Article updated March 2016
So many people come to Santiago on their way to somewhere else in Chile or South America, Chile’s capital city is often overlooked as a destination in its own right. In reality there are so many things to do in Santiago, and its location in between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean give you endless alternatives of day trips just outside the city itself. With a Mediterranean climate and almost no rain between October and May, it’s easy to enjoy everything the city has to offer year round.
The original “30 things to do when visiting Santiago”, written by AJ Block, was inspired by an article by Jeff Barry, 30 things to do when visiting Buenos Aires. When AJ was doing a study abroad program in Santiago, he wanted to share the things he enjoyed about Santiago with its visitors.
Living in and exploring Santiago, we at Santiago Tourist discover great new things to do all the time, and regularly update our list of 30 things to do when visiting Santiago. This list is now divided up into 30 different categories: and contains over 125 different ideas on places to visit and activities to do, as it’s impossible to limit ourselves to just 30 things we love to do in Santiago. Many of these activities have been written up in a full article providing all the details you need to know to visit, just click on the links for more info or to read the full articles. So read, explore and enjoy our lovely city! Did we miss one of your favorite things about Santiago? Please share it with us so we can share it with the world!
Santiago Tourist’s Things to Do in Santiago!
1. Check out the view!
Being surrounded by mountains and hills means you have some fantastic opportunities to see Santiago from above. If you really want to see the classic view of Santiago, you can’t miss the view from Cerro San Cristóbal. At the top of this cerro (hill) you get a great look at the city of Santiago below you, with the immense Andes mountains in the background. You can get up by hiking or riding your bike, as you will see many of the locals doing, by driving, or by riding the funicular from Bellavista. If you have time, head up for one of Santiago’s beautiful sunsets. Closest Metro: Baquedano.
Another great viewpoint is Cerro Santa Lucia, located right in the center of Santiago. This hill takes 15-20 minutes to climb and provides a 360° panoramic view of the city. Make sure to wear sturdy shoes as the stone steps can be slippery. There are various murals, statues, lookouts and ponds hidden all over the cerro, and multiple ways to get to the top (just keep climbing up the stairs) so take your time and explore this urban oasis. There is a small tourism office here if you want to plan more of your trip. Closest Metro: Santa Lucia.
If you haven’t had enough panoramic views from the city’s cerros, or you aren’t up for a hike, have dinner at Giratorio. You’ll eat on a rotating platform that allows you to get a 360° view of Santiago throughout the course of your meal. If you’re not up for dinner, go for coffee or drinks in the afternoon. Closest Metro: Los Leones.
After a long anticipated wait, we’re happy to announce that the you can now see an amazing 360° view of Santiago from the mirador (viewpoint) at Sky Costanera, 300 meters up at Torre Costanera currently the tallest building in South America. Sky Costanera is open 365 days a year, including holidays. You can buy your tickets in advance at the ticket booths, so if it’s cloudy you can plan ahead for another day, keep in mind holidays may sell out in advance. It’s open from 10am-10pm with the last ride up at 9pm so if you want to see the sunset make sure you plan your visit accordingly! If you’re planning a special event in Santiago and want to be on top of the world, contact them for event details! If you need something to do before or after your visit check out the Costanera Center a newer shopping mall with a variety of shops and restaurants to explore, if you’re a tourist check out their special on tour discounts for you! Closest Metro: Tobalaba
Santiago’s former city center is a big draw for tourists and residents alike. There are often events being held in the Plaza and it’s surrounded by history. Don’t miss the Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago, if you’re a photography buff bring a tripod to get some great shots inside this beautiful church, admission is free. If you like religious history check out the adjoining Museo de Arte Sagrado.
