Rich in diverse landscapes and famous landmarks, visitors to Chile can experience exceptional architecture and churches, the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, arid deserts, the statues of Easter Island, the Mirador de Chepu Penguin Colony, and the Elqui Valley in La Serena, which overflows with legends of extraterrestrial activities, all in one trip.

Located in the central valley of Chile, Santiago is the capital and largest city of the country. Santiago was founded in 1541 and has gone on to become one of the most modern conurbations in Latin America.

With a population of over seven million inhabitants occupying 37 municipalities, Santiago de Chile is a sprawling urban metropolis. It is also one of Latin America's most up-and-coming travel hotspots.

The city now houses many multinational companies and attracts many tourists. Nevertheless, it remains a place of natural beauty and culture. The thought of trying to catch all of the highlights in a city of 37 districts can indeed be daunting.

Luckily, most of Santiago's best neighborhoods are centrally located, close to one another making free walking tours in Santiago enjoyable.

#1 Santiago Centro

This is the heart of Santiago. Here the true hustle and bustle of the city can be seen at all hours of the day.

Begin with a hike up Cerro Santa Lucia (Metro Line 1 to Santa Lucia), the site where the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541.

The summit offers breathtaking views of the city etched out against the massive Andes – a site surely not to be missed. This is a great alternative to the more touristy Cerro San Cristobal.

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#2 La Chascona

In the Bellavista neighborhood, is one of the three residences of Pablo Neruda, the most famous Chilean poet. The house has a fascinating, modern architecture and presents the beautiful world of Neruda with its impressive collection of various things from around the world, including art and craft pieces as well as his Nobel Prize.

La Moneda was built in 1784 by a famous Italian architect and is the residence of the president of Chile. The majestic, neoclassical building has an impressive courtyard featuring many grand sculptures by Chilean artists.

Visitors can also toss a coin into the magical fountain nearby to make a wish.

#3 The Parque Metropolitano

The Parque Metropolitano, an urban park even larger than Central Park in New York City, has undergone big-budget renovations in recent years.

They have put in extensive botanical gardens; expanded the zoo inside the park, and to put in a cable car to take visitors to the top of San Cristobal Hill, where you can visit a beautiful church and the famous statue of the Virgin Mary, which stands at over 70 feet high.

The glimpses of the city from this spot are spectacular. If you are looking for more tranquil parks to relax in, head to the Parque Forestal. Although not quite as big, it's still gorgeous, and it's where you can find the National Museum of Fine Arts and Modern Art Museum.

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#4 Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

Santiago has a long and colorful history. The area has been populated a lot longer than when Santiago was built, and the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino can give you a good idea of what life was like before Columbus came to the Americas.

Olmec, Maya, and Inca artifacts are on display, including an Andean mummy that predates the mummies of Egypt.

#5 Bellavista

Bellavista is located in the center of the city on the banks of the Mapocho River with San Cristobal Hill to the other side. It is a stylish area in which to experience the city's cultural and social life.

The neighborhood has many tree-lined streets with small shops, boutiques, theaters, art houses, clubs, and bars. Barrio Bellavista is best known for shopping and a thrilling nightlife.

There are many brightly colors streets with beautiful graffiti art on pretty much every corner. Weekly crafts markets, outdoor cafes and live music on the weekends make Bellavista a wonderful place to visit in Santiago.

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Blooming into one of South America's premier cities, Santiago in Chile is a vibrant modern metropolis. As a focal point for fashion, culture, food, city life, and more, this city continues to grow.

Its location at the base of the stunning Andes Mountains makes it a sight to behold and more and more people from all over visit Santiago every year. 

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