To get a real idea of how Chileans live, it is necessary to go to the places they go to dance, eat or walk. It means to find places filled with a different culture, one that keeps ancestral traditions alive but one that also keeps introducing new features, which turns the city into a sophisticated one.
In Chile, and especially in Santiago, there is a great variety of restaurants and pubs where you can enjoy Chilean food and music, not just typical traditional. Walking down any street, you will find singers, joke-tellers, comics, mimes, painters and jugglers, all of whom share their art and idiosyncrasy with the visitor.
These are only a few of the places you can go to if you are in Santiago.
- Downtown Santiago
Starting in Plaza de Armas (Main Square), the cultural journey begins. Here is where you can get in touch with Chile's history and architecture, all of which springs from the Spanish settlers over 500 years ago. Right by the Square you can see the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Post Office Building (which is the oldest building in Santiago), the City Council and the History Museum. A couple of blocks away you can find the Contemporary Art Museum, which always exhibits work from Latin-American artists, and to the other side, to the Andes, the Mateo de Toro y Zambrano house, which is now a colonial museum.
- Metropolitan Park-Zoo
Not only animals can be found in the metropolitan park, although they are the main attraction. Up the hill you can find a big set of swimming pools and the Japanese Park, with its beautiful vegetation and soothing air. The San Cristobal hill, where the Metropolitan Park is placed, you can visit the monument to the Virgin Mary, one of the most visited places in Santiago. At the base of the hill, and in the streets nearby, there are several restaurants and pubs, in a neighborhood known as Barrio Bellavista, where there is a wide selection of food and drinks, and places to party. Nearby the Metropolitan Park you can find one of Pablo Neruda's houses, which is now a museum open all year.
- Providencia - Suecia
The Alameda, Santiago's main street, keeps on going towards the Andes and its name changed to Providencia. In that area, there are over 20 blocks of commerce of all kinds: resturants, clothing stores, technology stores, commercial centers, pubs, and others. Before reaching Los Leones street, there is a smaller neighborhood in Suecia street, known by the activity at night. There are several restaurants and bars, coffee houses and pubs, all in a five-block radius, approximately. It's a matter of walking around until you see something you like and go in to have a good time.
A couple of years back the big mall chains, like Parque Arauco and all the Mall Plaza malls, started to build special areas for the entertainment of young people and children. That is how the external part of the malls, right by the parking lots, now you can see a kind of "outside mall" where restaurants, pubs and coffee shops receive people. There are restaurants that serve Chinese and Japanese food, Indian and Italian, International Cuisine or vegetarian, internationally famous coffee houses like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, ice cream parlors, and other kinds of places. In most of these malls, there are game arcades and bowling allies, as well as skating rings for the entertainment of young adults and children.