I Heart My City: Eileen’s Santiago, Chile

Santiago Moderno.jpgToday we’re headed to South America with Eileen Smith, who says Santiago, Chile, is undeservedly overlooked–and we agree!

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MyCityBug2.jpgSantiago is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Cerro San Cristobal.

When I crave excellent coffee I always go to the neighborhood Bellas Artes.

If I want to find good books I go the bookstore Metales Pesados.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in Cajón de Maipo, just south of Santiago.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with a llama in Parque Quinta Normal.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Dominó it has to be a completo, a hot dog slathered with avocado, mayonnaise and chopped tomatoes.

Cajon del Maipo.jpgTostaduría Puerto Rico is my one-stop shop for great deals on dry goods.

Locals know to skip the supermarket and check out the local farmers market instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Bio-Bio, the giant fleamarket.

For a huge splurge I go to Astrid and Gastón for gourmet Peruvian food.

Photo ops in my city include the snowcapped Andes. The best vantage points are always facing east.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be wholly underappreciated.

The most random thing about my city is the constant contrast between old world and modern–the videoscreens in the metro, and on the street, cargo tricycles rule the day.

My city has the most fast-talking men.

My city has the most high-heeled, unafraid women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves bicycling or a long hike up in Parque Mahuida.

My city’s best museum is the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Pre-Colombian Museum).

My favorite jogging/walking route is in Parque Forestal under the weeping willows and by the giant naval fountain.

For a night of dancing, go to Bellavista (the bohemian quarter) and choose your club. Or, for live music, check out www.carretes.cl/tocatas and see who’s playing where.

Liguria is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read El Mercurio’s

Wikén section or the English-language online magazine Revolver.
Cerro San Cristobal.jpg
You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re Chilean, because half of them are from here!

In the spring you should hike hike in Yerba Loca to see the wildflowers and the glacial streams.

In the summer you should drink mote con huesillo, a refreshing drink with wheat kernels and reconstituted dried peaches floating in it!

In the fall you should bring a sweater–the temperature drops in the evening.

In the winter you should ski the Andes.

A hidden gem in my city is the plaza Concha y Toro.

For a great breakfast joint try Café Melba.

Don’t miss the music festival in Viña del Mar.

Just outside my city, you can visit the mountains or the beach, each only 90 minutes away.

The best way to see my city is on foot, by metro and by bicycle, or from the cable car atop Cerro San Cristobal.

If my city were a pet it would be an aardvark. Unexpectedly loveable.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Pucón or Puerto Natales, in the south.

The best book about my city is Santiago Bizarro, a collection of offbeat things to do and see here.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Incubus’s “I Wish You Were Here.”

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Fantasilandia, the theme park.

The Festival of the Downtrodden Chilean (Festival del Roto Chileno) could only happen in my city.

Photos: Turismo Chile


  1. […] Eileen’s Santiago, Chile […]

  2. […] SANTIAGO Guides Samantha Brown Articles NGT’s Intelligent Travel: I Heart My City: Santiago […]

  3. Easter Island Travel
    October 23, 2012, 8:00 am

    Chile really has much to offer – such a beautiful place!

  4. chile holidays
    August 24, 2011, 11:22 am

    Chile is my favorite place in south America. Great place to travel, safe and beautiful

  5. Eugene Richards
    February 5, 2011, 9:42 pm

    Wow, such a vibrant place, can’t wait to go there. Also see Here for more info.

  6. Easter Island Tourism
    January 3, 2011, 10:56 am

    A great place to visit if you are in Santiago de Chile!
    Easter Island is formed by volcanoes, which spring from the bottom of the ocean and give shape to Rapa Nui, as a triangle. There are 166 kilometers of land that feature green mountains, beaches, sacred places and paths to walk, all under the bluest sky above the Pacific Ocean.
    It is not difficult to get to the island, because every major airline in the world includes trips to the area, even though some of them make a stop in Santiago de Chile. The island, however, survives thanks to tourism, so the access to it is available all year.

  7. papetarie
    February 27, 2010, 10:51 am

    Lucky is the country with no major problems in construction of houses so they are not as strong in Haiti where the earthquake that knocked down and killed almost 200,000 people, are opposite those of Chile, be aware of the beauty world in a few moments can vanish, and what we have to leave our descendants, not even an explanation.

  8. raphael wizenberg
    November 20, 2009, 3:33 pm

    The lake district region in Chile is one of the most amazing and attaching, despite its climate rather rainy… If you’re about to take a boat in Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, then, don´t leave so fast without entering the region : puerto varas, llanquilhue lake, clibing the osorno or the calbuco valcanoes, rafting in petrohue river, crossing to argentina in boat, or better, with horse, through the amazing cochamo valley…
    For all those activities, Casa Ko is the place to be, right in between 3 volcanoes, with lake view, horse ridding, rafting and kayak 3 kilometer away…

  9. r4 card
    July 8, 2009, 1:32 pm

    How much would it take for a vacation, would love to live there

  10. Ruth
    June 2, 2009, 12:48 pm

    ya you are right Amjad the city is really beautiful. Life must be wonderful to live in such city.

  11. Amjad
    May 30, 2009, 6:24 am

    Your city is beautiful, with job,home and other secure plus living in such city must be great life.

  12. Tomas
    May 25, 2009, 9:01 pm

    re: Paul’s statement about Roto’s
    The direct translation of Roto is broken.
    I believe there is a deeper historical meaning that plugs in directly to the cultural history of Chile, like the word Huacho. Unfortunately, I don’t know it.
    But, I don’t think downtrodden is the correct translation because it implies that someone stepped upon them and made them like this, that they are subjected to their social classification.
    But no.
    Especially because el Festival del Roto Chileno is a Celebration of being Roto, or born roto, I would argue.
    I’ve never heard of a roto as someone who attends soccer games.
    It is a class thing.
    It is used by the rich to put people down, in a derogatory fashion. A person without class, but also manners. The wikipedia article, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roto uses a good word, vulgar which i think captures Roto well, as well as going into how it threads its way through the development of CHilean identiy.
    So, it is maybe also a person who is more authentic and true and more closely aligned with the TRUE Chilean identity. It’s a constant battle.
    Paul’s comment about wealthy nationals could be true. Those people are called Rotos con Plata, which is equivalent to the french words Nouveau riche.
    Paul -why are you called Paul and not a Spanish name, or a Chilean name?

  13. Paul
    March 23, 2009, 9:37 am

    Downtrodden for “roto” could be misleading since opressed or unfortunated would not be the case.
    The rotos are the soccer games goers (most of chileans). Many wealthy nationals are well known as rotos. Is not a matter of money but about social level.
    Thanks for your statement on underrated Chile.
    Paul, a Chilean roto.

  14. Hawaii Tours
    March 6, 2009, 3:33 am

    That city at night picture is simply amazing!

  15. pam
    March 5, 2009, 10:22 pm

    I LOVE Eileen’s blog and I am so glad to see her city here. Thanks for including her!

  16. Eileen
    March 5, 2009, 10:17 pm

    Hey, great to see this up so quickly. Thanks for the platform, and I’ll be sure to get the word out on this fun project.

  17. Andrew Evans
    March 5, 2009, 9:48 pm

    I went to Santiago for the first time last month. I loved it, especially the Museum of Pre-Columbian art that you recommended. Also, fabulous food!

  18. Alvaro
    March 5, 2009, 4:46 pm

    I have been there, and i love chile, i live in Brazil and have been in lots of places in south america.. Congrats guys!