Neighborhood Guide to Santiago

After spending about two weeks in Santiago, I quickly got a feel for the different neighborhoods that make this South American city so fascinating. Although I didn’t know too much about Santiago before arriving in Chile, I was very pleased to learn that the city is actually quite ideal for a bohemian. The first thing you will notice about Santiago is how different each neighborhood is, which is made clear by the varying examples of architecture of the buildings.

Here are my favorite neighborhoods in Santiago:


This hipster and bohemian-worthy neighborhood was my home in Santiago. Two steps from my apartment door led me to a street filled with coffee shops, restaurants and local street venders trying to sell their products. My first night in Lastarria I met a very intoxicated poet named Homer who somehow convinced me to buy a copy of his book (I don’t even know Spanish). Located in Lastarria is the Santa Lucia, which easily became my favorite view of Santiago and ideal writing spot. Both the Museo Arqueológico de Santiago and the Museo de Artes Visuales are located in Lastarria and if you head to the nearby neighborhood of Bellas Artes you can visit the Museo de Bellas Artes and Parque Forestal.

travel guide to santiago chile


While Lastarria often gets the reputation for being hipster-central, Brasil is where the real bohemians live. Years ago, this neighborhood attracted the rich men and women of Sanitago who moved here to gain a bit of distance from the “common folk”. In more recent years, however, Brasil has become a hot-spot for the young and trendy. Many universities also set up campuses here, so Brasil residents tend to be either young and broke students or elderly couples who have lived here for years. When we walked through Brasil, the streets were quiet but the graffiti and quirky restaurants brought a lot of color to the neighborhood.

Neighborhood Guide to Santiago


Instead of showing you an array of street art photos I took while wandering the streets of Bellavista, I’ll leave you with this video of some very excited youngins’ partying for apparently no reason at all. During the day, Bellavista is a quiet neighborhood full of color and cleanliness. It’s even home to the second of famous poet Pable Neruda’s three houses in Chile. Once the sun sets, however, Bellavista becomes party central with countless bars, dance clubs and restaurants.

El Golf

The modern El Golf neighborhood is as close to Miami as you can get. With skyscrapers, chic restaurants and recognizable chains like Starbucks and Applebees, it’s easy to forget that you are in Chile. Any given street in El Golf could fit in perfectly in many U.S. cities. Why are there so many “American” chain restaurants around? Well, as the business capital of Santiago, this is the place where internationals come during their work trips to Chile.

modern architecture in Santiago


For natives of Los Angeles, Providencia may remind you of Rodeo Drive. The Alameda is the city’s main boulevard that runs through Central Santiago. It eventually turns into Avenida Providencia which is where Providencia officially begins. Here you will find upscale shops, elegant styled buildings, and several luxury hotels.

famous buildings in Santiago

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  1. Pingback : Travel Appreciation : Life2PointOh

  2. Clare Bevis November 9, 2011  3:55 pm Reply

    Nice guide but a few points to correct:

    Museo Bellas Artes is in the Bellas Artes neighborhood, not in Lastarria
    It's El Golf, not just Golf
    Alameda doesn't run through Providencia. The road turns into Avenida Providencia where Providencia begins. Alameda runs through Central Santiago.

    • Megan Eileen McDonough November 24, 2011  1:12 am Reply

      Thanks for letting us know Clare! We've updated our article with the info you provided :)

  3. November 28, 2011  7:36 pm Reply

    Nice article. I will be staying Miraflores next May, but I will make sure to visit these neighborhoods too. I must be bohemian too because I love neighborhoods like these.

    • November 28, 2011  7:38 pm Reply

      Oops....I meant that I will be staying in Forestal Park close to Bellas Artes.

