Separated from the unfortunate and ever-growing epidemic of high-rise apartment buildings by the Norte-Sur highway, Barrio Brasil has managed to defend its magic and its architecture. Whether crossing into the barrio on foot or bike, or emerging from the metro to stations Republica or Cumming, you will know for certain you are in for a unique experience in Santiago. Barrio Brasil has all of the qualities to give an authentic South American experience.
On a typical summer’s day in Plaza Brasil, a beautiful, green park at the center of the barrio, you will find children playing on the sculptures created by Federica Matta, young professionals playing ping pong on the public tables during their lunch breaks, old men playing chess on the colorful tables, and people of every age taking a break on a bench or on the grass under a big shady tree. One unique feature found in all public parks in Santiago is the brightly colored, rudimentary exercise machines. After work hours in Plaza Brasil and any other park, these “mini gyms” are crowded with people using a basic elliptical machine, pull up bars, rowing machines, and other fundamental structures commonly found in gyms.
Surrounding the park are numerous restaurants, apartments, churches, a pharmacy, a high school, a bike shop for rentals and repairs, cafes, bars, and dance clubs, including the famous “Galpon Victor Jara,” or “Victor Jara’s Porch”; named after the renowned artist and peace activist who was killed during the dictatorship. This club represents a place for free spirits and artists to remember his name in Chile, and is a great place for live music and dancing on the weekends.
Walking up the leafy palm tree lined Avenida Brasil you can find many more restaurants, cafes, and bars boasting typical Chilean foods, artisanal beers, or just a nice cold “piscola,” Chile’s national liquor Pisco mixed with Coca Cola.
By day, Barrio Brasil is a place to relax, play a game of ping pong, bring the kids to play on the sculptures, or enjoy a cheap and hearty lunch. Walk around the park and meander through side streets enjoying colorful buildings, street art graffiti, beautiful old churches, and take in the music spilling out from apartments and homes. You might hear 80’s rock and roll, a local band practicing, or a very popular style of irresistibly rhythmic music among young people in Chile, Cumbia. By night, the barrio changes as the wave of businessmen, students and artists alike breathe life into this historic and sheltered place. Bars fill with idealistic young people sharing ideas, conversation, and enjoying the creative atmosphere.
Barrio Brasil is everything you want South America to be; colorful homes and buildings, an overwhelmingly creative and artistic energy, music spilling out onto the streets, and cafes and bars aplenty. If you have the time, take a break from the city life and enjoy one of the most unique, treasured and historic barrios of Santiago.