Eileen’s Santiago, Chile

Today we’re headed to South America with Eileen Smith, who says Santiago, Chile, is undeservedly overlooked–and we agree!

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Santiago is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is Cerro San Cristobal.

When I crave excellent coffee I always go to the neighborhood Bellas Artes.

If I want to find good books I go the bookstore Metales Pesados.

For complete quiet, I can hide away in Cajón de Maipo, just south of Santiago.

If you come to my city, get your picture taken with a llama in Parque Quinta Normal.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Dominó it has to be a completo, a hot dog slathered with avocado, mayonnaise and chopped tomatoes.

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Tostaduría Puerto Rico is my one-stop shop for great deals on dry goods.

Locals know to skip the supermarket and check out the local farmers market instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Bio-Bio, the giant fleamarket.

For a huge splurge I go to Astrid and Gastón for gourmet Peruvian food.

Photo ops in my city include the snowcapped Andes. The best vantage points are always facing east.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be wholly underappreciated.

The most random thing about my city is the constant contrast between old world and modern–the videoscreens in the metro, and on the street, cargo tricycles rule the day.

My city has the most fast-talking men.

My city has the most high-heeled, unafraid women.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves bicycling or a long hike up in Parque Mahuida.

My city’s best museum is the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Pre-Colombian Museum).

My favorite jogging/walking route is in Parque Forestal under the weeping willows and by the giant naval fountain.

For a night of dancing, go to Bellavista (the bohemian quarter) and choose your club. Or, for live music, check out www.carretes.cl/tocatas and see who’s playing where.

Liguria is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read El Mercurio’s

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Wikén section or the English-language online magazine Revolver.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they’re Chilean, because half of them are from here!

In the spring you should hike hike in Yerba Loca to see the wildflowers and the glacial streams.

In the summer you should drink mote con huesillo, a refreshing drink with wheat kernels and reconstituted dried peaches floating in it!

In the fall you should bring a sweater–the temperature drops in the evening.

In the winter you should ski the Andes.

A hidden gem in my city is the plaza Concha y Toro.

For a great breakfast joint try Café Melba.

Don’t miss the music festival in Viña del Mar.

Just outside my city, you can visit the mountains or the beach, each only 90 minutes away.

The best way to see my city is on foot, by metro and by bicycle, or from the cable car atop Cerro San Cristobal.

If my city were a pet it would be an aardvark. Unexpectedly loveable.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live in Pucón or Puerto Natales, in the south.

The best book about my city is Santiago Bizarro, a collection of offbeat things to do and see here.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is Incubus’s “I Wish You Were Here.”

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Fantasilandia, the theme park.

The Festival of the Downtrodden Chilean (Festival del Roto Chileno) could only happen in my city.

Photos: Turismo Chile