Barrio Santiago Centro is the historical part of the city, full of tourist attractions like Cerro Santa Lucia, Nacional Library, Plaza de la ConstituciĂłn, 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 itâ€™s possible to explore it in one day. Tourists are well catered to and itâ€™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, youâ€™ll notice that despite the historical buildings and impressive plazas, itâ€™s home to the working class. You can find some department stores and thereâ€™s Mall de Centro on Puente 689, but with its numerous discount stores and market stalls, Santiago Centro is more of a bargain huntersâ€™ shopping paradise than Rodeo Drive.
Adventurous explorers might be tempted to try a coffee in one of the infamous CafĂ© 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 itâ€™s probably better to stay in Bella Vista or Providencia where the nightlife is better.