This barrio gets its name from the Italian immigrants who settled here in the early 1900s to work in the Girardi hat factory (now a cultural center). After a period of decline that lasted well into the 21st century, the neighborhood has been reborn over the last decade as a thriving design district, full of chic boutiques, art galleries and antique shops. Despite its newfound trendiness, Barrio Italia has managed to maintain a strong neighborhood identity, with most shops and cafes located inside historic casonas (mansions).
Barrios Yungay and Brasil
To walk around the western barrios of Yungay and Brasil is to imagine how Santiago’s elite lived in the 19th century, before they fled for the suburbs. Yungay, in particular, is full of heritage-listed buildings that have been transformed into performing arts spaces, craft breweries and character-rich B&Bs. These rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods also offer prismatic street murals, affordable fine dining and top cultural institutions, including the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
Don’t even bother visiting Bellavista before happy hour. This colorful low-rise barrio, sandwiched between the Mapocho River and San Cristóbal Hill, lets its freak flag fly with wild dusk-to-dawn parties that are renowned across South America. As a rule of thumb, most clubs and music halls lie west of Pio Nono street, while more upmarket dining brewpubs and wine bars are found to the east. Bombero Núñez is the hub of LGBTQ+ nightlife, while the Patio Bellavista dining complex offers a tourist-friendly intro to the neighborhood.
This middle-class, largely residential area has become a culinary hub, as some of the city’s best chefs have opened restaurants along Avenida Providencia. The neighborhood’s leafy and elegant backstreets are full of tranquil cafes and atmospheric hotels that lie away from the bustling centro (to the west) and the skyscraper-filled “Sanhattan” financial district (to the east). Ample bike lanes and metro lines provide easy access to just about any place you’d want to go.
Power, money and politics collide in Santiago Centro, home of the presidential palace, ornate bank buildings and the historic Plaza de Armas. The vast majority of Chile’s top museums and cultural institutions are found here, as are a number of great drinking and dining options—especially in the vibrant four-block José Victorino Lastarria corridor. For art galleries and indie shops, walk to the neighboring enclave of Bellas Artes.
The capital’s ritziest neighborhood is the place to go for gallery-hopping and high-fashion shopping, as well as spectacular views of the towering Andes and the skyscrapers of neighboring Las Condes. The manicured Bicentenario Park hosts frequent art, design and fashion shows. Many international hotel chains have locations here, as do local luxury brands like Cumbres and Noi, the latter of which features a spectacular rooftop bar. The downside: Prices in Vitacura tend to be on par with those in New York or San Francisco.