If you’re a general history buff, visit the Museo Histórico Nacional, in the Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago Building, a great museum of Chilean history which is free on Sundays and holidays. Make sure to take the tour of their clock tower, and get a great view of the Plaza from above. In the main plaza you’ll see tons of street entertainment, art for sale, and get a good view of the people living and working in Santiago. The Chess Club of Chile almost always meets here during the day, if you think you have what it takes you can challenge someone to a game. If you enjoy more ancient history they don’t miss the reopened Museo Chileno De Arte Precolombino just around the corner, this gem is a don’t miss for visitors! Closest Metro: Plaza De Armas.
Santiago has a lot of different types of shopping to offer, you can visit one of the newer world class shopping malls, Costanera Center, Alto Las Condes, Parque Arauco, and Portal La Dehesa, which all offer much more than just shopping. Between them they have a large variety of national and international restaurants, movie theaters, arcades, bowling alleys, special events, and an ice skating rink. Closest Metro: Tobalaba, Los Dominicos & Manquehue.
If you’ve got money burning a hole in your pocket, you can visit the streets of Avenida Vitacura, Alonso de Cordova and Nueva Costanera, often dubbed the Rodeo Drive of Santiago with upscale Chilean and International shops like Veronica Blackburn and Hermès, among countless others for your upscale shopping fix. Note most shops here are closed on Sundays. Closest Metro: Tobalaba or Escuela Militar.
If saving money is your idea of shopping fun then head to Santiago’s Outlet Malls, American style outlet malls just north of Santiago, offering year round discounts of up to 70%, and seasonal and holiday sales. If you’re looking for vintage options, head to Bandera, where there are over 30 used clothing stores all on one street and you can find anything from used leather jackets to bridal gowns, and little league uniforms or Halloween costumes. There are also many other used clothing stores around Santiago just not in the same concentration. Closest Metro: Zapadores & Plaza De Armas.
If you’re looking for arts and crafts, souvenirs or gifts, check out Pueblito Los Dominicos or Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia, a large crafts market right across the street from Cerro Santa Lucia, or head to Barrio Bellavista and check out their market and Lapiz Lazuli stores. Closest Metro: Los Dominicos, Santa Lucia & Baquedano.
4. Music and Dancing!
If you love salsa dancing, there are live salsa shows as well as some dance clubs with live bands in Santiago. Check out Havana Salsa for shows and classes or Ilé Habana for live music and dancing. Closest Metro : Bellas Artes or Patronato, Los Leones.
While Tango isn’t as popular in Santiago as it is in Buenos Aires you can still dance tango here in Santiago. A more traditional local club is the Buenos Aires Tango Club, Avenida Recoleta 1267. El Cachfaz, with two locations, offers tango classes and tango milongas (dances). Takuu Tango in Providencia offers regular classes and milongas as well. Closest Metro: Cementerios, Irarrázaval, Santa Isabel.
Santiago also has a popular Jazz music scene, the most famous venue, Club de Jazz where music legends like Louis Armstrong and Wynton Marsalis played, is located a short walk from Plaza Nuñoa. Other venues around the city include; Thelonious, Bar Grez, and The Jazz Corner. Closest Metro: Plaza Egaña, Bellas Artes or Patronato, Bellas Artes or Baquedano, Santa Isabel.
One of the 3 museums of Chile’s beloved poet Pablo Neruda, which are all located in his former homes, is located right in Bellavista where he lived with his third wife Matilde Urrutia, the home’s namesake. The museum is decorated with an incredible collection of anything you can imagine from all over the world and is also home to his Nobel Prize. There are rooms designed to create the feeling that you are on a ship, and there are some great views of the city. Neruda’s other two houses aren’t too far from Santiago (one is in Valparaíso, the other is in Isla Negra, a town south of Valparaíso) and all are worth seeing if you have time. Closest Metro: Baquedano.
