Dotted with colonial architecture, verdant parks, native cuisines, and hip neighborhoods, like the leafy indie-flavored Lastarría, the sprawling city of Santiago offers plenty of welcome diversions. Add to that its burgeoning independent-business scene—full of boho wine bars, well-curated design stores, first-rate restaurants, fashionable clothing boutiques—and the metropolis, just a short drive from both the Pacific Ocean and rolling vineyards, is fast becoming a world-class destination for aesthetes with a taste for first-finds and a good deal.
Eat & Drink
First you feast. Set in a 1950s-style diner, the relaxed Las Cabras serves traditional Chilean lunch including avocados stuffed with shrimp salad and Patagonia draughts. The cozy, loyally loved Bocanariz is the place for wine flights (think local Sauvignon Blanc and deep red Carménère). Inside chef Sergio Barroso’s (El Bulli) design-savvy Restaurante 040, find an inventive tasting menu known to feature beef tenderloin dumplings and seafood risotto. Afterward, sneak into speakeasy Room 09 for late-night libations. Meanwhile, the warmly lit Casa Lastarria has Chilean-style tapas, while the buzzy, kaleidoscopic Asian-Peruvian delight Sarita Colonia whips up fresh ceviche and potent cocktails. For classic pisco sours, the dimly lit Chipe Libre is your best bet. For snacks, the new Colmado Cafe has ample coffee and baked goods. Craving something sweet? The wildly popular Emporio Rosa doles out scoops of exotic rose-petal and choco-chile ice cream.
In the heart of the city, drop your bags at the 42-room Hotel Magnolia. Following a tedious renovation, Chilean architect Cazú Zegers has added three floors to blend with the hotel’s 1920 antique façade, stained glass, stunning marble staircases, and harlequin-tiled floors. Meanwhile, designer Carolina Delpian’s soft, timber-clad rooms feature hand-painted headboards and Chilean fauna. Don’t miss a pisco sour atop the chic seventh-floor rooftop lounge. And, farther away from the city’s center in the El Golf district, the 205-room Ritz Carlton caters to a luxe crowd with dark wood and Andean flair including a spa with native treatments.
Culture aficionados drop by the small, accessible Museo de Artes Visuales for contemporary exhibits, and afterward visit the striking, copper-encased Gabriela Mistral Cultural Centerwith rotating art, concerts and a bustling café. Peek into renowned literary figure Pablo Neruda’s former house, La Chascona, whose dining room is modeled after a ship’s cabin. Channel movie magic inside El Biógrafo Cinema, with a lineup of indie films. Stretch your legs along the surprisingly lush Parque Metropolitano, with its ample walking trails and a statue of Virgin Mary perched atop Cerro San Cristóbal granting sweeping views of the city (you can also hop aboard an old funicular). Still feeling adventurous? Head over to the Bellavista neighborhood, strolling Constitución Street, where the hip bars dovetail with street art.
Getting There: Many airlines fly to South America, but LATAM’s new fleet of airplanes include a roomy premium economy and, for business travelers, a sleek lounge bathed in natural woods.
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