Neighborhoods of Santiago: Walking the Capital’s Best Spots
By: Chile Travel | Date: 21 November, 2017 | In: Urban life ,
Santiago, the grand Chilean capital. Santiago, a city full of light, culture, gastronomy, and architecture. Santiago, packed with neighborhood spots, the off-the-beaten-path places you won’t find on your tourist map. Santiago’s neighborhoods are beckoning, so put on your best walking shoes and come stroll through age-old streets marked by the architectural, cultural, and culinary beauty that contains and tells the history of Chile.
But, which neighborhoods should you explore in Santiago?
-Bellavista: Nestled between the grand Cerro San Cristóbal and the iconic Mapocho River, it’s known for its art during the day and its music and nightlife after dark. Home to the capital’s intellectuals and artists, check out the mythical La Chascona, the poet Pablo Neruda’s former home.
Walking around this bohemian neighborhood, you’ll run into trendy shops and art galleries. On the weekend, you can browse the market on Pío Nono, where you’ll find the famed lapis lazuli jewelry, a deep blue gem, mined in the north of Chile. But, how to get there? One option is to take the metro to the Baquedano station and cross the Mapocho River toward Pío Nono.
-Lastarria: One of the city’s historical neighborhoods that has become a tourist attraction. Lastarria is located between Cerro Santa Lucía and Baquedano Plaza, full of life and energy, thanks to the wide array of cultural activities, festivals, and live shows on offer. It’s a downtown cultural “must-see.” The best way to get there is by taking the metro to the Bellas Artes or Universidad Católica stations.
-Italia: The neighborhood takes its name from the main avenue running through it. It is an older area where immigrants run businesses buying and selling products. At the moment, it is also Santiago’s hub for antiques and gastronomy. You’ll find food from all around the world, decoration and design shops, bookstores, and shoe, accessory, and clothing stores.
If you want a taste of daily life in Santiago, you can go out for an “once,” similar to taking English tea. The tradition says that taking “once” dates back to the olden days, when men would have a drink after work, but to avoid being caught, they would say they were going for an “once,” the Spanish word for eleven, because the Spanish word for spirits, “aguardiente,” has eleven letters. It was like their secret code.
To get there, take the metro to the Santa Isabel stop, or go to Baquedano and walk through Bustamante Park until you reach this quaint neighborhood in Santiago.
-Providencia: A favorite of tourists to stay and rest. It has a great location and is the heart of the shopping and restaurant district. If you walk down Providencia Avenue to the east, you’ll reach one of the city’s best-known malls, Costanera Center. You can shop and visit the Sky Costanera observatory for a panoramic view of the capital from South America’s tallest building. You can get there from the Tobalaba and Los Leones metro stops.
-Santiago Centro: Santiago’s historical downtown area is home to a wide variety of cultural sites to visit, from the heart of Chile, the iconic Plaza de Armas, to the grand Cerro San Cristóbal. If you love a great meal and want to try the exquisite flavors and textures of typical Chilean cuisine, check out Mercado Central and La Vega. Located across from the Mapocho River, you’ll find a variety of local gastronomy options. You can get there from the Cal y Canto metro station.
Streets full of history, government buildings, museums, and so much more await you in downtown Santiago. The best way to get there is to take the metro to the Plaza de Armas, Bellas Artes, Universidad de Chile, Moneda, or Santa Lucía stations.