A trip to Santiago is sure to be memorable by default as simply seeing this city is a precious experience. However, to truly ‘touch its soul’ you need to delve into the daily lives of the local people. The best way to do this is to explore the many markets of Santiago. It’s also the best way to enjoy local traditional foods as well as buy fresh produce and souvenirs.
Places to Visit in Santiago: 5 Must-See Markets
1. Mercado de Abastos Tirso de Molina
This isn’t the most central and popular market of Santiago. But as you can see from numerous reviews on TripAdvisor, Mercado Abastos Tirso de Molina is the best place to buy your food. Not only does it offer a great variety of fresh produce. It also has multiple food stalls selling both traditional and internationally popular foods. All in all, this is where you go so you don’t go hungry during your stay. Visitors also note that this market has lower prices than its more popular neighbors Central and La Vega.
2. Mercado Central
Mercado Central is the place you should go to after you are done with your Santiago walking tour. It’s a perfect continuation to exploring the old city center. The historical building falls nicely into the line with other architectural masterpieces located there. As the name tells you, the market is central, so finding it won’t be a problem. Mercado Central specializes in fish and seafood that you can buy fresh or enjoy cooked by experienced chefs right there. There’s other produce available as well, but seafood and wine are the main groups on offer.
3. La Vega Central
Another market defined by its name, La Vega Central is the central location for buying vegetables and fruits grown all over Latin America. It’s quite big, so check out the sector map so you don’t get lost. The variety of fruits and vegetables here is the greatest you’ll find in Santiago. However, the prices are a bit higher than the average. It’s one of the best places to visit in Santiago if you are looking for foods made with fresh produce and juices that are squeezed right before your eyes.
4. Pueblito Los Dominicos
While you can find a variety of fantastic traditional Chilean foods here, Pueblito Los Dominicos isn’t a place to shop for produce. This is where you go to in order to see and/or buy the works of local artisans. The selection is so huge, prepare to spend more than a couple of hours simply exploring what the market has to offer. It’ll be hard to decide what exactly you want to buy as each item here is authentic, beautiful, and made with love. In fact, you should come here even if you aren’t planning to buy anything as a walk through the stalls is like wandering folklore and art museums combined.
5. Feria de Santa Lucia
Feria de Santa Lucia is basically a smaller version of Los Dominicos, but located more conveniently in the center of Santiago. Here you can buy souvenirs, some handcrafted goods, and many items made of alpaca wool, which is a local specialty. The market also offers some traditional goods from Bolivia and Peru.