If you like sports, or even if you don’t, going to see a local Chilean fútbol game or seeing La Roja, Chile’s national team, is an experience worth having. Chileans really love their fútbol as a result crowds can get pretty rowdy, so avoid sitting in la barra (the fanatic) section, where the crowds chant and jump nearly the entire game. These games may be very different from watching sports in your home country, there are no alcoholic beverages sold at the stadiums and there is a noticeable police presence with many well armed officers surrounding la barra and monitoring the entrance and exit of all attendees. Unless you have a set allegiance it’s best to sit in the seated home team section of the stadium, you get to leave first and are less likely to encounter any problems. The most popular teams are Universidad de Chile, Colo-Colo, and Universidad Catolica (the teams use the names of the universities, but have no current affiliation).
7. Learn about the Chilean Military Coup and Dictatorship
Visit Villa Grimaldi: this enclosed plot of land, just outside of Santiago in Peñalolén, was used as an interrogation and torture center for the Chilean secret police under Dictator Augusto Pinochet from 1974 – 1978. In 1978 most of the buildings were destroyed and in 1994 the site was opened as a memorial. The Villa Grimaldi Peace Park was opened in 1997. Many of the tours (in Spanish only) are guided by a survivor of the camp itself, and can be extremely emotional. On the tour you will learn about the history of the 1973 military coup and dictatorship in Chile, and its violations of human rights. They don’t currently offer guided tours in English, but there are audio guides available in English, ask for audioguías en ingles. Note: this activity may not be suitable for all visitors. Closest Metro: Plaza Egaña, you will need to take a bus or taxi to get to the museum from the Metro.
Another museum that deals with the dictatorship is the Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum, which has a collection of art confiscated and hidden during the dictatorship. They offer guided tours in English, and you need to reserve them a week in advance through their website. The cost is $15.000 CLP for a group of up to 15 people, in addition to the $1.000 CLP entrance fee per person. Closest Metro: Republica.
Another option is the Museo de la Memoria y de los Derechos Humanos (the Museum of Memory and Human Rights) in Parque Quinta Normal, guided tours in English are available but you must submit a prior request, or you can rent an audio guide in English if you prefer for $2.000 CLP. Closest Metro: Quinta Normal.
The presidential palace of Chile, which was originally built as the Chilean mint, is right in Santiago Centro. They offer free guided tours of the building but they request you schedule your tour a week in advance. There are awesome sculptures in the courtyard by Chilean artists to check out. They have a changing of the guard ceremony every other day at 10am during the week, or 11am on the weekend, e-mail to confirm the current schedule before you go if you want to ensure you see it.
You can also visit the Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda, located under the plaza behind La Moneda, which has several different art and cultural exhibits at any time. Entry is free if you go before 12pm, they also offer free tours, ask about availability. Closest Metro: La Moneda.
How many capital cities are located just an hour away from a variety of ski resorts? Lucky for you Santiago is, you can hit the slopes at, Valle Nevado, El Colorado or La Parva, all within an hour and a half from the city. If you’re up for a whole week of skiing then head to Portillo, one of the best resorts in Chile. If you’re a true beginner or on a budget you can visit Lagunillas, the closest and smallest ski resort located in Cajon de Maipo. There are companies that will organize the whole trip for you, including clothing rental, if needed.
10. Grocery Shop like a local at Mercado Central & La Vega Central
Consistently named one of the top markets in the world, Mercado Central is a popular destination, where you can see the large variety of fish and seafood Chile has to offer. If you like fish, try one of the market restaurants, the larger ones in the center and at the front of the market are touristy and a bit overpriced, if you want to eat like the locals head to the smaller restaurants on the sides of the market, but wherever you eat you’re sure to have a great meal. The market tends to close early so it’s best to aim for lunch on the weekends as you will be out of luck come the normal Chilean dinner time of 9pm. Closest Metro: Puente Cal y Canto.
If you like local fruit and vegetable markets head across the street to check out La Vega Central, the biggest market in Chile. They have everything for sale at La Vega, if you’re looking for harder to find or seasonal fruits, vegetables or spices, your best option is to head to one of the stands or shops here. Closest Metro: Patronato.
