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16 Fun Things To Do in Santiago, Chile

A cable car ascending a wire, the Santiago skyline and hills in the background.

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Santiago, the capital city of Chile and the gateway to all this fabulous country has to offer, will take your breath away as your plane swoops over the Andes mountains. 

Santiago doesn’t get a lot of love from travelers in South America — but if you’re looking to explore this city, you’ve got plenty of options!

My husband Charlie and I spent a month in Chile and Argentina on our honeymoon. Despite flying through Santiago several times, we didn’t explore the city until the tail end of our trip.

The truth? Most Santiago visitors will tell you that you don’t need to spend a lot of time in Santiago. It’s not a dazzling city, and you do have to work harder to find the diamonds in the rough — but it’s still worth visiting for a brief trip.

Come here for the blend of urban and mountain scenery; for the walkable neighborhoods filled with cute coffeeshops and street art; for the museums and historic sites.

Before you head to Chile’s superstars, like the glaciers of Patagonia and the world’s driest desert, at least make time to clink a Pisco sour and mooch around a museum or two. Here are the best things to do in Santiago de Chile!

This post was co-written by Adventurous Kate and Hannah Cooper.

A cable car ascending a wire, the Santiago skyline and hills in the background.
Cable cars at Cerro San Cristóbal, via Ester Orgaz on Shutterstock

Best Things to Do in Santiago, Chile

Take the cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal

San Cristóbal Hill rises from the largest park in Santiago and is one of the highest peaks. It’s a great place to shake off the jet lag and scope out the best views of the Andes!

The hill is part of the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. There’s also a church, a swimming pool, and several botanical gardens including a Japanese garden. At the top, buy a mote con huesillos from one of the little kiosks. This is a sweet, non-boozy drink made with peaches and husked wheat.

It takes one to two hours to walk to the top of the hill. Otherwise, you can take the modern cable car (teleferico) or vintage funicular. Or you can always go up one way and return another!

The cable car leaves from Estación Oasis near the Costanera Center. It’s 10 minutes to the top and it’s a good idea to pre-book a skip-the-line ticket.

If you leave from here, I recommend stopping at La Subida for coffee and cake: the iced coffee frappes are huge and piled high with…

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