The presidential palace known as La Moneda is one of Santiago’s architectural icons. A giant Chilean flag billows before the white, neoclassical building, which houses movie theaters, art galleries, and an independent bookstore. Look for the statue of former president Salvador Allende at the southeast corner of Plaza de la Constitución.
Because of its historical significance, La Moneda is part of many Santiago sightseeing tours, which usually visit the Metropolitan Cathedral and Mercado Central (Central Market) as well. Night tours—which reveal La Moneda illuminated, and often include dinner and a show—are popular with travelers. Food lovers can visit La Moneda as part of a food-focused walking tour and sample lesser-known Chilean delicacies.
Things to Know Before You Go
- La Moneda is a must-visit for history buffs and first-time visitors to Santiago.
- The building retains some damage from when it was bombed in 1973.
- If you want to tour the palace’s private rooms, be sure to you book at least one week in advance.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach the palace on public transportation is to take Metro Line 1 to La Moneda and exit north on Teatinos. A guided tour, which often includes air-conditioned transport around the city, is a hassle-free way to visit the palace.
When to Get There
A traditional Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place on every odd-numbered day of the month at 10am in Plaza La Constitución. La Moneda is open Monday through Friday, from 10am to 6:30pm. However, you can admire the building’s exterior at any time of the day or night.
The History of La Moneda
Opened in 1805, La Moneda was originally designed to be a coin mint. However, it was quickly turned into the residence of the Chilean president and a center of presidential administration. La Moneda became infamous on Sept. 11, 1973, when military forces of the dictator Augusto Pinochet bombarded the palace, resulting in the death of the then-president Salvador Allende.