Welcome to the capital of the skinniest country in South America – Santiago – a vibrant, friendly, cosmopolitan, and beautiful city.
With a fascinating culture, turbulent history, and an incredible food and drink scene, this city is sure to knock your socks off. Many travelers treat Santiago as just another stopover city but that is far from the truth.
The rugged Andes Mountains roll down into the skyline and the colonial architecture, making the most incredible backdrop for any city I’ve ever seen. Oh, and did I mention the sunsets? Incredible!
Santiago is an outdoor lover’s paradise for a couple of reasons – its super southern location means lots of sunlight in the summer (late December – March) and the Andes Mountains are right next door.
You can go for a big hike or hit up a number of ski resorts within an hour and a half drive from the city.
But where do you stay in a sprawling city of more than 5 million people? That can be an intimidating task.
That’s why I’ve put together this in-depth guide – to help you decide where to stay in Santiago de Chile!
We’ve broken down the neighborhoods based on points of interest. So whether you prefer luxurious shopping malls, wild nightlife, exploring exotic food markets, or finding all the free stuff read on, we’ve got you covered!
Table of Contents
Quick Tips -Where to stay in Santiago
Centro – Where to stay in Santiago the first time
Barrio Brasil – Where to stay in Santiago on a budget
Bellavista – Where to stay in Santiago for nightlife
Providencia – Coolest place to stay in Santiago
Las Condes – Best neighborhood in Santiago for families
Santiago Neighborhood Guide
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Santiago
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Santiago is a sprawling city divided into 34 residential and industrial districts called comunas or barrios, which make up the greater Santiago metropolitan area.
The city is situated in the Maipo River Valley with the Andes to the east and the Chilean Coastal Range to the west. Generally speaking, the more to the east or northeast you go (closer to the mountains), the better the neighborhoods will be.
Providencia is in the east and it’s one of Santiago’s most well-known neighborhoods. It’s the financial powerhouse of the country and most of the residents are young so they bring a trendy vibe.
The center (centro) of Santiago is marked by the Plaza de Armas – a central square surrounded by beautiful architecture and historic buildings – and it spreads out from there. Many nice restaurants have been established in this area, along with a lot of fun bars, cozy coffee shops and small stores with local designers.
To the west, you’ll find up-and-coming hipster enclaves in older neighborhoods that have been revived in the last few years. This area is where to stay in Santiago on a budget, thanks to the many less expensive food and accommodation options.
The northern part of Santiago starts in Bellavista and extends out to the city borders. It was known in colonial times as La Chimba. It mostly comprised of convents and cemeteries. Today, they’ve been joined by hospitals and health centers.
Still confused about where to stay in Santiago? Sit back, relax, we got you!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Santiago
Local residents, known as Santiaguinos, are very proud of their metro system that has expanded to all of the most popular and inhabited parts of the city. There’s also an expansive public bus system that makes getting around even more convenient.
However, it is still a capital city where about 40% of Chile’s population resides, so traffic and crowds on the public transport can get pretty crazy. That’s why it’s best to choose where to stay in Santiago based on the places you plan to spend the most time as it can take up to an hour or more to get from one side of the city to the other.
I’ve broken the areas in this guide down by interest to help you choose the best place to stay in Santiago without having to do a ton of research. I’ve done it for you, so you can spend more time planning the the things that really matter like the vineyards you’re going to tour and shopping malls you’re going to hit up.
The historic center of Santiago is the financial and historical district. You’ll find plenty of historic buildings surrounding the central square, Plaza de Armas. Some of the buildings you’ll find are the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, the post office, and the National History Museum.
Cerro Santa Lucia is the hill where the city was founded in 1541 and it’s also in Centro. You’ll also find two artsy and bohemian neighborhoods (barrios) – Lastarria and Bellas Artes – that have a lot to offer visitors.
Of course, you’ll also find some of the best restaurants in the city here too, which is why it’s one of the best places to stay in Santiago for your first time.
