The first thing I noticed is that I didn’t feel like I was in Latin America anymore. These upscale areas are seriously devoid of the culture and history that can be found in Santiago Centro. That’s the reason I put off visiting these areas until my last couple weeks in Santiago. Still, there are some pleasant parks to walk through and lots of nice restaurants and bars to choose from.
I started my day at Plaza Italia, the boundary between Santiago Centro and Santiago Oriente. Just outside the metro station Baquedano are two parks. Parque Bustamante runs several blocks north to south. There are a few cafés and restaurants lining the park, including a Café Literario. There’s also a skate park and the obligatory monuments.
The other park, Parque Balmaceda, is a little more pleasant to walk through. It runs west to east along the Río Mapocho. The west end of the park contains an obelisk and a monument to José Manuel Balmaceda, president of Chile from 1886-1891. In the middle of the park is Café Literario, which as the name indicates has lots of things to read. It was established in 1930.
Along the south end of the park you can see one of Santiago’s most recognizable buildings, Torre Telefónica Chile. It was completed in 1996 and kind of looks like an old cell phone.
Another building south of the park is a very beautiful church, Iglesia de Ángeles Custodios, built after 1884.
The east end of the park contains Salvador metro station and across the street another park, Parque de la Aviación. A large fountain, Fuente del Bicentenario is connected to the Monumento a la Aviación Chilena, an aviation monument erected in 1980.
Around Manuel Montt metro station there are several bars and restaurants, especially down Avenida Manuel Montt. You can also find the same along Avenida Pedro de Valdivia and Calle Suecia in Barrio Suecia. The advice of many locals is to stay away from Barrio Suecia. It’s not as good a place as it used to be, especially at night.
North of the Rio Mapocho at Avenida Pedro de Valdivia is Parque de Las Esculturas. This park features important contemporary Chilean sculptures and also has some great views of the skyline. It opened in 1988. From there, I continued on to Las Condes.