Welcome Trekkers to Santiago, Chile, one of the most fascinating and exciting cities in South America. Nestled in the central valley region, Santiago is a vibrant metropolis surrounded by the striking Andes Mountain Range. With a population of over seven million people, Santiago is a bustling city that boasts fascinating cultural attractions, excellent food, and wine, and a thriving nightlife scene.
As you explore the city, you will discover a mix of old-world charm and modern innovation, making Santiago a captivating destination for all travelers. Sports lovers can visit the city’s famous Estadio Nacional, while history buffs can explore the city’s numerous museums and landmarks that showcase Chile’s rich history. If you want an adventure in nature, Santiago’s surroundings offer hiking, skiing, and wine tours in some of the world’s most famous vineyards.
Santiago’s lakes, markets, and beaches are also worth exploring, offering unique experiences that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. With the vibrant energy of Santiago’s people and beautiful scenery, this city is an exceptional destination for any traveler looking to experience the best of South America. Get ready to immerse yourself in Santiago’s rich culture and enjoy the ride. Are you ready for a life-changing adventure? Let’s go!
Here are 10 things to do while you’re in Santiago, Chile
1. Explore the shrine of La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción
As you approach the shrine, you’ll be struck by its impressive architecture, which features intricate stone carvings and stunning stained glass windows. Once inside, you’ll be greeted by a serene and peaceful atmosphere that invites you to reflect and connect with your spiritual side.
The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and serves as a pilgrimage site for many local and international visitors alike. The peaceful atmosphere and breathtaking artwork make it a perfect place to reflect and contemplate. You’ll find the interior of the church to be rich with history and symbolism, from the high, vaulted ceilings to the numerous frescoes and murals found throughout the space.
One of the highlights of the church is the statue of La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción, which is said to have been brought to the church by Spanish settlers in the colonial era. The statue is a symbol of hope and comfort to many of the faithful who come to pay their respects and ask for blessings or favors.
Visitors to the shrine can also enjoy the surrounding gardens and peaceful courtyards, which offer a tranquil oasis in the midst of the bustling city. The church structure is beautiful and awe-inspiring, and visitors can learn about the history of the building and the significance of the Virgin Mary in the local faith. This is a great way to experience the culture and heritage of the city. The shrine of La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción is an important part of the history and religion of the area.
Whether you’re a believer or just appreciate art and history, the Shrine of La Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción is a must-see destination that will leave a lasting impression on your soul.
2. Stroll through the historic Plaza de Armas
As you make your way through the plaza, you’ll be surrounded by stunning colonial architecture, including the impressive Metropolitan Cathedral and the ornate Palacio de La Moneda. You’ll also encounter a variety of street performers, artists, and vendors, all adding to the festive and lively atmosphere of the square.
At the center of the square, you’ll find a grand fountain that’s surrounded by lush gardens and palm trees. The tallest palm tree in the plaza was planted in 1742, making it one of the oldest trees in the city. Around the fountain, you’ll find plenty of benches where you can relax and take in the surroundings.
Take a seat on a bench and watch the world go by, or grab a snack from one of the many food vendors and enjoy a delicious bite to eat. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even join in on a game of chess or checkers with some of the locals.
The Plaza de Armas is also a great starting point for exploring the many museums, galleries, and cultural attractions that Santiago has to offer. You’ll feel the weight of the city’s history as you wander through this grand square, surrounded by stunning architecture and landmarks that are truly awe-inspiring. Whether you want to admire the iconic buildings, sit and people-watch, or simply take in the ambiance, the Plaza de Armas is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Santiago.
3. Enjoy a picnic at Parque Bicentenario
Parque Bicentenario is an ideal destination for travelers looking for a peaceful, yet exciting outdoor experience. The park is a magnificent green space located in the heart of the city, which offers visitors an authentic opportunity to bask in the natural beauty of Santiago. Enjoy a day filled with leisurely strolls on the vast green lawns, shaded by lush trees and flanked by manicured gardens.
The atmosphere in Parque Bicentenario is truly tranquil. It is easy to get lost in the serenity the park offers, surrounded by the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. The park offers a range of outdoor activities, from boating on its serene lake, to attending pet shows or cozying up in the evening with an outdoor movie. With plenty of green spaces and a playground, children will have a blast, as they are able to let loose their energy and engage in various activities.
Visitors of all ages will love to indulge in a picnic amidst the picturesque natural settings the park offers. Whether you’re looking for an exciting escape or a peaceful oasis, Parque Bicentenario caters to your taste. The park has spacious lawns, perfect for families with kids, couples or solo picnickers looking for a rejuvenating experience. And as the sun sets, the park transforms into a lively place, with locals and tourists alike coming together for various outdoor events.
