Sure, Chile doesn’t have Buenos Aires’ tango or Rio de Janeiro’s beaches, but Santiago is not at all a city to skip!Here’s a list of some fun and affordable things to do in Chile’s capital:
Have a completo (and NEVER call it a hot dog!)
Ok, to be honest, this is more a Chilean thing than a Santiago thing. But in Santiago, you will find a lot of completo stands. What is a completo, you ask? Well, it’s basically a hot dog (NEVER refer to it as a hot dog though) but the Chileans add advocate and tomatoes which gives it a different taste. Most of the time you can try out a whole selection of sauces with it. It’s also cheap and (relatively) easy food to eat while sightseeing!
Go to the tallest building in South-America
With a height of 300 meters, Gran Torre Santiago can proudly call itself the tallest building of South America. Inside you’ll find a lot of shops (Zara, Forever 21, H&M,…) and even a cinema. But the real treat is on the 61st and 62nd floor of the building where you get a panoramic view of the city for only 5.000 pesos (£5, €7, $7,5).
Visit Santa Lucia
A gorgeous park on a small hill in the center of Santiago. It’s like a green oasis and it’s free!
The museum of Memory and Human Rights
A free museum that commemorates the victims of human right violations during the Pinochet regime. It also gives you more information about the military coup led by Augusto Pinochet in 1973. It even has videos that show the bombing of La Moneda, the presidential palace.
Walk to La Moneda
The name of the presidential Chilean palace ‘La Moneda’ translates to ‘coin’. It’s a building with a lot of history. It used to be the place where the Chilean coins were produced – hence the name – and it was bombarded during Pinochet’s coup.
Hike up the San Cristóbal hill (or take the funicular for a reasonable price)
On the top, you’ll find a 22-meter statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The hill also houses Parque Metropolitano, the city’s largest public park. Definitely worth a visit!
Pablo Nerudas house
When he died, Pablo Nerudo, Chile’s famous and Nobel prizewinning poet, owned three houses and all three of them are either in Santiago or in cities close by. Neruda gave each house his personal touch among others by collecting weird objects – in one house there is a real locomotive!
Neruda’s houses are now converted into museums and the obliged audio guide gives you some interesting facts about Neruda’s life. If you want to visit al three of them, definitely do, the audioguide hardly ever repeats itself and all three houses are worth a visit. The ones outside of Santiago are located in Isla Negra and Valparaiso. All museum entries are 6.000 pesos (£6, €8, $9) or 2.000 pesos (£2, €2,60, $3) for students.