Santiago, the capital city of Chile, is a vibrant and dynamic metropolis surrounded by the beautiful Andes mountains. From exploring historic neighborhoods to hiking and skiing, Santiago has something to offer for everyone. If you are planning a trip to Santiago, here are some of the best things to do and the best times of year to visit.
Best Things to Do In Santiago, Chile
1. Visit Cerro San Cristobal
Cerro San Cristobal is a must-visit attraction in Santiago. The hill stands over 800 meters tall and provides stunning views of the city. The hill is accessible via funicular or cable car, and once you reach the top, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Santiago.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Cerro San Cristobal is during the summer months (December to February), when the weather is warm and clear, and you can enjoy the view without the haze.
2. Explore the historic neighborhoods
Santiago is home to several historic neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Some of the most popular neighborhoods to explore include Bellavista, Lastarria, and Barrio Italia. These neighborhoods are known for their colorful streets, bohemian vibe, and artisanal shops.
Best time to visit: The best time to explore the historic neighborhoods is during the spring (September to November) or fall (March to May), when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
3. Visit the Museums
Santiago is home to several world-class museums, including the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. These museums offer a glimpse into Chilean history and culture.
Best time to visit: The museums are open year-round, but it’s best to visit during the weekdays when they are less crowded.
4. Ski or Hike in the Andes
Santiago is located near the Andes mountains, which makes it an ideal destination for skiing or hiking. During the winter months, the ski resorts near Santiago, such as Valle Nevado and Portillo, are popular among locals and tourists. During the summer months, the Andes offer many hiking opportunities with beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes.
Best time to visit: The best time to ski in the Andes is during the winter months (June to August), and the best time to hike is during the summer months (December to February).
5. Visit the Central Market
The Central Market is a bustling marketplace located in the heart of Santiago. The market is known for its fresh seafood, fruit, and vegetables. It’s also a great place to try Chilean cuisine, including ceviche, empanadas, and pastel de choclo.
Best time to visit: The market is open year-round, but it’s best to visit in the morning when the seafood is fresh.
6. Take a Day Trip to Valparaiso
Valparaiso, located about 120 km from Santiago, is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colorful houses, narrow streets, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. The city is also known for its street art and vibrant culture.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Valparaiso is during the spring (September to November) or fall (March to May), when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
In conclusion, Santiago is a vibrant city with a mix of history, culture, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic neighborhoods, skiing or hiking in the Andes, or trying Chilean cuisine, Santiago has something for everyone.