33 Things We Love About Santiago de Chile

Santiago de chile

Last Updated on April 1, 2021

We spent nearly two months in Santiago and came to love it more with every day that passed. There are certainly more than only 33 things to love about Chile’s capital, but we wanted to share the 33 most memorable things that made Santiago so special for us. And we hope that you’ll find a few facts about Santiago de Chile in this list that you didn’t know yet!

1 Santiago’s subway art

We mentioned this in our Polaroid of the week series and there’s a good reason we’re bringing it up again here. Santiago’s subway stations each have their own art throughout – murals, sculptures, paintings and contemporary design.

Santiago de Chile facts

2 Work out machines

We took back our health and wellness in our Santiago condo, but even without the spacious three-bedroom housesit, staying fit would have been possible on the many workout machines found throughout the city’s green spaces.

Santiago workout machines3 Dog houses

Seeing stray dogs in the streets is always heartbreaking, no matter where we travel. Santiago was one of the few places where we didn’t immediately want to rescue them all Not only are they well-fed and treated so nicely by people who pet them and give them love, but the city even provides them with doghouses in the parks.

Santiago de Chile facts4 Mote con huesillo

This typical Chilean drink might be too sweet for some, but I found it refreshing after hiking up to Cerro San Cristobal for an hour in the sweltering summer heat. Mote con Huesillo is a strange drink that consists of dried peaches and cooked wheat in sweet tea which is not drunk but eaten with a spoon.

mote con huesillo5 The cemetery

Santiago’s Cementerio General turned out to be one of the most impressive cemeteries we have ever visited. Filled with grand mausoleums, ornate graves, obelisks and statues, it is one of South America’s largest cemeteries with nearly 2 million burials – including President Salvador Allende’s massive family mausoleum.

Santiago Cementerio General images

6 The Andes mountains surrounding the city

We loved seeing mountains on almost all sides around Santiago. Not sure if it is because both of us are from flat places, but seeing the snow-capped peaks of the Andes never got old.

Santiago de Chile facts7 Cafe con piernas – Coffee with legs

We have talked about these quirky coffee shops in detail already – read all about them here.

Santiago Cafe Con Piernas

8 Lastarria Neighborhood

The Lastarria neighborhood is without a doubt one of Santiago’s prettiest neighborhoods: grand, beautifully restored buildings mixed with colonial charm with restaurants and cafes spilling out on the sidewalks. We loved wandering through the streets here, especially during our Foto Ruta photography Tour, which allowed us to zoom in on the little details throughout the neighborhood.

Barrio Lastarria Santiago de Chile

9 Swimming pools with a view

There are two public swimming pools in Parque Metropolitano that have some of the best vistas of Santiago: Piscina Antilen and Piscina Tupahue. You can hike to the latter one from the Cerro San Cristobal viewpoint and be rewarded with a refreshing experience!

Verano del 2008, Piscina Antilen, Santiago
Piscina Antilen via Armando Lobos on Flickr

10 Le Fournil

This French bakery and restaurant is by far our favorite eatery in Santiago. Admittedly not exactly Chilean cuisine, Le Fournil set out to bake the best bread in Chile and we say, Mission Accomplished – the breads, pastries and full breakfasts are to die for.

santiago breakfast le fournil

11 La Piojera on a Friday night

This famous ‘fleahouse’ is the perfect introduction to Chilean drinking culture. The bar is known for its notorious terremotos, which means earthquakes, which are half liter cups filled with Pipeño (a sweet fermented wine), pineapple ice cream and Fernet (a strong herbal liquor). Headaches are guaranteed on Saturday mornings, but the Friday night atmosphere packed with locals provides a true South American experience.

Santiago de Chile nightlife12 The beautiful churches

We were surprised how many churches there are in Santiago, and there is such a variety of different styles: colonial churches dating back to the 18th century, neo-renaissance, the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur-inspired Basilica de Sacramentinos, neo-gothic and baroque architecture. Even though the external weren’t always remarkable, the interiors were always stunning.

Santiago de Chile churches

13 Street art

Buenos Aires has an amazing street art scene, and coming from there to Santiago, we weren’t sure how this capital would compare. Even though the city has such a different vibe, street art here is gorgeous, intelligent and everywhere! The best neighborhood to spot the most street art is Bellavista.

