Santiago is a vibrant city with an active social scene, world-class shopping malls and rustic markets. The city offers expats a multitude of entertainment options and is conveniently situated close to vineyards, the beach and a slew of ski slopes in the Andes.
Santiago is making its mark on the international scene. This is clear from the number of musicians who choose to perform there, as well as the variety of art exhibitions.
Expats move to Santiago not only for its great vibe but also for the massive range of events and activities on offer, from pottery classes and photography groups to shopping, snowboarding and suntanning.
Shopping in Santiago
Santiago is Chile’s shopping capital. Most shopping malls house international stores and brands as well as eating and entertainment options, and they remain open until late, making it convenient for those who prefer shopping after work.
Shopping enthusiasts will be delighted to know that Santiago is home to one of Latin America’s largest shopping malls, Costanera Center. Other highlights include Alto Las Condes and Parque Arauco, both on Kennedy Avenue. Expats will also discover high fashion stores, great restaurants and art galleries along Alonso de Cordova and Nueva Costanera streets.
Expats looking for something special to send home might just find what they’re looking for at Los Dominicos Handicraft Village, right next to the Los Dominicos metro station. Jewellery and other unique handmade items are available at this artisanal centre at bargain prices. Other places to shop for gifts include Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda and Patio Bellavista.
Eating out in Santiago
While Chilean cuisine might not be as exciting as that of some of its regional neighbours, there is certainly something to suit everyone’s tastes in Santiago. With a long coastline, quality seafood is a popular choice. Chile is also known for its excellent wines, and expats often enjoy exploring the various vineyards around Santiago.
Barrio Bellavista and nearby areas have great drinking and eating-out options for Santiago’s expats. Many enjoy making the hour-long journey to the coastal town of Valparaíso for the cheap and delicious seafood on offer there.
Nightlife in Santiago
Santiago has a vibrant nightlife. Chileans generally start the party late, so it’s not unusual to only have dinner at 10pm, then go to a bar or club and carry on until the early hours of the morning.
Bellavista, Providencia, Vitacura and Suecia are neighbourhoods frequented by Santiago’s party-going crowd due to their many restaurants, clubs and bars. It’s important to always take care when partying, and expats should be careful in these areas at night.
Sports and outdoor activities in Santiago
Expats living in Santiago will be ideally placed to make the most of a diverse range of outdoor and sporting activities. Beautiful beaches lie just an hour’s drive from the city, and those who prefer the snow will be happy to know the Andes Mountain range and its many ski lodges are a stone’s throw away.
Santiago also boasts an extensive network of bicycle and pedestrian paths along the Mapocho River. The numerous beautiful parks and green spaces scattered around the city and its surroundings provide relief from the urban environment and are great for families and young people to enjoy.
Meeting people and making friends in Santiago
Santiago’s diverse and dynamic atmosphere offers a variety of platforms for expatriates to meet new people and develop friendships. From social networking groups to language exchange meet-ups, here are some excellent options for expats to connect with others in the city.
Discover Chile is a popular Facebook group aimed at English-speaking expats. It’s a hub for sharing information, seeking advice and organising social events. The group helps new arrivals settle in and provides a platform for networking and socialising.
The International Professional Women’s Association (IPWA) in Santiago is a network for professional women from around the globe. It offers a range of activities, including monthly meetings, guest speaker events and social gatherings, creating a supportive community for professional development and social interaction.
Spanglish Party Santiago is a unique and fun way to meet people and practice language skills. Held regularly, these parties allow participants to engage in language exchange in a relaxed, social setting, perfect for those looking to improve their Spanish while meeting new friends.
Santiago Speaks is a Facebook group that facilitates language exchange and cultural sharing. It’s an excellent resource for expats looking to enhance their language skills and connect with both locals and other internationals through language meetups and cultural events.
What do expats think of meeting people in Santiago?
"If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the 'large group' format, there are plenty of events that you can go to in order to meet people. And I do mean 'large' — some of the expat meetups here will routinely have a couple hundred people attending!" Read our interview with Phoenix for more on lifestyle and events in Santiago.
►Wondering what to do with the little ones in Santiago? Check out Kids in Santiago for some ideas.
Are you an expat living in Santiago?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Santiago. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance.
Medical insurance specifically designed for expats. With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider.
International Movers. Get Quotes. Compare Prices.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.