Places to See in SantiagoSantiago, Spring 2011

“Write what should not be forgotten” –Isabel Allende In the past four months, I feel as though I have gotten to know what Santiago has to offer. Okay, definitely not everything, but I certainly have learned a lot about the city since I have arrived. I would like to share the spots in Santiago that I personally have enjoyed spending time at and I would say should not be missed or forgotten in this huge city. There are some obvious “tourist” destinations within the city such as the two “cerros” or hills that tower over the generally short buildings. Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Santa Lucia both give a wonderful view of the city. Cerro San Cristobal can either be a pain or a breeze to go up, depending on your decision of taking the vinicular or walking. But the refreshing view at the top is totally worth the almost hour walk or the $3USD ride. You can actually see the mountains that surround the city (although I hear if you go in the days following rain, the mountains are so much clearer. In fact they are clearer from anywhere in the city.) I personally enjoy the short but steep walk up the man-made Cerro Santa Lucia, where again you see a 360 degree view of the city, including the new skyscraper that is currently being built and will become the highest building in South America. I also just recently realized that I in fact can see this building from my apartment window, but only after rain, as the population distorts my view all other days. I also have done all of my gift shopping at the cute and authentic Santa Lucia artisanal market/fair. Another must see in Santiago is in the area Bellavista and the Street Pio Nono. This has become a familiar hotspot that we often go out to. Without trying to sound stereotypical, I would say that walking down this street during the weekend or at night gives me a feeling of being in the South American culture. Spanish songs blare from the clubs and bars and all aged people hang out at tables in the streets, not to mention a few “piropos” or Chilean catcalls are thrown out as a group of us gringa girls walk by. But it is definitely a super fun place! Another little hidden treasure is Parque de Esculturas (Sculpture Park). Although its not really that hidden…and sort of big. There is a small gallery with rotating exhibitions, but also a number of large permanent outdoor statues that really have a lot of character. It is kind of like a big playground for adults (or kids) and it was really nice to spend an afternoon there with some friends. Finally, I think that something people overlook is the variety of food and restaurants that the city has to offer. I have been/heard/seen pretty much every ethnicity of restaurants from Peruvian (there is a high number of Peruvian immigrants in Chile) to Sushi/Japanese and purely vegetarian places. The street Manuel Montt is filled with these types of restaurants and lucky for us, is the one street over from the IES center. Once again, I leave you with a few photos! Disfruta! [gallery orderby="ID"]  
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