Known as one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world, Santiago in Chile not only offers a spectacular view of the Andes Mountains but also offering a myriad of fun activities for any kinds of travelers. The city features its very amazing culture, history, and tourism. The city is also your main gateway to all of what the amazing South American country has to offer. You can surely experience an authentic Santiago experience in just a few days and without spending a lot. Here are some of the best things to do in Santiago when you are visiting the city in Chile.
1. Visit the lovely Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo or the Museum of Contemporary Art features a 2,600-piece collection of art coming from all parts of Chile and the world. Some of the art pieces even came from the late 19th-century. The museum is founded in 1947. Almost all of the pieces being featured are either donated by Chile’s local painters and even foreign artists that chose to live in Chile. A lot of these pieces are made up of paintings by renowned Chilean artists Pablo Burchard and Roberto Matta.
Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: Matucana 464, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)
2. Explore the historic Palacio Cousiño
The Palacio Cousiño is the best example of how the Chilean elitists of the 19th century lived after they became “crazy rich” from making wines and mining coal and silver. The mansion was built around 1870 to 1878 by the Cousiño-Goyenechea family, one of the most prominent families in Chile at that time. The palace features columns made from pure carrara-marble, Bohemian crystal chandelier, cherry wood furniture from China, and the first electrical fittings in the whole of Chile.
Address: Dieciocho 438, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 9:30 am - 1:30pm, 2:30pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)
3. Marvel at the unique architecture of Bahá'í Temple of South America
Designed by world-renowned Hariri Pontarini Architects, the Bahá'í Temple of South America features a design that is inspired by the Sufi whirling dancers and the bamboo baskets of the Japanese. It is located at the tip of the Andes Mountains and is just a short drive away from downtown Santiago. Your jaw will surely drop at the sight of the unique architecture plus the sight of the mountains and the reflecting pools that surround it. It took 14 years to finish the structure that represents the last of the eight continental temples built by the followers of Bahá'í.
Bahá'í Temple of South America
Address: Diagonal Las Torres 2000, Penalolen, Peñalolén, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Bahá'í Temple of South America
Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)
4. Watch a ballet performance at Municipal Theatre of Santiago
Be amazed by the world-class performances of ballet, opera, and philharmonic shows as you watch them live at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago or the Municipal Theatre of Santiago. Since it first opened its doors to the public in 1857, it has been the center of the flourishing performing arts scene in the city of Santiago. In fact, the world’s best performers have already performed on its stages, including Luciano Pavarotti and Julio Bocca. World-class plays like The Steadfast Tin Soldier and Hansel and Gretel has also been performed live in the Municipal Theatre of Santiago.
Municipal Theatre of Santiago
Address: Agustinas 794, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Municipal Theatre of Santiago
Opening hours: Mon, Wed & Fri: 12pm - 4:30pm (closed on Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun)
5. Visit the iconic Church of San Francisco
Located right at the heart of Santiago, the Iglesia de San Francisco or the Church of San Francisco is known to be the first Catholic church in the whole of Chile. It has been originally built by Pedro de Valdivia, a Spanish conquistador, in the year 1554. However, an earthquake destroyed the church in 1583 but was been immediately rebuilt by the Franciscan monks. Today, the church features baroque and neoclassical themes and is home to some of Chile’s most prized collections of art from the colonial times.
Church of San Francisco
Address: Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins 816, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Chile is known to be one of the world’s top producers of wine. The best producers of wine in the country can be found at the Maipo Valley Wine Region. Get to experience how the most authentic Chilean wines are being made together with a certified sommelier by joining on this whole day wine-tasting tour in Santiago. The tour includes three to four stops at various wineries to taste their wines while learning how the industry of winemaking in Chile has started. You also get to stroll through acres of vineyards while falling in love with the picturesque backdrops.
Full-Day Maipo Valley Wine Tour from Santiago
Duration: 8 hours
7. Take Instagrammable photos of Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
The Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago or the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral is known to be the main catholic church and the seat of the diocese of Santiago. It is strategically located right at the center of Santiago. The church is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. It is made with the neoclassical style in mind, making it a hit among art lovers and enthusiasts from around the world. What makes this church unique among others is that the remains of all the bishops and archbishops in Santiago are being kept at the church’s crypt.
Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral
Address: Plaza de Armas, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: 10am - 8pm (daily)
8. Explore Chile's historic exhibits at the Museo Historico Nacional
The Museo Historico Nacional or the National Historic Museum of Chile will surely give you a run-through of the history of the South American country. It is located in a 19th-century royal palace in Plaza de Armas. The museum features three floors of rich history, starting with the first inhabitants in the country, up to their most recent history. You can marvel at the artifacts and even the life-sized dioramas inside the museum. If you cannot understand Spanish, don’t worry as there are English translations of the inscriptions everywhere you go.
Museo Historico Nacional
Address: Plaza de Armas 951, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Museo Historico Nacional
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
9. Take your kids for a fun-filled day at Fantasilandia
There’s nothing better than to end the day of exploring the city by having some fun at the Fantasilandia. It is an amusement park right at the center of Santiago that has first opened its doors to the public in 1978. Its name was derived from the two Spanish words “fantasia” which means “fantasy”, and “landia” or “the land of.” The amusement park just started at eight attractions. But now, there is a myriad of rides, games, and attractions that people of all ages will surely enjoy.
Address: Avenida Beaucheff, Parque O'Higgins, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
10. Watch the beautiful sunset from Tramonto Bar & Terrace
See the whole city of Santiago from another point-of-view while enjoying a sumptuous meal at the poolside at the Tramonto Bar and Terrace. It is located at the top of the Noi Hotel in the affluent district of Vitacura. Get to see the amazing bird’s-eye views of the Andes Mountains and the thrilling skyscrapers in the city. With the great dining experience that the Tramonto Bar and Terrace offers to their diners, it is already no surprise that they were named by Conde Nast as the best hotel terrace.
Tramonto Bar & Terrace
Address: Av. Nueva Costanera 3736, Vitacura, Santiago
Website: Tramonto Bar & Terrace
Opening hours: Mon - Wed: 11am - 1am; Thu - Sat: 11am - 2am; Sun: 11am - 12am
11. Try some of the best craft beer at Santiago at Cervecería Nacional
Chile is not only known for its wines but also its craft beers. In fact, there are now around 150 breweries in the whole country. The best place to try the best Chilean beer is at the Cervecería Nacional at the Yungay district west of downtown Santiago. They serve great blonde beers, ales, lagers, and porters. Their beers are best served with their delicious “tablas” sandwiches.
Address: Compañía de Jesús 2858, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Cervecería Nacional
Opening hours: Mon: 6:30pm - 12am; Tue - Thu: 12am - 12:30pm, 6:30pm - 12am; Fri: 12am - 12:30pm, 6:30pm - 2am; Sat: 6:30pm - 1:30am (closed on Sun)
12. Play golf at Prince of Wales Country Club
Take a break from all of the sights of the city and just relax by playing golf and other activities at the Prince of Wales Country Club. Tee all you can at their 18-hole golf course with lush greens and rolling topography. Aside from golf, you can also enjoy playing other sports such as rugby, hockey, football, tennis, squash, and paddle. The country club also offers fitness lessons, swimming, and a lot of activities accustomed to all kinds of the season.
Prince of Wales Country Club
Address: Las Arañas 1901, Santiago, La Reina, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Prince of Wales Country Club
Opening hours: Sun: 9am - 9pm; Tue - Wed: 7am - 10:30pm; Thu: 7am - 1am; Fri: 7am - 10:30pm; Sat: 8:30am - 10:30pm (closed on Mon)
13. Treat the kids to a gaming session at Juegos Diana
Fantasilandia might be a great place for kids to enjoy their afternoon. But if you want some other kind of fun for them, then you might want to consider going to Juegos Diana. It is a very unique family entertainment center that is adjacent to a cultural center. Juegos Diana is an indoor park that has a lot of rides which include a carousel, Ferris wheel, dance machines, and over a hundred different arcades.
Address: San Diego 438, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Juegos Diana
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 1pm - 8:30pm; Sat - Sun: 11am - 9:30pm (closed on Mon)
14. Test your bowling skills at Japimax Barrio Universitario
If you are in the mood to hit the lanes while you are in Santiago, then the best place to play bowling is at the Japimax Barrio Universitario. The bowling alley features a total of 10 modern lanes, a bowling pro shop that is the only one you can find in the whole Chile, a large food court, and facilities to play other games like pool, ping pong, taca taca, and modern video games. You will surely like the upbeat and competitive atmosphere in Japimax Barrio Universitario, especially that it is the most preferred place by the students to learn how to play bowling the right way.
