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Cultural Treasures

Wander through Santiago and you’ll find old Spanish colonial palaces side by side with modern skyscrapers. It’s a city filled with a wealth of history and tradition, as well as 21st century advancements. No visit is complete without immersing yourself in the booming art scene. Sample Chilean cuisine made from the region’s exceptional produce and spend afternoons browsing the shops of local artisans who craft excellent souvenirs. 

Day

1

MORNING
  • The Big Picture.

    Take a ride on the old funicular train, which glides up 2,500 feet into the sky to the highest point in the city, St. Christopher’s Hill. From there, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of Santiago and the beautiful Sanctuary of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception, a national icon in Chile.

MIDDAY
  • Fill Up on a Chilean Staple.

    A favorite lunchtime sandwich among locals, el lomito consists of a generous pile of marinated pork that’s been shaved and placed between slices of bread with avocado. The best el lomito in the city is arguably served at the counters of the old Fuente Alemana café.

AFTERNOON
  • Explore the Arts Center of Parque Forestal.

    This urban park contains some of the most eclectic art in Santiago and is also a hangout for artists in the city. Begin at the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is housed next to a beaux-arts style complex that is a stunning architectural feat. Nearby, you’ll find MAVI (Museum of Visual Arts), a hub for diverse expressions of visual art.

EVENING
  • Experience Some of Chile’s Best Farm-to-Table Dining.

    Estro at The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago partners with local artisans, anglers and organic producers to source top-notch seasonal ingredients. The menu is a gesture of appreciation to Chilean cuisine: risotto with regional chilies, pan-fried, sustainable fish, and a daily tiradito, a spicy Chilean tradition similar to Japanese crudo. 

  • Sip Chile’s Variation of the Pisco Sour.

    While Chile’s neighbors in Peru lend tang to their Pisco sours with lime, Chilean bars, such as the lively, frozen-in-time Liguria, mix the grape brandy-based cocktail with a generous amount of puckery, freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Experience Rare Latin American Art.

    The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art has gathered a collection of art from the peoples of South America: sculptures from Mesoamerica, geometric pottery from the Southern Andes and wood carvings from the Taíno.

  • Wander the Plaza de Armes.

    A historic landmark and main square in Santiago, the Plaza de Armes is named for the weapons that once were stored here in the 1500s by Pedro de Valdivia to protect the settlers. Today, it’s home to music pavilions and green areas for lounging.

MIDDAY
  • Have Chilean Comfort Food in a Home.

    Located in a former residence, Ambrosía highlights unusual ingredients from the waters around Chile. Local shellfish are smoked, conger eel is prepared in an orange carrot minestrone, and exceptional local sea urchin is baked into savory tarts.

AFTERNOON
  • Soothe Your Nerves.

    You don’t have to drink wine to experience its benefits. For the 60-minute wine grape wrap treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Santiago, a mixture of French clay and crushed grape seeds is applied to the bond to pull out toxins and lend your skin extra vitamins C and E.

EVENING
  • Enjoy a Night at Santiago’s Most Prestigious Theater.

    A neoclassical masterpiece, Santiago’s Opera House is worth a visit just for the building. But check out what performances are running while you’re in town. In addition to operas, the venue is a performance space for the Santiago Ballet and Santiago Philharmonic.

Day

3

MORNING
  • Visit a Famous Poet’s Hideaway.

    Nobel Prize-winning poet and Chilean icon Pablo Neruda once lived in the quirky residence of La Chascona with a secret lover. The home is now open for tours and offers intimate insights into his personal obsessions and enigmatic life.

MIDDAY
  • Visit a Bustling Local Market.

    While it looks like an elegant old train station from Spain, Mercado Central de Santiago is ground zero for the city’s freshest seafood. Watch fishmongers handle enormous mollusks and visit the vendors for dishes like classic Chilean fish stews and steamed crab legs.

AFTERNOON
  • Wander the Vibrant Barrio Italia Neighborhood.

    The Italian quarter has been home to artsy residents since the 1800s when local artisans moved in. Have a coffee in one of the eclectic cafés. Then browse handmade boots at Blasko, hand-woven blankets at Emporio de Domingo and antique furniture at a number of vintage stores.

EVENING
  • Experience the Future of Chilean Food at Boragó.

    Santiago is not only home to restaurants that celebrate Chile’s traditional cuisine. At Boragó, a team of imaginative chefs transforms local seaweed into umami-rich broths and turns underrated, often discarded cuts of meat into works of art. Trust whatever pairing the outstanding sommelier recommends.

  • Sip Some of the Country’s Best Wines.

    In a cozy, cafélike setting, Bocanáriz serves an adventurous list of charismatic wines from throughout Chile. For those who want to sample a bit of everything, they offer 10 different flights of three wines, themed around things like biodynamic farming and region.