Parque Forestal, the natural green lung of Santiago, provides a peaceful break from the frenetic bustle of Chile’s capital city. Stretching from Central Market to Plaza Italia, this area offers walking paths shaded by leafy trees and two popular museums: the MAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo) and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Parque Forestal is included in most city sightseeing tours, alongside landmarks such as San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal) and Plaza de Armas, the bustling central square. You can explore the park as part of a walking tour, or if you prefer to create your own sightseeing itinerary, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great option. Buses run every 30 minutes and provide an easy way for first-time visitors to orient themselves in Santiago.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Arrive early to secure a coveted spot beneath a sycamore tree in summer.
- Parque Forestal is a fantastic place to jog.
- Be wary of walking through the park after dusk.
How to Get There
You can reach Parque Forestal by taking the metro to Bellas Artes station, which leads straight out onto the park. A taxi is another option, while a guided tour transports you between sights without the worry of getting lost.
When to Get There
On Sunday afternoon, street performers gather in the park to practice acrobatics and juggling, and once a month, there is an open-air flea market where anyone can register to sell household goods such as books and clothing. Check the Santiago city website for more details.
The Museums of Parque Forestal
Even without its prestigious art collection, the Palacio de Bellas Artes, with its neoclassical-meets-art-nouveau architecture, would be an attraction in itself. The museum‘s permanent collection ranges from Spanish colonial pieces to modern-day works. If you’re looking for brighter and bolder exhibits, opt for the MAC (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo).