Santiago is the urban nucleus and heart of Chile; the financial, cultural, and political center of the country. Like any international city, it’s full of attractions, events, culture and nightlife.
* Plaza* de Armas: is the main square in downtown Santiago, which dates from the 1540’s when Pedro de Valdivia founded the city. Here you’ll see street artists and plenty of local art for sale. You can also check out the Cathedral of Santiago.
* La Moneda Palace: this neoclasical building is the Presidential house of Chile. Its high walls are witnesses of the country’s history, including the bombing during the Military Coup in 1973 when former president Salvador Allende died. Make sure to visit the courtyard where you willl find awesome sculptures by Chilean artists. Be sure to toss a coin into the fountain and make a wish.
* San Cristóbal Hill: for great views of the city take a ride up in the funicular to the top and visit the statue of the Virgin Mary. The hill also has a Zoo and a Wine Museum.
* Santa Lucia Hill: right in Santiago Centro, this hill provides another great view of the city and the Andes mountains. There are various statues, lookouts and ponds hidden all over the hill. Don’t miss the mural dedicated to Gabriela Mistral, Chilean Nobel Prize winner.
* Bellavista, Brasil, Ñuñoa and Lastarria: are the funky, bohemian neighbourhoods of the city and have the best nightlife with great bars, discos and restaurants.
* Memory and Human Rights Museum: learn about the recent history of Chile at this museum dedicated to the events which took place between 1973 and 1990. Walk around and see the photos, press clips and videos testifying the years of terror and repression of the dictatorship under military rule. Admision free.
* Museo Bellas Artes and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo: both host some of the best contemporary art works in the country. Admision free on Sundays.
* La Chascona: situated in Bellavista, it is one of the 3 homes of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The place has an amazing collection of things from all over the world and it also hosts his Nobel Prize.
* Mercado Central: walk around this lively market and admire the fresh fish and seafood. Then have a meal at one of the restaurants and taste exquisite Chilean seafood. From here check out La Vega Central, the biggest fruit market in Chile, just across the river from Mercado Central.
* Winery Tours: for wine buffs, two great wineries to visit are Viña Concha y Toro and Viña Cousiño Macul.
* Andes Mountains: the fabulous high Andes are quite close to the city! Go trekking or horseback riding, soak up in hot springs or enjoy the powder in winter at one of the high quality ski resorts: Valle Nevado, Farellones or La Parva.