10 Top Attractions in Santiago de Chile

Martina Rosado
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La Moneda

This is the house of the President of Chile. It is located in the street Av. Thüñaquts Av. It is currently used as both a museum and Presidential Residence (also where the ceremonial and state functions are held, their residence is Santa Lucia, previously known as Santa Cruz).

It was built in 1847, with the construction work made by Juan Jorge Orrego and Juan Guillermo Ruiz. It was built on the site of the former house of Pizarro and of the General Town Hall. During the Chilean War of Independence the building was occupied by the Spanish army, and was used as a prison for the Chilean rebels. It was returned to the Republic after the war.

La Moneda was used as the prison for the Chilean rebels in 1818, during the Spanish colonial period in Chile. It is also said that in La Moneda the first constitution of the Republic of Chile was approved. It is one of the most historic monuments of the capital of Chile.

The best point to see La Moneda is from Casa de Moneda (National Mint) metro station. It gives you the opportunity to see the whole complex.

Museum of Memory and Human Rights

The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is located in the city’s Museum Park, on a small hill overlooking the central valley and the Andes.

Originally, this building was constructed to house the Museum of Fine Arts, but when the museum was to be moved to a new convention center in downtown Santiago, President Salvador Allende nationalized the building and turned it into a center for memory and human rights.

More than 25,000 human rights related documents, documents related to victims of dictatorship worldwide, personal belongings of imprisoned soldiers, and a commemorative memorabilia from each of the tortured victims are some of the facts that you will find within this building.

The 4th floor is dedicated to the most important victims of the Pinochet dictatorship. It is called “La Alameda”, which means “The Alameda of Suspects,” since it contains a permanent exhibition with photographs and mugshots of 200 named and sentenced coup criminals.

Gran Torre Santiago

You can find Gran Torre Santiago in the middle part of the city, at the corner of Ejes 7 and transversal. This tower houses a bar and a restaurant, as well as a small museum about the building itself.

It’s a beautiful building, with interesting features such as a music box dedicated to the city of Santiago, two niches, one with Chinese artifacts and another with artifacts of the Mixtec culture.

The restaurant is excellent, with both casual and steeped.

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Gran Torre is the fourth building of the Puente Alto (High Bridge) complex, and is one of Santiago’s most iconic attractions, its tower inspired the Walt Disney World castle, for example. It’s also one of the most important pieces of architecture in the city.

The tower was originally built by the Ahmad Yalem brothers, two Jewish businessmen who lived in the area. It was later bought by the Chilean government, and currently houses several government offices and other facilities.

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Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Also known as the pre-Columbian Museum, this is different from the other museums because it documents the culture and history of Chile before the country’s colonization by Spain. In this museum, you can learn about the Moche culture that thrived before 1400, and the Chinchorro people, known for their amazing wood sculptures.

One interesting aspect of this museum is that it features a collection of objects from the Andes, an area that doesn’t actually border the Pacific Ocean. The objects and the history displayed are clustered northwest of Santiago, only a couple of hours away, but are hundreds of miles from the ocean.

The exhibit shows how these objects were brought to Chiloán, Santiago’s port city, by the indigenous people.

Chi-Chi is in the downtown area of Santiago, and it is actually the name of the street where the museum is located. The museum itself includes housing for the artifacts, which are rotated to allow for proper conservation.

During your tour, you will see exhibits of pottery, wood carvings, and a child mummy. Many of the exhibits are temporary, however, so make sure to check back regularly.

The museum is also a great place to learn about the importance of traditions in Chilean culture and to research the role that a mummified child plays in indigenous culture.

Cerro Santa Lucia

The best way to visit Cerro Santa Lucia is from the top of El Volcan, the dormant volcano. The hike is short but nothing can tell you what to expect once you are up on top of the mountain. You get an amazing view of Cerro Santa Lucia and El Volcan to the east of the city.

If you are into geology, you might be surprised that Cerro Santa Lucia is not a volcano, but the eroded remains of one. The volcano was active and erupted for a few tens of thousands of years, but it collapsed thousands of years ago.

Today you can see the rock formations that are all that are left of the volcano. Be careful for slippery rocks. It’s a good idea to wear shoes with very good gripping on rocks when visiting the site.

It is also a good idea to visit the smaltite mine on the edge of Cerro Santa Lucia. This mine has been mined for clay since the 13th century. The type of clay mine is called a “block cave” because it has tunnels that were cut into the mountain for easy access.

