Taking kids sightseeing in a (hot) city – why do it

Exactly my sentiments, why would you do it?!!

We arrived in Santiago city just over a week ago.  My husband is visiting  car dealers and  private sellers in search of our perfect and cheap  home on wheels (casa rodanates) so we can begin our journey through Chile.   We have given ourselves 2 weeks  to find  a vehicle but that may have been ambitious!  In the meantime however, I’ve been entertaining the kids – a one and a three year old.  Not easy in a foreign city, but  do-able.   We have tried and tested every park we can find within walking distance! However, today I decide to go and visit a museum of which there are plenty.

Most museums are closed on Monday. It’s a Thursday so we are off to a good start.   We begin the 40 min walk.  First stop, a protest. octobernovemberSantiago2012 228 Not uncommon here, and it is more like walking through a national day celebration.    Chanting, drumming, whistle blowing: think ticket tape parade.  Its day 6 of hospital staff protests  and it’s still going strong.

We continue on, its hot.  Clear blue skies and 30 degree weather, almost everyday.  We should be at the beach, but the closest seaside town is 2 hours away and the magnificent open air pool in the city doesn’t open til 25 November, 3 weeks away.

My 3 year old son is getting tired, so he has a turn in the pram and I carry my one year old in the handy ergo carrier.  I can sense we are getting close –  yes, there it is, the Museo de Pre Columbino, but its shut down for re-construction.  I had even checked first on the internet and it said  some exhibits were still open.

not a good sign....
not a good sign….

I’m worn out, so I go to Plan B – head to the park!!!  On the way, I see a “I love smoothie” sign – perfect.  I love smoothies too.  So we stop.  Passer bys look at me – I have two blonde kids, it’s normale!  Then I notice, the Bhang lassi sign….  oh dear..  I check with the waitress – please no drugs in our smoothies.

We finally arrive at the park – my sons are pleased.  I’m pleased too –  the museum will have to wait for another time…..


octobernovemberSantiago2012 186
fascinated with the water fountains

So, what to do in a city then?   Do as the kids do….. chase pigeons in the park, throw stones in the water fountains, or jump in if you can (kids not you!), run through sprinklers, play hide and seek, stop for a delicious gelati,  head somewhere cool……  Most of all, RELAX….

So why come to Santiago to visit parks and playgrounds??  Well, for older kids walking around a city may be interesting, but for littlies, its hot, tedious,  boring and could be a precursor for potential meltdowns!!

octobernovemberSantiago2012 133
running through park sprinklers on a hot day

Definitely,  sightsee but chose your places well (especially in hot cities) and especially when on foot – the journey can be as interesting (and tiring) as the destination,  try not to squeeze too much in and  do your research as best as you can beforehand.

While your kids are playing in the park, they will soak up the atmosphere of being in a different city. Meeting kids and other families, who will stop and say ‘hola’, notice the street vendors, the yellow fire hydrants, the street dogs who wander and flop in the shade,  the  noise, smells and the  general feel of the city they are in.

During our stay, we have done some sightseeing as a family, peppered amongst the administrative boring jobs – of  going to dealers, government offices, accessing money (an afternoon filler in itself) as well as the everyday stuff (supermarket shopping, park plays, library visits, even attending an English speaking mum’s group).

The city has a good transport system but the metro underground stations are mostly accessed via stairs (some do exist with lift access – good luck finding which ones!).

Otherwise, walk (enjoy the freedom of not having a car), catch a taxi (reasonably cheap) or catch a bus (if you can work out where you need to go).

See recommendation of things to do in Santiago which are free and fun in my next blog

Check out:



English speaking mums group in Santiago on facebook – information/news/meet ups.

kids occupying themselves
kids occupying themselves