Santiago, the capital of Chile, is a fast-moving and growing city. Loud, big and crazy, some people say you cannot find peace in there: however, well, I highly disagree! The city is full of beautiful parks where you can take a break from the capital's vibe. Some of these parks and places are must-sees if you are visiting Santiago.
The Metropolitan Park of Santiago is the green hotspot of Santiago and the fourth biggest urban park in the world! Since the park is too big, I will give you a quick stroll through the Cerro San Cristobal: First of all, it is worth mentioning it is made up of three hills, the San Cristobal, Chacarillas and Los Gemelos. The Cerro San Cristobal is a local favourite where you can bike, jog or walk to its top. The things you cannot miss on your visit are the funicular, the cable car, and the Mirador de la Virgen; the latter is named after the big statue of the Virgin on its top. The Virgin of San Cristobal is an icon of Santiago, and I highly recommend you go up there to enjoy the stunning panoramic view. Also, while you are there, make sure you try Mote con Huesillo, a traditional summer-time drink of Chile.
Araucano Park is beautiful and filled with life and movement; happiness is in the air! The park is big and has a lot of activities to do. What I like the most about it is that it kind of breaks the atmosphere it is in. Close your eyes and picture modern buildings everywhere, a big mall (Parque Arauco), a lot of people going to work and suddenly a big park filled with trees and roses. The park is really big, it has games for kids, a sports zone, a picnic zone, among other spaces. My personal favourite is the rose garden, which is fantastic to sit and enjoy the vibe of the park or to have a romantic break from the city with someone else.
Balmaceda Park is one of the most visited parks in Santiago. Usually, you can see a lot of people walking, biking or just chilling for a bit in there. The Balmaceda Park is huge, and inside the park, there is an obelisk in honor of the ex-President Balmaceda. Also, in the middle of it, there is the first literary cafe in Santiago, a cultural place, and pleasant to visit if you want to read, study, or rest for a while. The Aviation Square is not exactly part of the park but a prolongation of it, and it is named after the monument of the Chilean Air Force you can see there. If you visit this park, a must-see is the Bicentenario Fountain, built to commemorate the bicentennial of Chile. At night it is magical as it lights up in different colors, definitely worth seeing.
This park is an icon of Santiago, definitely a must-see of the city. The place is filled with gigantic trees and has a lagoon where you can take a pedal boat ride! (which I highly recommend). It is a lovely and relaxing place to bike or walk and is also considered a "cultural park," as there are a lot of museums in Quinta Normal. Among them, the Artequin museum, the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, the Museum of Contemporary Arts, are worth a visit. This makes your visit to the park more varied: besides the trees, flowers, and paths, there are museums to visit within walking distance!
It was originally named Huelén, and the current name comes from the conquering of the hill on the celebration day of Santa Lucia (December 13, 1540) by Pedro de Valdivia. This hill is a local and tourist favorite, and also it is the perfect place to take a break and rest. It is nice to have a green spot in the middle of the city! Going up the Santa Lucia is a marvelous experience while walking through the hill is really relaxing: it has beautiful places to explore, terraces to rest in case you need it. The walk is not very physically demanding, and also you are surrounded by trees and flowers, which is amazingly refreshing, especially in summer! If you visit Santa Lucía, keep an eye on for the Hidalgo Fort, which is on top of the hill, the Neptuno fountain, and the Caupolicán Terrace, In there, I dare you to find the statue of Caupolicán, made by Nicanor Plaza and take a picture. Also, if you happen to be around at 12 pm sharp, you can hear the typical gunshot that indicates it is midday.
These are some of the beautiful parks of Santiago, and of course, there are many more, but it would make a very long story... Anyway, I promise to tell you all about those soon. The parks I told you about are great places to relax, breathe fresh air, take a break from the capital and even visit some museums: make sure you visit them if you are in Santiago.
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