Santiago de Chile street art pictures

14 The old-fashioned phone booths

Even though most of the phone booths are understandably out of order, they make gorgeous little spots to take cover from the rain around the city.

santiago phone booth

15 Peluqueria Francesa

This traditional 19th century barber shop is still up and running, as retro as it is functional, and the restaurant of the same name right next store pays tribute with antique memorabilia that fits with the barber shop theme.

Peluqueria Francesa barber shop Santiago de Chile

16 Fresh watermelon everywhere

We loved the pop-up stalls on the side of the roads during the summer months selling fresh watermelons. If you don’t want to carry an entire watermelon, you can just get fresh cut-up pieces.

santiago de chile fresh water melon17 Innovative contemporary architecture in the Las Condes and Providencia neighborhoods

In contrast to boring steel and glass blocks of financial districts around the world, Santiago takes serious pride in expressing their booming economy and optimistic future through its architecture. The country’s best architects have been called upon to create such unique skyscrapers, office towers and downtown hotels.

Contemporary architecture in Santiago de chile

18 Free walking tours

We mentioned it before – Santiago is not exactly filled with tourist attractions, but there are three different free walking tour companies in the city that operate entirely on a tipping basis and let you choose between a total of five different walking tours! Santiago might not have as many tourists as other South American destinations, but the ones that come and visit can get a great tour with only few people and an insightful local guide. Nobody should miss going on one, as we suggest in our quick guide to Santiago.

19 The traditional pharmacies

Where can you still find pharmacies like this nowadays?!

santiago pharmacy20 Fish market madness

Visit the fish market at Mercado Central in the morning when the trucks with the day’s catch and witness an intense commotion, or wait to dine on fresh seafood in the cute restaurants right in the market later in the day.

Santiago de Chile fish market mercado central

21 Public sculptures

We loved the public sculptures so much that we decided they deserved their own post – take a look at some of our favorite pieces in Santiago here.

Santiago de Chile facts

22 Parque Bicentenario

This park have free sun chairs and umbrellas, wide green spaces, flamingos swimming in the pond and is one of the most fun outdoor spaces in the city. By far our favorite park, we spent many afternoons here with the puppies in our care, and which is why we recommend heading here if you want to go beyond central Santiago.

Parque Bicentenario Santiago De Chile

23 The views from Cerro San Cristobal

While Cerro Santa Lucia, the other famous Santiago viewpoint, might be considered the prettier one, San Cristobal has the better views. From here you see how spread out Santiago is, and with the Andes in the background, we always felt like we were in such a special place.

santiago and andes

24 Resale shops on Bandera Street

When we heard about the second-hand stores on Bandera Street, we didn’t think all that much of it but stopped by anyway. What we found was loads of  stores selling quality clothes, leather jackets, business suits, handbags and shoes – all of which fit non-Latina body shapes!

25 Pizza machines in the subway stations

We are not sure about the quality of these pizzas (yeah we are, it’s probably not that good!), but just having the option to throw money in the slot, click on the toppings that you want and hold a steaming pizza in your hands three minutes later is probably amazing after a night out. One of my favorite facts about Santiago de Chile!

santiago pizza machine

26 Sunsets with a mountain backdrop

We were ooh-ing and aah-ing almost every night when the sun set and the sky started to turn orange, purple and finally dark blue. We highly recommend to visit one of the many hotel rooftop bars or the Cerro Santa Lucia or San Cristobal lookouts if skies are clear.

santiago sunset

27 Fruit and vegetable vendors

Even though there are plenty of big supermarkets well stocked with fruits and vegetables, the city is filled with fresh fruit and veg, from the main market, La Vega, and simple fruit and vegetable vendors selling their produce from their own personal carts around town.

fruit and vegetable cart in santiago de chile28 Bike friendliness

Santiago has surprisingly many bike lanes, called ciclovias, which are usually lined with trees, have space for joggers as well and run for miles across the city.

29 Strawberries in January

We were lucky enough to be in town for strawberry season, and when it hit, it seemed like there were strawberries for sale everywhere in town, for as little as $1 per kilo! The strawberries are all natural and taste like strawberries of old, how they are supposed to taste. We devoured so, so many kilos.

strawberries santiago

30 The nightlife in Bellavista

Bellavista is the place to be on a Saturday night – the bars, pubs and clubs around Pio Nono street are bursting with cheap booze deals. We loved the atmosphere especially on warm summer nights when most of the parties spilled out onto the streets.

