Santiago by night

Santiago is the capital and biggest city of Chile with over 5,000,000 people. You can find almost everything you need in this city. It has all star hotels, economical bed and breakfasts, restaurants of every ethnic background, discos, clubs, a museum, universities, international and national airports, high rise office buildings, theater, malls, fun parks, a modern subway system which makes finding your way around Santiago a lot easier, and a whole lot more.

Whether you are here on business or pleasure you'll like Santiago, Chile. Within an hour or so from Santiago you can also find outdoor opportunities like, hiking, nature, hot springs, and skiing. If you want to venture out to other parts of Chile you can get there by bus, airline, and rental car from Santiago.

Santiago is immense, but Santiago Centro is a relatively small, roughly triangular area bounded by the Ri? Mapocho to the north, the V?a Norte Sur to the west and the Avenida del Libertador General Bernado O’Higgins to the south. The triangle’s apex is Plaza Baquedano.

Notable buildings such as the metropolitan cathedral are clustered around Plaza de Armas. West of the Via Norte Sur, Barrio Brasil is an intriguing enclave of early 20th-century architecture. Across the Mapocho from Plaza Italia there’s Santiago’s lively ‘Paris quarter’, Barrio Bellavista. The enormous Cerro San Cristobal overlooks Bellavista: taking the funicular to the top will help you come to grips with Santiago’s crazy geography.

Most of Santiago’s sights are squeezed into the triangular-shaped historic core, bounded by the R?o Mapocho, the Alameda and Via Norte Sur. The area’s focus and the city’s historic center is Plaza de Armas, flanked by imposing public buildings like the main post office, town hall and national museum. Pride of place goes to the Catedral Metropolitana, nudging the square’s northwest edge.

It was begun in 1745 and later embellished with baroque features designed by Joaquin Toesca. The Italian-born architect was also responsible for designing one of the city’s landmark buildings, the Palacio de La Moneda, a couple of blocks southwest. The former royal mint became the residence of Chilean presidents in the mid-19th century, and was famously photographed ablaze during the September 11, 1973, coup. President Allende died in La Moneda during the coup.

Barrio Brasil, this well-preserved traditional neighborhood immediately west of Via Norte Sur is currently undergoing a renaissance, kitted out with a new pedestrian suspension bridge for easy access. The barrio’s centerpiece is the relandscaped Plaza Brasil, and its landmark building is the quake-damaged, neo-Gothic Basilica del Salvador, just near the footbridge over V?a Norte Sur.

Chile’s only basilica, the massive monument was constructed between 1873 and 1920, and features some stunning exterior statuary. The building was closed for many years following the 1985 quake, and has since been buttressed and propped up with columns. Club Colo Colo, one of the city’s most outlandish buildings, is further south. The heavily gargoyle building is the headquarters of the famous soccer club.

The park’s El Pueblito features full-size replicas of rural buildings, and its restaurants blare forth raucous salsa music on Sunday afternoons. It also has a children’s amusement park, called Fantasilandia. Next to Parque O’Higgins is Club H?pico de Santiago, the city’s premier race track. It was built in 1870 and modeled on the Longchamps track in Paris’ Bois de Boulogne.

North of the R?o Mapocho, and overshadowed by Cerro San Cristobal, Barrio Bellavista is one of Santiago’s liveliest neighborhoods, and an old haunt of Pablo Neruda. The barrio’s houses are pastel-tinted, recalling those of Valparaiso, and it’s a great dining area. La Chascona (’the Tangled One’), Neruda’s eclectic home, sits at the foot of the cerro; it’s named for the dead poet’s widow, Matilde Urrutia, and her wayward coiffure.