The Parque Bicentenario is a beautiful green space with plenty of room for picnics and games on the lawn. The opportunity to rent a boat and spend some time on the lake adds an extra level of fun and excitement to the day. The outdoor movies and pet shows are also great entertainment options for the day.
4. Visit the grand palace of La Moneda
Guided tours of the palace are available, which offer a fascinating insight into the history and significance of the building. You’ll learn about the palace’s role in the political and social development of Chile, including its involvement in the country’s turbulent past. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore the many art galleries and cultural institutions housed within the palace, which showcase the work of some of Chile’s most talented artists and designers.
As you approach the palace, you’ll be struck by its grandeur and elegance, with its imposing columns and intricate details. Once inside, you can take a guided tour of the palace, which includes visits to the stunning courtyard, the impressive staircases, and the fascinating exhibition halls.
Throughout the palace, you’ll be able to soak up the history of Santiago, from the early colonial period to the present day. The architecture and decor showcase the influence of both Spanish and French styles, reflecting the complex history of Chile and its enduring global connections.
You’ll learn about the palace’s rich history, which includes being the site of the 1973 military coup that overthrew the government of President Salvador Allende. Today, the palace is home to the offices of the President of Chile, as well as several important cultural institutions and art galleries. This stunning building is a true masterpiece of architecture and design, and offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the rich history and culture of Chile.
5. Catch a show at the theater of GAM
Attending a performance at GAM is not just a chance to indulge in culture and the arts, but also an opportunity to experience the energy and creative spirit of Santiago. It’s a chance to witness the unique blend of tradition and modernity that defines this vibrant city, and to immerse yourself in the stories and perspectives of some of the most talented artists working today.
The theater itself is a stunning space, with modern architecture and state-of-the-art equipment that enhances the immersive experience of watching a live show. The seats offer unobstructed views of the stage, and the acoustics are top-notch, ensuring that every sound and note resonates through the space.
What really sets GAM apart, however, is the caliber of the performances that take place here. From contemporary theater and dance productions that push boundaries and challenge audiences, to more traditional shows that pay homage to the rich cultural heritage of Chile, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the center’s standout features is its theater, which hosts a diverse range of performances from local productions to internationally acclaimed shows. Whether you’re interested in theater, dance, music, or any other form of performance art, you’re sure to find something that captures your attention here.
6. Sip wine at a vineyard in the Central Valley
The Central Valley of Chile is a hub for world-class vineyards, known for producing some of the best wines in South America. Situated just outside of Santiago, it is the perfect place to explore the lush terrain while sipping on some of the region’s finest wines.
The views of the surrounding Andes mountains and the towering vines are absolutely breathtaking. You’ll be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff, eager to share with you the history and process behind their wines.
The tour will start with a stroll through the vineyard, where you’ll learn about the different grape varieties and how they’re grown. As you walk, you’ll notice the sweet scents of the vines and the crisp fresh air, a perfect setting for wine tasting. Next, you’ll move to the winery, where you’ll observe the harvesting and processing of grapes and learn about the fermentation and aging of the wine.
Finally, the best part of the tour, wine tasting. You’ll have the opportunity to taste some of the vineyard’s best wines, including locally produced varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. You’ll be guided by an expert who will explain the unique characteristics of each wine, and how the soil and climate affect the flavors.
A vineyard tour in the Central Valley is an exceptional experience that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll explore breathtaking landscapes, learn about the winemaking process and savor some of the world’s best wines. From the welcoming staff to the stunning vineyards, this is an unforgettable journey that will leave you with a newfound appreciation of wine culture.
7. Wander around Bellavista
Bellavista, a vibrant and colorful district located in the heart of Santiago, Chile, known for its bohemian atmosphere and artistic flair. As you wander through the narrow, cobblestone streets, you will be immersed in a world of creativity and inspiration that is sure to leave a lasting impression.
The neighborhood is packed with unique bars serving everything from local wines and craft beers to exotic cocktails that reflect the diversity of Santiago’s cultural heritage. Whether you’re seeking a cozy spot to relax and soak up the ambiance or a lively venue with live music and dancing, you’ll find it in Bellavista.
If you’re a fan of the arts, Bellavista is the perfect destination for you. The area is dotted with boutique shops selling one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, and art pieces that you won’t find anywhere else. You can take a stroll through the neighborhood’s many galleries and museums to experience the work of local painters, sculptors, and photographers, or catch a live performance from one of Santiago’s many talented musicians.
