• 7 January 2020

Santiago is Chile’s cosmopolitan capital city. Surrounded by the Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coast Range, its picturesque setting makes it one of the best places to visit in South America.

If you’re touring Chile and planning a stopover in Santiago, we’ve laid out the perfect Santiago travel guide. This will help you to discover the city’s main highlights so you can enjoy every minute of your short stay. Touring Santiago in just 24 hours is completely doable thanks to the compact city centre, with most sites within easy walking distance to one another. 

Let’s get into the best way to spend 24 hours in Santiago, Chile. 

Experience the local life at La Vega Central 

The La Vega Central Market contains more than 1500 local stores selling everything food-related. This is the perfect place to start your Santiago travel guide. The market gets very busy during the day, so an early morning trip will ensure you avoid the busy daytime crowds. 

While you’re here, indulge in a filling breakfast from one of the numerous stalls or restaurants serving traditional Chilean food. Enjoy empanadas fresh from the oven and a cup of coffee while you savour the scent of Santiago spices wafting through the air. The market is full of life and is open every day from 4:00 am – 7:30 pm.

Street market with different kind of food
Street market with different kind of foods
Admire the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago

Burn off your breakfast with a walk through Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. This is the largest city park in Latin America. It contains more than 722 hectares of green space and is filled with paths, hills, and scenic lookout spots. 

The park also contains lots of fun attractions, such as an adventure park, cable car rides, swimming pools (during the warmer months), the national zoo, and more. This gorgeous park is a must-see when visiting Santiago. 

Santiago Region Metropolitana
Santiago Region Metropolitana
Discover the Barrio Bellavista

Barrio Bellavista is Santiago’s bohemian quarter, the heart of cultural life in Santiago, and a great place to see how the locals live. It contains numerous restaurants, boutiques, avant-garde galleries, and nightlife options. 

It’s a colourful neighbourhood, full of gorgeous graffiti and brightly painted buildings. The Restaurant Puerto Bellavista is a lively seafood eatery that comes highly rated. It’s a great spot to grab a beer or a bite to eat. 

Opened terrace at Patio Bellavista
Opened terrace at Patio Bellavista
Explore the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts

The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts is one of the major centres for Chilean and South American art. The museum was established in 1880 and sits in a beautiful historical building that houses a broad collection of permanent and temporary exhibits.

Touring the museum provides a fun way to learn about South American culture when you visit Santiago, Chile. The museum spans 2 floors and entrance is free.

National Museum and Academy of Fine Arts
National Museum and Academy of Fine Arts
Relax at the Parque Forestal

The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts is located inside the Parque Forestal, and with its quiet beauty and attractive scenery, we definitely recommend checking it out while you’re in the area. 

It’s a lush oasis in the middle of the bustling city. Find plenty of picturesque tree-lined walkways, grassy spaces for picnicking, and several large statues. This is a great place to spend some quiet time in Santiago, Chile. 

Relax at the Forestal Park
Relax at the Forestal Park
Take in the views from Santa Lucía Hill

Santa Lucia Hill features elegant architecture, ornate fountains, and colourful flower displays. However, it’s most popular attraction is its large stairway that provides the best panoramic views of the Santiago skyline. 

Climb the stairs to the top and admire the extensive views of Santiago and the Andes mountains. Or, save your legs and take the elevator to the top. The Santa Lucia Hill offers unparalleled views of the city and is a Santiago must-see.

Old stone stairs in Santa Lucia Hill
Old stone stairs in Santa Lucia Hill
Stroll the Plaza de Armas 

The Plaza de Armas is the main square of Santiago. This central plaza houses many historical attractions, including famous monuments, museums and art galleries. 

Take time to stroll the plaza and marvel at some of Santiago’s most notable architectural landmarks. You can also shop for locally handcrafted items and watch street performers. The plaza offers a nice blend of modern and historic attractions and showcases the best of Santiago, Chile. 

Plaza de las Armas Square
Plaza de las Armas Square
Marvel at the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral

The Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral is located in Santiago’s historic centre and faces the Plaza de Armas. Construction of the cathedral began in 1748 and finished in 1800. The building features ornate neoclassical architecture and gorgeous Spanish-influenced design. 

Step inside the main doors and admire the church’s gilded arches, sparkling chandeliers, and beautiful religious frescoes. The cathedral is open to the public daily and admission is free.

Interior of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago
Interior of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Santiago
Visit the La Moneda Palace 

La Moneda Palace is the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. Construction of the building started in 1784, and it features opulent neoclassical architecture and ornamentation. 

The palace also features the Plaza de la Constitución, which was constructed on the south side of the palace to celebrate the bicentenary of Chile’s independence. 

The palace complex is an important place to check out when visiting Santiago, Chile. Admire the building’s elegant façade, wander through the palace courtyards, and see the historic 18th-century cannons at the entrance.

Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago
Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago
Wander Plaza Ñuñoa

The Plaza Ñuñoa is a great place to end your day’s itinerary in Santiago. This area of the city is well known for its wide offering of entertainment venues.

Cap off your 24-hour Santiago vacation by checking out the Chilean nightlife scene. You’ll find a great variety of pubs, karaokes, bars, restaurants, live music venues, and theatres. 

As you can tell, Santiago tourism is thriving and offers the perfect blend of historic and modern attractions. Further, Chile is one of the safest countries to visit in South America, making it the perfect travel destination for every type of traveller.

If you’re spending just one day in Santiago, Chile, then this guide will help you to easily discover the cultural, historical, and local highlights of this vibrant South American city.

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