12 Must-Do Experiences in Santiago

The Chilean capital has a dramatic setting at the foot of the Andes with mountain views from nearly every corner. Santiago is also a cosmopolitan city to enjoy great food, Chile’s fine wines, and savor the local culture.

Parque Forestal, Maipú, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Parque Forestal is Santiago’s lung and central park. Created for the first centennial celebration in 1910, the park has become an iconic area of the city with elegant residential apartment buildings along the perimeter. One of the most enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon is walking under the century-old trees and then strolling the cobblestoned streets of the adjoining Lastarria area. Parisian-style facades, cafés full of intellectual life, boutiques, museums like Bellas Artes (a copy of the Petit Palais in Paris), restaurants, and bars all bring this neighborhood to life.
S/N Moneda
The ornate, neoclassical government palace, headquarters for the President’s offices, was originally constructed in the late 18th century as the country’s mint. During the 1973 military coup, La Moneda was nearly destroyed. The ceremonious changing of the guard is held every odd-numbered day and always draws a large audience. Moneda, between Morandé and Teatinos (Metro La Moneda)
Santiago has South America’s most extensive metro with five lines, nearly 65 miles of track, and 108 stations--and plans to add new lines and stations continue. The metro opened in 1975 and continues to be the best method to travel across the city, particularly during traffic-heavy periods. The fares shift in cost depending on the time of day and can be combined with bus rides as part of the Transantiago system.
5106 Av Apoquindo
Santiago is within striking distance of half a dozen wine valleys in Chile and as the capital, has access to all the wines being made in-country. While you can sip away in wine bars like Bocanariz, or stock up at stores like Santiago Wine Club and Mundo del Vino, good wine is generally a constant in the city on restaurant and bar menus, and even in well-stocked supermarkets like Jumbo. No matter what your budget, too, the price/quality ratio is always outstanding.
San Pablo, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
If you’re aiming to see what last night’s catch looked like before it became your supper, head to Santiago’s Mercado Central, where every edible sea creature is up for sale. As boisterous as a stock market, the seafood exchange assembles hard-working fishmongers, clad in high rubber boots, who hawk a full fishy portfolio including conger, swordfish, and shrimp (peeled for an extra fee). Live sea urchins peek out from rock-like shells and oysters slam shut as scores of restaurateurs arrive early in search of what will become the chef’s daily special. The market is loud, bustling, and crowded . . . and it can be jarring to discover just how ugly in life that delicious reineta you savored really was. Following local tradition, students come here the morning after their proms—fully regaled in tuxedos and gowns—for a bowl of restorative broth.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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