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Santiago Tourism: Best of Santiago
Santiago is one of those metropolitan joys where the more you look, the more you find. Funky cafes and dance clubs dot Bellavista, Forest Park art collections range from pre-Columbian to contemporary, and architecture runs the gamut from the 16th-century San Francisco Church to mirrored office towers. Shop with the locals at Mall Panora¡mico and give your palate meals to remember with hearty Chilean fare.
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A First-Timer’s Guide to Santiago
For some travelers, Santiago is a pit-stop on the way to bombastic bucket-list destinations like Patagonia or Easter Island. But those that linger here will find a flourishing metropolis with a rich, vivid culture of its own—one that I’m proud to claim as part of my Latinx heritage. If it’s your first time, you’ll want to soak up everything that makes Santiago so perfectly itself, from the empanadas to the museums to the handicrafts.
Maria Hart, New York City, NY
- Rooftop Bar The Singular210Pisco Sours are the national cocktail of Chile, and there’s no better place to sip one than this rooftop bar where you can watch the sun set over the cityscape as the sky spins through a kaleidoscope of colors.
- Centro Artesanal Pueblito Los Dominicos2,435No matter how many times I come to Santiago, I always end up shopping at Los Dominicos. This collective of 140 artisans represents the best-of-the-best when it comes to handicrafts. Don’t expect a bargain, but do expect to find some seriously beautiful woodwork, jewelry, copper, pottery, needlework, and more.
- Casa Museo La Chascona9,378Famed poet and native son Pablo Nerudo was known for his big personality—he was charming, romantic, and a huge goofball. All of that comes across in his quirky home dubbed La Chascona. Tour guides do a wonderful job of bringing his personality to life and pointing out little details like his shipshape dining room or his cheeky cigarette holder.
- Bocanariz6,639You can find incredible wine at the Jumbo supermarket here in Santiago, so you better believe that a wine bar here would have to be pretty special to lull locals out of their homes. Bocanariz does just that with an outstanding wine list of 400 wines (yes, really!). Sip your way across all of Latin America’s varietals.
- Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos6,110It’s not the most carefree vacation-y thing to do, but a visit to this museum is a must to understand Chile’s history and healing process since the human-rights violations of the ‘70s and the subsequent decades. This museum is truly a model for other countries undergoing their own reflection on traumatic events.
- Domino1,034If your idea of hot dogs is the subpar frank you snarf down at a baseball park, get ready to rethink everything you know about dogs and condiments. In Chile, the ultimate is a “completo,” a sausage that’s piled high with avocado, mayo, diced tomatoes, salsa, peppers, sauce, kraut, and more. As the name implies, it’s meant to be a complete meal, and Domino is a great place to get an education on this classic.
- Cerro San Cristobal18,377Cerro San Cristobal makes a great starting point. The sweeping views here show you the scope of this enormous city, with clusters of skyscrapers backing up all the way to the horizon. The towering Virgin Mary statue on this hilltop provides another photo-op.
- Emporio Zunino291No visit to Chile is complete without an empanada—or several! These dough pockets are a belly-filling crowd-pleaser. Whether you opt for cheese or seasoned beef (the most traditional), you’ll find some of the best the city has to offer here at Emporio Zunino.
- Confiteria Torres357Chileans take their afternoon tea (aka “onces”) as seriously as the British do. It’s our chance to relax with a coffee, a mate tea, or maybe something sweet. This charming tea salon gives a bit of Old World Santiago.