Tourist attractions in Santiago de Chile

Partial view of Santiago, the Chilean capital.
A view of the Chilean capital with the Andes Mountains in the background 
    Santiago, also known as Santiago de Chile to differentiate it from other cities of the same name, is the capital of the country. The population in 2014 reached just over 7 million. Although founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, it was only by the end of the 19th. century when Santiago acquired the category of major city and especially the last few decades, have marked a period of great change and expansion. Today, Santiago is considered the most sustainable city in Latin America, -said by the Inter- American Development Bank-, and one of the most important tourist destinations in the South American Continent. Although it is a landlocked city, but because of its modernity, dynamic trade and tourist attractions Santiago has sometimes been called "The Miami of South America".

"Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez" International Airport of Santiago, connects with the major cities of the country, meets the highest safety standards and is the most important point of arrival of international passengers. The air terminal is currently being remodeled and the existing facilities will be used only for domestic traffic, while the new installations known as Nuevo Pudahuel will become one of the most modern international airports in the world.
By land, Chile has more than 80 border crossings to neighboring countries, most of them connecting with Argentina, the most important and closest to Santiago being "Paso Los Libertadores", 153 km. NE from the Chilean capital, in the Cordillera de Los Andes (Andes Mountain Range), altitude of 3,200 mts., connecting with the province of Mendoza, Argentina.

Santiago de Chile with snow-capped mountain range in the background.
Santiago, the most sustainable city in Latin America        
according to the Inter- American Development Bank
   With a daily traffic of 2.5 million passengers, the Metro de Santiago is currently the largest and busiest urban subway train in Latin America. For the price of one ticket (the fare varies depending on the hours, the average is about U.S. $ 1.2), you can do all the combinations you need through its 7 underground lines that go through the city.  
The surface transportation network, which since 2007 operated with deficiencies, is being modified and replaced by a new fleet of state-of-the-art buses. The old system that until 2018 was known as "Transantiago" will be replaced within 3 years by the new "Red Metropolitana de Movilidad" or "Red Network", incorporating a large number of electric buses and a new operating system, the first 100 electric buses began to work in December 2018. On the other hand, the Railway system, today is recovering the lost ground resuming a renewed service between several cities in addition to the recent creation of the "Trenes Turísticos" project. From the Bus Terminals, there are departures and arrivals to/from almost all the major Chilean cities and neighboring nations. Below there is a list of places to visit in Santiago.

 Palacio de La Moneda

"La Moneda", Chile's Presidential Palace.
"La Moneda" Presidential Palace 

Seat of the Presidency of the Republic of Chile, building that marks the civic heart of the city of Santiago, normally open to pedestrian traffic through an inner alleyway that runs between Bernardo O'Higgins Ave. and Moneda street. 
The palace is much visited by national and foreign travellers, not only by virtue of being the seat of the Chilean Government but also because of the important events that have taken place here. It was bombed and partially burned in 1973, being promptly rebuilt with the same exterior architectural characteristics with which it was created, only modifying certain interior rooms. This Italian neoclassical palace, is also known as La Casa de Toesca (The Home of Toesca) recalling its designer Joaquin Toesca. It was inaugurated in 1805, this was the building where the coins ("monedas") were minted, hence its name. The Palacio de La Moneda can be internally visited each year for the "Dia del Patrimonio Cultural", celebrated every last Sunday of May when the most significant buildings for the country's history and culture are opened to visitors.

Plaza de la Constitucion

The Plaza de la Constitucion is located in the Barrio Civico de Santiago, surrounded mostly by buildings intended for government offices, and a minority for trade. Until the early 1900s the place was a residential area, in 1925 began the construction of two large buildings, which until today belong to Ministries. Other buildings around the Plaza belong to "Palacio de la Moneda" (the Government Palace), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of Chile and the Ministry of Labor. The Plaza de la Constitucion is located within walking distance from the Metro Stations Universidad de Chile and La Moneda.

Catedral Metropolitana

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is the main Catholic temple in Chile. Its current building dates back to 1748, but before this church there were other edifices, destroyed by fires or earthquakes. In fact, the current building is the fifth erected on the site for the same purpose. The Cathedral is located in the heart of Santiago, on one side of the Plaza de Armas, place today known as the "Km. 0 of Chile". Since 1952 the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago de Chile is a National Monument, it also has an incalculable historical value for the country because here lie the remains of many bishops of the Chilean Catholic Church, other great personalities and is the place to celebrate the most important commemorative ceremonies of the Nation, as the "Te Deum Ecumenico" of the Independence Day.