31 El Huerto – the best vegetarian restaurant in Santiago

While Buenos Aires turned out to be a paradise for vegetarians, in Santiago it was harder to come by decent vegetarian food. Luckily we made our way to El Huerto (which is nowhere near anything we wanted to visit), as it turned out to be our favorite vegetarian restaurant in town.

El Huerto Restaurant in Santiago De Chile

32 The contrast in the architecture

The contrast between the typical colonial houses, and the glass towers in Providencia and traditional German half-timbered houses show Santiago society’s many sides.

Santiago de Chile architecture33 Pedals an the art of multi-tasking.

Sure you could just enjoy a rest on a park bench, but why not combine that with a lower body workout?! We love these little foot pedals you find in front of many benches throughout the city – and took advantage whenever we could. Jess pedaling in SantiagoHave you been to Santiago? What are your favorite things about the city? Were any of these Santiago de Chile facts new to you? Share in the comments below…

Tags : santiago de chilethings i lovethings we love


    1. Andrea – isn’t that the perfect excuse to go back? 😉 We still have a few things on our wish list for Santiago, and are hoping to return soon!

  1. Great list! Would love to try the coffee with legs or the terremoto. As for the dog houses, it’s an interesting idea. Lima has tons of stray cats, especially in Parque Kennedy, and it would be great to see them have some sort of temporary shelter.

    1. Kayla – I hope you’ll make it to Santiago one day! I had no idea that Lima had lots of stray cats, thanks for letting me know – I am obsessed with cats, and since we’re en route to Lima, I will make sure to buy them some snacks when we get there 🙂

  2. I am completely sold! Santiago looks beautiful. My best friends girlfriend lives their. Hoping he moves over so that I can go ad visit now. It looks beautiful!

  3. I was sold after Mote con huesillo that looks delicious! A great round up of reasons to visit Santiago de Chile, I’m itching to explore we’ve been following your stay in the country and are super excited to plan our own Chilean adventure.

    With all that gym equipment scattered around the city there’s no wonder all the girls have their legs out! They clearly want to show off their hard work!

    1. Thanks, Charli! The people there are actually really fit and all over their workout machines – I wonder if people would use them if we had them in Germany!

  4. No surprise you liked the mote con huesillo if it’s so sweet, Dani! Also, we love the gif of Jess pedaling on that bench; Zab was like “oh, they videoed it!” Bless.

    1. Yes, I am obsessed with gif images ;-), so I am happy I get some recognition for it 😀 Have you had mote con huesillo while you were in Chile? I hope you guys make it to Santiago!

  5. Those strawberries look amazing! I like the look of the swimming pool too. I go to public pools when I’m in NYC in summer and it’s one of my favorite “live like a local” things to do. I never realized Santiago had a subway system. Great post as usual!

    1. Thanks so much! Kate – the strawberries were delicious! I think we developed somewhat of a strawberry addiction while we were in Santiago 😀 I am putting going to a public pool in NYC on my to-do-list for our summer in NYC (it’ll happen one day, I am sure of it ;-))

  6. I can’t believe you passed on the pizza vending machine! There is. O way I could have walked by that without at least trying it.

    1. Hehe, yes we did! But we had found a couple of really good pizza joints in Santiago – we didn’t want to ruin our pizza experience 😉 Although I have to admit, had we passed this machine after a night of drinking, we would have tried it for sure 😀 Good thing that the subway only runs until 11pm 😉

  7. Loved this post! We are planning to go to Chile on our next RTW trip and you’ve definitely given us some great ideas of things to check out. Can’t wait to try the mote con huesillo!

    1. Dani loves the mote con huesillo, for me the jury is still out based on being unconvinced about consistency. There’s wheat and dried peaches in a syrupy juice. I love that it exists and is EVERYwhere though. It’s such a traditional drink, I find it funny to see businessmen drinking it wearing suits and talking on their iPhones. 🙂 Hope you enjoy Chile! We loved it more than we initially thought!

  8. Santiago looks so awesome. Those mountains in the background are just gorgeous! Love the workout machines. Have seen those in Bangkok before, but it was far to hot to use them there.

    1. I can’t imagine working out outside in Bangkok – we could barely make it an hour last time outside before heading to the mall! Ha! Santiago is great, honestly a very cool city!