Of course, no visit to Bellavista would be complete without sampling its famous cuisine. From traditional Chilean dishes like empanadas and asado to international flavors like sushi and pizza, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to dining options. And with the neighborhood’s lively nightlife, you can sample some of the city’s best street food while enjoying the company of locals and travelers alike.
Bellavista is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic and exciting experience in Santiago. The neighborhood’s artistic atmosphere, lively nightlife, and delicious cuisine will leave you wanting more and ensure that you’ll never forget your visit to this vibrant enclave in the heart of Chile’s capital city.
8. Sample exotic dishes and drinks at Mercado Central
Mercado Central is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to try the freshest seafood and colorful drinks in Santiago. The market is a bustling and vibrant hub for foodies, offering a wide variety of exotic dishes and drinks that you cannot find anywhere else. If you are looking to sample authentic Chilean cuisine, then Mercado Central should be at the top of your list.
One of the main draws of the market is the fresh seafood. Chile is famous for its delicious and varied seafood, and the Mercado Central offers some of the freshest and most diverse selections around. From succulent oysters to mouth-watering ceviche, the seafood here is unrivaled in quality and taste. You can find colorful juices made from locally grown fruits and vegetables. These juices are full of flavors and packed with nutrients. Try a refreshing watermelon juice or an energizing papaya drink.
But Mercado Central isn’t just about the food and drink. It’s also a cultural experience. The market is one of Santiago’s most iconic landmarks and has been around since 1872. Its building boasts a stunning architecture that transports visitors right to the heart of Santiago’s history. From the mosaics on the floor to the high ceilings, the market is a feast for the senses.
The Mercado Central is known for its vibrant atmosphere and wide variety of food and drinks, which makes it a perfect destination for adventurous eaters. The fresh seafood and colorful juices are particularly appealing, and the Pisco sour is a must-try for anyone interested in learning about the traditional cocktails of Chile.
9. Admire the Cerro Santa Lucia Castle
This 19th-century hilltop fortress is not only visually stunning, but it also holds a lot of historical significance. The castle was originally built by the Spanish in the 16th century as a lookout point to prevent possible attacks. However, in 1872, it was transformed into a public park by the city’s government, and has since become a beloved symbol of Santiago’s rich history.
One of the best parts of visiting Cerro Santa Lucia Castle is the panoramic view over the city center. From the top of the hill, visitors can see the glistening high-rise structures of the modern commercial district, contrasted by the charming 19th-century buildings in the historic center. It’s a breathtaking view that showcases the evolution of Santiago over the centuries.
But the view of the city center isn’t the only thing that makes this spot a must-see. Cerro Santa Lucia Castle also has plenty of green spaces, architectural details, and hidden corners to explore. Take a stroll through the gardens and fountains, and climb the winding staircases to discover stunning lookout points and small chapels.
As a visitor, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the beautiful 19th-century hilltop fortress and take in the stunning view of the city center. The castle also houses beautiful gardens to explore and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
10. Explore Santiago by Bike
If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to explore the vibrant city of Santiago, Chile, then consider exploring it by bike. This eco-friendly and convenient mode of transportation allows you to get up close and personal with the city’s many sights and attractions, while also enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery.
There are many bike rental companies and guided tours available in Santiago, making it easy to find a bike and hit the road. You can choose to explore the city on your own, following a pre-determined route or simply following your instincts. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour, which will take you to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks and hidden gems.
As you pedal your way through the streets of Santiago, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Andes Mountains and the city’s many parks and green spaces. You’ll also have the chance to stop and explore some of the city’s famous landmarks, such as the historic Plaza de Armas or the grand palace of La Moneda.
Exploring Santiago by bike is a fun and invigorating experience that is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. So come and discover the magic of this vibrant city for yourself, and explore its many sights and attractions in a unique and exciting way.
Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers visitors an array of experiences. With its breathtaking scenery, diverse culture and rich history, Santiago is the perfect destination for travelers seeking adventure or relaxation.
The city has an impressive collection of museums, including the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, and the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, among others. Additionally, Santiago’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and walking through its streets, visitors can admire the colonial architecture - a testament to the city’s rich history.
For those who enjoy the outdoors, Santiago is surrounded by stunning mountains and valleys, providing ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and wine tasting in the nearby vineyards of the Maipo, Casablanca and Colchagua valleys. And no visit to Santiago would be complete without a trip up to the iconic Cerro San Cristobal, for panoramic views of the city.
Santiago also boasts a thriving culinary scene, with a range of restaurants serving up traditional Chilean dishes as well as international cuisine. The city’s bustling street markets, offering fresh produce and local crafts, are also a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the local culture and flavors. With its friendly people, vibrant culture, and endless activities, Santiago is the perfect destination for travelers looking for an authentic and unforgettable experience in South America.