Visit these four neighborhoods in Santiago to sample Chilean cuisine, explore antiques markets and see how the locals live, work and play. Featuring everything from historical enclaves and artistic havens to glitzy business districts and upmarket ’burbs, Santiago is the complete package.
Santiago is a cosmopolitan urban jungle. With its fascinating architecture and vibrant cafes, the city is more than just a stopover in Chile. You’ll love the food and wine scene as well as the lively nightlife. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the shops in Santiago’s retail capital. The energetic city boasts an array of distinctive neighborhoods to explore. Read our blog to discover more about four of our favorites. We’ve even listed the nearest metro station(s) on Santiago’s excellent, modern subway network.
Bellavista – the Bohemian quarter
Nestled between the Mapocho River and San Cristobal Hill, Bellavista is a haven for local artists and free-spirited travelers that’s chock-a-block with boutiques and art galleries. The brightly-painted buildings, tree-lined streets and numerous sidewalk cafes make it the perfect place to get lost for a few hours. La Chascona, one of three Chilean museums dedicated to the eccentric poet Pablo Neruda, is its fascinating centerpiece while shoppers will love the unique craftworks made from local semiprecious stones and the weekend handicraft market near Pio Nono.
If you know where to look (it has to be said that there are a few tourist traps, especially on Pio Nono), Bellavista has some great eateries. Peumayen Ancestral Food (Constitución 136), which serves up innovative and modern interpretations of ancient Chilean staples, is one of the most exciting restaurants in all of Chile while Azul Profundo (corner of Constitución and Dardignac) is a no-frills chorrillana (Chilean ‘greasy spoon’) which specializes in massive plates of fries covered in onions, meat and egg.
Hop off at the Baquedano Metro station for Bellavista.
Lastarria – a historical and cultural hub
In the heart of Santiago, you’ll find the historical neighborhood of Lastarria. The cultural activities, theaters, cinemas, live performances and festivals, make Lastarria popular among locals and tourists alike. Santa Lucia Hill formed from a 15-million-year-old volcano and its summit enjoys spectacular views over the city and the adjoining park which features decedent facades and exquisite fountains.
With plenty of bars, restaurants and cafes, the neighborhood offers you a selection of dining options. At Bocanariz (literally ‘mouth-nose’, Victorino Lastarria 276, Barrio) you can taste classic Chilean meals, international dishes or tapas. You’ll love the wide selection of local wines and the vibrant atmosphere makes it perfect to imbibe Santiago’s intoxicating social vibe .
Jump off at Universidad Católica or Bellas Artes station for Lastarria.
Las Condes – an exclusive district
Sometimes referred to as ‘Sanhattan’, Las Condes is glitzy, modern neighborhood where many of Chile’s wealthiest folks work, play and live. Centered around the commercial hub of Apoquindo Avenue, this neighborhood boasts more than 500 restaurants, so you certainly won’t go hungry.
Tierra Noble (Reyes Lavalle 3310, Las Condes) serves tasty international cuisine in a relaxed setting which is the perfect antidote to Las Condes’ corporate buzz. The menu features mouthwatering steaks, perfectly-cooked prawns and delicious desserts and the patio has a laid-back ambiance and lovely views.
Stop at El Golf or Alcántara for Las Condes.
Providencia – a haven for shopping enthusiasts
Providencia is an upmarket residential neighborhood with graceful old buildings an abundance of restaurants and retail outlets. Walk to the top of San Cristóbal Hill for breath-taking views over the city and explore the surrounding Santiago Metropolitan Park on foot or by bike. The Sculpture and Balmaceda Parks are also worth a visit and there also some pretty good bars and clubs in Providencia.
Aqui Esta Coco (La Concepcion 236, Providencia) specializes in upmarket interpretations of Chilean classics, and its chef/owner is a legend of the Chilean culinary scene (watch the video above for more info). The menu features loads of seafood and fish dishes (the conger eel a lo pobre has to be seen to be believed and the king crab can’t be beat) as well as melt-in-the-mouth lamb from Patagonia and some traditional Chilean desserts. The attentive staff and creative dishes make this a fun place to eat out. Barrica 94 (Bellavista 052 Local 94, Providencia) serves classic Chilean dishes in a chic modern setting. The vast selection of local wines, makes it an enologist’s dream and frequent live music seals the deal.
Get off at Salvador or Manuel Montt for Providencia.
All of our Chilean itineraries include some time in the often underrated capital. Speak to a Destination Expert now about putting together your perfect trip and don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore these awesome neighborhoods once you’re there.
Credit to Rafa Alves for the photo of some Bellavista graffiti that we used as the cover image of this blog.