Santiago is not internationally known for its architecture, at least in comparison to older and wealthier cities in Latin America, particularly Buenos Aires and Lima. However, it does have a number of good examples of late 1800s and early 1900s architecture which are worth checking out, and a few semi-secret pockets of areas of architectural interest, as noted below.
Lastarria (Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro) The most central and well-known of the three cobblestoned, windy areas of Santiago, which boasts many cafés, restaurants and shops, amongst the old buildings.
Plaza Concha y Toro is a small, “pocket plaza” just off the Alameda in Barrio Brasil with just a few restaurants or interesting things to do, but there’s a small fountain, and it’s a good place to sit in the evenings and watch people wander, and there are several streets that feed into it with interesting old buildings.
Paris Londres is another small area with a high concentration of curving streets and classic buildings. Most would advise visiting here during the day, as at night it can be a bit desolate.
Many of the specific buildings of architectural import are museums, public buildings, etc. Below is a short list of some of the ones that are more highly-esteemed, but a walk down the Alameda and through downtown and especially through Barrio Yungay, will bring lots more interesting buildings into view.
Club La Union An old social club for the elite (members only), but you can peer at it from the outside and get a look at it from there.
La Bolsa (the stock exchange). On an interesting block of Nueva York with several other old buildings nearby and just steps from La Moneda
La Moneda- the presidential palace.
Palacio Cousiño, a piece of Chilean history and the former home of the Goyonochea Cousiño family, near downtown on Dieciocho street.
And if all these gargoyles and old details have got you down, and you’re more of a modern architecture buff, by all means check out the following two buildings whith have hard angles and stark lines, two of Chile’s most recently-built and modern buildings.
Centro Gabriela Mistral- a cultural center with theaters, free art exhibitions and a café
Museo de La Memoria- a new museum dedicated to the victims of the dictatorship and the dictatorship in general.
Photo by rodri_gop on Flickr.