At the east end of the Alameda, lively Plaza Italia (formally known as Plaza Baquedano) marks the boundary of the comuna of Providencia, the westernmost of the affluent eastern suburbs that also include Las Condes , Vitacura, and Ñuñoa . While this mostly staid, middle-class to upper-middle-class area has shopping malls that look like something straight out of the San Fernando Valley, it also has Bohemian enclaves like Barrio Bellavista  (Santiago’s main restaurant and nightlife area) and bar-hopper zones like Avenida Suecia.
From Plaza Italia, the northbound Puente Pío Nono (Pío Nono bridge) crosses the Mapocho to Barrio Bellavista. The area’s most conspicuous landmark is the 31-story Torre Telefónica CTC (Av. Providencia 111), the company headquarters in the form of a 140-meter cell phone! While the company’s architectural aesthetic may be questionable, its Sala de Arte Telefónica (tel. 02/6812873) is open 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily with rotating exhibits of notable Chilean and foreign artists. Admission is free.
South of Plaza Italia, Avenida Vicuña Mackenna separates the comunas of Santiago Centro, on the one hand, and Providencia and Ñuñoa , on the other. On the Providencia side, the Museo Nacional Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (Av. Vicuña Mackenna 94, tel. 02/2229642) honors the mayor, historian, journalist, and diplomat responsible for the capital’s 1870s modernization. Hours are 10 a.m.–6:10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Saturday; admission costs US$1 for adults, half that for children and seniors.
On the Mapocho’s north bank between the Padre Letelier and Pedro de Valdivia bridges, the open-air Parque de las Esculturas (Av. Santa María 2201, tel. 02/3407303) showcases abstract works by contemporary Chilean sculptors. Open 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily, it also has an enclosed gallery with rotating exhibitions.
Providencia’s newest art facility is the Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano (Av. Costanera Andrés Bello 1877, tel. 02/244 1430), a private collection of more than 400 paintings, drawings, and sculptures from throughout the region and selected other Spanish-speaking areas.
Artists on display include Picasso, Dalí, and the Mexican muralists José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera, as well as Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo. Hours are 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily except Monday; admission costs US$3.50 per person.
The Municipalidad de Providencia offers free open-air bus tours of the comuna, visiting sites such as the Museo Nacional Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna, Neruda’s La Chascona  house in Barrio Bellavista, and the Parque Metropolitana. These leave from the borough’s Centro de Información Turística (Av. Providencia 2359, tel. 02/3742743, www.providencia.cl , informacionturistica [at] providencia [dot] cl); schedules and itineraries change from month to month.