Santiago is a cultural treasure trove, and expats will be in a prime position to enjoy countless attractions. Although it’s a metropolis through and through, it’s nonetheless home to abundant natural beauty. There are plenty of things to see and do for expat families as well as young solo adventurers.
Expats will find museums and galleries around almost every corner. Chile’s rich history and cultural heritage provide ample fascinating material for expats to get lost in. Santiago is also home to some beautiful architecture, and there are innumerable plazas and statues in areas throughout the city.
The beautiful Andes Mountains are just a short trip away. Expats can ski, soak in the mountain’s natural hot springs and camp on this famous mountain range.
Attractions in Santiago
La Chascona Casa Museo
Curious expats can get a glimpse into the life of one of Chile’s most beloved poets, Pablo Neruda, at his home in Santiago. Inspired by his secret lover, the house has an air of mystery and contains beautiful artwork from around the world. The entry price includes an informative audio tour full of fascinating facts about Neruda.
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
A sobering experience, this museum is dedicated to all who suffered human rights violations under Pinochet’s military regime from 1973 to 1990. The museum holds historical oral and written testimonies, photos, exhibitions and public artwork. Visitors can take a tour and listen to audio guides to learn more about the context and content of this violent dictatorship.
There are few better vantage points for breathtaking views of the Santiago cityscape than the 62-storey-tall Gran Torre Santiago. Part of the city’s landmark in Costanera Center, the tower is the second-tallest building in Latin America. The observation deck offers stunning panoramic views of the city.
Santiago Metropolitan Park
At over 700 hectares, the Santiago Metropolitan Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world, making it a perfect place to spend the day exploring. The park is packed with attractions, including pools, cable cars, a botanical garden and the Chilean National Zoo. The popular San Cristóbal Hill is also a part of the park, and at its summit, visitors can view Santiago’s iconic statue of the Virgin Mary up close.
The whole family will find delight at Santiago’s amusement park, Fantasialandia, which is suited to all ages. Although relatively compact in size, Fantasialandia has dozens of rides to choose from – each of which is rated as ‘thrilling’, ‘gentle’ or ‘child rides’. The ticket price is considered good value for money, and the park is a manageable size, so a full day is more than enough time to go on each ride.
One of Santiago’s many green spaces, Parque Araucano is a massive park perfect for a peaceful afternoon out. Parents can relax and enjoy the view of the Andes while their children play in one of the many playgrounds. Conveniently, the park is just across the road from Parque Arauco Mall, should visitors be in the mood for a bit of retail therapy.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
A wide range of artefacts can be seen at this museum, some dating from up to 10,000 years ago. This gigantic collection of pre-Columbian art is grouped into six distinct cultural areas: Mesoamerica, Caribbean, Amazonian, Central Andes, Southern Andes and the Intermediate Area (consisting of Columbia and Ecuador). Apart from its permanent exhibitions, the museum also has exciting temporary exhibitions, so there is often something new to be found in the museum, even for those who have visited before.
What are expats' favourite things to see and do in Santiago?
"I find there is lots of beauty in unexpected places. The city has a unique look, with artwork painted on most walls, old colonial style buildings mixed with German and English architecture. It’s an interesting place." Vanessa shared some things she liked to see in Santiago, read more in her expat interview.
"I love the people, the surrounding landscapes, the mountains and the sunshine." Read more in Nina's interview.
►Lifestyle in Santiago is an essential guide for expats who want to make the most of their time in the capital
►Learn about the city's best events on our What's On in Santiago page
Are you an expat living in Santiago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Santiago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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