Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago
Located right in the middle of downtown Santiago, the Cerro Santa Lucía is a nice walk and retreat all the year round, as well as a good lookout for the city; its limits are the Alameda, and Miraflores, Ismael Valdés and Merced streets. It`s especially nice in autumn, when leaves cover the paths, and in summer, when the coolness of the lawns is welcomed.
Although until the 1860's it was just a barren rocky outcrop, now it has extensive gardens, paths and shaded places, all of them in a rock setting; plus, there are fountains, small refreshment stalls and a private ballroom on a terrace near the top.
There are free public toilets at the ground level, behind the first big fountain on Alameda, and an indigenous handicrafts shop inside a “tunnel” on its west side.
On the very top, there’s a tiny overlook equipped with pay telescopes and a view towards the whole city. Close by, it is the cell where a cannon is fired every day at noon (dummy rounds, o’course...).
Entrance is free.
Favorite thing: Go up to the summit of Cerro San Cristóbal. On a clear, sunny day the views over the city and to the Andes are quite stunning. The easiest way to get up is to take the funicular from the station at the north end of Pío Nono in Bellavista. At a peak of 860m is a giant 22m high statue of the Virgin Mary (Virgen de la Inmaculada).
Favorite thing: Go to the top of Cerro San Cristobal. From there, under the statue of Holy Mary, you can see the whole city.