Japimax Barrio Universitario
Address: Almirante Latorre 310, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Japimax Barrio Universitario
Opening hours: Sun: 11am - 9pm; Mon - Fri: 11am - 10pm; Sat: 10am - 10pm
15. Groove to the latest tracks at Lido Night Club
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Your trip to Santiago won’t be complete without experiencing the local night scenes. The best place to have the whole night partying in the city is at the Lido Night Club. It is an exclusive club that features first-class sound quality and a cozy yet elegant partying atmosphere while having some party tunes mixed by some of Santiago’s best DJs. You and your friends will surely have fun dancing and partying all night long at the Lido Night Club.
Lido Night Club
Address: Enrique Mac Iver 273, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Lido Night Club
Opening hours: Mon: 12am - 4am, 2pm - 4am; Tue - Wed: 2pm - 4am; Thu - Fri: 2pm - 5am (closed on Sun)
16. Try authentic Chilean food at Peumayén Ancestral Food
It is a must for someone to try the local cuisine of the place that they are visiting. While you are in Santiago, try the best and the most authentic Chilean dishes at the Peumayén Ancestral Food. They might serve a bit pricey dishes but whatever you may have spent is worth it. Get ready to taste the most authentic Chilean dishes with a modern twist made from the most indigenous ingredients known to the locals. However, you should place a reservation beforehand at the Peumayén Ancestral Food if you really want to try the best of Chile’s foods.
Peumayén Ancestral Food
Address: Constitución 136, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Peumayén Ancestral Food
Opening hours: Sun: 1pm - 3:30pm; Tue - Sat: 1pm - 3pm, 7pm - 10:45pm (closed on Mon)
17. Catch a movie at Cinemark
When you are in the mood to watch some movies while you are in Santiago, the best place for it is the Cinemark. There are a lot of Cinemark branches in Santiago, and each of them offers a very unique watching experience for people of all ages. They show the latest films from local and abroad, especially Hollywood movies. So, bring your family and friends for a special movie night with them at Cinemark.
Address: Av. José Pedro Alessandri 1166, Ñuñoa, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: 10am - 11pm (daily)
18. Discover over 150 animal species at Chilean National Zoo
Have fun and enjoy a very fine afternoon especially with the kids as you visit the Chilean National Zoo. It is a 4.8-hectare (12-acre) zoo in Santiago and was first opened in 1925. It is located at the foot of the San Cristobal Hill and is part of the Santiago Metropolitan Park. Currently, the zoo is home to thousands of animals from 158 different species, which mainly includes animals endemic to Chile and some other rare and endangered species.
Chilean National Zoo
Address: Pío Nono 450, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Website: Chilean National Zoo
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
19. Take a stroll in Quinta Normal Park
Spend a nice, quiet afternoon with your family and friends at the Parque Quinta Normal or the Quinta Normal Park. The 88-acre (31.65-hectare) park is one of the most favorites and must-go parks by every Chilean family. Reaching the park itself isn’t a hassle since it can be easily accessed through Santiago’s metro system. There are also a lot of buses that pass by the park. The park is a perfect place to end the day after you explore the adjacent Chilean Museum of National History.
Quinta Normal Park
Address: Matucana 520, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
20. Learn more about the history of Plaza Baquedano
Named after General Manuel Baquedano, the Plaza Baquedano is one of the most major landmarks in Santiago. It has been inaugurated in 1928 and features a monument of the general sculpted by Virginio Arias, one of Chile’s most renowned sculptors. It has been the center of celebrations and rallies in the city. It is also the center of the street network of the city. Today, the Plaza Baquedano is surrounded by tall buildings and modern architecture. The most prominent of which is the headquarters of Telefonica, South America’s largest telecommunications company.
Address: Providencia, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
21. Explore the Chilean National Museum of Natural History
Have a glimpse of several fossils, artifacts, and the 17-meter (55.77-foot) skeleton of a blue whale at the Chilean National Museum of Natural History or the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural. There are 12 permanent exhibitions in the two-story museum. Around 5,000 birds and 3,000 reptiles and amphibians are being preserved inside the museum. There are also displays of plants that can be seen during the 19th century and the meteorites that were found in Chile. From biology to botany, to zoology, even archaeology, you will surely learn a lot about our planet in the Chilean National Museum of Natural History.
Chilean National Museum of Natural History
Address: Parque, Santiago, Quinta Normal, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: Sun: 11am - 5:30pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)
Curious about how the guards change in a royal palace? Well, you don’t have to travel all the way to London anymore just to see the guards change at the Buckingham Palace. Instead, just see it in action at the La Moneda or the Presidential Palace in Santiago. See it for yourself by joining this tour. Get to discover the rich history of Santiago and know the story behind all of those great buildings, including the La Moneda, by joining this amazing bike tour.