    • Megan January 4, 2012  8:18 pm Reply

      You should! I wasn't quite sure what to expect but the people there are really friendly, the landscape beautiful and don't even get me started on pisco sours :)
      Megan recently posted..Bohemian Trails Starts A New YearMy Profile

  4. Laurence January 5, 2012  5:37 am Reply

    Chile has always interested me as a country, largely, I think, because of it's long thin shape. Another one to visit (it's a big old world!)
    Laurence recently posted..A trip to Wilsons Prom, VictoriaMy Profile

    • Megan January 7, 2012  10:57 am Reply

      Wow - you've been nearly everywhere Rob! Weather wise, I recommend going to South America in the warmer months (December-February) but for a more local experience I found that going during their winter brings in far less tourists.
      Megan recently posted..Bohemian Shopping in ShanghaiMy Profile

    • Megan January 8, 2012  11:44 am Reply

      Thanks Cheryl! The most bohemian neighborhood is definitely Brasil but Bellavista is a bit more modern and funky - both unique in their own way.
      Megan recently posted..Bohemian Shopping in ShanghaiMy Profile

  5. Sammy January 23, 2012  10:13 am Reply

    Good day Megan thank you for your great article on neighborhoods in santiago, chile. The post was very helpful for a report I am working on for university.
    Sammy recently posted..Best Divorce LawyerMy Profile

  6. Samantha February 2, 2012  12:58 am Reply

    Hello there Megan I really enjoyed your informative blog post on neighborhoods in santiago, chile. Thanks alot : ). that is excellent material. and a Good post. Carry on the fantastic work...
    Samantha recently posted..gerber couponsMy Profile

    • Megan February 2, 2012  9:24 am Reply

      Great to hear Samantha! I loved spending a few times in Santiago. Such a unique city with so many bohemian neighborhoods.
      Megan recently posted..Inner Peace in Unlikely PlacesMy Profile

  7. Pingback : 5 Cities to Visit in Chile for the Multi Interest Traveler

  8. Pingback : Chile: the Vibrancy of Santiago’s Brasil Neighborhood | We Blog The World

  9. Elizabeth February 12, 2013  10:06 pm Reply

    Very helpful blog about the neighborhoods! Quick question if I may....which neighborhood would you recommend to a family of four staying in Santiago for two full weeks (2 adults, 2 kids (ages 6 & 9) this summer? This will be our first trip to Chile and we want to explore the city yet know that we are in a safe area with plenty to do within walking distance.

    • Megan Eileen McDonough February 13, 2013  9:32 am Reply

      Thanks for reaching out Elizabeth! Based on the neighborhoods I got to know, I'd recommend Lastarria. It's bohemian but not in the grungy sense - more in the upscale, trendy sense and still has lots of personality and is close to other fun neighborhoods and touristic sights. That's where I stayed actually and loved it. I saw families there as well - there are tons of restaurants and a fun weekend market for buying food, books and other items. Hope this helps!

  10. Arthur Gilles August 14, 2013  6:53 pm Reply

    A city that is both European without forgetting its Spanish heritage and modern without forgoing its cultural ancestry. The people, places and general safe environment make for a pulsating, exciting city with sufficient activities to satisfy the city tourist, countryside camper, trekking or mountaineering types.

    • Megan Eileen McDonough August 15, 2013  7:13 am Reply

      Very true! Chile suits every type of traveler - from the adventure seeker to the foodie.

  11. Gabriel September 6, 2013  3:52 pm Reply

    I had the chance to visit chile when I was around 15 years old (about 10 years ago) and it truly is a beautiful country. We spent about a week in Santiago and it was awesome to see the street performers on the corners. It felt very free and friendly. I would love to go back though and see my take on it now.

    • Megan Eileen McDonough September 6, 2013  7:32 pm Reply

      That's exactly how I remember it there as well! Very friendly people & beautiful nature!

  12. Kerrie-Anne February 23, 2014  3:22 pm Reply

    Thanks for the info! This is exactly what we've been looking for - it's so helpful knowing a cool area to stay at. Do you remember the name of the place you stayed?
    Thanks again!


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