Santiago, the capital and one of the most populous cities in the Americas, is home to over 7 million people. Santiago lies between two mountain ranges: the Chilean Coastal Range and the Andes Mountains as they thrive to be the main center for culture, politics and financial industries for the Chile. Since the establishment of Santiago was in 1541 by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, the city has many attractions and museums that can take you back in time to learn the history of their own Spanish Colonial period. If you have an extra day or so we highly recommend driving about an hour and a half inland to the Valle Nevado in the Andes Mountains to go skiing!
San Cristobal Hill
This hill is known as the second highest peak of Santiago after, Cerro Renca and was named St. Christopher by Spanish conquistadors when they conquered the land. This hill has a 45-minute trek to the top where you can find a beautiful 22-meter-tall statue of the Virgin Mary. There is also a cable car that is provided to shorten your time here. Also from the top, you can access the Chilean National Zoo at the Bellavista entrance where you can witness how they conserve, research and educate the public about thousands of animals.
Gran Torre Santiago & Costanera Center
The Gran Torre Santiago is the tallest skyscraper in all of South America with 64 stories and the most popular to visit at the business and commercial complex, the Costanera Center. There are panoramic viewing decks to see the city so be sure to check out the aerial view of Santiago while you are visiting.
Plaza Baquedano, an oval shaped plaza that is known to be at a major intersection of the city, is famously recognized as a place where the city comes together in celebrations or in riots. This plaza has been formerly named Plaza Italia, Plaza Colon, and Plaza Serene to finally be named Plaza Baquedano to honor the Chilean, Commander-In-Chief, Manuel Baquedano.
Santa Lucia Hill & Centre Gabriela Mistral
Santa Lucia Hill is located in Santiago’s center and is known as the remains of a volcano that is 15 million years old. There are many monuments and beautiful scenery to enjoy upon visiting. A short walk from Santa Lucia Hill is the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, a modernly designed structure that hosts many performances of the arts and art exhibitions for the public. This building was originally designed and built in order to be the third gathering place of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 1972 so you can imagine how early on this modern design was introduced.
Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts & Parque Forestal
The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts and the Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art is located just north of Santa Lucia Hill on the east side of the Parque Forestal grounds. Take a stroll before or after your visits at these highly recommended museums in Parque Forestal alongside the Mapocho River. Then after visiting these attractions, be sure to stop by a fresh local market nearby: the Central Market or the Vega Central to get the full experience of Chilean dishes and produce.
Plaza de Armas & Metropolitan Cathedral de Santiago
Now we head east from the Parque Forestal in order to find the main square of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas. The main square was originated in 1541 with hopes of setting the streets in a grid street pattern. Today the plaza is surrounded by deeply historic structures such as the Metropolitan Cathedral de Santiago, the Central Post Office, and more. About a block away from the Plaza de Armas is the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, a museum that displays Pre-Columbian cultural artifacts from Mesoamerica, Pan-Caribbean, Amazonian, Andean, and more.
La Moneda Palace & Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda
From the Plaza de Armas, head south a few more blocks in order to find La Moneda Palace, where the Presidential Office and other governmental seats are held for the Republic of Chile. If you want to dive deeper into the governmental history of the Republic of Chile, check out several of the exhibitions at the cultural museum across from La Moneda Palace at the Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda. Pairing these two together will give you a sense of the country’s foundation as a republic and beyond.
Quinta Normal Park
Quinta Normal Park is a large beautiful green space located in the city that you can take a stroll through and enjoy the nature while you are in between visiting the museums established here: the National Museum of Natural History, Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art and Museum of Memory & Human Rights. All of these museums are highly recommended and you have them all in one place to enjoy, it doesn’t get much easier!
O’Higgins Park & Fantasilandia Amusement Park
O’Higgins Park is the second largest park of Santiago at about 180 acres large hosting the Fantasilandia Amusement Park, and indoor Olympic sized swimming pool, the Movistar arena for events and more. If you’re looking for a fun day packed with amazing things to do be sure to start here at O’Higgins park because there is so much for the family to enjoy, especially at Fantasilandia!
Mirador Interactive Museum
The Mirador Interactive Museum is an interactive science museum that is located in the suburbs of La Granja. There are several exhibitions that are extremely fascinating and wonderful for children so carve out one day for a blend of fun and education for the little ones because you could spend hours here!
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