Posted May 28, 2009 by Kate Hamman
Though Santiago may look like and feel like a big city, it doesn't mean that everything about it is big city. Head inside its neighborhoods to discover a simpler world where craftsmanship and heritage are celebrated with traditional arts, ethnic cooking, and regional wines.
Patio Bellavista(in Spanish only): If you want to get a true feel for the city, be sure to stop by Patio Bellavista, Santiago's new gastronomic and cultural center. This neighborhood square is a gathering place where you can listen to live music, snack on ethnic food, and shop for authentic hand-made items such as lapis lazuli jewelry. The patio is also a safe haven for night owls, who can continue to revel at the restaurants and bars well past midnight. It doesn't cost a thing to enter and hang out, though how much you spend will depend on what you eat, drink, or buy.
Pueblito Los Dominicos: Declared a national monument, this artisan craft market attracts visitors from all over the world. The first workshop started in a stable and has multiplied and spread to form a thriving community of more than 150 shops. Here, visitors can roam in and out of the traditional-styled dwellings while interacting directly with the artisans who create Chilean furniture, textiles, jewelry, and carvings right before your eyes. It's free to enter, but only you can decide how much to spend on souvenirs.
Concha Y Toro(in Spanish only): Though Concha y Toro winery is located about an hour outside of Santiago, you can still sample its wines without venturing too far. The producer's wine-tasting center right in town introduces visitors to Chile's wine culture through gastronomy and wine courses. All wines are available for purchase, though you're likely to find its labels at home since Concha y Toro is the number one Chilean wine imported to the U.S.
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(Photo: Patio Bellavista)