Mercado Central

One of the most traditional places to eat in Santiago, declared Historical Monument, 3 blocks away from Plaza de Armas, a site very popular with tourists. This is one of the most representative places of the Chilean popular culture, you can go to many typical restaurants that specialize in serving national and international travelers with tasty dishes mainly based on fish and seafood. There is also a large variety of handicraft stores, meat, fish and vegetable stands, etc.

San Cristobal Hill and Metropolitan Park 

PARQUEMET, Santiago de Chile.
A view from San Cristobal Hill            
: Pixabay

  Parque Metropolitano de Santiago (sometimes called PARQUEMET) is a large urban green space, under the jurisdiction of the Ministerio de la Vivienda y Urbanismo, with more than 720 hectares that make it the largest in Chile and also in Latin America. Made up by hills San Cristobal, Chacarillas, Los Gemelos and intermediate sectors, the heart of this urban park is Cerro San Cristobal, on whose summit can be seen from any point of the city the image of the Inmaculada Concepcion, huge statue of Virgin Mary brought from Paris in the early twentieth century. At its base is the Sanctuary from where Pope John Paul II blessed the city and the country during his visit to Chile in 1987. Near is located the Terraza Bellavista (Bellavista Terrace), viewpoint from where you have a good panoramic of Santiago and where is also located the Estacion Cumbre (Summit Station of the Funicular). Further down the hill, the Funicular also stops at the Zoo Station, where visitors to the National Zoological Park get down to visit a wide variety of native and exotic fauna. Another of the attractions to tour the PARQUEMET is the Santiago Cable Car, details below.

A relic and Historical Monument of the Metropolitan Park is the "Manuel Foster" Astronomical Observatory, more than 100 years of existence (since 1903) with its almost original equipment. Other attractions in the park are the Tupahue and Antilen swimming pools, Restaurants, Convention Centers, Anfiteatro de las Naciones y las Artes "Pablo Neruda", Plaza de Juegos de Niños "Gabriela Mistral", botanical gardens, lookouts, numerous trails frequented by sportsmen, etc.

Santiago Cable Car

Teleferico de Santiago, reopened by the end of 2016, this tourist transport is located at Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, the largest urban park in Latin America, with 47 last generation cabins, a capacity for six passengers each, some of them adapted for people with reduced mobility and strollers, special demarcation for blind people and bike racks to carry four bicycles each. In total there will be three stations that make up this renewed transport network: Cumbre, Tupahue, and Oasis. Since its reopening, the Teleferico de Santiago is again becoming one of the most favorite tours for both local and tourists. Tickets are sold online through the website

Cerro Santa Lucia  (Santa Lucia Hill)

Tourist attractions in Santiago

    Situated in the heart of the city, very close to the Metro Station of the same name. It is a small hill (69 mts. height) called Huelen by the pre- Columbian natives, the History of Santiago is reflected here from its birth until now. Its main importance lies in the fact  that precisely here, under the shelter of the hill, was founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. On the southern slope, carved in stoneis the reproduction of the letter sent by Pedro de Valdiviafounder of the city to the Emperor Carlos V, reporting enthusiastically about the new conquered lands  and the advantages of settling in Chile. During the colonial period, the hill served as a watchtower and fortifications with their defense batteries were built atop the summit. In 1872, on the initiative of the Mayor of Santiago, Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, begins a complete remodeling plan to transform the area into a public promenadeSince then until today, Cerro Santa Lucia is one of the most visited places in Santiago for its easy access, exceptional location and beautiful environment. An old tradition is the  cannon shot  fired daily exactly at twelve o'clock to announce noon.

Iglesia de San Francisco (San Francisco Church)

The Iglesia San Francisco, located on Avenida Libertador Bernardo O' Higgins, in the heart of Santiago is the oldest architectural monument in Chile. Adjacent to the temple there is a museum with valuable religious relics of colonial times. Since 1951 it is a National Monument and in 1998 was presented by the Chilean authorities to UNESCO to be considered a World Heritage. This monument also represents an extraordinary example of architectural solidity, since its thick walls are part of the first construction, dating from the late sixteenth century. Not even the earthquakes that throughout the history have ravaged the city, have been able to destroy them.

