March 1, 2024

Top 6 Things to Do in Santiago, Chile

It is the city’s art scene’s nucleolus, housing some of Chile’s most important galleries and museums. The National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes) is the most notable of these, with an extensive regular collection and changing exhibits throughout the year.

And there are numerous reasons why Santiago, Chile, is worth a visit. With great architecture, museums, bustling markets, galleries, theaters, and excellent food and nightlife, this lovely city has a rich history and culture.

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1. Free Walking Tour

A walking tour is one of the greatest methods to get your bearings when visiting a new city. Strawberry Tours is one of several tour businesses in Santiago that offer these types of “tours for tips.” They provide three “free” tours: a historical center tour, an “untouched Santiago” trip, and a market tour. During my month-long visit to Santiago, I went on all three and recommend them all! Strawberry Tours also donates a part of its tips to charity, so you’ll get some exercise while doing good.

2. Bike Ride

Biking is a terrific way to see different parts of a city, and there are a few possibilities in Santiago. You can make use of bike-sharing services such as Bike Santiago. They have daily plans where you can rent a bike for 30 minutes at a time. You might also take a bike tour, such as those offered by La Bicicleta Verde. The tours cost between $40 and $75 USD. Whatever choice you select, if you’re in Santiago over the weekend, don’t miss out on car-free Sundays! Every Sunday, the city closes tens of kilometers of city roads from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., thanks to an initiative by CicloRecreoVa. 

3. Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas, flanked with palm trees, is Santiago Centro’s major square. In 1541, Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia constructed it as the city’s municipal center. Nowadays, it is a gathering area for both locals and tourists to watch street performers, play chess, or relax on a park seat. Don’t pass up the opportunity to take a photo seated in one of the square’s massive STGO letters!

4. Palacio de La Moneda

While seeing Santiago Centro, don’t miss the Palacio de La Moneda, a Neoclassical structure that serves as Chile’s presidential headquarters. The structure is La Moneda, which translates to “the coin” in Spanish because it was the nation’s mint. You can also visit the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda, which is beneath the plaza behind La Moneda. It is still debated whether he died by assassination or suicide.

5. Climb Cerro Santa Lucía

Cerro Santa Luca is a hill in downtown Santiago (“Cerro” means “hill” in Spanish). The fortress at the summit, Castillo Hidalgo, was in 1816 to safeguard the city during the Chilean War of Independence. The biggest lure nowadays is the vista you enjoy as a reward for ascending to the top. You will be met by the stately Neptune Fountain, which has two staircases. If you go in the early afternoon, be aware of the daily cannon boom that occurs around 12:00!

6. Cerro San Cristóbal

There are various ways to get to the top of the hill, and if you have time, I recommend attempting them all! If you’re feeling energetic, travel to the Pedro de Valdivia entrance near the park’s northern end. From here, you can take an hour-long climb up the winding road. Or, you might take a cable car (teleférico in Spanish) from the adjacent Oasis station for a quiet, gorgeous ride up the hill. Don’t get off the cable car until you reach the Cumbre station at the top (don’t get off at the Tupahue mid-mountain stop). Don’t miss out on the photo opportunity to sit in the massive red chair with STGO initials at the Cumbre cable car station!

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