  9. Looking for information about Santiago and found your site. Love it and thanks for all the info. We will be in Santiago from June 6 to June 11( i know it is winter) so looking for things to do for it will be our first time to be in Chile. Thanks, Pedro

    1. Hi Pedro! So glad this was useful for you! We’d love you to check back in with us and let us know how Santiago is in June, the dead of winter there. Much of what we loved was outdoors, so it will be interesting to see what you get up to. Have fun!

  10. I am also a total sucker for any city that is ringed by mountains. Whether it’s San Cristobal here in Mexico last week or Sarajevo last summer, just love it. Really hoping Julia and I can make it to Santiago soon.

  11. I love that you thought of 33 things! It just took me back to how much I loved Santiago. I only stayed there for a week, which obviously isn’t as much as your couple of months there, but I noticed many of the things you’ve pointed here. Coffee with legs!! Oh how crazy those Chileans are…

    1. Thanks, Emma! Santiago really is a great city. Coffee With Legs always made us giggle when we walked by 🙂 But the coffee was really good in there! 😀

  12. Hi Girls! I found your website after I saw you in the first page of a chilean national newspaper. First i had a look to your comment about the chilean food and finally got to scroll over all your post about Chile. I really liked what you write about Santiago, the cit where I live, and i have to thank you for giving me a refreshing view of my own town.

    Hope you don’t take to seariously the mean comments of my fellow countryman and keep the true good feelings about Chile deep in your hearts,

    1. Hi Rik, thanks so much for your comment! You live in a great city 🙂 And we even had some good food there 😉 But seriously, we do love Chile and would love to return to see more of the country and re-visit favorite places, even though we didn’t make a lot of fans there with our article on Chilean food!

  13. Very nice! Did you eat icecream in emporio de la rosa in lastarria? Is artesanal and very good! But becareful because it seems is made with tap wather and the wather here has a lot of minerals than can cause stomach ache if you are not use to it.

    1. Carolina – yes of course we did! Excellent ice cream 🙂 Luckily we didn’t have any stomach problems afterwards 😀

  14. I like very much the “Cerro San Cristobal”, we can do plenty of things, seeing animals in zoo, the sunset, drinking “mote con huesillo”, without forget the beautiful views of the city.
    Good tips !

  15. Where are those Dog Houses for stray dogs and those Pizza-vending-machines?
    I have lived in Santiago de Chile 33 out of my 34 years of life, and never, EVER seen those.
    It seems like some Tourist Agency took you guys to the best spots.
    I know thw real Santiago: The lack of green, the grey sky, the poverty, the kids playing in fields of dust, the terrible Transantiago, Plaza de Armas, the smog, delinquency, etc. Chile has some awesome and beautiful places for turism, Santiago is NOT one of them. This city is dangerous, the real Santiago.

    1. What lack of green? There are so many green spaces in Santiago, especially compared to other cities of that size in South America. Parque Bustamente, Parque Araucano, O’Higgins Park, Parque Bicentennario, Santa Lucia Hill, Parque Forestal and the giant Parque Metropolitano – and these are just a few that spring to mind. I won’t disagree on the poverty with you, but that’s an issue in many cities, not only in Santiago or in developing nations. And Santiago is doing exceptionally well, being the most developed city in the region. Just look at Vitacura, Las Condes and Barrio El Golf. Far from poor, no? I spent two months in Santiago and had barely grey skies, as you can tell from my photos. Now for the smog – that’s another issue. But that doesn’t mean Santiago’s not to love. How many cities in the world have a serious smog problem these days?! Should we all shun them because of it? Transantiago – ha, spend a day on the subway in New York City and then tell me again that Transantiago sucks. If you’d take the subway in Santiago you’d also know the pizza vending machines. The dog houses are in Parque Forestal, btw, and I saw initiatives like this throughout Chile. The grass is always greener somewhere, but trust me, there are much worse cities out there than Santiago.

      1. Dani,
        You made great references about Santiago. Through your posts we can see your openness to understand places and also the local culture when visiting and touring the city. There are many, many beautiful places in Santiago, and -of course- there are others less attractive like any other city in the world. What is great from you, is that you have seen the city with an open spirit (that’s the attitude when you are a traveler), that’s why you have ‘not seen’ “ugly” places. A true traveler’s spirit keeps the good over the rest.
        From a Santiaguino who loves his city.

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