Santiago is Chile's vibrant urban jewel
, and the neighborhood of Providencia is, in many ways, its beating heart. Never at any point in this neighborhood's rich history has it been more exciting or accessible for visitors. Shopping, dining, and even natural attractions are at your fingertips, so while you enjoy your stay in a Santiago vacation rental, be sure to give this neighborhood a look!
Providencia: Then and Now
A sprawling neighborhood of around 120,000, Providencia presents visitors with an interesting blend of past and present. The area is famous for its elegant buildings, which once served as homes for Santiago's elite; the buildings remain, but have developed into businesses that serve as Santiago's economic center.
While Providencia is home to more retired individuals than anywhere else in the Santiago area (about one in five residents is over the age of 60), it also houses massive skyscrapers, high-rise apartments, and bustling commercial districts. The young work and live alongside the old, a perfect microcosm of new business and commerce bringing life back to old buildings and architecture.
Things to Do in Providencia, Chile
As the commune is so close to the center of Santiago, it's not surprising that so many of the city's essential sights are located in Providencia. The bustling Plaza de Armas, along with all the shops and museums nearby, is located just a few miles away, and you can easily spend a whole day simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the bustling square. Be sure to visit the nearby Catedral de Santiago for some amazing old-world architecture, and the adjoining Museo de Arte Sagrado to learn about the cathedral's storied history.
If you're looking to get a little off the beaten bath, Providencia houses the bohemian Barrio Italia neighborhood. This leafy district is one of Santiago's trendiest, with indie art galleries like the Bloc Art Gallery (currently operating out of an abandoned bread factory), numerous small cafes and restaurants, and boutique shops you should be sure not to miss.
Places to Visit near Providencia
Providencia is unique in that it offers perhaps the best small-scale and large-scale shopping centers in the city. Barrio Italia offers the best independent, local stores in Santiago, and it's difficult to argue that you can find shopping any bigger than the upscale fare available at the Costanera Center, which features a six-floor shopping mall and the tallest skyscraper in Latin America: the towering Gran Torre Santiago. Don't head back to your vacation home just yet - the massive Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos offers sports events and live music that make for an exciting way to spend the evening.
Thanks to Santiago's robust public transit system, your vacation home in Providencia gives you easy access to the rest of Chile's capital, with the sights of the nearby neighborhood of Las Condes - like the natural beauty of the Parque Bicentenario and shopping centers like Alto Las Condes - easiest to enjoy.
Skiing and Beach Trips from Providencia
The city of Santiago itself is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Andes, so visitors can visit ski resorts like Valle Nevado after a short 34-mile drive.
Quaint coastal cities lie just 65 miles in the opposite direction, with one of Chile's finest destinations, the bohemian seaside city of Valparaíso
just 71 miles north. While you're there, be sure to enjoy the pristine sands, gentle waves, and sunny atmosphere of Viña del Mar
Providencia exemplifies some of the best traits Santiago has to offer - delicious food, beautiful scenery, great shopping opportunities, and fascinating history standing side-by-side with new businesses and a burgeoning indie art scene. With all this and so many more nearby destinations to explore, your stay in this incredible neighborhood is sure to be a happy one!
Photo Credit: Alobos Life via Flickr