Top Unusual Things to See and Do in Santiago, Chile

Salon 2
Salon 2 | courtesy of Peumayen Ancestral Food
Elizabeth Trovall

South America’s most unusual capital city has got to be Santiago. From bizarre street art, a surprising take on the hot dog and odd plaza performers, Santiago, Chile knows how to get its quirk on.

1. La Piojera, Santiago

Bar, Chilean

There’s no place quite like La Piojera, Santiago’s treasured dive bar. If you can stomach the stench of wine-drenched floors, you’ll find the rowdy clientele great for a laugh. Make sure to order the typical Chilean drink, the earth-shaking terremoto, or “earthquake,” which includes a white wine called pipeño, pineapple ice cream and either grenadine or fernet.

People-watching in Plaza de Armas

Thirty minutes sitting on one of the Plaza de Armas benches is all you need to catch a multitude of unusual sights, sounds and smells. From the hordes of pigeons, street evangelists, living statues and lively Chinchinero percussionists, don’t forget to bring your camera to this historic city center.

Chilean miner human statue, Plaza de Armas, Santiago, Chile

Eat the most loaded hot dog you’ve ever seen

Chileans like to do hot dogs differently. Whether you order a regular completo (hot dog with sauerkraut, chopped tomatoes and gobs of mayonnaise) or a completo italiano (tomatoes, mushed avocado and mayonnaise, resembling the Italian flag), prepare yourself for a whole lot of toppings. Be sure to grab extra napkins when you order.

Go on a graffiti tour

Explore the unusual street art of the vibrant neighborhood Barrio Yungay. Through the bicycle tour company Bicitur, visitors can learn about the local street art as well as the various indigenous groups that have called Chile home.

See the vibrant street art of Barrio Yungay

2. Go to a controversial military restaurant

Restaurant, German

The sausage and sauerkraut is hard to beat at the Lili Marleen restaurant, where you can find the city’s best German fare. That’s if you can stomach the restaurant’s commemoration of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Thousands were exiled, tortured and killed during the military dictatorship, making the General one of Latin America’s most controversial figures, whose legacy defines contemporary Chilean democracy.

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