National Museum of Fine Arts#12 in Best Things To Do in Santiago
If you came to Santiago to enjoy the city's collection of art, head straight to the National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes). The museum's permanent collection showcases works from Colonial times to the present. Among the must-see art pieces on display here are works from celebrated Chilean artists like Roberto Matta and Luis Vargas Rosas. But perhaps even more enticing than the artifacts is the main hall's glass-encased ceiling, which casts abundant natural light onto the artwork. Another main selling point for visiting the museum is its impressive temporary collections that have included graphic prints by acclaimed Latin American artist Nemesio Antunez and a Bauhaus Film exhibit that traces the origin of the modernist movement through film.
Many recent visitors describe the National Museum of Fine Arts as educational and the layout as aesthetically pleasing, though some do note that the small size of the permanent collection left something to be desired. That said, many travelers highlight the temporary collections as main draws. "Don't miss this beautiful art space. [The] temporary exhibitions from Herman Miranda and Asger Jorn and Surrealists are excellent," commented one TripAdvisor user, adding, "All in all a superb little museum."
You'll find the National Museum of Fine Arts at the intersection of Ismael Valdés and José M. de la Barra in the Forest Park neighborhood, a few blocks east of the Centro. The museum is easily accessible via metro Line 5; the nearest station is Bellas Artes. The museum opens its doors from 10 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. General admission costs 600 CLP (about $1 USD) Tuesday through Saturday, and a Sunday visit won't cost a thing. Though titles and descriptions are written in Spanish, English tours are offered in January and February. Housed within a transformed 20th-century neoclassical palace, this museum occupies the same space as the Museum of Contemporary Art, so if you have some extra time for exploration, make sure to swing by the building's western wing to admire Latin American pieces. For more information, consult the National Museum of Fine Arts 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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