Santiago is frequently cited as one of the best cities in the world to see street art on display. After two years of living here, I can’t say that I disagree. As you’ll have noticed if you follow me on Instagram, a large part of my feed involves various murals throughout Chile that I have found through my extensive wanderings. Therefore, what I’d like to do today is share two things for those of you who plan to visit Santiago: 1) The best places to find street art 2) My favorite murals. Are you looking for street art in Valparaíso? Check out my guide to Valpo.
This Santiago neighborhood is your first and best bet for finding street art. In fact, as you cross the bridge over the Mapocho River on your way to Bella, you’ll notice that muralists have even taken over the riverbanks. With Bellavista, you don’t need any plan to find murals, explore. If you are the type of person who needs some direction (don’t worry, I am too), Calle Loreto and Bombero Nuñéz are great places to start.
So why the abundance of murals in the area? Shop owners hire muralists to paint these buildings to make them more attractive to passersby. It seems like the U.S. could take some notes from this practice! Accordingly, it makes sense that such an artsy neighborhood is also the location of Pablo Neruda’s Santiago home, La Chascona.
My favorite street art in Bellavista?
That would have to be the building pictured in my photo below. It currently serves as a theater and acting school called Teatro Imagen. The building is dark green with bright yellow accents. Different figures are painted over the walls in light white strokes, making them almost appear to be ghosts.
Museo a Cielo Abierto
The Chilean government actually initiated this open-air museum in 2010. The purpose was to make older, deteriorating buildings in this more impoverished sector of Santiago more aesthetically pleasing as well as to bring artistic expression to the San Miguel neighborhood. The project (carried out only with the approval of each building’s residents) began with the idea of creating ten murals and finally resulted in 40 massive murals covering various blocks of the area.
Museo a Cielo Abierto is my favorite place in Santiago to fuel my constant search for color. Nonetheless, many Chileans and tourists don’t know about this destination or the fact that it is easily reachable by metro.
That would have to be the mural shown below, entitled “Señales de Vida” (“Signs of Life” in English) by artist and graphic designer, Ecos. This mural illustrates flora and fauna that are characteristic of Chile, including a puma, condor, and araucaria tree on the left side and a whale on the right.
This neighborhood in the city center was originally home to Santiago’s aristocracy in the mid-1800s. Therefore, it provides an exciting mix of older houses covered in modern art. I recommend starting in Plaza Brasil and making your way around these colorful streets. Make sure not to miss Barrio Concha y Toro, a hidden area nearby that was styled to look like a European city complete with Gothic mansions and cobblestone avenues (yes, there is even street art here!).
I recently explored Barrio Brasil and found the mural pictured below as I was walking one of the streets directly off Plaza Brasil (you can find it on the map at the bottom of this post). I found myself drawn to this mural because of its many images representing different parts of Chile and its culture, ranging from pre-Columbian times to the present day.