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Center Things to See and Do

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Barrio Santiago Centro is the historical part of the city, full of tourist attractions like Cerro Santa Lucia, Nacional Library, Plaza de la Constitución, La Moneda, Plaza de Armas, Museo Precolombino, Palacio de la Real Audiencia, Catedral Metropolitana and Museo Historico Nacional. The area is easy to navigate and it’s possible to explore it in one day. Tourists are well catered to and it’s easy to find hotels and restaurants. Foodies will love Mercado Central (fish market) and La Vega (fruit and vegetable market).


If you have a bit more time to spend in the city centre, you’ll notice that despite the historical buildings and impressive plazas, it’s home to the working class. You can find some department stores and there’s Mall de Centro on Puente 689, but with its numerous discount stores and market stalls, Santiago Centro is more of a bargain hunters’ shopping paradise than Rodeo Drive.


Adventurous explorers might be tempted to try a coffee in one of the infamous Café con piernas (coffee shops with waitresses in miniskirts).


Santiago Centro is a good base if you want to make a whistle-stop tour of the city, however it can be a bit scary after dark and tourists should be careful with their belongings. If you plan to stay in Santiago for a few days it’s probably better to stay in Bella Vista or Providencia where the nightlife is better.



By Noleen Turner
I'm originally from Northern Ireland but have lived in Santiago de Chile for over two years. I work in marketing communications and as a writer and...
20 Apr 2009

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Plaza de Armas

The Plaza de Armas dates back to 1541 when Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago. The square was used as an army training ground, with a protected area...

City Plaza
Center, Santiago, Chile

Museo Chileno de Arte Precolumbino

This museum, specializing in pre-Columbian Chile, is one of the country’s best. Located in an elegant white building in the center of Santiago, the...

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National Aeronautic Museum

National Aeronautic Museum

At this indoor/outdoor museum, plane buffs can discover the history of Chilean aviation. The museum holdings range from Chile’s very first plane,...

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Museo HistĂłrico Nacional

This site, originally constructed in 1807, is a must-see. Although it has been remodeled some, the original splendor is still very visible. At one...

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Iglesia, Convento y Museo de San Francisco

This church is one of the oldest buildings in Chile, built between 1586 and 1628. However, due to earthquakes, it has been restored several times...

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Mercado Central

A major fixture in Chilean society, the Mercado Central may be touristy, but rest assured that the tourists are visiting for good reason. Located in...

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Feria Santa Lucia

Head to Feria Santa Lucia for souvenirs such as T-shirts, leather and wool goods, jewelry and wooden handcrafted items. The market items are cheaper...

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Persa BĂ­o BĂ­o

Everyday things are sold at Persa BĂ­o BĂ­o, like furniture, clothes, electrical goods, household items, CDs, bikes, construction tools and antiques....

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La Vega Central

La Vega is one of Santiago’s biggest and oldest fruit and vegetable markets. It’s housed inside two huge warehouses: Grande and Pequeña. Head...

Center, Santiago, Chile

Cerro Santa Lucia

Cerro Santa Lucia is a national monument and one of Santiago’s main tourist attractions, thanks to its pleasant gardens and panoramic view of the...

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Palacio de la Moneda

The Palacio de la Moneda was originally the National Mint of Chile. Designed by Italian architect Joaquin Toesca at the end of the 18th century,...

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Catedral Metropolitana

The Cathedral Metropolitana, also known as the Catedral de Santiago, sits on the west side of the Plaza de Armas and stretches for almost a block....

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Palacio de Bellas Artes / Museo de Bellas Artes / Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

Founded in 1880, The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Fine Arts Museum) is an essential stop for art-lovers. It’s housed in the Palacio de...

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Museo de Santiago

The Museo de Santiago is located just off the Plaza de Armas in Casa Colorada, an 18th century colonial mansion. The house, now a national...

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Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI)

The Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI) opened in 2001. The permanent collection has more than 1,400 examples of modern Chilean art by more than 400...

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