Capital of the Republic of Chile, Santiago is the cultural, administrative and financial center, and the most important metropolis in the country. Santiago is located in the Maipo Valley, surrounded by the Coast Mountain Range to the West and by the Chacabuco and Angostura Ranges to the North and South. The Andes Mountain Range closes the frame of the city in the East.
Most government activities take place in Santiago’s downtown area (El Centro), which is home to La Moneda (the presidential palace), Plaza de Armas and the Judicial and Executive Branches. This area also boasts numerous museums and pedestrian shopping streets. Districts such as Providencia, Bellavista, Las Condes and Vitacura offer a dazzling array of businesses, shops and restaurants as well as a bustling nightlife.
Though all big cities are dominated by concrete to some degree, Santiago is home to several imposing green spaces. For example, Parque Metropolitano, also known as Cerro San Cristóbal, is visible from most of the city. You can get to the top on foot, by bike, by car or take the cable car.
Chile’s steady economic growth has transformed Santiago into one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping centers, and impressive high-rise architecture.