Viña del Mar  (population 286,931) is 120 kilometers northeast of Santiago  via Ruta 68 and about 10 kilometers north of Valparaíso  via Avenida España, which hugs the coastline. The Estero Marga Marga, a potentially stunning riverbank asset that’s been turned into a disgraceful backhoe parking lot crossed by a series of parallel bridges, splits the city into northern and southern sectors. There is an ambitious plan to transform the westernmost Marga Marga into a commercial marina within 12 years.
To the south, between the estuary and the railroad tracks, the current commercial district is centered on Plaza Vergara, with many of the city’s traditional mansions beyond the tracks, including the fabled grounds of the Quinta Vergara ; to the north, Avenida Libertad crosses the river to a more regular residential grid, where most streets and avenues bear numbers rather than names. They are further distinguished by direction—Norte (north), Oriente (east), or Poniente (west). At the district’s western edge, paralleling the beach, Avenida San Martín and surrounding side streets are home to most of Viña ’s better restaurants and nightlife venues.
Several blocks of Avenida Valparaíso, the main commercial thoroughfare, have been repaved and retiled into an attractive pedestrian mall. Terraces of luxury condos cover the beachfront hillsides of Reñaca, politically part of Viña del Mar  but with its own distinct identity.
Viña is less spontaneously engaging than Valparaíso —there are fewer real surprises as you walk around town—but there are scattered historical monuments and museums. One entertaining way of orienting yourself to town is to hire one of Plaza Vergara’s elegant victorias (horse-drawn carriages), for about US$15 per hour.