Fodor's Expert Review Museo Histórico Nacional
The colonial-era Palacio de la Real Audiencia served as the meeting place for Chile's first Congress in July 1811. The building then functioned as a telegraph office before the museum moved here in 1911. It's worth the small admission charge to see the interior of the 200-year-old structure, where exhibits tracing Chile's history from the preconquest period to the 20th century are arranged chronologically in rooms centered on a courtyard. Keep an eye out for Allende's eyeglasses. Ask for the English brochure and free audio guide, and if you are not heights-averse, take a tour up the tower for a bird's-eye view of the Plaza de Armas, cathedral, and downtown Santiago.