11. Eat like a local
Try some classic Chilean cuisine, like pastel de choclo (similar to a shepherd’s pie, meat and vegetables topped with a cornmeal topping), a completo (a burger or hotdog topped with the standard Chilean mix of avocados, tomatoes and a very healthy portion of mayonnaise) or churrasco, similar to the completo but with grilled beef. A popular restaurant for Chilean favorites is Galindo in Bellavista, go during non-peak dining hours or you’ll likely have to wait for a table. If you’re looking for more dining options check out our restaurant review articles!
Sample a classic Chilean drink, like a terremoto at La Piojera, or a pisco sour. The terremoto (earthquake) is a Santiago staple that every traveler is encouraged to try. What is it? A mix of sweet wine (Pipeño or Chicha), sometimes pisco (a domestic liquor made from grapes) or fernet, pineapple ice cream, and a hint of grenadine. These drinks are very popular during the Chilean holidays of Fiestas Patrias/Dieciocho. Make sure to mix well and you will walk out feeling like a tremor just hit you. If you order a second it’s usually smaller and named appropriately a “replica” (aftershock). La Piojera is only a minute’s walk from Mercado Central. Don’t worry if you can’t get to La Piojera, terremotos and pisco sours are served all over Santiago and Chile.
12. Fish and Seafood
Santiago is just an hour and a half from the Pacific Ocean, and since over half of Chile’s population lives there, much of the fresh fish caught in Chile doesn’t even stop in the port towns and instead is sent directly to Santiago. If you’re looking for classic Chilean seafood, you can’t miss the restaurants at Mercado Central. There are also a lot of Peruvian restaurants in Chile, which serve up some tasty ceviche/cebiche on their menus as well as cooked versions of the local fish and seafood. Closest Metro: Puente Cal y Canto.
If you love Sushi, you’re in luck, Santiago has countless sushi restaurants. You do have to be careful however, as quality can vary, so check the reviews. Also note that Chilean sushi often comes with cream cheese (queso Filadelfia or queso crema) although it can be requested sin (without). If you’re really hungry try Too Much near Metro Tobalaba & with 5 other locations around Santiago. They have an all you can eat special for $8.990 CLP ($13-14 US) and a really interesting drink called Wasabi Sour, a twist on another local classic, the pisco sour. Closest Metro: Bellavista and Tobalaba.
13. Eat Helado
Chileans love ice cream and Santiago is filled with heladerias (ice cream shops), many make their own, so lookout for Helados Artesanales for your best quality! On any sunny afternoon year-round, around lunch time, you will see tons of Chileans walking around eating an ice cream. If you want something cool and refreshing without as many calories, look for Helados de Fruta, fruit flavors made without cream. Check out Emporio La Rosa, they are often listed as the best ice cream in Santiago and sometimes one of the top ice cream parlors in the world, they have some very unique flavors like rose water and black pepper. Their location in Lastarria is great for walking around the park and enjoying your ice cream, but they have several locations around town. Closest Metro: Bellavista.
14. Quinta Normal
Santiago’s museum district, Quinta Normal is a huge park on the east end of Santiago Centro, between the park and the museums you could easily spend a few days here. The museums include: El Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (Museum of Natural History), the Museo Ferroviario (the Railway Museum), and The Artequin, which displays replicas of the world’s masterpieces, such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Museo de Ciencias y Tecnología (the Museum of Science and Technology), the Museo Infantil (Children’s Museum) best for kids aged 2-10, and the previously mentioned Museo de la Memoria y de los Drechos Humanos. Most museums close between 5-6pm. If you walk a few blocks south you can also visit the Planetarium at the University of Santiago. Closest Metro: Quinta Normal.