Top things to do in Centro
– Head to the Plaza de Armas and explore the many historical buildings there
– Get a history lesson at the Chilean National History Museum
– Choose your favorite kind of Pisco at Chipe Libre – the most unique Pisco bar/restaurant
– Indulge your taste buds in the best ice cream in South America at Emporio La Rosa
– Take in the incredible exhibitions at Museo Bellas Artes
– Enjoy the 360 views of Santiago from the top of Santa Lucia Hill
– Wander through Mercado Central – the 5th best market in the world
– Get some exercise while learning about Santiago on two wheels with La Bicicleta Verde
– Enjoy the people watching and take in a show at GAM – the Gabriela Mistral center for arts and culture
– Check out the Plop! Gallery – a place where ideas, art, and storytelling collide
– Shop for souvenirs at the Santa Lucia Arts & Crafts Market
– Satisfy your sweet tooth with a dessert and coffee at the top-rated cafe Hibrido (formerly Colmado)
– Try the Chilean cocktail terremoto at La Piojera – a dive bar once visited by Chilean president Arturo Alessandri Palma
– Grab a tripod and snap some epic photos of the gorgeous Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago
– Get a better understanding of pre-Colombian culture and art at Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
– Watch the Changing of the Guard at Palacio de la Moneda – the Presidential Palace originally built as the Chilean Mint
– Walk the tree-lined paths of Parque Forestal while admiring the Santiago skyline
– Explore the bohemian neighborhood of Barrio Lastarria where there are a number of restaurants, bars, and museums
Best Hostel in Centro: Hostal Forestal
Located in the heart of Santiago, this is where to stay in Santiago for the first time! The staff are very friendly and can speak multiple languages, and the free breakfast is delicious.
They are very knowledgeable about the best value walking tours and things to do around the city. Plus, they have several events throughout the week creating the perfect amount of social interaction.
Best Hotel in Centro: Lastarria Boutique Hotel
Located in a renovated 1927 mansion, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Relax by the pool in the walled garden, indulge your senses at the spa, or admire the marble staircase and other 5-star decor.
Some rooms include a balcony and an antique fireplace. The restaurant offers a full buffet breakfast with homemade treats and they have wine tasting sessions with cold meats. You’ll leave feeling very pampered and refreshed.
Barrio Brasil was an upper-class neighborhood of Santiago in the middle of the 18th century. You can find lots of interesting architectural styles around the many streets of Barrio Brasil. Efforts to rebuild the neighborhood began after the massive earthquake in 1985.
It’s now known for its strong cultural and artistic scene, thanks to the creation of spaces for cultural events, recreation, and the arts. This neighborhood is once again a thriving area of the city.
Barrio Brasil is nearby a few other artsy neighborhoods such as Yungay and Dieciocho creating a young, hip vibe that is full of energy as many young, middle-class families have moved into the area.
Top things to do in Barrio Brasil
– Enjoy a chic dinner or a cheese plate with a glass of wine at La Peluqueria Francesa – an historic French barbershop turned restaurant
– Spend an afternoon at Parque Quinta Normal where you can explore a couple of different museums, rent a paddleboat on the lake, or nap in the shade
– Learn about the horrors Chile’s brutal 17-year dictatorship that ended in 1990 at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos)
– Enjoy an evening of entertainment at El Huaso Enrique, where you can watch traditional cueca dancing and live folkloric music
– Take the kids, or yourself, to ride the rollercoasters at Fantasilandia, Santiago’s own amusement park
– Learn about fish and other aquatic animals at Aquamundo Acquarium
– Take a trip to outer space at the Planetarium (Planetario de la USACH)
– Get off the tourist trail and take in the incredible murals of the Museo Cielo Abierto (an open-air museum) dedicated to street artists in the San Miguel neighborhood
– Taste delicious Chilean wine and tour a vineyard at Vina Concho y Torro
– Explore neighboring Barrio Yungay – one of the most traditional ‘hoods in Santiago associated with artists and culture
– Get a feel for student life in Barrio Republica and Dieciocho
Best Hostel in Barrio Brasil: The Princesa Insolente Hostel
This boutique-style hostel offers you a free welcome drink! The staff is very friendly and welcoming to all guests. Their beds are super comfortable and keep guests returning year after year.
They have both private and dorm rooms. Private rooms all have their own bathrooms and include breakfast in the cost. There is a kitchen on site that offers cheap breakfast options to dorm room guests.
Best Hotel in Barrio Brasil: Matildas Hotel Boutique
Set in a refurbished Patrimonial Palace, this is a charming hotel where the staff want to make your stay as pleasant as possible. Guests can relax in the beautiful walled garden with a glass of wine after a long day of sightseeing.
The breakfast is free and delicious and they have the best coffee according to many different reviews. The beds are quite comfortable as well.
This is undeniably Santiago’s hipster hangout. With a young and alternative vibe, this is home to the best of the city’s nightlife, it’s a great place to grab a beer or cocktail and dance the night away!
