Santiago de Chile, more popularly referred to simply as Santiago, was established in 1541 by the Spaniards. It has been Chile’s capital from period of the colonial era. The city is bustling with over six million inhabitants however, you’ll find evidence of its past in its colonial and 19th century neoclassical structures.
The picturesque city has many hills that rise over it, and its Mapocho River flowing through it as well as its Andes Mountains in the background. Additionally, you’ll discover a variety of Boutique hotels with breathtaking views here. There are many tourist destinations located in Santiago de Chile, from religious to quirky and fun.
Cerro San Cristobal
Cerro San Cristobal is a hill located in the northern part of Santiago which rises above the city, giving amazing views. Spanish conquerors named it in honor of Saint Christopher. On the top is an observatory as well as a statue of Mary, the Virgin Mary as part of a chapel which is dedicated to Immaculate Conception. Pope John Paul II blessed the city of Santiago in a chapel inside the sanctuary. The amphitheater is also in which services are celebrated. Cerro San Cristobal also is the largest park in Santiago.
A renowned Chilean poet as well as Nobel Literature Prize recipient Pablo Neruda had three houses in which La Chascona was one of them. The other two are located in Valparaiso in Chile and Isla Negra. Neruda was a quirky person which is evident in his home. The name La Chascona is derived from his mistress’s long red curls. The house, which is in the shape of a ship, attracts tourists who want to visit their kitchens, that is reminiscent of the interior of a ship’s cabin. Also, there is the living area, which has a look similar to an old lighthouse. (Neruda was a fan of oceans.) There’s also a fairytale garden at the back.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino also known as the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art has items that date back as much as 10,000 years ago. It includes Pre-Columbian art, not just from Chile however, but also from other parts of South America and Central America too. It began with a private collection but has since grown to include more than five thousand artifacts and works. They are constructed from different materials like ceramics, textiles, metals and bone, as well as leather. In the center of Santiago, the museum celebrates the amazing art of indigenous people prior to the arrival of Europeans and, more specifically, the Spanish.
Gran Torre Santiago
Gran Torre Santiago is a landmark in the city. It towers over Santiago and is so tall it is visible from virtually any point within the city. At 64 stories, it’s the highest building located in Latin America and the highest used level within the Southern Hemisphere. It’s located 300m (984 feet) tall and includes six basements. It’s officially referred to as Costanera Center Torre 2, it’s part of the complex that houses the largest commercial mall of South America. A quarter-million visitors a day visit this mall. There’s an observation area on top floors that offers 360-degree perspectives of Santiago.
Barrio Bellavista is the place where everything is happening. The Santiago neighborhood is Santiago’s bohemian area, a place where intellectuals and artists live and work as well as play. The most famous of its residents was and remains, Pablo Neruda whose house, La Chascona, is one of the most visited places in Santiago. It’s one of the trendiest places to be in town, featuring eateries, trendy boutiques, and avant-garde art galleries. It’s a great place to dance until darkness in one of the numerous discos. Old houses with vibrant colors are abounding on the streets lined with trees in the barrio. Every weekend, you can find a crafts market, featuring art created of the semi-precious lapis lzuli an extremely sought-after item.
Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro Santa Lucia is a hill located in central Santiago that is the remnants of a volcano that was 15 million years old. The hill was initially named Huelen but was named in 1543 in honor of Santa Lucia when the Spanish conquistadors conquered the hill. Through the years, it’s been the home of a fort or two, as well as many people who were either not Roman Catholic or others who were considered ineligible. The hill was rebuilt during the late 19th century. There is now a park that includes fountains, statues and an old castle which was transformed to become an event center. Also, you’ll find great panoramas of Santiago.
Although there are other food options, the Mercado Central sells other food but the seafood is the reason to visit. You’ll find here various seafood products fresh from Chile’s coastline, including oysters, fish, mussels as well as scallops, clams, and much more. If you’d prefer to eat your seafood rather than buy it, the market offers numerous restaurants. Mercado Central is Santiago’s landmark which has been operating since 1872. It’s housed in an expansive structure that is adorned with cast iron, and it even has a roof constructed of the wrought iron. Mercado Central can be found near Plaza de Armas in central Santiago.
Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
While earlier cathedrals in Santiago were destroyed due to earthquakes, the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral is the only one that has been standing in the Plaza de Armas for more than two decades. The construction began in 1748, and the cathedral has been the center of the square since then. The stone Neoclassical cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of architecture for religious purposes within South America. The tower houses one of the remains from Chile’s very first cardinal. The cathedral’s interior doors made of wood were made in 1765. Inside, you’ll find a lavishly decorated altar and Museum of Sacred Art. The vast, beautifully decorated naves contribute to the atmosphere of the spirituality.