With its vibrant culinary scene and dynamic neighborhoods, Santiago definitely deserves a spot on your next Latin America itinerary. We only had a few days in this capital-city, but its bright colored architecture, tree-lined parks, and fresh ceviche won us over in no time.
To share this incredible place with you, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots. Keep this in your back pocket for the next time you have a chance to hop down for a trip…
TO DO & SEE
The trick to experiencing a new city is not trying to do it all. Pick out just a few must-sees
and leave the rest of your time open to explore. A few highlights to put on the list:
As the highest peak in Santiago, head up to the Cerro San Cristobal for jaw-dropping views of the city. You can ride a trolley/funicular to the top (costs about $2), or if you’re in the mood for some exercise (or in our case, if the funicular is being repaired…), you can hike up. It’s a steep 45-minute trek, but trust us, those views are worth it.
Between the park’s tree-lined cobblestone walkways, bright yellow fountains, and towering castles, Cerro Santa Lucia is downright magical. Follow a series of maze-like staircases for a view at the top or post up on a park bench with a cafe latte – this place invites you to get lost for awhile.
Fun fact: Santa Lucia is where Santiago was officially founded by Pedro de Valdivia back in 1541. He used this very hill as a vantage point for planning the layout of the city.
Located in the Lastarria neighborhood, pop in to this small museum for an afternoon. Beyond its incredible collection of Mapuche jewelry and San Pedro and Molle ceramics, we fell in love with the architecture of this museum. Local architect Cristián Undurraga outfitted the building with exposed concrete and stripped wood, both of which are complemented by a cascading ivy facade. With a small, curated collection, you only need about an hour or two to tour the gallery.
From empanadas to fresh ceviche, we’re still craving Santiago’s culinary scene.
A few of our local favorites…
No trip to Santiago is complete without plenty of fresh seafood. And when it comes to seafood, no one does it better than La Mar. From roasted octopus to ceviche samplers, every dish is so fresh and full of flavor. They also make a mean pisco sour – just saying.
With its lush greenery and open-air courtyard, Cafe de la Candelaria is the perfect pitstop between wandering the antique shops and art galleries of Barrio Italia. Refuel with an Americano, some avocado toast, and of course, a sweet treat (they’re known for their cakes).
From Piscolas and Pisco Sours to Malbec and Carménère, Santiago has
a lot to offer when it comes to drinks. A few of our favorite happy hour spots:
Best known for its incredible rooftop views, Azotea Matilde is the perfect spot for piscolas at sunset. Their menu offers a wide variety of fresh salads, seafood, and traditional Chilean cuisine - all made using fresh ingredients. Let’s just say we’re still craving their ahi tuna appetizer.
Be sure you make reservations ahead of time - they book up pretty quickly and typically don’t take walk-ins.
Sip and savor over 300 types of Chilean wine at this popular Lastarria wine bar. The waiters are all sommeliers, so they’re more than happy to steer you in the right direction when it comes to wine and food pairings. For the full experience, definitely go for one of the curated wine flights.
The mark of a good hotel is its ability to make you feel
right at home – especially when you are thousands of miles away. A few picks:
With its grand architecture of high ceilings, crown moldings, and intricate tilework, this 1912-vintage hotel is simply beautiful. Begin your day with breakfast on the back patio, overlooking the gardens – their delicious espresso gave us the perfect kickstart to the day.
A marriage of contemporary design with the textures of raw concrete and native materials, this hotel is a design-lovers paradise. And with only 5 rooms, it doesn’t get more boutique than this hotel.