Parque Forestal

This urban park has to date over one hundred years of existence since it was created in the early twentieth century, however it continues to be one of the main green lungs of Chile´s capital. It is located in the northern area of the commune of Santiago, flanked on the North side by the Mapocho River. On the south sidewalk of the park there is a continuous facade of elegant buildings, these residences of the fifties and sixties are today highly prized for its view of the park and its central location. Along the park, from the Pio Nono Bridge on the East to the Mapocho Cultural Center, you can tour significant and emblematic places such as Lastarria and Bellas Artes Quarters, the Centro Historico, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fuente Alemana (German Fountain) and other important monuments of the city. One of the biggest attractions during the tour through the Parque Forestal is the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts). The neoclassical building designed by the Chilean- French architect Emile Jequier displays an interesting sculpture collection made by Chilean artists. Behind the Museum is located one of the sites of the Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art.

Barrio Bellavista

Barrio Bellavista (Bellavista neighborhood), Santiago de Chile.
Loreto St. in Barrio Bellavista        
   Barrio Bellavista, created in 1920 as a residential area, nowadays has become the bohemian and artistic neighborhood of Santiago par excellence. 
Currently, pubs and clubs abound which liven up the capital's nightlife, as well as theaters, art galleries, craft shops and a variety of international restaurants. Famous places are the Patio Bellavista, ideal site to buy gifts and souvenirs of Chile as it has a wide range of fine handicraft shops, textiles, jewelry, copperware, books and other souvenirs of Santiago, and very especially "La Chascona", one of the houses belonging to Pablo Neruda, Chilean Nobel Prize for Literature.

Museums, Culture in Santiago

The Chilean Capital is not just a busy city, of great economic dynamism but there is also a good space for a diversity of Museums and cultural activities. Santiago offers a wide variety of galleries to learn more about the culture of the country, its people, history, art and natural wonders. For information about culture in Santiago visit Museums and Culture in Santiago.

Chilean National Zoo

Occupying an area of 4.8 hectares on the SE slope of Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill), Metropolitan Park of Santiago. It is the main Zoo in Chile, with more than a thousand animals. For almost a century, since 1925, it has been a traditional place to visit, among others, for its beautiful natural surroundings and prime location within the city. It is worth mentioning that the complete tour of the Zoo is quite tiring, as the hill has many different levels and one is going up and down continuously. In summer you must go prepared to beat the heat.

Summer: 10:00 to 18:00 Hrs.
Winter: 10:00 to 17:00 Hrs.

Buinzoo Zoological Park  

Zoo near Santiago, Chile.
Buinzoo, near Santiago                                                                    
   Address: Km 32 of the Panamericana Sur, commune of Buin. 12 hectares with over 2000 specimens belonging to 400 species, separated according to their places of origin make up the largest Chilean Zoo. Shows and spectacles that delight both children and adults are often offered. This zoo was created almost unintentionally, for the dedication of the Veterinarian Ignacio Idalsoaga who owned a pig farm in the place and spent part of his time healing sick or injured animals which were brought from the surroundings. After decades, BuinZoo has achieved great reputation for its conservation initiative, care of endangered species and improvement programs for optimal animal health. In fact, in April 2016, the Zoo celebrated the birth of its first baby giraffe, 1.70 mts. in height, in a completely natural birth and under the watchful eye of the veterinary team of the park that did not need to intervene.

Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 to 18:00 hrs.
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10:00 to 19:00 hrs.


Parque O' Higgins

76 Hectares urban park in Santiago's downtown, with picnic areas and artificial ponds, formerly called Parque Cousiño. Here each September 19 are commemorated the Glories of the Army with a large military parade in the "ellipse" of the park. During the days of Fiestas Patrias (Independence Days) September 17, 18 and 19 many popular celebrations are held in dozens of venues that open especially for the occasion, called "fondas" and "ramadas". This area of the Park is known as the "Pueblito del Parque O'Higgins". The gastronomic offer here is varied, although the most representative product is the "Chilean empanada", either fried or oven, of meat, shellfish and other varieties, also the different types of wine, "chicha" and prepared drinks, some of them wittily called according to the national idiosyncrasy as the "Terremoto" ("Earthquake"), the "Replica" ("Aftershock") or "Tsunami". 
Other attractions of what was the "Pueblito" (Little Village) are the Feria y Plaza de Artesanias (Crafts Fair), the Museo del Huaso, a complete exhibition dedicated to the countryside man of Central Chile and his environment, the Aquarium (Acuario del Parque O'Higgins), showing the underwater world with more than 1,000 specimens of over 70 species. There is also the Museo de Paleontologia (Paleontology Museum of Chile) to learn from the past of life on earth through a fascinating display with replicas of dinosaurs, fossils of leaves, stems and marine life, a small sample of amber, resins into which there are insects of forty million years, remains of bones and dinosaur eggs, part of a meteorite that fell in Russia in 1933, etc. A few meters away is the Museo de Insectos y Caracolas (Museum of Insects and Conches) wich offers a very interesting exhibit of the entomological diversity throughout Chile and other parts of the World, with more than 1,500 native and exotic species like giant Butterflies, Rhinoceros Beetles, large Phasmatodeas from India and many others, all with didactic explanations and where one can appreciate the complete metamorphosis process.

