Santiago, Chile’s upscale, eastern neighborhoods are the home of most of its financial industry, corporate offices and most upscale restaurants and shops. It is also the area in which most tourists—including us—stay.
The area, generally referred to as El Golf, is packed with high-end homes, hotels, restaurants and businesses. Since we arrived at our Santiago hotel, the Intercontinental, late afternoon, we decided to spend the evening exploring our own neighborhood rather than taking the 20 minute cab or subway ride into the city. We explored:
- The modern high-rises that are springing up in the area, including a partially completed tower that, at 70 stories, will be the tallest in South America. While construction was postponed for a year due to the 2008 crash, “The Recession Building” is now back on track.
- The popular and pretty Parque Escultura sculpture garden just north of the Rio Mapocho river;
- The upscale Santa Maria neighborhood just north of the river and the suitably upscale Pietart jewelry and art center with its particularly nice selection of lapis lazily jewelry that is made in its own workshop;
- The kitschy restaurants and clubs near the Tobalaba subway station;
- The financial district, filled with strikingly modern banks, corporate offices and upscale condos and hotels (some of which are taking great pains to “go green”) and a large public art collection;
- The high-end apartments, condos, home furnishing and clothing stores, and especially the incredible number very expensive restaurants that were build near Gaston Acurio’s perpetually packed La Mar restaurant on Avenida Nueva Costanera; and
- To remind people that even these strikingly modern areas also have a history, a smattering of beautifully restored colonial buildings.
We also ended up exploring three restaurants in these Eastern neighborhoods (see our Santiago Restaurants blog).