- Local Time
Touted as the next great foodie destination and an up–and–comer in the contemporary art world, Santiago is often described as a city on the cusp. Explore the colonial architecture, search for the best pisco sour in town and plan to hike the snow–capped Andes you spy in the not–so–far distance.
Where to Stay
- The front facade of the Ladera HotelLadera HotelFor the serene atmosphere
- The front entrance of Le Rêve is surrounded by greeneryLe RêveFor boutique charm
- A large suite at The Singular hotelThe SingularFor the prime location
Eat & Drink
Global–inspired cuisine at Ambrosía Bistro Approaching food with both French cooking techniques and inspiration from her global travels, Carolina Bazán is one of Chile’s most acclaimed young chefs. At her casual, intimate restaurant, the menu varies seasonally, but the freshly made pasta is a specialty — and reason enough to stop by.
Meaty menus at La Salvación When chef Rolando Ortega opened La Salvación, his second restaurant, customers from his downtown spot quickly followed — it was full within weeks. He’s known for his worship of pork and using uncommon cuts from head to tail, with dishes like smoked pork ears glazed with chili paste, garlic and parsley.
Japanese–Peruvian fusion at Osaka Peru has the second largest Japanese population in South America, leading to the emergence of a fusion cuisine known as Nikkei. Ask for the dishes cooked with hot coal, like the Pepoh Gohan: rice with piure (Chilean sea squirts), shellfish crackling, olive oil with merkén (a Chilean hot spice) and pebre, a mixture of coriander, tomato and onion.
The freshest seafood at La Calma Chef and owner Gabriel Layera adjusts his menu according to what’s freshest, focusing on less common fish and seafood, such as Chilean sandperch and chochas (slipper snails). You’re welcome to ask about your dish’s origins and learn a bit of Chilean geography while you wait.
Homemade pastries at Daniel’s Bakery & Cafe Expect to wait for a table, but the homemade pastries, baked like grandma’s, are worth it. The Snickers cake — a reinterpretation of the classic chocolate bar with all–natural peanut butter, and big enough to share — is highly addictive.
What to Do
Canadian–designed architecture at Temple Bahá’í The views of Santiago from here are impressive, but the building itself is even more so. Designed by the Canadian firm Hariri Pontarini Architects and opened in 2016, the Bahá’í temple is made to resemble a flower, with petals of marble and glass.
Original local artwork at Gallería Taller del Mono Alejandro “Mono” González is best known for his large–scale murals, often themed around Chilean social issues, but at his gallery his art is also available as serigraph sets you can bring home. Ask if he has any pieces left from his homage to the victims and survivors of the country’s 2010 earthquake; that work won him an Altazor National Arts Award.
Cycling and wine tastings at Cousiño–Macul You need not leave the city limits of Santiago to explore a family–owned winery that dates back to 1856. Hop on this eco–minded bike tour for a leisurely cruise through Cousiño–Macul’s grapevines, located by the Andean foothills in the Maipo Valley.
Kid–friendly activities at Museo Artequin Located in a historic space (this was Chile’s pavilion in the 1889 Parisian Exposition Universelle), this art museum focuses on hands–on activities for kids, like dressing up as their favourite painter and learning how to build mini replicas of Chilean architectural gems. Bring a picnic and spend the afternoon in the huge park just outside.
Handmade crafts at Mercado de Oficios Browsing this store will have you questioning why you didn’t bring a larger suitcase. You’ll find everything from alpaca wool shawls to minimalist wooden toys to rustic stone platters — all of the items carved, knitted, dyed, painted or welded somewhere in Chile.
Eye–opening history at Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos Opened in 2010, this “Museum of Memory and Human Rights” honours the 40,000 victims of the regime led by dictator Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. It reflects upon this dark past with a human approach — allowing the visitor to learn, for example, how families remember their lost ones with personal homages throughout the country.
Design souvenirs at Barrio Italia In the neighbourhood of Barrio Italia (settled by Italian artisans in the 19th century), the facades of historic houses hide an eclectic combination of shops, many of which focus on design and fashionable home goods. Spend an afternoon browsing for souvenirs, like the mugs illustrated with flora and fauna at Tienda Larry.
Conscious fashion at Lupe Gajardo Lupe Gajardo’s collections are inspired by scarcity — she has upcycled fabrics, accessories and materials. The young Santiago designer, who has shown at New York Fashion Week, is keen on representing diversity in textures as well as in sizes and silhouettes, making her flowy garments available in an inclusive range.
Chilean wines at d’El Baco’s Tienda Vinos The experts at this small wine shop will climb a stair to reach the last Cinsaut on the highest shelf if they think it’s the bottle you may like best. Ask them how to pick a wine that pairs well with your favourite meal — they’ve gleaned their knowledge from the French restaurant of the same name next door.
Fresh air in the great outdoors at Parque Natural Aguas de Ramón Whether you want to embark on a meditative walk in nature or an endurance hike, this ecological park is for you. About a half–hour drive from the centre of Santiago, you’ll find trails ranging from 30 minutes to seven hours, with routes cutting across the valley through forests. Ask for directions to the trail that ends with a small waterfall.