Plaza de Armas


Since the city's founding in 1541, the Plaza de Armas has been its symbolic heart. In colonial times a gallows was the square's grisly centerpiece; today it's a fountain celebrating libertador (liberator) Simón Bolívar, shaded by more than a hundred Chilean palm trees.

Parallel pedestrian precincts Paseo Ahumada and Paseo Estado disgorge scores of strolling Santiaguinos onto the square on weekends and sunny weekday afternoons: clowns, helium-balloon sellers and snack stands keep them entertained.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santiago attractions

1. Museo Histórico Nacional

0.04 MILES

Colonial furniture, weapons, paintings, historical objects and models chart Chile's colonial and republican history at the Museo Histórico Nacional. After…

2. Catedral Metropolitana

0.04 MILES

Towering above the Plaza de Armas is the neoclassical Catedral Metropolitana, built between 1748 and 1800. Bishops celebrating Mass on the lavish main…

3. Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino

0.12 MILES

Exquisite pottery from most major pre-Columbian cultures is the backbone of Santiago's best museum, the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. As well as…

4. Mercado Central

0.28 MILES

Gleaming piles of fresh fish and crustaceans atop mounds of sparkling ice thrill foodies and photographers alike at the Mercado Central. Look for congrio …

5. Edificio Radicales


Nowhere else in Santiago can you stop by an art gallery, check out an independent film, do a bit of coworking, grab a pisco sour and purchase a sex toy…

6. Palacio de la Moneda

0.38 MILES

Chile's presidential offices are in the Palacio de la Moneda. The ornate neoclassical building was designed by Italian architect Joaquín Toesca in the…

7. Iglesia de San Francisco

0.43 MILES

The first stone of the austere Iglesia de San Francisco was laid in 1586, making it Santiago's oldest surviving colonial building. Its sturdy walls have…

8. Biblioteca Nacional de Chile

0.44 MILES

Chile’s national library is a sight to behold, with soaring ceilings, stained-glass domes, checkered floors and creaky antique furnishings. One of the…