Free outdoor entertainment in Chilean capital’s parks

Parque Forestal and Parque de los Reyes parallel the Río Mopocho and cut through the heart of Santiago, and are home to free and exciting activities of all kinds.

In the heat of Chilean summer, city dwellers in Santiago flock to Parque Forestal and the abutting Parque de los Reyes, two long and thin parks that parallel the Río Mopocho. A central vein of the city’s cultural life, these two parks slice across downtown Santiago, and make for an exciting and free way to see and partake in entertainment of all kinds.
As a public space open to dance troops, bands, clowns and spectacles of all kinds, there is not one set schedule or centralized source of information concerning Parque Forestal. There are, however, several hubs of activity that make for good launching points for a bike ride, jog or afternoon stroll through the park’s verdant pathways.
To check out the places we mention here, take a look at our interactive map that will indicate locations.
On our interactive map, the two red pinpoints indicate spots to view some of Santiago’s best breakdancers. With nauseating head spins, handstands, and strange contortions galore, your stomach is guaranteed to tie itself in knots.
Breakdancing in Santiago began in the 1980s before spreading to most of Chile’s urban areas. Check out this video of b-boys strutting their moves in Valdivia, Chile’s southern river city.
Andean Dance
Andean dances or Baile Andino are vibrant and energetic dances that trace their origins to northern Chile and neighboring Perú and Bolivia.
Groups get together on most afternoons to practice their choreography, most often without costume. However, on weekends you might be lucky enough to stumble upon a live performance for dancers’ friends and family, where bright and exotic costumes and live brass bands make a truly unforgettable spectacle .
Just across from Parque de los Reyes and right behind Estacíon Mapocho (the blue dot on our interactive map), you’ll encounter an excellent place to happen upon Andean dances.
Live Music and Dance Parties
Just west of Plaza Italia alongside the clearing’s cascading fountain, the green dot on our interactive map indicates another hub for a variety of activities. Everything from folk to jazz bands reserve the spot, and sometimes DJ’s play in the space igniting flash dance parties on hot summer afternoons. You’re most likely to catch performances on weekend afternoons.
Farther west along Parque de los Reyes, right where Avenida Ricardo Cumming dead ends into it (the purple dot on our interactive map), you’ll find Santiago’s best skateboarding spot. From dawn to dusk most days of the week, boarders and roller-bladers of all ages flock to this extreme sport haven. Plus, right across from the skate park there are a handful of soccer fields that hold local matches.
Do you have suggestions about where to see free and fun activities in Santiago’s parks? Let us know on our facebook or twitter pages.
By Gwynne Hogan