15. Barrio Bellas Artes and Parque Forestal
If you visit on Sundays you will find this area full of Chileans enjoying Parque Forestal right around Museo Bellas Artes. There’s often a flea market of sorts with tons of people setting up blankets on the grass and selling used clothes, art and many other things. You will find people playing music and break dancing, jugglers practicing their routines, and a variety of street entertainment that you can enjoy even if you don’t speak much Spanish. You really can’t go to Santiago without seeing this.
Walking along the shaded pedestrian pathways is a nice break from the busy sidewalks of Santiago and a great place to stop and rest during your explorations of Santiago Centro. In addition every Sunday the streets here along the Mapocho River are closed from 9am until 2pm for cycling, running and any non-motorized traffic. This area is also generally along any organized race route in Santiago and additionally there are many events held on the lawns or streets in front of Museo Bellas Artes, so, if you see things being closed off, stick around and enjoy the upcoming activities. Closest Metro: Bellas Artes.
16. Plaza Ñuñoa
Great for a night out with an ambiance completely different from the hustle of Santiago Centro or Providencia. There you’ll find a growing number of brew pubs including HBH. It’s a safe neighborhood with a variety of bars and restaurants to try out, a rock club Batuta, Teatro Universidad Católica (The University Católica Theater), a jazz club, and a cool lit up fountain. Closest Metro: Plaza Egaña.
17. Barrio Lastarria
One of the more bohemian neighborhoods in Santiago, Lastarria is a small oasis in Santiago Centro. It’s a great place to just go for a stroll at night and pick from one of the many restaurants or cafés to eat at. One of the most popular wine bars Bocanáriz is a great place to take a break and enjoya sampling of some local wines, they have the largest selection of wines by the glass or the taste. If you need a coffee pick me up stop into Colmado Coffee and Bakery. During the day/evening and especially on weekends, there are street vendors selling art, used books and some random antiques. There are also a variety of clothing shops including several independent designers. If you’re in a museum mood you can check out the MAVI Museo de Artes Visuales (Museum of Visual Arts), or the adjoining Museo Arqueológico de Santiago (MAS) (Archaelogical Museum of Santiago) tours available upon prior request. Or check out one of the free exhibits at the GAM or pop into their café or restaurant for an afternoon coffee or lunch. If you like foreign films don’t miss El Cine El Biógrafo on Lastarria. You can also head towards Bellas Artes from here where there are even more museums, restaurants, cafés and bars to choose from. Closest Metro: Universidad Católica or Bellas Artes.
18. Family Fun
Perhaps you’re in Santiago with your kids, and they are sick of the typical tourist destinations. If you are looking to take a day off from “traveling” well, you’re in luck, Santiago has a lot of family-friendly destinations. You can check out the National Zoo in Bellavista or the accompanying Parque Metropolitano, which is massive and is full of hiking paths, gardens and pools. Take the family out of the city for a day at the Buin Zoo, or Granjaventura for some interactive farm fun.
If you want something a little more adventurous and thrill-seeking, check out Santiago’s own amusement park, Fantasilandia. It’s a small park but has a couple bigger rides and it sure to be a fun afternoon. Or head to Parque Arauco where you can play video games or go bowling after eating at one of the restaurants. For fish-lovers check out the Aquarium, and if your kids are in love with the stars, take them to the Planetarium. Finally you can head to one of the museums with childrens’ activities: the MIM, Museo Interatctivo Mirador, and the Artequin, or the Museo Nacional Aeronautico y del Espacio (The National Air and Space Museum).
19. Santiago’s Art Museums
Museo Bellas Artes is Santiago’s flagship art museum and for good reason. It is a collection of Chile’s contemporary art scene and hosts some of the best works in the country. The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo is adjacent to Bellas Artes and is basically an extension of the latter. Note there is a separate admission charge for each museum but Museo Bellas Artes is free on Sundays. When you’re done, you can check out Barrio Bellas Artes, Barrio Lastarria or Barrio Bellavista. Closest Metro: Bellas Artes.