Ask the caretaker of the mine about the mining process while you are there, and he will be happy to answer any questions that you desire.

Mercado Central

Mercado Central de Santiago is a central market of Santiago, Chile, located at the heart of the city. It is an old market with modern innovations, where you can find anything from artisanal jewelry to photographs of local artists. Its central location, large public pedestrian access point and wide variety of shopping products make it a perfect point of sale, cultural, socioeconomic and touristic center of the city.

Mercado Central de Santiago was founded in 1585, during the colonial era, and is known to be one of the few markets of this scale to have remained unchanged from its first foundation.

The market’s beauty derives from its grandeur, allowing you to get lost among the exotic aromas of Chilean cheeses, coffee, or fruits or gourmet meats. Trade is influenced by a group of 38 different sections.

Santiago’s central market is among the must-see attractions of the city, told by Placido Domingo’s visit in 1958 and on numerous lists of the most beautiful places on earth.

Parque Metropolitano

La Chascona

"La Chascona" Museum is the only Art Nouveau building in Chile, and is an absolute masterpiece.

Located in the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, the building is renowned for its style, spaciousness,.

European feeling and originality. Its astonishing design was inspired by the work of Gustav, a German architect, whose works also included the most important buildings in Hamburg and Berlin.

The building reflects the culture and architectural history of Latin America, as it is built with the details and characteristics of the Latin-American house or Casa Chascona, which originated in the Buenos Aires ‘pampas’ of Argentina.

It is a fascinating example of the architectural work Gustav pioneered when he came to South America in 1905. That building is more than 70 years old, but the way it was made was modern for the time, and its architectural details were unique and extravagant.

The house has been influenced by Gustav’s trip to Paris in 1904, when he came back with many ideas that he infused into the Chascona project. In 1906 he returned to Germany, w with the firm of Mauser, where he developed his novel Art Nouveau style.

The home was built as a retreat for the great writer and poet Gabriela Mistral. She converted it into a museum in 1953, which is the reason the building retains its original character and structure.

Barrio Bellavista

Image taken by: DerekPagnanelli

Bellavista is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Santiago, and is well known for the small cobblestone streets and square plazas. Some of the plazas are even lined with a colorful array of bicycles.

These square plazas all-around the main part of Bellavista include the Monument to the Bellavista Girl, the Bellavista Theater Square Plaza, the Bellavista Garden Square Plaza, the Centro Cultural La Fundación Pedro de Valdivia, the San Francisco Square Plaza, the Plaza de la Ciudadela, the Plaza de Armas, the Plaza de la Independencia, and the Plaza de los Hombres de Negocios.

Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral

Found in the historical center, the Catholic church fulfilled the religious purpose until the seventeenth century. However, it remained a religious building until 1912, when electrical lighting was installed. The cathedral, which takes on the shape of a Latin cross, was considered one of the most impressive cathedrals of South America.

But in any case, don’t forget to meet with the saint that protects the city! And then knock on the door of the Cathedral! It’s also part of our lifestyle…,” Carolina, an Argentinian, told us while we were visiting the cathedral.

You will discover the Cathedral of Santiago de Chile at the Plaza de Armas, in the historical center.

Provides a great opportunity of visiting the Cathedral by night, tour the historical center and enjoy the museum that contains the 100 meters bell. Established in 1599 and currently rung every hour, its diameter is over 11 meters, greater than the biggest bells in Europe at the time. It is located in the north side of the Cathedral.

Attended by the Mayor and the local representatives, it is a process that takes place immediately after it is considered necessary. It is considered one of the most representative symbols of the Chilean and Chilean-Chilean environment.

Cerro San Cristobal

The Cerro San Cristobal is a hillside inside the city of Santiago. At its peak is a mini-golf course and a fantastic lookout over the city.

On Saturdays and Sundays around mid-afternoon (2:30pm), the San Cristobal opens to the public for a wonderful view over the city. From the peak of the hill by the golf course, you can see all of Santiago, which is a rare thing to see in any American or European city.

The San Cristobal illumination – which for some people means less sun and higher prices on touristic destinations, but for others it means the "most beautiful night of the year", in which the whole city turns on more than 1000 lighting objects that make good pictures.

In addition, the lighting includes more than 500,000 LEDs, which, according to the source of the lighting initiative, will cost the touristic municipality 330,000,000 pesos (equivalent to 5 million dollars US) and will cost other companies 2,500,000,000 pesos (roughly 32 million dollars US).