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Santiago, Chile is known for its numerous parks and green spaces that are easy to take advantage of thanks to the city’s warm and sunny climate. Ideal for a picnic, people-watching or reading some of Pablo Neruda’s passionate love poems, an afternoon in any of these ten beautiful parks is a low-cost, peaceful way to enjoy Santiago.
This well-manicured park in the ritzy Vitacura neighbourhood is a beautiful place for a relaxing stroll or jog. With the Andes mountains in the background, the Bicentenario Park offers nice pathways, sculptures and a pond where you can see flamingos in the flesh (er, feathers). For a bite of ceviche and a fine dining experience, check out the restaurant Mestizo, which offers a view of the park and is among Santiago’s top-rated restaurants.
Founded back in 1841, the Quinta Normal Park is Santiago’s oldest and often regarded as the most beautiful. In addition to the park’s shady trees and pond complete with paddle boats, there are several museums and historic buildings located inside the park including the National Museum of Natural History and the Children’s Museum. Keep in mind the park can get very busy on weekends – which can be fun for people-watching – but makes for a less relaxed atmosphere.
Often compared to New York City’s Central Park, Parque Araucano is one of Santiago’s top parks, featuring a rose garden, a skate park and other sports facilities. Inside Parque Araucano, there’s also a paid attraction called ‘Selva Viva’ where visitors can experience a tropical climate and engage with a variety of exotic plants and animals.
Santiago’s second-largest public park, Parque O’Higgins stretches across 190 acres and is great for an escape from the concrete jungle. Besides its expansive green spaces, lake, swimming pool, skate park and trails, the park includes the amusement park Fantasilandia and the Movistar Arena, one of the country’s leading music venues. Parque O’Higgins is also known for hosting traditional festivals during the Fiestas Patrias national holidays in September.
This popular city park is conveniently located in the Bellas Artes neighbourhood along the Mapocho River. With great jogging and bike paths lined with trees, Parque Forestal is a beautiful place to get in some exercise and check out the heart of the city.
On top of the Santa Lucia Hill in Bellas Artes, the unique Jardin Castillo Hidalgo is a pleasant garden area by the historic Hidalgo Castle where visitors can appreciate the landscaping and catch an unforgettable view of the city. Take some time to explore Santa Lucia; the hill is bigger than it looks and offers gorgeous green areas and lookouts.
Tucked away in the outskirts of Santiago, the Sanctuario de la Naturaleza El Arrayán is worth the trek. This gorgeous nature sanctuary is located in the foothills of the Andes and offers stunning views, fresh air, and plenty of spaces to grill or picnic along the Arrayán estuary.
Santiago’s Sculpture Park, or Parque de las Esculturas, is located along the Mapocho River in Providencia and is a divine location for familiarising yourself with Chilean artists or plopping down for an afternoon picnic. Walk through the park and discover the thirty different sculptures, each done by a Chilean sculptor.
Dedicated to the memory of the thousands of victims of Chile’s 17-year dictatorship, the Parque por la Paz, or Peace Park, is small, quiet and packs an emotional punch. The park includes an audio guide in English to learn more about the park’s importance and the human rights violations of Chile’s political past.
Watch locals play soccer, take a jog or long walk and enjoy this park that runs along the Mapocho river. While in the neighbourhood, walk over to the Estación Mapocho Cultural Center, located on the park’s east side.