Tucked away from the bustling streets of downtown eastern Santiago, Quinta Normal park is a little oasis of relaxation. Walking among the tall trees, boating lakes and fountains populated by excitable children escaping the summer heat, it’s easy to see why it was voted one of the top 30 parks in the world by Travel and Leisure magazine.
Citing the family-friendly, local atmosphere, the magazine called Quinta Normal the “underappreciated gem” of Santiago, in contrast to the better-known tourist destinations Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Santa Lucia. Also, praised was the park’s natural beauty and botanical wealth.
“You can paddle around the lagoon or check out the stands of Monterey pines, Babylonian willows, and sequoias from the park’s origins as a nursery for imported species in the 1840s,” reads the article.
Teodoro Fernández, one of the architects in charge of a recent remodelling of the park, explained the appeal of this historic treasure.
“Quinta Normal was one of the first places in the Americas to be established as a public park,” Fernández told La Tercera. “In it we see reflections of debates of our country’s republican history; it is a pleasure to see what this public space has done for the city of Santiago.”
Another key attraction is the wealth of learning and history on offer within the park itself. Home to several museums, and nearby to music and theater venues, Quinta Normal is a hub of culture. There is, also, plenty aimed at keeping the little ones busy as Travel and Leisure magazine remarks.
“The family-friendly park’s museums include the hands-on Museum of Science and Technology and the Railway Museum with 14 steam engines,“ reads the article.
Among the other green city spaces to feature in the list were New York’s Central Park, Barcelona’s Parque Güell and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.
Santiago has recently shone in several other categories. Earlier this year La Vega was voted the 4th best market in the world by the Daily Meal, while leafy Barrio Italia came out top in Destination’s compilation of the world’s best shopping districts.