Bellavista is full of eating and drinking places for all tastes. There are also theaters, karaoke bars, LGBT clubs, and artisan shops.
It’s also the nearest neighborhood to the entrance of Cerro San Cristobal where you’ll find a zoo and a massive park. You can hike or take the funicular to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Top Things to do in Bellavista
– Put your party pants on and head to Patio Bellavista – the heart of Chilean nightlife full of rooftop bars, restaurants, and shops
– Do and see all the fun things on Cerro San Cristobal:
- Hike from the bottom to the top
- When you arrive at the top, quench your thirst with a mote con huesillo – a refreshing drink make from peaches and husked wheat
- Pay your respects to the Virgin Mary at the top
- Take some incredible photos of the panoramic views at the top
- Check out the awesome animals at the Chilean National Zoo
- Ride the funicular
– Improve your Salsa skills at Maestra Vida
– Put on your dancing shoes and dance to a live cumbia band at La Peña del Nano Parra – a music venue offering an authentic, local experience
– Get a full-on sensory experience at La Vega Central Market
– Learn about the life and work of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda through an in-depth tour of his Santiago home – La Chascona
– Eat like a local at Galindo and try a pastel de choclo, a completo, and a churrasco. Yummy!
Best Hostel in Bellavista: Rado Boutique Hostel
This is our top hostel recommendation for where to stay in Santiago. It’s in a fantastic location nearby universities, so there is a very young, hip, bohemian vibe. This is also where you’ll find the best nightlife in Santiago.
The hostel has an awesome rooftop terrace, free breakfast, and a very clean environment.
Best Hotel in Bellavista: The Hip Santiago Hotel
At the Hip Santiago Hotel, all guests have access to the terrace, fitness center, bar, and restaurant. Some rooms have a seating area, some have a balcony, but they all have their own funky decorations.
The best part in the location inside Patio Bellavista – an extremely popular enclave of restaurants, bars, shops, and cafes. This hotel is also within a short walk to a metro station providing direct access to the rest of the city. It’s where to stay in Santiago for the nightlife!
Providencia is the commercial and gastronomical hotspot of Santiago. It’s a solidly upper middle-class area with lots of entertainment areas and beautiful parks perfect for an afternoon stroll or morning run.
This is where you’ll find the tallest building in South America, the Gran Torre. It dominates the skyline and contains the Costanera Center with a shopping mall, food court, restaurants, grocery stores, and a cinema.
Barrio Italia is also in Providencia. It’s another cool little neighborhood that has been revived from an old hat-making community. Parque Bustamante is a great place to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes.
Top things to do in Providencia
– Get high up in the tallest building in Latin America – the Torre Gran Costanera
– Shop ’til you drop at the wide selection of stores at the Costanera Center
– Take in the many sculptures in the Sculpture Park on the banks of the Mapocho River
– Taste some local craft beers at The Black Rock Pub
– Explore Barrio Italia – a little bohemian neighborhood with boutique shops, nice cafes, and delicious restaurants
– Relax in Parque Bustamante while taking in the impressive architecture
– Grab a cup of coffee and a good book at Cafe Literario in Parque Bustamante
– Practice your kickflip at Skatepark Parque Bustamante
– Take a photo of the Torre Telefonica Chile – it’s shaped like a 90’s cell phone
– Find tranquility in the Japanese Garden on Cerro San Cristobal
– Attend a concert, football game, or other event at the National Stadium
– Admire the exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art
– Explore the surrounding Andes Mountains with local mountaineering organizations such as Federacion de Andinisimo de Chile and Club Aleman Andino
– Get transported back to an American diner in the 1950’s at Bar Liguria
Best Hostel in Providencia: Ventana Sur Hostal
The chilled out and friendly vibe really make this hostel amazing. It’s where to stay in Santiago if you’re a solo traveler or a group that enjoys good company.
The owner regularly cooks for guests and invites his friends over to give free salsa lessons to guests. Breakfast is included and you’ll be within walking distance of all the best spots in the city.
Best Hotel in Providencia: CasaSur Charming Hotel
The staff is what make this hotel truly charming. They are friendly, welcoming, and make you feel right at home. This is definitely where to stay in Santiago if you want to be treated like family!
It’s located at the end of a dead end street so it’s nice and quiet but also easy to get out to other parts of the city. They also offer a delicious breakfast.
