Before Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, a Spanish conquistador, it was home to indigenous tribes that have been living in Chile since 12,000 BC. After the Spanish colonized the area, it took several hundred years for the city to really build. In the 18th century, Santiago prospered in various aspects of life including infrastructure, economic development and trade.
When colonial domination ended in the 19th century, Santiago had not caught up with the rest of the world until later in the century when the gold rush boomed. In the 20th century, many people from the outskirts came into the city to work and help develop it into the vibrant place it is today. So for those of you who are planning to spend a few days in Chile’s capital, even if it’s a stopover, here are some must dos and sees we recommend.
Persa Bío Bío
Love to find unique gifts and items you may not find elsewhere? Then head over to Persa Bío Bío for a few hours to shop. Situated inside and outside warehouses, this shopping spot sells furniture, decor, record labels, clothing, souvenirs and so many other odd items—you’re bound to find something you like. Many musicians and street performers frequent Persa Bío Bío, so you may be able to catch a live show there, too.
Santiago has some terrific weather, which is why we recommend you head over to Azotea Matilde, a rooftop bar in a neighborhood called Bellavista. The view is amazing and the food is excellent too, with options such as risotto with goats cheese, mushroom and shrimp or filet tartar. If you’re not hungry, it’s still a beautiful spot to have some drinks while you overlook the city. Azotea Matilde does get busy, so you may want to book a table beforehand by contacting them here.
The oldest building in Santiago is Casa Colorada, which was built in 1769 for the president and continued to be used for politicians and important people for several hundred years. Now, it’s a museum featuring pieces of Chilean history as well as other artifacts from exhibitions that the museum hosts. Even after several earthquakes and fires, Casa Colorada continues to stand the test of time. If you’re planning on visiting Santiago next year, you’re in luck—the house is currently being renovated and will reopen in 2020.
Club de Jazz
Looking for somewhere to go in the evening? Head over to Club de Jazz for some dancing and live band performances (Louis Armstrong and Herbie Hancock once played here). Club de Jazz serves both food and cocktails, so don’t worry about going hungry during the show. Come with friends or your significant other and you’re bound to have a good time.
Santiago is a fun city to explore—from museums and delicious restaurants to live music bars and beautiful views. If you’re stopping over for a few days, we hope this city guide will help you enjoy your time there and see the best of what Santiago has to offer outside of the tourist hotspots.
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