Santa Lucia Hill
Rising out of the eastern edge of downtown Santiago is the picturesque Cerro Santa Lucía (Santa Lucia Hill). Escape the city center crowds and enjoy panoramic views over Santiago’s rooftops to the Andes mountains. Admire an impressive collection of art and architecture or shop for handicrafts at artisanal markets.
The hill marks the spot where Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago in 1541. Originally used as a lookout, this 226-feet (69-meter) high hill remained unchanged until the late 19th century. In 1872 the city mayor turned it into a landscaped public park, which is now popular with young couples and those wanting to take a break from the downtown bustle. Traditionally, a cannon shot is fired from the hill at midday on weekdays.
Reach the summit on foot or take the elevator at the hill’s western entrance. Brick pathways wind around the hill and lead to small squares and lookout points. Pause to admire grand stone staircases, regal façades and ornamental fountains. Look for monuments and statues hidden among the trees. These honor notable Chileans, such as city founder Pedro de Valdivia and former archbishop Manuel Vicuña Larraín.
At the top of the hill is the dramatic fortification Castle Hidalgo, which is now an events center. A square in front of the castle has benches to rest with a view. Go to the observation deck above the castle for even better city vistas.
Santa Lucia Hill can be reached on foot from the Plaza de Armas, a 15-minute walk. Public buses, the metro and a hop-on, hop-off tourist bus all stop nearby. Also visit the Centro Artesanal de Santa Lucía, opposite the hill’s main entrance and browse for handcrafted shoes and woolen clothing, musical instruments and leather goods. Find indigenous crafts at the Centro de Exposición de Arte Indígena.
Cerro Santa Lucía is a public park, but you are asked to sign a registry to enter. There are three entrances to the hill, all at varying locations along Santa Lucía street. The elevator operates from Tuesday to Saturday around lunchtime and the late afternoon.