Best Places To Visit In Santiago
Santiago is an incredible South American city to visit! It’s one of those places that has just so much history and there are a lot of best places to visit in Santiago you should know before traveling. Honestly, it has a little something for everyone, even just on the outskirts of the city, too.
Best Places To Visit In Santiago, Chile
1. Plaza de Armas
The first item in this list of places to visit in Santiago is also the closest. Considered the historical centre of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas is an important square to modern day Chile. Lined with palm trees, the square is surrounded by many historic buildings, such as the beautiful Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the Royal Court Palace. Within the square, locals gather to relax and painters sell their work, but in general it is a highly multicultural area. There are also many monuments, one of which is dedicated to Pedro de Valdivia, the founder of the city and conqueror of Chile. To get a taste of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas is a good place to start.
2. Cerro San Cristóbal
Officially called Parque Metroplitano, Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill) sits in the middle of Santiago. You can hike (approximately 45 minutes up) or cycle to the 300 meter high summit. Alternatively, take a funicular which stops at different levels of the hill. Amongst various other activities and attractions, you will find the National Zoo, a Japanese-style garden and two outdoor swimming pools open during the summer. At the summit is an impressive snow white 22 meter statue of the Virgin Mary looking out onto a spectacular panoramic view of the city; this view is a must see in Santiago.
Beckoning to an artsy crowd, the Bellavista neighborhood features graffiti-lined streets with cafes, art galleries and boutique shops. Here, you’ll find inventive cocktail bars and eclectic eateries rubbing shoulders with antique homes and colonial mansions. Spend some time exploring La Chascona — the former home of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda — before scouring the Patio Bellavista shopping area for souvenirs. Also be sure to continue north to take in the scenery from Santiago’s crown jewel: St. Christopher Hill, a nearly 3,000-foot high hill tucked inside Metropolitan Park.
4. Bahá’í Temple
The Bahá’í Temple is only a short walk or bike ride from the outskirts of Santiago, east of the city. It’s a place of worship for a minor Persian religion, which promotes unity and equality.
Besides the religious aspect, the Bahá’í Temple is interesting for its architecture and for its location. It’s a modern dome with a very peculiar design, open to everyone. Remember, it’s important to enter respectfully. The temple is situated on top of a hill overlooking Santiago, giving one of the best views on its skyline.
5. Maipo Canyon
This is a gorgeous landscape of mountains, forest, and river, with a volcano as a background; perhaps the most stunning piece of nature around Santiago. Even better, it is close by!
The Maipo Canyon “Cajón del Maipo” is a beloved weekend gateway of many a Santiaguino (people from Santiago). It caters to many visitors with a range of activities to enjoy a day out in nature. In winter (June to August), snow falls and covers the mountains, allowing refreshing ski sessions.
If you want to spend more than a day in these surroundings, there are accommodations and camping places.
6. La Moneda
La Moneda, also known “Coin Palace” because it used to be a mint, is where the president of Chile has his offices. Several other key government officials also have offices in the neoclassical structure that takes up a whole block in downtown Santiago. The building’s days as a mint ended in 1828 and it became the Chilean seat of government in 1845. It was bombed during the coup that put Pinochet in power in 1973 but has since been restored. A changing of the guard ceremony takes place every two days, with the days depending on the month.
7. Gran Torre Santiago
The Gran Torre Santiago towers over Santiago and is so high it can be seen from just about anywhere in the city. At 64 stories high, it is the largest skyscraper in Latin America and the highest occupied floor in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s 300 meters (984 feet) high and has six basements. Officially known as Costanera Center Torre 2, it’s part of the center’s complex that includes the largest shopping mall in South America. About a quarter-million people a day come here. You’ll find an observation deck on the upper floors that provides 360-degree views of Santiago.
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