Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino)

#7 in Best Things To Do in Santiago
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Bandera 361

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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

When outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Andes' jagged peaks and wine lovers explore the Maipo Valley's spectacular vineyards, art history buffs head to the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino). The museum's permanent collection includes a diverse assemblage of pottery, sculptures and textiles from Mesoamerica, the Amazon, the Caribbean and Central and Southern Andes. Highlights include pieces from the Inca and Aztec empires and Chinchorro mummies. The temporary exhibits, which showcase everything from desert hats to weavings to rock art, are also worth visiting.

Travelers give the museum heaps of praise for its versatile collection of artifacts and well-designed layout. One TripAdvisor user was "amazed at the extent and quality of the collection," noting that the museum is "well designed […] telling a story within a story on how the pieces came to be."

The Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art welcomes visitors from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Regular admission costs 3,500 CLP (about $6.50 USD), and discounted rates are available for students and seniors. The museum also provides audio guides in English and offers guided tours for no extra fee — but you must make arrangements for a guided tour in advance. You'll find the museum located a block away from the Plaza de Armas(accessible via the Plaza de Armas metro stop on Line 5). For more information, consult the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art website (written in Spanish).

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Beckoning to an artsy crowd, the Bellavista neighborhood features graffiti-lined streets with cafes, art galleries and boutique shops. Here, you'll find inventive cocktail bars and eclectic eateries rubbing shoulders with antique homes and colonial mansions. Spend some time exploring La Chascona — the former home of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda — before scouring the Patio Bellavista shopping area for souvenirs. Also be sure to continue north to take in the scenery from Santiago's crown jewel: St. Christopher Hill, a nearly 3,000-foot high hill tucked inside Metropolitan Park.

The creative energy, trend-setting boutiques and laid-back vibes found in Bellavista make this a popular hangout spot among travelers and locals alike. And according to some recent visitors, the best way to experience it all is by wandering away from the main drag, Pío Nono. "This place is like an outdoor art museum. Between the colorful houses and the street art there seems to be a surprise around every corner," one TripAdvisor user said.

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