Santiago and Bellavista Center: Walking Tour through the City
During our trips it is common to carry out a walking tour through the main points of the city that are located close to the center. We believe that this way you feel more the atmosphere of the place and know more about the city you are visiting. During our trip to Santiago, we got to know more about downtown Santiago and the Bellavista neighborhood, which have most of the city’s attractions. Below you will find all the points we spent during our entire day’s walking tour:
How to get to the Center of Santiago and Bellavista?
It is very likely that you are already staying in the downtown area of Santiago or in the Bellavista neighborhood since, together with the Providencia region, they are the main regions to stay. Anyway, a good reference for those who start the route through downtown Santiago (Palacio de la Moneda) is the metro La Moneda and for those who start the route in the region of Bellavista, the best option is the metro Baquedano. See our post with all the information you need to use the Santiago metro.
The downtown area of Santiago is marked by historic buildings, government buildings, old churches, street vendors and a lot of movement, all the features that can be found in the center of a large city in South America.
Our tour through downtown Santiago started at the Palacio de la Moneda, which is the seat of the Presidency of the Republic of Chile. The name is linked to the origin of the palace that functioned as a Mint until shortly after Chile’s independence. During the 1973 military coup, the Palacio de la Moneda was heavily bombed and was subsequently rebuilt.
It is possible to take a guided tour inside the Palacio de la Moneda to understand a little more of its history. As we made this itinerary on a Saturday, we did not have the opportunity to make the visit that is carried out at 4 times, from Monday to Friday. The visit is free and you can schedule an appointment by sending an email to the site: [email protected]
For those who are interested, on alternate days the guard changes at 10:00 am during the week and at 11:00 am on weekends. Below you will find an official video from the Government of Chile showing a little more of this military tradition.
Official website: http://www.gob.cl/
Paseo Ahumada is a typical street in the center of a large city. There are a lot of people walking everywhere, street commerce, bars, restaurants and other types of shops. It is also in this place that there are several exchange offices where you can get good rates to buy Chilean Pesos.
Café Con Piernas – Café Haiti
One of the most traditional things to do in Santiago is to visit a Café Con Piernas that was created in Chile and currently exists in other parts of the world. As its name suggests, Café Con Piernas consists of attendants who dress very well and wear short dresses, leaving their legs exposed. They serve customers at a counter that is a little above the ground and it is not uncommon for them to kiss the customers’ faces. Needless to say, most of the customers are male, but as the place has already become a tourist attraction, we have also seen women and children.
Some nightclubs have already used tradition to create more adult versions of Café Con Piernas where the attendants serve alcoholic drinks and put on a small show for customers, but Café Haiti serves only coffee and is a good way to learn more about the traditions of the region .
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas is the heart of downtown Santiago and is part of the first layout of the Chilean capital. It is well wooded and has a lot of movement in its surroundings that also have historical sites such as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago and the Central Post Office.
Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is located in Plaza de Armas. Its architecture has a neoclassical style and its construction started in 1748, being completed in 1800. As usual during our travels, we visit the interior of the cathedral, which has a beauty as beautiful as its exterior.
Santiago Central Post Office
Like the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, the Correio Central is located in Plaza de Armas. It houses the main postal offices in Chile and its historic building dates back to 1882.
Cerro Santa Lucia Hill
Cerro Santa Lucia functions as an urban park in the center of Santiago. Inside the site you will find fountains, leisure areas, lots of greenery and stairs that lead to a lookout from where it is possible to have a panoramic view of the city of Santiago. We made the visit on the spot and you can read on this link everything you need to know to visit it.
Leaving Cerro Santa Lucia you may be tired of going up to the lookout. If you have more travel time, it is worth taking more advantage of Cerro Santa Lucia and seeing other places in downtown Santiago on the same day. As we only had one day to get to know the city of Santiago since the next day we had scheduled a visit to the Concha y Toro winery , we continue our route towards the Bellavista neighborhood, one of the main attractions of the city of Santiago.
The Bellavista neighborhood is the opposite of what you find in downtown Santiago. It is very wooded and stands out for its bohemian life, but it is also possible to find good cuisine, art and entertainment. This is one of the places that locals and tourists go out at night to enjoy a little more of the city’s bohemian atmosphere.
One of the main roads in the Bellavista neighborhood is Avenida Constitución, which has a large number of bars, and these place their tables and chairs on the sidewalk, especially during the summer. Loreto Street is also known for those looking for bars and restaurants in this region.
La Chascona Museum
The Bellavista neighborhood doesn’t just have bars. You also find museums and art. La Chascona, currently known as La Chascona Museum, was one of 3 properties that belonged to the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, one of the largest of his time and Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. After the poet’s death, the place was transformed into a museum and it is one of the best known in Santiago, being considered one of the great attractions of the city. We made the visit on the spot and you can read on this link everything you need to know to visit it.
Metropolitan Park of Santiago – Cerro San Cristóbal
We ended our day tour by visiting the Metropolitan Park of Santiago, which is the largest urban park in Chile and the fourth largest in the world. Due to its length and the countless activities it offers, you would need a full 2 days to know most of its points.
As we had just scheduled a short time to visit Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, we focused only on the attractions that are located at its main entrance. We had the opportunity to make the trail of Zorro Vidal, which has 2.6 km and is the way to access the Sanctuary of la Inmaculada Concepción that is on Cerro Cristóbal, with a beautiful view of the city of Santiago.
This one-day itinerary that goes through downtown Santiago and the Bellavista neighborhood is a good way to get to know the main points of the city of Santiago.