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Plaza Brasil

Plaza Brasil in the Summer
Plaza Brasil in the Summer

Plaza Brasil

is a colorful square and community hub in the Western part of Central Santiago. Founded officially as a plaza (an official square) by the Municipality of Santiago over a century ago, it has seen a resurgence and new life in the past two decades. It represents the heart of Barrio Brasil, a widely accessible but nonetheless centralized neighborhood in Santiago.

Barrio Brasil, as well as Plaza Brasil, can be accessed by metros Los Heroes and Cumming, although both require about a ten-minute walk. Many buses pass directly through the plaza, and most taxi drivers know exactly where it is. The whole area has plenty of well-marked bike paths as well. Do note that traffic is extremely heavy during rush hour, and can be stressful to navigate during that time. Parking is largely on the street, although at least one underground parking lot is on the street Compañía de Jesus. It is a popular destination throughout the day and evening, particularly on weekends.

 

Plaza Brasil is primarily a grassy park space with remarkably unique climbing equipment for children. It is surrounded on all sides by businesses such as cafes. Restaurants, bars, churches, community buildings, and residential buildings are also common. Most bars and restaurants are comfortable, great quality, and easily accessible for tourists- like many similar businesses further uptown in the Las Condes and Providencia areas. A visit to Plaza Brasil is usually accompanied by visits to neighboring points of interest, such as Cumming street and Barrio Yungay.

A great point of interest near Plaza Brasil is Galpón Victor Jara, the site of the Fundación Victor Jara, a foundation for Chilean arts named after guitarist and activist Victor Jara, who was tortured and killed in the first days of the military coup of Chile in 1973. This space is also a hugely famous and popular salsa club on weekend nights. It has been closed for minor offences on several occasions, often involving permits, but this is widely accepted as a part of its charm.

Almost every weekend features some of the best ferias, or street fairs, in the city. It is certainly a contender for the most eclectic. Barrio Brasil’s reputation as a hub for community organization rings true, and it is not uncommon to see kiosks run by Chilean communist parties working side by side with food vendors from throughout the country, student organizers, craftspeople, and artists and entertainers. The ferias in Barrio Brasil are commonly viewed as more varied and authentically Chilean than similar ferias in the eastern part of the city. They make for a highly recommendable weekend afternoon.

Barrio Brasil, while providing basic entertainment such as restaurants and its beautiful Plaza Brasil, is first and foremost a district oriented toward community organization with a strong focus on arts, politics, and activism. It is in Central Santiago and a beautiful walk or short ride from other points of interest like La Moneda and Plaza de Armas. It is a great destination for an afternoon lunch or dinner paired with meandering around a feria or visiting Galpón Victor Jara.

Article by:
Emily Muñoz-Snyder

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