7 Reasons to Visit Santiago, Chile With Kids

Chile is unlike any other country we have visited in South America because of its natural beauty, pleasant climate, diverse landscape and clean air.  We visited Santiago with kids, as well as some surrounding areas. We flew into Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) directly from Los Angeles (LAX). When we landed, we had four full days to explore Santiago and Chile before flying onto Easter Island. Visitng Chile with kids was enjoyable, relaxing and cultured. Chilean flag in Santiago, Chile

Here are 7 reasons why Santiago should be on your travel wishlist

Plaza de Armas, Santiago

Plaza de Armas is at the heart of Santiago and is the epicenter of this vibrant city.   Hands down the best place for people-watching in Santiago! There’s always some diverse entertainment on offer, and while we were there we saw mime artists, acrobats, violinists and other buskers.  It’s the heart of the city and we sat and enjoyed a nice glass of Chilean red wine at a cafe on the edge of the square.

We were there at Christmas and the plaza was bustling with carol singers and people shopping for gifts.  The plaza was beautifully decorated with eclectic art pieces.  The Christmas trees in the picture above were made from old dolls and shoes.

Chile santiago at christmas
The stained glass windows and doors in the cathedral were stunning

Metropolitan Cathedral, Santiago

This is a beautiful Spanish Metropolitan cathedral.  The Cathedral dominates the Plaza de Armas, and is an impressive sight.

 

Chile santiago cathedral

Wine Tasting in Chile

You don’t have to venture far out of Santiago to sample some of Chile’s famous red wine.  You can quite easily drive yourself to one of the many amazing wineries just outside of Santiago for a day tasting delicious wine.  Aside from tasting fantastic wines, you can watch the farmers pluck, sort and harvest grapes, and see how it is bottled.  Many wineries have delicious restaurants on site too and they are family friendly.

Mercado Central de Santiago

Fishing is a major industry in Chile as one of the major exporters of fish and seafood in the world.

The Chilean sea is considered among the most productive marine ecosystems in the world.  We were told the best Chilean seafood in Santiago was at the Mercado Central.  The Mercado Central is one of those places you must visit in Santiago. It’s a place to eat as well as pick up fresh fish.   Locals go early, get their fresh fish and prepare meals at home, while tourists walk around taking pictures and admiring the fresh fish. There are several fish stands surrounding the outer edges of the market and we stopped for the most delicious lunch.

take your kids to Santiago Chile mercado central

Barrio Brasil, Santiago

 Chile santiago bario brasilSpend a few hours wandering aimless around Barrio Brasil to see the crumbling colonial facades of old Barrio, an impressive local art market and some of Santiago’s most imaginative graffiti murals.  There are plenty of cool parks and cafes to make it the perfect place to rest. Chile santiago bario brasil art

Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso is just a few hours drive away from Santiago, towards the coast. This historic coastal city offers a feast for the eyes, hinted at by its nicknames “San Francisco of the South” and “Jewel of the Pacific. Read about our day trip to Valparaiso with kids here.

Valparaiso chile with kids
The street art was simply incredible!
Screen Shot 2017-09-29 at 1.29.52 PMScreen Shot 2017-09-29 at 1.31.44 PM

Valparaíso is a port city on Chile’s coast known for its steep funiculars and colorful, clifftop homes.  We drove 70 miles from Santiago to spend the day in this gorgeous and colorful community.
Valparaiso Chile street art with childrenIt’s a refreshing change of pace from the city of Santiago, and Valparaiso is known for its artistic vibe and vibrant street scene.
Visit Valparaiso Chile street art

A UNESCO world heritage site, Valparaiso’s maze of narrow streets filled with galleries, bars and restaurants are simply charming.  There is row upon row of brightly painted 19th-century mansions precariously clinging to the hills overlooking the sea.

Valparaiso Chile street art adventure with kids
Can you spot Julian in this picture?

Easter Island

Santiago is one of only two places you can fly to Easter Island.  Easter Island is over 1,200 miles away from the closest inhabited island, and 2,180 miles (6 hour flight) from Chile, the nearest continent.  Easter Island is home to more than 800 Moai Statues created by the early Rapa Nui people.
easter island with kids

Santiago with Kids: Hidden Gems & Insider Secrets

Planning to visit Santiago with kids?  Santiago, Chile is a fantastic adventure for families with all sorts of interests.

Why is Santiago good for kids?

Santiago is great for kids because it has parks, museums that are fun and interactive, and lots of outdoor activities. Plus, Chileans love kids, so you’ll feel welcome everywhere you go.

What’s the best time to visit Santiago with my family?

The best time is during Santiago’s spring (September to November) or autumn (March to May). The weather’s nice, and there are fewer tourists.

How do we get around Santiago easily?

Santiago’s metro is super easy to use, clean, and gets you close to most big attractions. You also rent a car or take taxis, there are buses which might be good but we didn’t try them. The roads are really nice. For shorter distances, walking lets you see more of the city’s cool spots.

What are some fun things to do with kids in Santiago?

Don’t miss Fantasilandia, a big amusement park, or the interactive Museo Interactivo Mirador. The Parque Quinta Normal is great for a picnic and has some cool museums right in the park.

Are there any kid-friendly places to eat?

Yep! Santiago has lots of cafés and restaurants that are happy to welcome families. Try the patio dining areas where kids can have a bit of space to move around.

What about safety in Santiago?

Santiago is very safe — we didn’t have any concerns or issues at all. It’s a city, so keep an eye on your belongings and stick to well-lit, busy areas at night. Just use common sense, like in any big city.

Can you recommend any off-the-beaten-path places?

Sure! Check out the Cerro Santa Lucía for awesome views, the Pueblito de Los Dominicos for local crafts, or take a day trip to Cajón del Maipo for some nature.

What’s a good day trip from Santiago for families?

Valparaíso is only a couple of hours away and totally worth it. The colorful houses and street art are super cool, and you can ride the old-fashioned elevators up the hills.

How do kids learn about Chile’s culture and history in Santiago?

Visit the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos to learn about Chile’s history. For culture, try a folk dance show or explore the city’s markets.

Any insider tips for families visiting Santiago?

Learn a few basic Spanish phrases with your kids, at least Hola and Gracias! Locals appreciate it. Also, try the local juice bars for a refreshing treat.

Visiting Santiago with kids is an adventure you won’t forget. From the mountains to the city streets, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Let’s pack our bags and get ready for some fun in Chile!

Have you been to Santiago, Chile with kids?

What are your favorite spots?

Let me know in the comments below and join me on Instagram and X (Twitter)!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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