Barrio Lastarria is located between two parks, one of them is a hill called Cerro Santa Lucia and the view from the top is totally worth the walk up, it gives you a sense of how the neighborhood is structured and the park is beautiful! To the east of the hill is Barrio Lastarria, a small but very charming couple of blocks, filled with small cafés and restaurants. The closest subway stations are Santa Lucia or Universidad Catolica on line 1 or Bellas Artes on line 5. If you’re feeling cultural you’re in the right spot! In Lastarria you have the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center that always have exhibitions free of admission and several great murals around the grounds. Further north, in the Parque Forestal, there’s the Museo de Bellas Artes (National museum of fine arts) and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Museum of contemporary arts).
If you get hungry I strongly recommend the Mercado Central, it’s in the neighborhood called Centro on the street San Pablo. The Mercado Central is the old market, built in the middle of the 19-th century, and it now houses tons of small restaurants specializing in chilean food. It’s kind of touristy but you won’t care about that once you taste the food, trust me, it’s that good! Centro is the neighborhood to the west of Barrio Lastarria, you can take the subway Line 1 to La Moneda or Universidad de Chile, Line 5 to Plaza de Armas is also great. Centro is where all the official buildings are, like the presidential office, Palacio de la Moneda. It was here that President Salvador Allende was murdered during the 1973 military coup d’etat. The Cathedral of Santiago is also in Centro as well as the Plaza De Armas, beyond that there’s loads of shopping, and often much cheaper than if you go to a mall, if you like that sort of thing!
Barrio Bellavista is situated right below the Cerro San Cristobal, a hill that you can take an elevator to the top a enjoy an amazing view of Santiago. There’s also a zoo and a public pool for those hot summer days. To get here, take the subway to Baquedano, on the Line 1 or 5, and just walk north. Bellavista is the place to go at night, filled with bars, restaurants and people of all ages. I hung out at the Patio Bellavista one night and had a blast, dancing Salsa and meeting great people, it’s on the corner of streets Pio Nono and Bellavista and there’re loads of different bars in the patio, just choose the one you like best! For lunch I found a place close to the hill called El Meson Nerudiano, its on the street Dominica 35, and its a beautiful spot with really good food. They also have a gorgeous garden and a great selection of wines, to enjoy on a warm day. If none of these spots suit you, just walk around the barrio and you’ll stumble upon loads of restaurants, you won’t have to go hungry or thirsty here!
Right by Barrio Bellavista, by Plaza Italia, runs the river Mapocho, not the most clean of rivers, but as you know there’s a universal truth on public space take over: it’s always on the riversides and underneath bridges! If you feel like walking, walk west along side the river and see who’s up in Santiago!