Another icon of Parque O'Higgins is the multipurpose events center Movistar Arena, a World class facility, famous for the artistic shows, Rock festivals and all kinds of Cultural and Sport activities that are performed there. Also a great attraction in Parque O'Higgins is "Fantasilandia" Amusement Park, just in front of the "Movistar Arena", with its 7.5 Hs. and more than one million visits a year is the largest in Chile and one of the most important in Latin America.

There is also the Centro Deportivo y Recreativo (Sports and Recreation Center), with excellent facilities for the practice of various sports and the recently inaugurated heated Olympic Swimming Pool, with a really wonderful infrastructure, this being the first of many innovations expected for the coming years.

Financial District of "Sanhattan"

Sanhattan (merging of the words Santiago and Manhattan) is the denomination that receives the financial district of Santiago, capital of Chile, located in the vertex formed by the communes of Las Condes, Providencia and Vitacura, area of the city known as the "Barrio Alto" (well- off neighborhood) of Santiago. The place has a large number of modern buildings, among them the Costanera Center, the highest skyscraper in Latin America. Since the end of the twentieth century, Sanhattan is considered the main financial center of the capital, displacing the traditional Santiago's downtown. But at the same time, it is a very welcoming neighborhood for tourists, since it possesses great commercial dynamism. This feature also makes it a great center of attraction especially for visitors from neighboring countries like Argentina, Brazil, etc.

Parque Bicentenario

Parque Bicentenario (Bicentenario Park, Santiago, Chile).
Parque Bicentenario at sunset                                               
   30 Hs. green belt, located in Vitacura Commune, one of the areas known as the "Barrio Alto" (district of the wealthiest people), north east of Greater Santiago. This park is of very recent creation, its maintenance and facilities are excellent, in its central part is located the local government building. It has grown into one of the attractions of Santiago since it is a very good option to enjoy nature, it is like an oasis in the big city. Though still young, there are over 4,000 trees, many of which are native species, there are two artificial ponds, in one of which live flamingos, black-necked swans, ducks, herons and fishes, in the other pond exotic aquatic plants are cultivated. Parque Bicentenario de Santiago is exceptional for relaxing, picnicking, doing sports, with places for pets and for the little ones to have fun, music, movie and theater performances, on the northeastern end of the park there is a restaurant called El Mestizo, which provides an amazing natural sight.   

Parque Padre Hurtado      

Address: 8105, Francisco Bilbao Av., Santiago de Chile. Formerly called Parque Intercomunal de La Reina, with its 500,000 m2 is one of the largest recreational green areas existing in Santiago, capital of Chile. It was renamed in memory of Father Alberto Hurtado, Chilean saint of the Catholic Church. Currently, the park is divided between the communes of Las Condes and La Reina, separated by Padre Hurtado Avenue, so its sectors are called "Parque Poniente" and "Parque Oriente". In the West (Poniente) sector there is a picnic area, "Quinchos" (sheds to prepare and enjoy the Roasts), playgrounds, bike rental and paths, pony horses, mini golf, a little wheeled train that runs through the park, a "Medialuna" ("half- moon" to practice the Chilean Rodeos), a skating rink, a cafe, fitness trail, an amphitheater for 10,000 persons approx. which is used during the year for various events, a 1700 m2 artificial lake and bathrooms in different parts of the park. The eastern part of the park has 14 football fields, dressing rooms and toilets, besides a space dedicated to sports, recreation and health known as the "Ciudad Deportiva", a license in the same park given to the famous Chilean footballer Ivan Zamorano; Anakenna II beach with 4 swimming pools for children and an area for entertainment. Access is controlled and the prices are affordable, within the park is located the Administration, with permanent attention from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 18:00 hrs.

