministry of the Interior, the General Secretariat of the Government and the General Secretariat of the Presidency.

La Moneda was built between 1786 and 1812 by Italian architect Joaquin Toesca who also designed the Metropolitan Cathedral. It was initially used as the National Mint, but President Manuel Bulnes converted the building in 1845 to the seat of the government and official residence of the country's presidents, a mandate which stood until 1958. Since then, the building has served strictly as the executive headquarters.

The Palace offers guided tours through its most iconic salons and a walk through the bottom floor. It is open to the public from Monday through Friday, and tours can be booked in advance.

Barrio Bellavista

This popular and entertaining neighborhood is a cornerstone of Santiago nightlife. Situated on the northern bank of the Mapocho River at the foot of San Cristobal Hill, the area serves as the border between the Providencia and Recoleta districts.

Initially a conservative and aristocratic neighborhood, Bellavista is now booming with bars and restaurants that offer an array of foods for all tastes and pocketbooks. For more than 20 years, the neighborhood has attracted a large number of local theaters for a generous selection of entertainment. Visitors can also access the city's Metropolitan Park and Zoo from this neighborhood.

Barrio Brasil

Situated to the west of downtown, this residential neighborhood housed Chile's upper class in the mid-19th century. But the neighborhood began to decline during the 1940's as higher-income residents moved toward the hills surrounding the capital.

Fortunately, the sector has begun to experience a period of restoration to preserve the neoclassical and gothic revival architecture that characterizes the neighborhood resulting in artistic and cultural spaces and areas for leisure and recreation. Today, many of the area's old manors and palaces have become restaurants, bars, cafes, hostels and dance studios, a development which has helped transform Barrio Brasil into a new hub of attractions in Santiago.

Santa Lucia Hill

Santa Lucia is located in the heart of the downtown area along Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue and just steps away from Santa Lucia Metro Station (Line 1). The hill represents an important part of the city's history. In 1540, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia established the first military base here on the future site of the city of Santiago.

The summit of Santa Lucia Hill offers a privileged view of the city and the Andes mountain range. Within the park, visitors can see Hidalgo Castle and a variety of monuments in honor of important Chilean figures.

The trails that wind up the hillside are ideal for hiking and mountain biking, and a recently updated lighting system encourages the whole family to take a stroll around this "green lung".

Pueblito Los Dominicos

Situated on the east side of the capital at 9085 Apoquindo Avenue in the Las Condes district, Los Dominicos is a welcoming outdoor shopping center that showcases the best of Chilean handicrafts. Comprised of 160 stalls, it is operated by locals who offer an array of products such as furniture, textiles, carvings, engravings, dioramas, ceramic works, paintings, gold and silverwork, sculptures, leather goods, antiques and many other forms of local art. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30am to 7:30pm.

Ski Resorts

Nestled high in the Andes and visible from some points of the city, the Valle Nevado, El Colorado, La Parva and Farrellones ski resorts are less than 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Santiago at approximately to 2800 meters (9186 feet) above sea level.

Avid skiers and snowboarders enjoy the best snow in South America here on a total expanse of some 11,000 hectares (27,181 acres) of skiable areas and over 110 kilometers (68 miles) of trails.

In the evenings, visitors can marvel at the spectacular panoramic views and sunsets to the west. These winter paradises offer advanced trails for skilled skiers along with lessons and equipment for beginners in this invigorating sport.

Travel tips

Out for drinks in South America
Gastronomic variety in the southern side of the world
Out to party in South America
  • Stay connected