Another great Art Museum is Museo Ralli. With free admission, although one of the smaller museums you may visit in Chile, it could quickly become your favorite. The museum hosts modern art from all over Ibero-America and has works that may really impress you. One highlight of the museum is their collection of original sculptures by Salvador Dalí. You can get there by a Metro, bus or walking combination, but it’s faster and easier to take the Metro to Escuela Militar and then take a taxi to the Museum. Closest Metro: Escuela Militar.
A cemetery may be a strange thing to visit for some travelers but trust us, it’s worth a visit. All but two of Chile’s presidents (Liberator Bernardo O’Higgins and Dictator Augusto Pinochet) are buried here. Each president’s tomb varies between 2 and 3 stories in height and is quite impressive. If you liked the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, you’ll love this one. If you visit during the last days of October look out for Dia del Muertes tours and activities. Closest Metro: Cementerios.
21. Free Indoor and Outdoor Art Exhibits!
In addition to the various monuments, sculptures and art displayed around the city, there are some permanent, and free to visit, outdoor art exhibitions in Santiago. One of the most popular is Santiago’s Sculpture Park. You will find this tranquil park, with about 30 sculptures made by Chilean artists, situated along the banks of the Mapocho River. This is a gem of the city that you shouldn’t miss. They often hold free concerts in the park in summer months (January-March). Nearby there is also La Pastora, and open-air museum in Las Condes. If you are going to Metro Escuela Militar don’t miss the sculptures on display there by Chilean artist Pablo Valdes. While riding the Metro is not technically free, if you’re going to take a ride anyway stop and look around. Many of the stations have permanent art installations, some you can see prior to entering the Platforms and others you will have to buy a Metro ticket to experience, so take a few extra minutes before or after your ride and explore the stations you’re in, be sure to look up, as some of the exhibits are above the tracks! Closest Metro: Pedro de Valdivia, El Golf, Escuela Militar.
If you love murals don’t miss Museo al Cielo Libre in San Miguel, an neighborhood in Santiago where they have created an open air museum dedicated to street artists. These murals cover the entire end of the apartment buildings and are a hidden gem in Santiago! Closest Metro: Departmental
One of Santiago’s best street art and nightlife sectors, Bellavista is centrally located. If you are looking for a night out you can choose from many different styles of bars and discotecas to dance the night away in, and an assortment of different restaurants. If you go there at night, be safe, since there are many tourists partying here that comes with the possibility of people looking to take advantage of outsiders, don’t carry valuables and make sure you stash enough cash to get a taxi home. Since it can be a touristy area it’s one of the few places in the city where you will generally find a few places open during public holidays when everything else is likely to be closed.
There is also plenty to do here during the day, from checking out some of Santiago’s best street art to shopping for gifts at Patio Bellavista, across the street at the Bellavista Market, or just wandering up Avenida Bellavista visiting the many Lapiz Lazuli shops and Artesanal Craft stores. It’s also the access point for the Santiago Zoo, and the hiking trails or the funicular to get up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal. Closest Metro: Baquedano or Bellas Artes.
23. Sanhattan/El Golf
Get off the Metro at stations Tobalaba or El Golf to see the modern financial center of Santiago. There is some great architecture here and awesome sculptures all around, in 2009 it included a series of painted horses down the main drag, Apoquindo, and currently there are painted benches that provide a pretty place to rest during your walk. This is also the location of the Costanera Center shopping mall and of course the Costanera Torre which is now the tallest building in South America and set to open to the public in 2014. If you want to head towards the mall just spot the enormous tower in the sky and walk towards it. If you’re hungry there are plenty of restaurants to choose from on nearby Isidora Goyenechea. If you’re wandering about during the week and want to grab a coffee don’t miss the Fix Cafe. Closest Metro: Tobalaba or El Golf.
