By Caitlin Hornik
Chile’s capital is one of the most metropolitan cities in all of South America. Despite the skyscrapers and modern amenities, Santiago is definitely not lacking in culture. Its close proximity to the Andes Mountains provides a spectacular range of opportunities and adventures for visitors!
Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristobal is a man-made park in the Bella Vista area. Also called St. Christopher Hill, it’s the largest green space in the city. Visit the national zoo, botanical garden, and two swimming pools while here! A funicular ride to the top will not only give you access to these attractions, but will offer spectacular city views!
Cerro Santa Lucía
The city was founded here in 1541, with Cerro Santa Lucía originally serving as a lookout. Today, it is known for its stunning panoramic views and serene setting. Visitors can trek to the top on foot or via an elevator located just a couple blocks from the park’s main entrance. Take the staircase to the Caupolicán Plaza for the best views! Plan to spend at least a few hours wandering around and soaking up the ambiance.
Plaza de Armas
Situated in the heart of the city center is the Plaza de Armas, or Main Square. Here, you’ll find Santiago City Hall, court houses, National History Museum, and more! Metropolitan Cathedral is also located here, with origins dating back to the 1500s. The structure that stands today was built in the 1700s after a fire and earthquakes destroyed the original and replacement structures. In addition, there are plenty of restaurants and shops here for you to get a true taste of authentic Chilean culture!
Palacio de La Moneda
Located just off of the Plaza de Armas is the Palacio de La Moneda, or Government Palace. This building serves as the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile! There are additional government offices inside as well. The rich history of this building makes it a prime attraction. Visitors can tour the building to learn more about its history and to visit the cultural center that the government has created! There is also a changing-of-the-guard ceremony that happens here every other day.
Vitacura neighborhood & Alonso de Cordoba
If you enjoy upscale shopping, the Vitacura neighborhood is for you! Many high income families call this area home. Within the Vitacura is the Alonso de Cordoba area, which offers tourists many art galleries, more shopping, and Bicentennial Park! This park is another great area to visit to chat with locals. Maybe they’ll recommend their favorite restaurant or shop and it’ll lead to the most memorable part of your trip!
Food and Wine
No trip to Chile would be complete without sampling their food and beverage specialties! Empanadas, carne asada (usually chicken, pork, or beef), and pastel de choclo are among the culinary highlights. Pisco Sour is the specialty cocktail in Chile, a pairing of pisco as a base liquor and sour citrus juices.
La Vega Market
Shop like the locals at La Vega Market! This busy, fresh-food market is where many restaurants stock up on produce each day. If you’re looking to try new and exotic fruits and veggies, this is the place to visit! This market is also known as Feria Mapocho due to its close proximity to the Mapocho River.
Santa Rita Winery
If you’re looking for an authentic and traditional Chilean winery experience, Santa Rita is the place to go. Located just under an hour from Santiago, Santa Rita Winery has a history spanning more than 100 years and has garnered a very solid reputation. One of their most popular wines is a blend of three reds: Cármenère, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery has a restaurant, so you can easily spend a full day tasting delicious wines and exploring this beautiful Chilean landscape.