Sunday lives in Parque Forestal

Santiago de Chile, home to more than five million people, remains a city of critical air pollution levels. Yet, when weather and jobs allow, the many parks around the city entice the citizens outside their homes and offices. In the center of town, a particular 172,000 square meters of green grass and gravel path embodies more magic than any other park in the city.

Photo by Oscar González
Photo by Oscar González

Constructed in 1894, the traditional Parque Forestal stretches from Plaza Italia to Estación Mapocho, all the while bordering the Mapocho river. Almost 7,000 trees make this park the biggest lung in the middle of the dense, concrete jungle.

An average day finds the park packed with people enjoying the peaceful ambience, escaping the cement streets and exercising. The park also remains the best place for a run with your (or a random) dog. However, the fun and joy explodes into euphoria on Sundays, when the people occupying this space truly make it their own.

Photo by Oscar González
Photo by Oscar González

A theater producing all kinds of art entertains the crowd, with new performances starting every 30 minutes, channelling an animated spirit throughout the park. Fransisca, 35 years old, sells soy burgers to patrons. Seing Parque Forestal as a huge platform, offering happiness to everyone, she says, "I have been selling all kinds of foods all over Santiago, but even for us, this place is much more fun than other places in the city. We are all connected so we always have a good time.”

Mateo, an art craft man says, "It’s a place where we can do what we love to do, sometimes it goes well and sometimes it doesn’t, but every Sunday there is a new experience that I use for inspiration in my work."

Photo by Oscar González
Photo by Oscar González

The Bellas Artes museum, a perfect partner to Parque Forestal, shows permanent and new exhibitions. Just outside the museum, acrobats take their coordination and creativity to another level in dextrous street acts.

For foreigners, a Sunday in Parque Forestal demonstrates a balance of Chilean folk traditions and the modern city. The trees, dogs, bikes, music, shows and laughs create a perfect energy. Every park visitor feels easy and relaxed.

It all comes together in Parque Forrestal, spend a Sunday there and experience the perfect vibe that keeps you pumping all week.

To get to Parque Forestal in the heart of Santiago, head to Metro Baquedano (Lines 1 and 5) or Metro Bellas Artes (Line 5)

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