Not to be missed in Valparaíso
Friday, July 31, 2009
La Sebastiana (Photo:Sernatur)
- The best of Valparaíso
Celebrating the New Year in the Sea: Every December 31st almost two million people gather in Valparaiso, where the streets, restaurants and balconies facing the bay are teeming with people who have come to welcome the new year with one of the most spectacular fireworks events in the Southern Cone. For over half an hour the fireworks and joy light up the skies of the Fifth Region.
The New Year in the Sea began in 1952 and has become a tradition that has crossed borders. The best views are in the Gervasoni, Yugoslavo, Barón, and 21 de Mayo promenades. The streets become a carnival after the fireworks. Everybody shares embraces and friendship. It is an incredible way to begin a new year.
Visit La Sebastiana: One of the poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda’s three houses, it is located in the upper part of Cerro Bellavista. It is open to the public and is full of trinkets and details that remind us of the artist’s love of collecting objects. To one side is a cultural center with ongoing exhibits of local artists. Ferrari 692, Phone (32) 2256606
Eat a Chorrillana: This dish is the pride of local restaurants. Its ingredients are French fries, fried eggs, onions and diced beef, and it is served on an oval dish. Its origin is part of the myth, though all port natives agree that one place is the best to try one: the Casino Social J. Cruz, a veritable bohemian institution that is located, like all good tips, in an alleyway above Condell Street. The best thing is the place’s ambience, completely decorated with all sorts of souvenirs that create a museum atmosphere. There are popular musicians, wholesale chorrillana consumption, and a true port atmosphere.
Partying in the port: The night offers special attractions in Valparaiso: its multiple nightlife spots opening at sundown; young university students and sailors from ships passing through all add to the port’s nightlife. The preferred establishments are the Balmaceda and the Barcelona, located in Almendral; El Huevo, only a few steps from the Plaza Anibal Pinto; La Sala de la Piedra Feliz and the Duff Club on Errázuriz Street; El Proa and El Playa in the Port Quarters.
There are also regular party areas, such as the mythical Subida Ecuador or Subida Cumming, where countless bars and taverns offer music and varied conversation with young locals. If you want more traditional establishments, the bohemian lifestyle remains alive in bars with long traditions, like the mythical Cinzano, and in tango clubs.
The Cultural Carnival: Between Christmas and New Year the port changes and the streets become stages for theater and dance companies, painters, musicians, filmmakers, cooks and folklorists. The three-day Valparaiso cultural carnival has been celebrated since 2001.
It is a veritable street party, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering for the parade to pass with people dressed in vivid colors and fantastic shapes that every year represent different cities around the world. This is the best way to await the New Year fireworks celebration.