Popular with intellectuals, politicians, architects, artists and writers, Lastarria is a bustling neighborhood, or “barrio,” in central Santiago. Walk along winding streets to discover a fusion of cultural and historical activities, gastronomy, relaxation and recreation.
Start your visit at the pretty Iglesia de la Vera Cruz, built on the site of the former home of Pedro de Valdivia, the founder of Santiago. Stroll along José Victorino Lastarria street to discover cafés, bookstores, cinemas and theaters. Browse the stalls of the Feria de Antigüedades (Antiques Fair), which takes place from Thursday to Sunday along the street’s pedestrian-only northern end.
Admire the elegant architecture and visit the museums set around the cobblestone Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro. See rotating exhibitions of contemporary art at the Museo de Artes Visuales (Museum of Visual Arts). Learn about Chile’s indigenous cultures at the Museo Arqueológico de Santiago (Archaeology Museum of Santiago). One ticket grants admission to both museums.
Go to the picturesque Parque Forestal (Forest Park) to walk, exercise or relax on grassy lawns. See a collection of sculptures by revered artists such as Colombian Fernando Botero. Find more art at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art) and Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts), both housed in a grand neoclassical palace.
Pay to take a guided tour of the Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral, which once served as the headquarters for Chile’s military government. Afterward, enjoy theater and dance performances, art exhibitions and movie screenings in the complex. Climb the nearby stairs to Cerro Santa Lucía (Santa Lucia Hill) for panoramic views of Santiago’s cityscape. This hilltop is where Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia founded the city in 1541.
Visit in April for Ñam Santiago, a festival of Latin American cuisine. Watch cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs. In the neighborhood’s restaurants, you can sample cuisine from all corners of Latin America.
This European-style neighborhood lies between Parque Forestal and Cerro Santa Lucía. Lastarria is a 15-minute walk from Plaza de Armas. The neighborhood is easily accessible via public buses and the metro. Catch the metro to the stops of Bellas Artes or Universidad Católica.