If you happen to be in Santiago on one of those lovely winter days when the sun comes out after rain has cleared the air, head straight for Parque Metropolitano. In the center is Cerro San Cristóbal, a hill reached via funicular railway, taxi, a 45-minute trail, or an hour-plus uphill walk on the main road. Atop the hill are spectacular views of the city below the snow-covered Andes Mountains.
In the shadow of Cerro San Cristóbal is Bellavista. The neighborhood has but one sight—poet Pablo Neruda's hillside home of La Chascona—but it's perhaps the city's best place to wander. Strike out on your own, or start out in Patio Bellavista (an open-air mall/arcade); either way you’re sure to find interesting shops, small art galleries, souvenirs, and food to suit most budgets and tastes.