Santiago is the capitol of Chile, the longest country in the world! There are many exciting things to do in and around this city, but nobody knows it better than the locals. I had the chance to visit Santiago when I visited my “sister” (our former exchange student), and we had an amazing time! I asked her and her family to come up with the best things to do in the area, and this is what they said a visitor can’t miss:
- Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill)
- Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights)
- Barrio Bellavista (Bellavista neighborhood)
- La Gran Torre Santiago (The great Santiago tower)
- Centro de ski, La Parva (La Parva ski center)
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Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill)
Cerro San Cristobal it is part of a group of mountains in the center of Santiago. This hill is home to many local attractions, including the largest urban park in Chile (Santiago Metropolitan Park), hiking trains, and a funicular (cable car) up the hill. The funicular is a quick way to get to the top of the hill where you can visit the National Zoo of Chile (Zoologico Nacional de Chile). Atop this hill you can also see the statue of the Virgin Mary overlooking the city. This statue stands 22 meters tall and is an icon of Santiago, as well as home to one of the many Catholic Churches in Chile (1).
Barrio Bellavista (Bellavista Neighborhood)
Located just South of the Cerro San Cristobal is Barrio Bellavista. This area is known for having great bars and amazing food! As it is near student centers and universities, it is a popular hangout for young people. While strolling down the street you can enjoy beautiful street art painted on many of the buildings. Some say this is the best area in Santiago, and some go as far as to say it is the best in all of Chile! This neighborhood is definitely worth the visit!
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights)
The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is a place to recognize the human rights violations of the Chilean Government from 1973 to 1990. During this time Chile was under a military dictatorship and the people suffered. More information on this time period can be read here (2). The museum has audiotapes in English and Spanish so you can hear the stories of people living during this time. My friend and her father took us here during our visit which was very emotional for him, as it is for many who lived through the time period. More information on the museum can be found here (3).
La Gran Torre Santiago (The Great Santiago Tower)
Known as the highest viewpoint in South America, the best view of Santiago is from the top of La Gran Torre Santiago. Get a 360° view of the city from 300 meter in the sky! It is open every day of the year from 10am to 10pm with the last elevator going up at 9pm every night. Tickets are fairly inexpensive at $10 ages 4-12, $15 for an adult, or $20 for a fastpass. Tickets can be bought at the lower level during operating hours. You can find more information on the La Gran Torre Santiago website here (4).
Centro de Ski, La Parva (La Parva Ski Center)
Although a bit of a drive being an hour and 15 minutes outside of Santiago, this ski center is amazing for anyone who wants to visit the Andes Mountain Range. This is an ideal place for ski enthusiasts with 15 ski lifts leading to 40 slopes. There are slopes for every ski level from beginner to expert, so even new skiers can join the fun! Vising in the summer? This center offers hiking and running trails, biking, climbing, and more! Check out the full website here (5).