NEIGHBORHOOD Bellas Artes, Santiago METRO STOP Bellas Artes EPICENTER Plaza del Mulato Gil de Castro, at the dead end of Lastarria and Merced DON'T MISS The Saturday flea market on Plaza Mulato Gil, where you'll find an array of costume jewelry, books, and antiques
MUSEUMS The Chilean capital's most artistic neighborhood takes its name from Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Parque Forestal; 56-2/633-4472), a 96-year-old Neoclassical palace housing 2,700 canvases by Chilean and global painters. Showcasing the work of more than 300 local artists, the Museo de Artes Visuales (307 José Victorino Lastarria; 56-2/664-9337), or MAVI, serves as a center for Chilean contemporary art. The recently reopened Museo Arqueológico de Santiago is next door.
RESTAURANTS Argentine couple Jorge Leguizamon and Andrea Oyharbide—he's a chocolatier, she's a chef—recently opened Patagonia (96 José Victorino Lastarria; 56-2/664-3830), a shop dedicated to freshly baked medialunas and handmade chocolates. Mainstay Sicosis (544 José Miguel de la Barra; 56-2/632-4462), one of the area's first cafés, doubles as a boisterous cervecería on weekends, with live jazz and more than 100 beers on the menu. On sunny afternoons tables are scarce at Emporio La Rosa (291 Merced; 56-2/638-9257), an unassuming Italian café with a prime parkside location.
SHOPS When fashion-savvy Santiagans want to buy locally, they head to Kebo (490 Ismael Valdés Vergara; 56-2/639-5537), for Carla Godoy's flirty skirts and kimonos; Parentesys (359 Monjitas; 56-2/664-4423), to find Juan José Soto's limited-edition men's wear (like silk-screened denims); and Hall Central (316 José Victorino Lastarria; 56-2/664-0763), for avant-garde clothing sold in the parlor of a 20th-century mansion. A collective of cutting-edge jewelers can be found across the foyer at Ají (316 José Victorino Lastarria; 56-2/639-9928). The Aymara, Mapuche, and Ona tribal cultures serve as inspiration for the modern clothing and jewelry at Tampu (327 Merced; 56-2/638-7992). Ona (295 Victoria Subercaseaux; 56-2/632-1859) is a gold mine for one-of-a-kind Chilean keepsakes such as ox-horn necklaces, alpaca scarves, and cacique ponchos.