Photo: La Nación via Hernán Zenteno

Chacarita use to be an older low-radar neighborhood where their only claim to fame was having the largest collection of dead bodies around (Chacarita Cemetery is actually bigger than the more touristy Recoleta Cemetery).  Some might go as far as saying the area was a lot like a cemetery too – kind of boring, faded and with little obvious signs of life. But now it seems that the area has come to life and completely transformed. Even Airbnb has named Chacarita one of the top 17 trendy neighborhoods to look forward to in 2017.

This new hot spot for travelers has combined its old cemetery and historical sites with mouthwatering restaurants, cute little cafes, art exhibits and a vibrant nightlife. You could say Chicarita is now more “vintage chic” than “dusty old grandma.” Some actually have given the neighborhood some interesting nicknames, such as “Palermo Dead” and “Chacalermo” (both referring to its wild neighbor Palermo).

A popular food place that has popped up in the area is RITA, a swoon worthy lunch location that blends the new trends of the neighborhood with the warm patinaed feel that it still sustains. And another popular food spot is Elote, a location that shows the rich culture of the area, mixing a variety of Latin American dishes.

But even with all the new money and movement pouring into the neighborhood, the people have not forgotten about its rich historical history. The best example of the barrio conserving its history is through the restoration of an classic glass observatory called Comastri.

This dome shaped observatory was built on top of an impressive looking building in 1875. The building went through various phases, first being a home, then becoming a social and political center and then becoming a school for students with motor impairments. Now, it serves no specific purpose but there is the possibility that the building will be turned into a cultural center yet again.

Photo: La Nación via Hernán Zenteno
Photo: La Nación via Hernán Zenteno

But the first step to get this building running and becoming part of the vibrant life of Chacarita is to restore the observatory that gives off an Italian Renaissance aesthetic. In 2004, Comastri was officially dubbed a historical landmark and affirmed the importance of keeping the rich history of the neighborhood alive within all the changes.

“Having the city that we want means we must recuperate those treasures that have survived through time and have been witnesses and protagonists to our history,” said Franco Moccia, minister of Urban and Transportation Development.

The dome is now undergoing the third and last stage of its restoration and soon the residents of Chacarita will have yet another place that will push them forward as one of the trendiest neighborhoods for travelers to go visit.