The beautiful Estacion Mapocho was built in 1912 to celebrate Chile's 100 years of independence. It was first built to become the city's train station for the Santiago-Valparaiso railway, but as traffic steadily decreased in the 1970s, it was eventually closed and left in a state of disrepair. In the early 1990s, the Chilean governement invested important sums into its restoration and transformed it into a beautiful cultural center, where different events such as concerts and book fairs are held throughout the year. Even if there isn't anything special going on, it's still worth going inside to admire the beautiful Beaux Arts architecture of the former train station. Estacion Mapocho is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (admission is free).
It's a little bit chilean Musée d'Orsay - an old railway station transformed into a huge cultural center. But contrary to Paris it's not a museum, but multifunctional place where concerts, expositions, theater presentations are organized. There is also a bar.
Building itself dates from the begening of 20th century. It was designed by Emilio Jequier, a chilean architect who studied in Paris under the direction of Gustavo Eiffel. Estacion Mapocho served as a railway station till 1987. It was the place from where trains to Valparaiso were departing. After the closing of Valparaiso - Santiago line, building was transformed. It opened as a cultural center in 1994.