Park Hours: Tuesday to Sunday and Holidays from 8:30 to 18:00 - Mondays closed for maintenance.


Parque Ines de Suarez

Address: 1510 Antonio Varas St., Providencia Commune, the name Ines de Suarez reminds the companion and mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, conqueror of Chile, and with whom he founded the city of Santiago in 1541. It is a 5 Hs. enclosed green area, considered a very safe place for visitors, small Park but very entertaining, of very easy access, special for doing sports, picnics, with playgrounds, hiking and biking trails. This part of Santiago is also famous for the "Fondas" and "Ramadas", venues where Chile's National Days are celebrated every year on September 17, 18 and 19th.

Parque de la Familia River Park

Address: 2874 Pdte. Balmaceda Ave., Quinta Normal Commune, Santiago. This 20-hectare recreational area also known as the "Mapocho Navegable" (Navigable Mapocho River) until March 2019 was called Parque Padre Renato Poblete. Surrounded by vegetation, it has an artificial lagoon created with waters of the Mapocho River where you can rent boats, make use of the synthetic grass soccer fields, playgrounds, exercise machines, with an outdoor amphitheater and wide trails for children's entertainment. Inaugurated in 2015, the Parque de la Familia River Park is not an isolated area as it is part of the Mapocho River Network of Parks.

Cementerio General de Santiago (General Cemetery)   

Located in the commune of Recoleta, with 86 hectares of surface area and approximately 2 million people buried, this cemetery is one of the largest in Latin America. Created by Bernardo O' Higgins, Father of the Nation, inaugurated on December 9, 1821. Due to its antiquity, the Cementerio General is an open-air museum with an immeasurable historic, cultural and heritage value for the country. Walking through its alleys, -taking advantage of the numerous tours offered by the agencies-, is getting to know the history of Chile, people and personalities that marked it. Address: 951, Profesor Alberto Zañartu Av., commune of Recoleta.    

Fantasilandia Amusement Park 

Fantasilandia Amusement Park, Santiago, Chile.
  This recreational area of the Chilean capital of about 8 hectares, opened on January 1978, is located in the famous Parque O'Higgins, just at the back of the Movistar Arena, not far away from Parque O'Higgins Metro Station. Today Fantasilandia is one of the most important amusement parks in Latin America, receiving annually more than one million visits. The park has fun for all ages, even for the little ones, because apart from having the thrilling Suspended Looping Coaster known as Raptor, the Boomerang Roller Coaster, the Kamikaze Ride, the Evolution Ride, the Tsunami and many others, there is also an area specially equipped for children called Fantasilandia Kids, with more than 14 children and family games, so that kids either alone or accompanied by their parents can enjoy a healthy and exciting fun adapted to their age. Location: 938 Beaucheff Av., Santiago.

Cajon del Maipo (Maipo River Canyon)

A view of Maipo Canyon, Santiago de Chile.
  Cajon del Maipo is located one hour from the Chilean capital, on the way to the Andes mountains. It is one of the favorite destinations for lovers of ecotourism and adventure tourism such as rafting and kayaking, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, etc. The place is very accessible from Santiago but the main town is San Jose de Maipo, from where many of the activities begin. Read more on Cajon del Maipo HERE.

Wine Tours

Chile is world renowned for the quality of its wines. A few hours from the capital you can enjoy an unforgettable experience exploring the best vineyards in the country, visiting its facilities, wineries, sales rooms, tasting the musts and getting to know the beautiful surroundings. In Santiago you can find many tours to visit the most famous wine-producing establishments, including Concha y Toro, Cousiño Macul, Emiliana, Casas del Bosque, Haras de Pirque, Torreon de Paredes, Viña Vik and several other vineyards.

Ski Centers in Chile

The Andes Mountain Range has been generous to provide fantastic natural settings for the practice of winter sports, and the Chilean Ski Centers have taken advantage of this opportunity provided by Nature. The season begins in mid-June and extends to mid-October. High season usually runs from early July until the end of August. In the south of the country there are also other important ski fields and resorts mentioned in post Southern Chile. The most important Ski and Mountain Resorts near Santiago are:

* Valle Nevado Ski Center
* La Parva Ski Center       
* El Colorado Ski Center

* Farellones Ski Center
* Portillo Ski Center
(Province of Los Andes, Valparaiso Region)
* Lagunillas Ski Center