It does not have large neighborhoods of colonial buildings or centuries-old constructions like other Latin American countries, apart from a handful of churches and the occasional convent that have defied countless earthquakes, which is why Santiago de Chile is, in the eyes of foreigners, a young city nearly five hundred years. Those who land in the capital usually do so with a list of essential visits. In the list of must-sees, the Plaza de Armas, the Casa de la Moneda, the San Cristóbal hill or the very modern Sky Costanera, the tallest skyscraper in South America, do not fail. But simply following a conventional guide to the letter would be missing out on the true spirit of the capital.
And it is that Santiago is a city of boiling neighborhoods, neighborhoods that have become the epicenter of local life. Corners in permanent evolution that drink from tradition while climbing the latest trends. Chic and with history, these are some of the most fashionable neighborhoods in the Chilean capital.
Yungay is synonymous with avant-garde. What was the first planned neighborhood in the city is an amalgamation of old Art Deco buildings, Bauhaus and Baroque facades, dotted with graffiti, modern buildings, bars and restaurants, a whole pole of attraction for young people and artists. Untouched by gentrification, its uniqueness has ranked it among the world's coolest neighborhoods in the opinion of Time Out's international readers. For a few months now, among its neighbors, it has included Gabriel Boric, the young president of the republic who assumed power at the beginning of 2022.
The colorful facades of old conventillos -houses where low-income families lived- and the elegant mansions of the neighborhood hide fashionable places where the people of Santiago finish their drinks at sunset. Or beers. If this is the case, the Yungay Viejo is one of the favorites, with a proposal of more than a hundred specialties.
When it comes to sitting down to the table, the list of restaurants is long. From Squella, specialized in oysters or lobsters, to Na' que ver, with typical Chilean cuisine, or Casa Kiltro, where they claim to cook "to feed the soul". Peluquería Francesa deserves a special mention, considered one of the best restaurants in Latin America.
There is no shortage of museums such as the Sound museum which, in addition to a valuable collection of gramophones, offers an interesting concert proposal, the MAC Quinta Normal for contemporary art, or the jewel in the crown: the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
Charming cafes, designer and decoration clothing stores, furniture restoration workshops, Vietnamese restaurants, gourmet establishments or a wine cellar where you can savor a glass of the best carménère... Italy is a hipster paradise that is reminiscent, saving the distance, of Little Italy from Toronto or SoHo in New York. Born at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of Italian immigration, its history has evolved to the point of being classified as a Design District.
The artisans and furniture restorers who settled in the 70s in a neighborhood in low hours were the preamble to a story with a happy ending. After them, artists attracted by the affordable prices of houses and premises appeared, followed by designers, merchants and companies that set up their offices here.
The original buildings –with one floor and an interior patio- have been restored and house new businesses along with old grocery stores, second- or third-hand book stores, furniture, and antique knick-knacks. It is common to walk in search of its murals signed by renowned urban artists and, at night, go to Bar de René to try the best piscolas -a combination of pisco and soda- in Santiago, or listen to live Chilean music in Mibar, or good jazz at Jazz Corner.
Lastarria is probably the most bohemian and lively neighborhood, with its art galleries among parks, boulevards and historic buildings. Located at the foot of the Santa Lucía hill, it is an area of great museums, such as the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Visual Arts or its most precious jewel: the Gabriela Mistral Center, with a program of music, theatre, dance or arts. first class visuals
With a more familiar atmosphere, the commercial and gastronomic offer is especially remarkable, with places like José Ramón 277, an original chopería run by Ignacio Salazar, a lover of Barcelona -he lived in the Catalan capital for several years- that serves excellent Chilean food and good beer .
The confluence of Calle París and Calle Londres give its name to another small and eclectic neighborhood of cobbled streets and buildings with a marked European style that in the last century was a meeting point for intellectuals and artists. Dotted with boutique hotels, cafeterias and small treasures such as the Normandie cinema, an old theater with a vintage aesthetic that shows classic films, Paris London is closely linked to the country's political life.
In addition to housing the headquarters of various parties, it is home to Londres 38, a point of detention and torture with great activity during the dictatorship. In front of the door, between the cobblestones there are dozens of plaques with the name, age and militancy of the men and women who were murdered or disappeared after passing through these facilities.