GP Santiago is our first event of the year in South America, and to make sure you get the most out of your GP experience, we reached out to the locals for their advice on what to do in the city.
Javier Campos Acuña:
Chilean hot dogs are really a different thing. If you want to try them, I would definitely say you that should stop by Fuente Alemana, which is at Baquedano metro station. On the other hand, if you are feeling fancy, go take a walk on Lastarria neigbourhood, just outside of Universidad Catolica metro station—lots of nice places to eat, enjoy drinks with friends, and overall a really beautiful place, but at a hefty price.
For cultural experiences, the best museum in Santiago is the Precolombino (pre-Columbian art museum). This museum is less than two blocks from the tournament hotel and has 1-3 hours of exhibits open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and is closed on Mondays. If you go another block past the Precolombino from the hotel you’ll arrive at the Plaza de Armas, the heart of colonial Santiago. Surrounding the plaza you have the Santiago Cathedral, which has no admission fee and is generally open to the public during daytime hours, but be respectful of any religious services that may be happening during your visit.
In the opposite direction from the hotel, about one block, you will find the Plaza de la Constitución in front of the Presidential Palace known as La Moneda, meaning “the coin mint” because it was built for that purpose. Surrounding the plaza are many buildings with various federal government departments, and on one corner is the home of the Governor of the Santiago region. You may try and catch the 10 a.m. changing of the guard at the presidential palace, which can be viewed from the plaza every other day. If you come during the week in the morning or early afternoon/evening you can try one of the few coffee options better than Starbucks in Santiago at the Blue Jar (the food and coffee here would be high quality by European standards and you will often see the British proprietor taking special care of her clients). It is one of the best culinary options in downtown, but with a limited menu after lunch hours and only open until 9 p.m.
Other nearby options include a visit to the Cerro Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia hill), which has been built up to be a nice park. In one of the upper plazas you will find the monument to the founding of the city and a narrow staircase up to an early colonial watchtower built on top of the hill, which gives a decent view of downtown. Continuing from Santa Lucia you can go into the Lastarria neighborhood to the east or the Bellas Artes neighborhood to the northwest.
Lastarria is a historically bohemian artist neighborhood with lots of local history. It has become a nice neighborhood for upscale dining with good weekend options, unlike other nearby places.
The Bellas Artes neighborhood is a typical city hipster neighborhood with lots of coffee shops and street art, but be warned that Chile is a tea culture (though even that is unrefined) and the coffee can generally be counted on to be poorly prepared. In both Bellas Artes and Lastarria you can find a location of Emporio la Rosa, one of the best ice cream options for unique flavors. Be prepared for a line as Chileans really love ice cream.
Daniel Esteban Bravo Trejo:
There are many places to visit near and around the event venue. If you’re looking for some culture, there is the Museo de Arte Precolombino or the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. The Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city, a multicultural place where many people from all social classes and nationalities converge. To eat, visit the Mercado Central, a place with a lot of history and that is rich in typical Chilean and Latin American foods. Just a few steps from there you can find the most famous “picada” of Chile, La Piojera.
Roberto Felipe Cabrera Gallardo:
The venue is located in Santiago downtown, which is really busy on weekdays and quiet on weekends. One of the closest places that you will find open is Mall Espacio M, just around the corner. There’s a Starbucks on the ground floor, a small supermarket on the underground level, and a small food court on the third floor (mostly fast food). It’s not a Chilean picada, or a huge touristic attraction (they refurbished an old newspaper building for the mall though, so it matches the historic looks of old Santiago), but it may be useful to check it out to get a bite or to find an ATM machine in a close and safe place nearby.
Manuel Chapa Carvajal
Try La Piojera. It’s near the venue—about 10 minutes walking. There you can try typical Chilean food like Pernil or Arrollado.
Jorge Aurelio Partal Bravo Joestar
You can visit a place called Silabario. It’s a restaurant located in the Barrio Italia. In this restaurant you can eat a varied menu of indigenous dishes, like Merluza Austral, Estofado de Jabalí Ahumado, Pastel de Choclo, and more. All prepared with the freshest ingredients of the season. A nice and homely place to visit.
Miguel Angel Patiño
If you want to try local things, you must go to the Mercado Central, where you’ll find the best seafood. You can also try La Picá de la Cazuelas, on Alonso Ovalle Street, to eat the stew from the central zone of Chile. A Mote con Huesillos in the street will make for a fine dessert—it’s pretty popular. You can go to the hipster zone too, Lastarria Street, to eat lamb or food from the extreme south. If you’re a sandwich person, you must try the giant ones from Fuente Mardoqueo, Fuente Alemana, Bar Nacional Nº 1, or José Ramón 277, or Chopería & Sanguchería. Cheers!
If you’re coming to Santiago, you must try the Chilean empanada, a scrumptious pastry, especially those filled with meat. Most sightseeing places are reachable through the Chilean subway. You do need to buy a special card that needs to be filled with money in order to make it work—tickets are no longer for sale. Bring with you a phrase book in Spanish, because not everyone speaks English.
The best place to learn about Chile is the Marcado Central. It has a lot of varieties of Chilean food, you’ll find empandas (it’s like a sandwich with meat, onions, a boiled egg, black olives, and raisins), cazuela (soup with veggies and meat), and a lot of seafood. If you want something pretty and Chilean you can look for the “Raul Correa and Family” restaurant. As the name says, it’s a family restaurant and very “gourmet.”
You’re also within a two-hour bus ride to Viña del Mar. You can go party and also have some great food. Actually, it’s one of the cities that Antony Bourdain visits when he comes. You can watch this episode to get more info about Santiago, Viña, and other places in Chile!
If you need something quick, try an “Empanada Barros Luco” at El Rápido. In about 5 min, you can order, eat, pay (about $3.50 US per empanada), and it’s close to the event.
So there you have it—everything you could possibly need when you visit, direct from the locals! If you have any tips of your own, add them in the comments, and we’ll see you in Santiago on March 9th!