Santiago Private Half-Day Tour of Chilean Capital
Duration: 4 hours
23. Learn about Pablo Naruda at La Chascona house
For those that don’t have any idea about Pablo Naruda, he is a popular Chilean politician and poet who won a Nobel prize. He is considered one of Chile’s most distinguished people. In fact, one of his homes - the La Chascona, was been made into a museum that is dedicated to him. Today, La Chascona is decorated according to Naruda’s personal taste. All of his possessions and even his favorites are displayed in the museum. The museum is a must-visit, especially to Pablo Naruda’s fans and supporters.
La Chascona house
Address: Fernando Márquez de La Plata 0192, Santiago, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)
24. Shop at the fascinating Vitacura
Home to the most expensive condominium units and most exquisite boutiques and restaurants that the richest and the most affluent in Chile live and shop, Vitacura is indeed a must-visit place for classy travelers. It is a haven for the best designer brands, Michelin-rated restaurants and chefs, exquisite boutiques, and the most elegant hotels, penthouses and condominium units. However, there are also shops, hotels, apartments cinemas, and restaurants that cater to middle-class society.
25. Hike Cerro San Cristóbal
Explore the Cerro San Cristobal, or the San Cristobal Hill, while you are in the city. It is known to be the largest urban natural area that can be found in a capital city. To reach the summit of the hill, one can either take a hike and walk, jog, or even hike to it. But if you are the one that needs comfort to reach the summit, then you can just ride a gondola to reach it. Upon reaching the summit, you can try the very delicious mote con huesillo to quench your thirst. Be amazed by the amazing panoramic views of the whole city from its top. It is also home to the Metropolitan Zoo.
Cerro San Cristóbal
Address: Recoleta, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
26. Take a walk along Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas or “Square of Weapons” is one of the busiest parts of the city. But behind its busyness lies a very rich history of the city. In fact, it has been the very heart of the city since the city of Santiago was established in 1541. It is surrounded by breathtaking structures like the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago or the Royal Palace, and the Central Post Office. But the best place where you can take a selfie is at the “STGO” signage at the center of the square.
Probably the best way to tour the whole of Santiago is by riding a bike. Why not join a ride biking tour group instead? This guided bike tour in Santiago is composed of a three-hour ride around the city, especially its cultural gems. Start the tour by biking through the Parque Forestal, where can you see the best of the Chilean art. Other places included in the tour are the Bulnes Promenade, Presidential Palace, the heritage buildings of New York Street, Palace of Justice, Plaza de Armas, and end the tour by enjoying local cuisine at the Central Market.
Santiago Center Small-Group Cultural Bike Tour with Guide
Duration: 3 hours
The city of Santiago is also known for its number of parks that are spread across the city. Get to explore all of these parks by joining this three-hour bike tour in the city. See the lush parks of the city and follow your guide as you explore the Bicentennial Park, San Cristobal Hill, Bellavista district, Plaza Italia, Parque de las Esculturas and La Casa Chascona. Biking is really fun as you explore the city, as you get to experience the way locals commute.
Santiago Panoramic Sightseeing Small-Group Bike Tour
Duration: 2 hours
Any visit in a certain city or place won’t be complete without tasting the local dishes directly from where the locals usually eat them. Get to try all of Santiago’s best cuisine by joining this food tour. Eat and live like a local as you explore the Mercado Central and La Vega markets while tasting some of Chile’s prized dishes like the humitas and the seafood empanadas.
Santiago Walking Sights Tour: Food Tastings and Markets
Duration: 4 hours
Santiago indeed has a lot of sights that everyone should really see. There is nothing better in exploring the city than to take amazing photos of them while using a Polaroid camera. Each of you will be given a Polaroid camera as you start the tour. You will be also taught how to use your camera before the tour starts. You will surely enjoy the wonders of the Barrio Lastarria, Santa Lucía Hill, the Mercado Central de Santiago, the Plaza de Armas, and the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda while creating instant memories all throughout your trip.
Santiago: Polaroid Camera Photography Tour
Go out and explore the lively city of Santiago
With its very rich culture, diverse environment, and lively surroundings, the city of Santiago in Chile is indeed a must-visit for families and solo travelers alike. On your next overseas trip, make sure to consider visiting Santiago. Enjoy!
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