And in the blink of an eye, my time abroad is almost up! With less than a week left in Santiago, Chile, I wanted to reflect on some of my favorite places that I’ve been around the city, or just outside of it. From the weekend markets to the endless museums, Santiago has plenty to keep you busy.
Downtown Santiago is filled with museums, all offering unique experiences for those that want to learn about Chilean art, culture, or history. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes is a free museum that offers artwork by Chilean and foreign artists ranging from colonial times to present day. Just a few streets over is Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, arguably my favorite museum that I visited during my stay. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino houses pre-Columbian art and artifacts of Latin America. From Incan quipus to mummies, I found myself transported in time as I walked through the three floors of the museum. The president’s workplace, La Moneda, has a hidden cultural center beneath its surface; from interactive exhibits to movie showings, there was plenty to keep every age occupied. MAVI, or Museo de Artes Visuales, boasts more abstract art and is perfect for those who like to challenge their perception of art. For the history lovers Museo de la Memoria commemorates the happenings of September 11, 1973 when the military coup took over and the victims of the dictatorship. La Corporación Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, or GAM for short, is another cultural center that promotes performing arts and music.
For a great view of the city, visit San Cristόbal Hill or Sky Costanera! San Cristόbal is located in the Bellavista neighborhood, and after a teleférico ride up to the top of the hill, you have a great view of the city. You can also visit the Santiago zoo on your way up, or Nobel Peace Prize winner Pablo Neruda’s house, which is just around the corner. Sky Costanera is housed in Latin America’s tallest building, Gran Torre Santiago. After traveling up over sixty floors, you are welcomed by a great view of the city. I would suggest going to both these views at sunset, as the smog in Santiago does not give great visibility during the day.
Checking out the weekend markets in Barrio Italia is a must in my opinion. There are such unique shops and stands that can keep you occupied for hours walking up and down Avenida Italia. Patio Bellavista also offers unique shops, from the national stone of lapis lazuli to copper jewelry, you will be able to find souvenirs for everyone on your list here.
While the city of Santiago has enough to keep you busy, the surrounding areas also have such unique experiences to offer, as well. Visit a vineyard! Our program went wine tasting about an hour away from the city and learned so much about the wine industry, not to mention we witnessed the beautiful scenery of the vineyard. Chile is the main world copper producer, so visiting a copper mine is also a must. The Maipo province is located within the Santiago region but couldn’t feel more different. To escape the city and experience the natural beauty that Chile has to offer, give Maipo a visit.