Chile is known for a lot of things and wine is top of the list. Most people have tried some Chilean wines but many are unaware of just how many vineyards there are in Chile and how many are so close to Santiago. There are several that are easily accessible by the Metro like Viña Concha y Toro (which also has a tasting room in Vitacura) and Viñas Cousino Macul and Aquitania, or by a quick drive out to Viña Undurraga. You can also head to Casablanca Valley between Santiago and Valparaíso for a day of wine tasting. Every winery offers a different experience so if you like wine, try to visit a few to get a good feel for the wine-making here in Chile.
If you can’t get out of the city you can visit the restaurant Camino Real in Parque Metropolitano, they do guided tastings as well as offering lunches and dinner. Note, if you want to do a tasting you need to book it in advance. If you can’t plan ahead you can always just try a few glasses at a local restaurant or visit one of Santiago’s most popular wine bars, Boca Nariz in Lastarria, where they have a long list of wine by the glass, or flights of smaller tastings if you want to sample several different wines. If you want to buy some bottles to bring home as gifts check out the Santiago Wine Club in Lastarria, they carry a unique selection of local wines. Closest Metro, Pedro de Valdivia, Universidad Católica, Bellavista.
Chile has not historically been known for their beer, but now the number of Chilean microbrews continues to grow each year. With a history of German settlers, especially in the South of Chile, there is a growing interests in making quality beers. There are some breweries in and around the Santiago area and you can now visit several of them for tours and tastings. Szot Microbrewery is located just outside of Santiago and is open for tours most Saturdays. Cerveza artesanal Leyenda is located right in Ñuñoa so stop by if you’re in the neighborhood, alternatively you can try their beers at several local restaurants. If you would rather sit back and leave the guiding to someone else check out Bebeer tours
If you don’t have time or the inclination to go on a tour, you can try some local Chilean beers at a local pub. Check out The Black Rock Pub in Providencia, with Chilean and Australian ownership they speak English and Spanish and have a variety of Chilean beers on offer. If you don’t know what to try, just ask for their recommendations! If you’re in Bellavista check out the newer addition Loom Brewing Co. Other local Chilean beers to look out for are Kross, Rothhammer and Prima. You can also find many of these and other local options at your local supermarket, Jumbo and Unimarc tend to have the biggest selections, so take some home and share your favorites with your friends.
26. Day Trips
In addition to all the things you can do in Santiago there’s a multitude of things to do right outside the city. Some are easily accessible by public transportation and others by local buses. Alternatively you can rent a car and plan your own adventure. There are lots of options to do in one day, skiing in the Andes, surfing on the beaches or exploring the port city of Valparaíso.
If you like pottery and arts and crafts then head out to the town of Pomaire where you can see the local artisans at work making their crafts. If you’re really hungry, you can order one of the famous 1kilo empanadas, or some of the traditional Chilean fare that is served in most of the restaurants. Pomaire is quite close to Viña Undurraga and together they make a nice day trip just outside the city. Many of the potters don’t work on Mondays so if you want to see them crafting their wares, visit during the rest of the week.
27. Closed Door Restaurants
Chile has a growing culinary scene including several closed door dining options, pop up dinners, or local restaurants with a set tasting menu. These are a great way to get to know local Chilean favorites and see what new things Chilean chefs are doing with local ingredients. The locations and menu are often changing so check with the host if you have specific dining needs. Other popular choices are Boragó, De Raiz, Motemei Cocina Taller and Salvador Cocina y Café, so try one or try them all. Make sure to book in advance as they have limited availability and often fill up quickly, or follow their social media pages for last minute openings. The level of English spoken can vary greatly from dinner to dinner so be prepared for a potentially all Spanish evening but chances are good you’ll have a dinner experience you’ll not soon forget.
