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Free Things To Do in Santiago

If you have extra time, St. Christopher Hill is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Santiago

Free
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.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Bellavista
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.
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#2

#2 in Santiago

Free
Flanking the western edge of the Plaza de Armas, this neoclassical cathedral has a history that stretches back to 1541 when Spanish conquistador and city founder Pedro de Valdivia requested a place of worship be constructed at the edge of Santiago's colonial square. However, a fire tore through the first structure, and two buildings constructed in its place were destroyed after major earthquakes in 1647 and 1730. The towering cathedral that stands today underwent construction around 1750, and in the 1780s, Italian architect Joaquín Toesca added a new twist: a blend of neoclassical style with baroque elements. The result is an interior that boasts intricate stained-glass windows and an elaborate altar ornamented with marble and deep blue lapis lazuli.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Metropolitan Cathedral
Flanking the western edge of the Plaza de Armas, this neoclassical cathedral has a history that stretches back to 1541 when Spanish conquistador and city founder Pedro de Valdivia requested a place of worship be constructed at the edge of Santiago's colonial square. However, a fire tore through the first structure, and two buildings constructed in its place were destroyed after major earthquakes in 1647 and 1730. The towering cathedral that stands today underwent construction around 1750, and in the 1780s, Italian architect Joaquín Toesca added a new twist: a blend of neoclassical style with baroque elements. The result is an interior that boasts intricate stained-glass windows and an elaborate altar ornamented with marble and deep blue lapis lazuli.
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#3

#3 in Santiago

Free
St. Christopher Hill (Cerro San Cristóbal) stands nearly 3,000 feet above the rest of Metropolitan Park, a large swath of green space in Bellavista. The hill's height affords spectacular views to those who visit the summit. To reach the top of the hill, you'll need to hop on the funicular located on the north end of Pío Nono Street, which flanks the eastern side of Metropolitan Park. Or, if you're up for the challenge, you can strap on some hiking shoes and make the roughly one-hour climb up the hill from the base at Plaza Caupolicán, which is just off of the Baquedano stop on metro Lines 1 and 5.
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Parks and Gardens Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
St. Christopher Hill
St. Christopher Hill (Cerro San Cristóbal) stands nearly 3,000 feet above the rest of Metropolitan Park, a large swath of green space in Bellavista. The hill's height affords spectacular views to those who visit the summit. To reach the top of the hill, you'll need to hop on the funicular located on the north end of Pío Nono Street, which flanks the eastern side of Metropolitan Park. Or, if you're up for the challenge, you can strap on some hiking shoes and make the roughly one-hour climb up the hill from the base at Plaza Caupolicán, which is just off of the Baquedano stop on metro Lines 1 and 5.
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#4

#4 in Santiago

Free
A hilltop park on the eastern edge of downtown Santiago, Santa Lucía Hill (Cerro Santa Lucía) draws visitors with its panoramic views. To reach the top of Santa Lucía Hill on foot from the park's main entrance near the Santa Lucía metro stop, you'll need to follow a long narrow path punctuated by high stone steps. Though the hike can be arduous (especially on a hot summer day), recent travelers remark that it's well worth the climb not only for incredible photo-ops, but also for the pleasant ambiance — complete with a fountain and terrace. For the best views, take one of the two staircases to the Caupolicán Plaza. "You must allow a few hours to wander slowly around Cerro Santa Lucía. The views are impressive and it is such a quiet and peaceful place to be," one TripAdvisor user insisted.
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Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Santa Lucía Hill
A hilltop park on the eastern edge of downtown Santiago, Santa Lucía Hill (Cerro Santa Lucía) draws visitors with its panoramic views. To reach the top of Santa Lucía Hill on foot from the park's main entrance near the Santa Lucía metro stop, you'll need to follow a long narrow path punctuated by high stone steps. Though the hike can be arduous (especially on a hot summer day), recent travelers remark that it's well worth the climb not only for incredible photo-ops, but also for the pleasant ambiance — complete with a fountain and terrace. For the best views, take one of the two staircases to the Caupolicán Plaza. "You must allow a few hours to wander slowly around Cerro Santa Lucía. The views are impressive and it is such a quiet and peaceful place to be," one TripAdvisor user insisted.
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#5

#5 in Santiago

Free
If you're looking to learn more about General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, plan a visit to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos). The museum catalogues Pinochet's 17-year rule, which resulted in the torture, murder and disappearance of thousands of Chileans. According to many recent visitors, the museum succeeds in increasing cultural awareness of the thousands of residents impacted by persecutions, exoneration, imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's rule. The museum pays tribute to the thousands of lives lost between 1973 and 1990 through photographs of victims, video coverage of protesters and a host of legal documents, letters and artifacts from the late 20th century.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
If you're looking to learn more about General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship, plan a visit to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos). The museum catalogues Pinochet's 17-year rule, which resulted in the torture, murder and disappearance of thousands of Chileans. According to many recent visitors, the museum succeeds in increasing cultural awareness of the thousands of residents impacted by persecutions, exoneration, imprisonment and torture during Pinochet's rule. The museum pays tribute to the thousands of lives lost between 1973 and 1990 through photographs of victims, video coverage of protesters and a host of legal documents, letters and artifacts from the late 20th century.
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#6

#6 in Santiago

Free
Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia (who founded Santiago) established this historic square back in 1541, creating a religious and political hub teeming with architectural treasures. Amid the many sights on display in the Plaza de Armas, you can't miss the graceful Metropolitan Cathedral set along its western border. You'll also stumble upon the former Governor's Palace, which has been converted into the city's main post office as well as the Historical Museum (Museo Histórico Nacional), which houses fascinating exhibits cataloguing Chile's history from the pre-Conquest period to the 20th century. Meanwhile, the plaza fills with comedians, artists, photographers, performers and street vendors on a daily basis, making this a popular spot to simply relax and soak up the city's culture.
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Plaza de Armas
Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia (who founded Santiago) established this historic square back in 1541, creating a religious and political hub teeming with architectural treasures. Amid the many sights on display in the Plaza de Armas, you can't miss the graceful Metropolitan Cathedral set along its western border. You'll also stumble upon the former Governor's Palace, which has been converted into the city's main post office as well as the Historical Museum (Museo Histórico Nacional), which houses fascinating exhibits cataloguing Chile's history from the pre-Conquest period to the 20th century. Meanwhile, the plaza fills with comedians, artists, photographers, performers and street vendors on a daily basis, making this a popular spot to simply relax and soak up the city's culture.
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#11

#11 in Santiago

Free
To get your seafood fix in Santiago, head straight to the Central Market (Mercado Central). Here, you'll find a festive atmosphere and top-grade fish. As you walk past the stalls and stands, you'll come across rarities like giant squid, sea urchin and barnacles, among other unconventional offerings. Venture to the center of the market to indulge in local cuisine — like ceviche and empanadas — as you listen to live music. Even if you're not a fan of seafood, the Central Market is worth a visit: You'll find an eclectic assortment of fruits, vegetables and spices here as well. As you eat your way through the stalls, don't forget to admire the surrounding architecture. Set beneath a wrought-iron ceiling raised in 1872, the market impresses as much with its lively ambiance as its setting.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Central Market
To get your seafood fix in Santiago, head straight to the Central Market (Mercado Central). Here, you'll find a festive atmosphere and top-grade fish. As you walk past the stalls and stands, you'll come across rarities like giant squid, sea urchin and barnacles, among other unconventional offerings. Venture to the center of the market to indulge in local cuisine — like ceviche and empanadas — as you listen to live music. Even if you're not a fan of seafood, the Central Market is worth a visit: You'll find an eclectic assortment of fruits, vegetables and spices here as well. As you eat your way through the stalls, don't forget to admire the surrounding architecture. Set beneath a wrought-iron ceiling raised in 1872, the market impresses as much with its lively ambiance as its setting.
... more
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