The historic center is located between the Mapocho River and the Alameda. This is where the Spanish conquistadors built their city and where the first colonial buildings were constructed around the Plaza de Armas. Chile’s first church, now the cathedral, was built in this square in 1551. It was destroyed and rebuilt twice after the 1647 and 1730 earthquakes. The present cathedral was built between the years 1748 and 1775 with many renovations and improvements made through out the years. Its interior is impressive with a marble and lapis lazuli altar. South of Plaza de Armas is Casa Colorada, one of the only three surviving colonial houses in Santiago.
The central business district is located in the historic center, a landmark in this district is Club de la Union, a building that dates back to 1917 and served as a social center for Chile’s businessmen. The pedestrian alleys behind Club de la Union are the center of the financial district.
Palacio de la Moneda located in The Moneda and Barrio Civico was built in 1784 by Joaquin Toesca as the royal mint but became the presidential residence from 1848 until 1958 after which it became government offices.
North of the Mapocho River is Cerro Santa Lucia which offers the best views of the city. It is a the foot of this hill, known as Huelén by the locals, where the conquistadors settled and Pedro Valdivia founded the capital in 1541. Two blocks north of Cerro Santa Lucia is the Parque Forestal which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The latter is based on the Petit Palais in Paris and displays the country’s most important art collection. Posada del Corregidor, built in 1753, is one of the three surviving colonial houses in the city. Close to Posada del Corregidor is Mercado Central, the best seafood market in the city and has the cheapest, most original and best restaurants in Santiago.
Barrio Paris-Londres gets its name from its main streets. It is a bohemian area with quaint narrow pebbled streets lined up with houses.
Estacion Central (not the metro station) is the only surviving railway station in Santiago. Quinta Normal is a park full of museums among them are National Museum of Natural History, Railway Museum, Museo Artequin, Museum of Science and Technology, Children’s museum and a cultural center.
Barrio Brasil was developed in the 1920s by affluent real estate owners, over the years the area lost appeal and its residents moved to the eastern suburbs of Santiago. The Via Norte-Sur cut the neighborhood from the city center but during the last decade a new revitalization program has been put in place with new private universities moving into the area, restoring buildings and making it attractive for young people.
Barrio Bellavista is the center of Santiago nightlife. The area known as Pio Nono is a bohemian area boasting trendy restaurants and bars, it is also worth visiting during daytime. On weekends a craft market sets up along its streets. In Parque Metropolitano you can take the funicular up to Cerro San Cristobal. On its summit, which reaches 830m, a bronze and iron 14 meter statue of the Virgin can be found. The statue was brought from France and erected in 1908. La Chascona was one of the three houses where Pablo Neruda lived. Today it is a museum open to the public with the financial assistance of Fundacion Pablo Neruda. Parque de las esculturas has a permanent display of pieces sculptured by Chilean artists such as Marta Colvin, Sergio Castillo, Lucia Waiser and Montserrat Sarda. West from the Pio Nono area is Patronato, Santiago’s garment district, where Arab and Korean entrepreneurs manufacture and sell clothing. The Vega Markets are big and active markets selling just about everything you need or want. The Cemetery or Cementerio General was founded by Bernardo O’HIggins, almost all famous Chileans are buried there, there are huge Gothic, Neoclassical, Egyptian and Moorish mausoleums.
Once an affluent area, Barrio Universitario has been revamped and re-invented by a group of five new private universities which are renovating old buildings and constructing new modern ones bringing new life into the neighborhood. Club Hipico was where high society gathered from 1870 to watch European Style horse racing. West of Club Hipico is Parque O’Higgins, a public park and the largest green area in the city. Local residents gather in this location to celebrate National Holidays such as Fiestas Patrias on September 18 and 19. El Pueblito, located on the eastern side of the park, is a cluster of adobe craft shops and restaurants serving traditional Chilean food.
Barrio Lastarría, located east of Cerro Santa Lucía, is a pleasant area with fine restaurants and interesting museums, among them are the Archeological Museum, The Museum of Visual Arts and the Museum Benjamin Vicuña Mackernna.
Providencia is known for its eastern suburbs, there are many high rise apartment buildings and old elegant houses that used to be inhabited by the old Santiago elite and now serve as offices. The north of Providencia is where its finance and business center is located as well its major shopping area along Providencia Avenue. Providencia includes Barrio Suecia which is an entertainment area with pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. Other places include the Metropolitan Zoo, the Teleferico and several television networks and embassies.
Las Condes suburbs are inhabited by the increasingly affluent middle class and elite of Santiago. Many consulates and embassies are located here as well as international hotel chains such as Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt, Marriot and W Hotels. In Avenida El Bosque Norte there are many pubs and restaurants worth visiting. The Military Academy or Escuela Militar and prestigious universities such as Universidad de Chile, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Mayor, Universidad Nacional Andres Bello and Universidad del Pacifico are located in Las Condes.
What climate to expect for the 12 months of the year in the capital Santiago. Table showing high, low and average temperatures and rainfall by month.
Santiago is a world class city with a cosmopolitan culture and modern telecommunications networks; it is the nation’s business, political, cultural, entertainment and educational center.