In the middle of the 20th century, affluent Santiagoans started to move to this area from downtown Santiago. Eventually, it was connected to downtown by the metro and today it has become a collection of high-rise office and residential buildings. It’s part of an area unofficially known as Sanhattan (Santiago + Manhattan) as it has become the financial center.
This area has many parks, places for shopping, and the national stadium. As the most upscale sector of Santiago, the relatively tidy appearance of wide streets, shops, and parks just might have you forget you’re in Latin America, as it looks much more European.
This neighborhood is geographically closest to the Andes, which makes it a convenient location for travelers eager to hit the slopes too. There are three major ski centers in Eastern Santiago: La Parva, El Colorado and Valle Nevado.
Top things to do in Las Condes
– Go for a peaceful afternoon stroll through Parque Bicentenario
– Shop the wide variety of traditional Chilean artisan goods at Los Dominicos Village
– Take in the impressive collection at Ralli Museum, a modern museum for Latin American art
– Enjoy the beautiful sculptures at La Pastora, an open-air museum
– Find all the constellations using the telescopes at the National Astronomical Observatory
– Have a religious experience at the Baha’i Temple of South America. Admire the architecture, at the very least.
– Enjoy a BBQ picnic at Parque Padre Hurtado
– Take a day trip to the Andes for some hiking or skiing. El Colorado ski resort is the closest
– Relax and people watch in Aracauno Park
– Give the kids the best day of fun at KidZania
– Escape the summer heat and head into the mountains to check out Apoquindo Waterfall
– Get outside and take a hike in Aguas de Ramon Park
– Inspire your artistic side at the Center for All Arts (Centro de Todos Las Artes)
– Admire the skyscrapers and incredible architecture in the financial district
Best Hotel in Las Condes: Double Tree by Hilton Santiago
This gorgeous hotel is located in one of the best areas of Santiago right next to the tallest building in South America – the Grand Torre Santiago.
It’s where to stay in Santiago with a family as it’s located nearby an amazing shopping mall, the San Cristobal hill, a massive park with a Japanese Garden, and much more. They offer a delicious breakfast spread at the on-site restaurant as well as a fitness center, business center, and a bar.
With an indoor swimming pool, health club services, and an award-winning restaurant, you really can’t go wrong with this hotel! It’s right across the street from Costanera Center shopping mall which has amazing restaurants and many different stores.
The restaurant offers a beautiful buffet breakfast for an additional cost and the bartender serves up some tasty cocktails.
Where to Stay in Santiago – Our Top Picks for Best Places to Stay
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Chile.
Best Hostel in Santiago – Rado Boutique Hostel
If you’re looking for a fun area to stay in, the Rado Boutique Hostel is perfect. It’s definitely where to stay in Santiago for nightlife.
It’s set up perfectly for backpackers as each bed has it’s own international plug, light, shelf for your phone, and an oversized locker so your stuff isn’t all over the floor. Plus, they have free breakfast and a rooftop terrace where guests can chill and enjoy the view of nearby San Cristobal Hill.
Best Hotel in Santiago: CasaSur Charming Hotel
There is nothing not to like about the CasaSur Charming Hotel. The staff go above and beyond to make sure the guests’ stay is excellent. Each room comes with free toiletries and a hairdryer. The close attention to detail, cozy outdoor terrace, and excellent location make this a top choice for where to stay in Santiago.
Best Airbnb in Santiago: Excellent View!! clean, easy and practical
This studio apartment is conveniently located within walking distance to all the central areas of the city. Francisco is a superhost and will go out of his way to take care of anything guests need.
The apartment is on the 12th floor so there are incredible views from the balcony. The rooftop terrace and pool have even better views. There’s even a small gym and laundry room in the building. It’s the where to stay in Santiago if you’re not into hostels or hotels.
Also, make sure to check out our Airbnb post for a 35% discount on your stay in Santiago!
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Santiago
From chic restaurants to outdoor adventures, there is something for all travelers in Santiago. The city has emerged as a cultural and financial powerhouse in Latic America and it’s not the same city it was 10 years ago. Don’t only treat it as a travel hub for getting in and around Chile because it’s much more than that.
Just to recap, our top recommendation for the best hotel in Santiago is the CasaSur Charming Hotel for its incredible staff and location. Our choice for the best hostel in Santiago is the Rado Boutique Hostel because of the fun, social atmosphere and proximity to fun nightlife action.
Have you been to Santiago and think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below! Cheers!
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