28. Do a Walking or Biking Tour of Santiago
Nothing helps you discover a city like walking around and seeing it from the view of a local. There are a lot of different city tours you can take depending on your interest. You can do your own walking tour, either download one onto your smartphone or grab your map and follow one like our Central Barrios walking tour, or you can also just wander around with or without your travel guide and discover the secrets of the city as you go. If you prefer a guided tour there are several companies that offer them, including some “free tours” but do keep in mind that they expect a tip of $5,000-10,000 CLP per person. A lot of hostels or hotels can book these for you, and they are usually offered every day, just ask at the front desk. Or you can do part of it yourself and part of it with a company with the hop-on, hop-off bus tour like Turistik. If you prefer a different kind of tour, one where you can pick up some new skills at the same time, Foto-Ruta has a couple photography tours where you can explore a local neighborhood, with a few new friends, while practicing your photography skills at the same time.
Another great way to explore the city is by bike, if you’re going to be here for a while, I would suggest buying a used bike to get around town. You can rent one for just a day but there are several local shops that rent bikes some for longer terms, a week or a month, just make sure to get a helmet, especially if you’re going to use the roads. Santiago has a growing number of bike paths and is even starting local bike sharing, although currently only in Viticura, but they will be expanding their coverage it’s usually free for the first 30 minutes. Every Sunday selected streets around Santiago are closed from 9am-2pm for biking and other outdoor activities. For bike maps and other biking information check out bicicultura.cl. You can go on a bike tour with a company like La Bicicleta Verde or just rent of their bikes and do a self-tour at your own pace. For maps of bike paths, bike parking and general biking in Santiago information, check out bicicultura.
29. Outdoor Adventure around Santiago
Cerro San Cristóbal has several hiking trails or for an easier walk you can just follow the roads, this massive park is easily accessible and you are rewarded with multiple views of the city of Santiago below as you hike up and down exploring. You can hike up Cerro Blanco in Recoleta for a different view of Santiago. If you want to do some hiking just outside the city you can visit Cajon de Maipo which has several hiking options including hiking out to the Glaciar del Morado. For an easier option closer to the Metro visit Parque Natural Aguas de Ramon, with several different hike options.
Other adventure options are to mountain bike along some of the same hiking trails, make sure to check if it’s allowed first. There are several different places to go whitewater rafting in Cajon de Maipo, you can drive yourself or set up with a local tour company to take you out for the day. The ski resorts in the Andes have set up summer activities at the Parque de Montaña Farellones, they have rope courses, trampolines, mountain biking, rock climbing, tubing and trekking. Or you can head to the beaches to swim, scuba dive, kayak or surf in the nearby Pacific Ocean. If you started early enough in the day, during the winter you could ski and surf in the same day!
30. Barrio Italia
This neighborhood has a lot to offer, but often gets overlooked for its more known neighbors of Providencia or Bellavista, and although it’s centrally located it doesn’t show up much in the guide books. It used to be a hat manufacturing neighborhood but now furniture makers, design stores, art galleries, restaurants, cafés and boutiques fill the empty buildings and many of the former worker homes. With tree lined, quiet streets, it’s a nice break from the traffic of Centro or Providencia.
If you’re craving Italian cuisine try Da Noi for pastas or pop into one of the many cafés to enjoy an afternoon coffee. Although not Italian, if you’re in the mood for some Margaritas or Mexican food, stop in Mexicana for some tasty Mexican food. In addition to the other boutiques, explore the shops at Estacion Italia, a small but modern galleria of shops between Avenida Italia and Condell. There’s also a Jazz club here, The Jazz Corner, if you’re in the mood for some music after dinner. This is also a great neighborhood to explore by bike as it’s generally pretty quiet and it’s full of residential houses in between the shops. The main shopping area is on Avenida Italia or Avendia Condell in between the streets of Francisco Bilbao and Sucre. Tip: make sure to print out the Map ahead of time so you can find everything you’re looking for. Closest Metro: Santa Isabel & Parque Bustamante.
If you have any comments or questions about anything on our list please feel free to email us at santiagotourist.com (at) gmail.com. We hope you enjoy exploring Santiago as much as we do!
Note: This story was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question.
To learn more about Beth, read her bio!