Those looking to play and picnic in downtown Santiago always head to Parque Forestal. The park runs from an area near the Central Market up to Plaza Italia as a strip of greenery with walking paths, leafy trees, old-fashioned lamp posts, playgrounds and two of the city’s most important museums.
These are the Bellas Artes and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which stand back to back in the park near the metro Bellas Artes. The latter’s chunky Botero horse statue out front makes it easy to spot, while Bellas Artes faces the street José Miguel de La Barra.
Parque Forestal is popular among runners, walkers and families. On Sunday afternoons, street performers get together 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. In the summer, the spots under the leafy platano oriental trees are the most coveted. The trees resemble American sycamores in appearance and provide the best shade for a leisurely afternoon.
The park continues eastward toward Providencia, passing the Fuente Alemana, a giant fountain that looks like a boat, and ending at Plaza Italia.
Most of the activity in Parque Forestal takes place near the two museums, easily accessible from the Bellas Artes metro. Visitors often take afternoon walks from the Central Market or Baquedano metro to the park.