Chile’s long, skinny profile – with an extensive coastline and an interior hugged by the Andes – is home to just over 18 million people with over 6.5 million residing in the greater Santiago area. The capital is divided into 32 different districts, each consisting of different barrios, or neighborhoods, each with their own character and story.
A few local favorites include some of the more popular areas such as Bellavista, Bellas Artes, and some new up-and-coming neighborhoods such as Barrios Brasil y Yungai.
How to arrive – Metros: Lines 1 and 5: Baquedano
What to do – A neighborhood that’s full of history, charm, and vibrant colors is the perfect place to spend an afternoon wandering around looking at the beautiful street art, taking in the sabores (flavors) of international cuisine, and strolling through galleries, theaters, and shops. Known since the 1970’s as the capitals bohemian barrio -it’s no surprise that famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda made this neighborhood his home. You can visit La Chascona – a museum dedicated to Neruda’s life and work from Tuesday to Sundays.
Looking for an adventure with a view? Climb up or hop on the funicular to the top of Parque Metropolitano to get priceless vistas of the entire city surrounded by the picturesque Andes.
How to arrive – Metro Line 5: Santa Isabel
What to do – Barrio Italia is a unique neighborhood spread out over the two comunas of Providencia and Nuñoa with Avenida Italia as the main artery connecting the two areas. This barrio is new and upcoming to the gastronomy scene, offering an eclectic and inspiring array of dining and bar selections in this quieter yet artsy neighborhood. This area is a great place to wander around for those interested in architecture and interior design; with an abundance of workshops, stores, and galleries sprinkled throughout, there’s plenty to entertain the avid artist.
Bellas Artes y Lastarria
How to arrive – Metros: Line 1: Universidad Catolica, Baquedano; Line 5: Baquedano, Bellas Artes
What to do –The cobble stone streets, cafe’s and shops set the scene of these beautiful neighborhoods, channeling that old European vibe in Bellas Artes, yet maintaining it’s Latin American essence in Lastarria. These adjoining neighborhoods are centrally located, close to downtown, barrio Bellavista, Mercado Central (the 5th best market in the world according to National Geographic!), La Vega Central and Parque Forestal – making it an ideal place to stay for any visitor!
Barrios Brasil y Yungay
How to arrive – Metros: Line 1: Los Heroes, República; Line 5: Santa Ana, Cumming, Quinta Normal; Line 2: Santa Ana, Los Heroes
What to do – Another visually pleasing neighborhood to walk around, exploring the diverse styles of architecture, popping in and out of cafes and bars, as well as wandering around Quinta Normal – Santiago’s oldest park.
The Museum of Memory & Human Rights (El Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos) is also located in barrios Brasil y Yungay – The museum gives “light to the violence and violations of human rights that took place in Chile between 1973 and 1990 – a place to remember the victims and their families, stimulate reflection and conversation of the importance of respect and tolerance, so that these acts are never committed again.”