Santiago is Chile’s capital. It’s a bustling metropolitan hub; almost 40 percent of Chile’s population lives in and around the city. Even if you only have one day, you can still experience the following highlights in Santiago.
Take a walking tour
When you’re short on time, a walking tour is one of the best things to do in Santiago. The guides are experts who can answer all your questions and give you tips and recommendations. There are lots of free walking tours available, depending on which part of the city interests you the most. By opting for a walking tour, you’ll not only be able to hit all the city’s major sites and landmarks at one go, you’ll also learn how to navigate between them, in case you want to return later.
Learn more about Chilean history and culture
There are plenty of museums to choose from. Explore the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which houses thousands of artifacts that illustrate the richness of Central and South American history and culture. It’s also very central, only a block or so away from the main city square, Plaza de Armas. You can also visit one of the open-air museums — the Museo a Cielo Abierto in San Miguel is a must for street art enthusiasts. It’s free and boasts colorful murals that will surely be the highlight of any trip.
Check off the major landmarks
Plaza de Armas is in a great central location, and this historic square is one of Chile's most important locations because of its role in the country's history. There are several statues, but the plaza also surrounded by landmarks like the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Post Office, and the Royal Court Palace — attractions that any visitor to Santiago should see.
Take a walk in the park
Santiago Metropolitan Park is immense. At around 1,700 acres and filled with fun activities, it’s a wonderful spot to spend time. Ride the funicular to the top of San Cristóbal Hill, where you’ll find a large statue of the Virgin Mary as well as a zoo and panoramic views of Santiago.
Refueling in Santiago
Whether you’re looking for a quick, cheap bite or a full, sit-down meal, there’ll be something that meets your needs. Santiago boasts several French-inspired restaurants, so expect quiches, mussels, and steaks rounded off with crème brûlée or tarte tatin. Or, to experience Chile on a plate, there are a host of authentic restaurants for a traditional meal.
Even if you’re not visiting the city for very long, you can make the most of your time by focusing on these essential things to do in Santiago.