La Moneda Palace
Like always I try to find most popular and attractive tourist places in the city. Chile's presidential office is here, in the La Moneda Palace. It also houses the offices of three cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government.
That place originally was established as a mint ("moneda" means currency). The production of coins in Chile took place at La Moneda from 1814 to 1929.
La Bolsa and head post office buildings
Today that two buildings remain among the most eye-catching facades and you wouldn't miss them through your way.
Try to visit coffee with legs (Café con Piernas)
Chile is known as double-standard country, both liberal and conservative in different ways. It is a strongly Catholic country that values family and tradition above all else, which is why the idea of visiting a coffee with legs peaked my interested.
Café con Piernas was the brain-child of disgruntled male Chileans who lived under the Pinochet dictatorship and felt that these cafés could be a release from an oppressive conservative society. Literally translated to “coffee with legs,” these cafes were introduced in the 70s and were filled with scantily-clad women in high heels that would serve men with their daily dose of coffee before or after work. The first cafes were relatively conservative; however as years went by, Café con Piernas started its own evolution.
The first café I visited was Café Haiti. These cafes were one of the first in Chile. As you will enter inside you will notice the women all wearing similar dresses and high heels. In these establishments, patrons must first buy their drink at a cashier before sitting down at a table. The women working in the café rely heavily on tips. So when you’re having coffee, you not only buying a beverage but also the company of one of the ladies. My friend from Santiago informed me that women in these cafés can often earn up to $2,000 USD a month and often receive gifts from their more loyal customers.
Plaza de Armas
Santiago’s Plaza de Armas has remained the heart of the city since it was founded alongside Santiago itself in 1541. In the past, a “square of weapons” was very useful: in the event of some attack, the city’s population could easily gather there to be armed and protected.
National History Museum
It is one of the oldest natural history museums in South America. Housed in the magnificent 19th-century Palacio de la Real Audiencia, the intriguing exhibits chart the country’s history, from the pre-colonial period to the 1973-90 military dictatorship. Find over 1,600 artifacts spread across 18 well-presented permanent exhibitions.
Visit on a Sunday to gain free entry.
Gran Torre Santiago
At nearly 1,000 feet tall, the Costanera Center Torre 2, better known as the Gran Torre Santiago, is Latin America's tallest building. It's also the second tallest in the southern hemisphere. It also has observation decks on the 61st and 62nd floors that offer stunning 360-degree views.
Las Condes district
Located in the northeastern neighborhood of Santiago city and it's a large part of Santiago. There are living over 250,000 people and it is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of the capital city. There are large business companies having offices in Las Condes. The district is also an excellent entertainment area, with a few large shopping malls, markets, cinema complexes and modern buildings.
It is known as Santiago's bohemian quarter, with numerous restaurants, boutiques, avant-garde galleries, bars and clubs. Many of the city's intellectuals and artists live in Bellavista. Spend a little time just looking around here.
Just off Pío Nono is Patio Bellavista, an outdoor complex of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars set around a large main square. Open since 2006, it’s a relatively new addition to the area and a wildly popular one. During the day it’s a pleasant spot in which to have a coffee and hide from the sun, but it’s in the evening when Patio Bellavista really comes to life. People from all over Santiago converge on the place and everything lights up at this time. There is often live music on the weekends, but it boasts a really vibrant atmosphere any night of the week.
Santa Lucía Hill
Climb the elegant stairs to the top of this central hill to enjoy panoramic views of Santiago and admire the ornate fountains, flower displays and amphitheater.
At the top of the hill is the dramatic fortification Castle Hidalgo, which is now an events center.
It is an urban park located within the city of Santiago and largest urban park spans three hills across four neighborhoods and offers so much green space that you'll easily forget you're still in the heart of the city. Take a dip in one of the park's two open-air pools, visit exotic animals at the city zoo, or stop to smell the flowers at the botanical gardens.
San Cristobál Hill
The summit of Cerro San Cristóbal can be reached by foot, by car via the road joining the Santiago Metropolitan Park, or by the Funicular of Santiago (the base of which sits next to the Zoo at the North end of Pio Nono in Barrio Bellavista).
At the peak is a 22-meter statue of the Virgin Mary, Santiago’s answer to Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Jesus.