My favourite neighbourhood in Santiago is the Barrio Lastarria, a centre of culture with a bohemian, artistic vibe that I adore. Its cobblestone streets and European architecture are nestled in between the busy downtown core and another popular neighbourhood, Providencia. Year after year, I’ve watched my beloved barrio come alive with new cultural outlets and amazing restaurants!
You can easily spend a couple of days getting to know the area, with fantastic options with how to spend your day, delicious restaurants, and wine bars. Here are some of my favourite ways to spend time in this charming part of the city.
GAM – Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre
One of the first things I do when I arrive is look up the schedule for the goings-on at GAM—the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centre. This space features exhibits ranging from photography, dance and theatre. Even if you’re pressed for time, it’s worth a visit simply for the architecture of the building.
Cine Arte El Biógrafo
Film lovers, get your fix and test your language skills at El Biógrafo Cinema, a great small cinema featuring indie films from around the world.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Visit the national museum, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. This museum features both Chilean and international artists, and will give you a taste of the country’s visual arts heritage.
Explore the city by foot or on two wheels
Take a stroll up the Cerro Santa Lucia, its hilly inclines taking you to a magnificent park filled with fountains and picturesque façades. Right at the very top, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views across the city towards the Andes.
Wander through the Parque Forestal or kick it up a notch and go for a jog on the pedestrian-only paths, soaking up a slice of local life. While you’re at it, stroll through the park to the Parque Forestal Café for an oasislike setting amongst the trees.
Go for a ride
Make the most of your Sunday to rent a bike, hit the ciclovia (many main streets are closed on Sundays and turned into designated paths for cyclists and runners), and ride the streets of Santiago with the locals!
Where to eat and drink from A.M. to P.M
Colmado Coffee & Bakery
Early risers, get your caffeine fix at Colmado Coffee & Bakery, where you can find arguably the best lattes in the city! Sneak into the back courtyard and take a seat, and be sure to sample the freshly-baked breads and pastries. Next door, take a look at CloseUP Chile, an excellent photo gallery dealing exclusively in Chilean landscapes.
For Peruvian/Chilean fusion, sit amongst the patrons on the back patio at Chipe Libre. Feeling thirsty? Try one of the dozens of pisco sour variants available in house. This South American cocktail, invented in Peru and claimed by Peru and Chile as their national drink, features in endless debates on which country makes it better!
With some great New World wine selections available in Chile, I’ve included some excellent places to dive into the country’s offerings. Here are some of my favourite places to spend a night out.
Head to Boca Nariz and dig deep into an evening of gastronomy and wine tasting. Pair your meal with one of the many wine flight options. If you are feeling fancy, pair it with the sparkling flight! From tapas to main dishes, this trendy wine bar is a great place to spend your evening.
For a romantic evening for two with a great wine selection, head to Casa Lastarria. From Peruvian ceviche to empanadas and even risotto, this varied menu has something for everyone. Stake out the ‘secret’ rooftop patio on a warm summer evening.
If you’re looking for a fun night out accompanied by great food, make your way to Opera Catedral. Local musicians frequent this spot to showcase their songs, complete with a lively atmosphere! Take a break from the music and head to their rooftop patio for a bit of fresh air and a view.
Emporio de la Rosa
Finally, no visit to Lastarria is complete without a visit to the ice cream institute, Emporio de la Rosa. For some Chilean flavours, don’t miss out on lucuma (a sweet antioxidant-rich fruit) or manjar ( the Chilean answer to dulce de leche, but made slightly differently—I won’t go into details, but it’s just as good, if not better). With over 20 original flavours, you may have trouble choosing!
For cocktail hour, head to the Singular Hotel rooftop bar to enjoy a Pisco Sour Royale on the rooftop bar for dramatic views. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with a sight of the snow-capped Andes.