Bellavista, a walkable neighborhood not far from downtown Santiago, is routinely referred to as the city’s bohemian neighborhood. There’s street art and both sedate and raucous nightlife, art galleries, theater performances, dance clubs, loads of restaurants (both formal and informal) and one of Chile’s most-visited museums, La Chascona. Even this museum has a colorful history; it is one of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s homes-turned-museums. And the whole neighborhood is just a few blocks south of Cerro San Cristobal, the large hill that overlooks the city and has both a sanctuary and a large marble statue of the Virgin Mary on top, in addition to the hiking trails, swimming pools and Japanese garden.
On weekends, the hill attracts families, couples, runners, cyclists and participants in group activities, from yoga to zumba. And all week long, the Chileans of all ages and income brackets come to hang out.
Bellavista’s food options cover nearly every budget, with many restaurants in the Patio Bellavista, an walkway that also houses gift shops, theaters and jewelry stores. There is a string of cheaper eateries with a beer garden atmosphere on the street Pio Nono, and tonier options on the parallel street of Constitución.
The closest metro station to Bellavista is Baquedano, where the red and green lines cross. Bellavista is the never-fail option for Sunday night dinners, while many of Santiago’s other res restaurants close after lunch in preparation for the week ahead.