Whether you get your kicks on the dance floor or at the fútbol (soccer) stadium, whether you'd rather clap in time to strumming folk singers or at the end of three-hour operas, Santiago has plenty to keep you entertained.
Entertainment Listings & Bookings
National dailies El Mercurio (www.elmercurio.com) and La Tercera (www.latercera.com) carry cinema, theater and classical music listings. Estoy (www.estoy.cl) is another good source for cultural listings. Information and tickets for many major performances and sporting events are available through Ticketek (www.ticketek.cl) or PuntoTicket (www.puntoticket.com).
For the latest on clubbing, live music and nightlife check out the searchable listings on Saborizante (www.saborizante.com), or go straight to the source by visiting the websites or social media pages of the clubs and bars themselves.
Save the salsa and tango for the countries that do them best: instead, your best bets in Santiago will be folksy singer-songwriters, rock nacional (Chilean rock) upstarts and purveyors of the most Latin of local beats, cumbia chilombiana. Meanwhile, Chilean pop is undergoing a renaissance and Santiago has some seriously good bands to prove it. Local acts like Dënver, Gepe and Javiera Mena have exploded onto the global radar, but often play for next to nothing at local music halls. International greats also visit Chile regularly, and tickets are usually slightly cheaper than at home.
Theater, Dance & Classical Music
Santiago increasingly rivals Buenos Aires in its theatrical prowess, often joining forces with neighboring institutions on the far side of the Andes to produce big-budget productions. The Chilean capital claims excellent stage and ballet companies, orchestras and choirs, most notably at the ornate Municipal de Santiago. The Centro Gabriela Mistral hosts more contemporary music, dance and theater performances, while Centro Cultural Matucana 100 and NAVE specialize in all things experimental.
El Huaso Enrique
To see Chileans performing their national dance, la cueca – a playful, handkerchief-waving ritual that imitates the courtship of a rooster and hen – you usually have to make your way to a folk festival, a Fiestas Patrias celebration or a dusty country town. But at El Huaso Enrique, a traditional restaurant and cueca venue that's been in business in Barrio Yungay for almost sixty years, you can watch proud locals hit the dance floor while you feast on hearty regional dishes like pastel de choclo (a casserole-like dish consisting of baked corn, meat and onions). The place comes alive on weekends with live music. If you really want to get into the spirit, El Huaso Enrique also offers cueca lessons; check out the website for details.