With neoclassical architecture, an efficient metro system, and plenty of nearby mountain resorts and wineries, Santiago is one of South America’s most glamorous and inviting cities. Here’s how to make the most of a 3-day visit.
Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
Plaza de Armas, Santiago de Chile
Metropolitan Cathedral was most recently rebuilt in the 1750s, with the help of Italian architect Joaquín Toesca, who designed the baroque-fringed Neoclassical facade that set the standard for subsequent structures around the Plaza de Armas. As impressive as the stone exterior is, it is the resplendent vault and richly adorned altar inside that draw crowds. A small museum of religious artifacts adjoins the main church. Sightseeing tours of Santiago—as well as the city’s hop-on hop-off buses—include stops at the cathedral. Also consider visiting during one of the church’s organ concerts, featuring an ornate instrument the size of a house. These are held several times a month.
Things to know before you go
- With its mix of styles, this is a must-see for architecture enthusiasts.
- The area around the downtown government buildings, cathedral, and plaza is level and accessible to wheelchairs.
- Because the cathedral is an active place of worship, visitors should be quiet and respectful, especially if Mass is being held.
How to get there
Driving in this busy neighborhood isn't recommended, but the Metro's L5 green line drops you off at Plaza de Armas, in front of the main facade of the cathedral. It is also along the route of the city’s hop-on hop-off buses. Or you can grab a cab but make sure that it’s metered before jumping in.
When to get there
The cathedral is open daily. Masses are celebrated Monday to Saturday twice daily, and there are four Mass services on Sunday. During Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter), there are additional services. If you’re planning to attend Mass, arrive early before the crowds to allow time to take photos. The museum is open to the public on Mondays only.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Another architectural marvel, Palacio de Bellas Artes is the home of Santiago’s National Museum of Fine Arts, boasting a permanent collection of works starting in the Spanish Colonial era up until the present day. The building itself features an ornate stone facade and combines Neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles, with a grand glass cupola over the central hall.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)?
Attractions near Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana):
What else should I know about attractions in Santiago?
- Central Post Office
- National Museum of Natural History (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural)
- Santo Domingo Church (Iglesia de Santo Domingo)
- Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino)
- Red House (Casa Colorada)
- Santiago Central Market (Mercado Central de Santiago)
- Plaza de la Constitucion
- Santa Lucia Hill (Cerro Santa Lucia)
- La Moneda Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)
- Palacio de Bellas Artes
- Chilean National Library (Biblioteca Nacional de Chile)
- La Vega Central Market
- Barrio Lastarria
- Forestal Park (Parque Forestal)
- San Francisco Church (Iglesia de San Francisco)