Attractions in Santiago de Chile, Chile: What to do and where to go
The cosmopolitan city of Santiago de Chile offers numerous attractions to entice all who visit the Chilean capital, whether you're on business or just exploring the fascinating surroundings.
Beautiful parks next to historic buildings, set all along streets and avenues filled with museums and cultural centers, modern business and residential districts, along with the ever-present view of the Andes Range and the Chilean Coast Range, whose mountains completely surround the valley where this great metropolis is set, are all elements that will complement your stay.
If this wasn't enough, Santiago de Chile is also surrounded by numerous natural attractions, including vineyards, ski slopes and nature reserves. You won't want to miss anything in Santiago de Chile!
Barrio Civico de Santiago
This perfectly outlined neighborhood is made up of the buildings that house Chile's main government offices, including Palacio de la Moneda, which is the headquarters for the Chilean presidency along with other important departments. Right in front of the presidential palace sits Plaza de la Constitucion (Constitution Square), and next to the palace is Plaza de la Ciudadania (Citizenry Square). In Santiago's Barrio Civico, you'll also find Paseo Bulnes, a six-block pedestrian street where you can admire downtown's beautiful modern buildings.
Visitors in Santiago de Chile can rest their eyes and spirits by visiting some of the many parks that adorn this great metropolis, such as Parque Forestal, which follows the Mapocho River for a few miles, bordering part of the city's downtown area. You can also enjoy a relaxing walk through the enormous Parque Metropolitano, which houses Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill), the Jardin Zoologico Nacional (National Zoological Garden), pools, and even aerial cable cars to reach the top of the hill, where the Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepcion (Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception) is located.
You can also visit:
- Cerro Santa Lucia
- Parque O'Higgins
- Parque Quinta Normal
- Parque Santa Mónica
- Parque Violeta Parra
Santiago de Chile is surrounded by vast natural areas, which are the perfect complement to the cultural heritage housed in the country's capital city. At places like the Reserva Nacional Rio Clarillo (Clarillo River National Reserve), just thirty miles from the city, travelers can hike trails while visiting a meteorology station and an environmental information center. The Rio Clarillo, nearly six miles long, gives the area its name along with amazing wildlife. Another site for a revitalizing walk and a breath of fresh, outdoor air is the Monumento Natural El Morado (El Morado Natural Monument), situated about sixty miles from Santiago, where you can hike up a trail that will take you to the San Francisco Glacier.
You can also visit:
- Reserva Nacional Robleria del Cobre de Loncha
- Santuario de la Naturaleza Yerba Loca
Part of Santiago de Chile's worldwide fame comes from its vineyards; the region's climate and soil allow the grapes to easily grow into the ideal fruit for wine. "Valle del Maipo" ("Maipo Valley") is the Chilean name for the wines that come from this part of the country, located in Santiago's metropolitan area. This region is dedicated almost exclusively to the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. If you want to learn more about the benefits of the grapevine in Santiago while you enjoy an incomparable view of nearly 25,000 acres of vineyards, you should visit the following sites:
- Vina Canepa
- Vina Concha y Toro
- Vina Undurraga
- Vina Cousino Macul
- Vina Santa Rita
- Vina Santa Carolina
Art, History and Culture
As the capital of the beautiful Andean country of Chile, Santiago has a never-ending amount of cultural centers, museums and libraries. One of the most important sites is the Centro Cultural Estacion Mapocho (Mapocho Station Cultural Center), located in the Parque Forestal; here, in what was once a train station, you can enjoy concerts, expos, book fairs and more. You can't miss out on the Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda (Moneda Palace Cultural Center), which houses various cultural exhibits displaying photography, design and film.
For those who wish to dig deep into Chile's past, the Museo Historico Nacional (National History Museum) houses nearly 12,000 valuable pieces, including religious artifacts, antique furniture and tools used in the Pre-Columbian period and the twentieth century. To commemorate Chile's entrance into the twenty-first century, the Museo Interactivo Mirador (MIM, Mirador Interactive Museum) was inaugurated; since then, it has gained popularity with innovative exhibits including robotics, 3-D movies, energy and electricity. Don't miss out on a visit to the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (National Natural History Museum), which surprises visitors with a blue whale skeleton set at the entrance.
You can also visit:
- Centro de Extension de la Universidad Catolica (Catholic University Extension Center)
- Planetario (Planetarium)
- Museo de la Catedral (Cathedral Museum)
- Museo de Santiago (Santiago Museum)
- Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art)
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum)
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of Contemporary Art)
- Museo Ralli (Ralli Museum)
- Museo de Ciencia y TecnologÃa (Science and Technology Museum)
- Museo Ferroviario (Railroad Museum)
- Museo Artequin (Artequin Museum)
- Museo Arqueologico de Santiago (Santiago Archaeological Museum)
- Museo Nacional de Aeronautica de Chile (Chile National Aeronautic Museum)
Skiing is a widely popular sport in Chile, and it's one of the main images that come to mind when thinking of this destination. The mountains encircling the city are covered with a blanket of snow practically the entire year. The mountain range offers the ideal conditions for skiing due to the type of soil combined with the quality and thickness of the snow.
There are four sites for skiing situated around the metropolitan area, considered to be among the most important in Chile. Here, you can enjoy the relaxing experience of Nordic skiing, in which you travel over nearly horizontal surfaces, or get your adrenaline pumping with alpine skiing, descending at top speeds down steep slopes. Many of these ski resorts, as they're commonly known, also feature cozy hotels along with restaurants, dance clubs, ski schools and equipment rental.
You can visit:
- Farellones - El Colorado (24 miles from Santiago)
- La Parva (30 miles from Santiago)
- Valle Nevado (37 miles from Santiago)
- Lagunillas (44 miles from Santiago)
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