It´s central, safe and has it´s good share of beautiful spots- Providencia is the favourite quarter of many foreigners. Most universities have all or at least part of their campus here. There´s a great number of language schools for foreigners.
Providencia extends itself from the Cerro St. Cristobal in the north west, up until Tobalaba street in the east towards Las Condes- neighbourhood. In the south it is limited by the neighbourhood "Nunoa". The main road is called - Providencia, and runs parallel to the Mapuche River. That street is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars.
If you like to go out, check out the area around Manuel Montt/11. de Septiembre, Providencia Street, and the area around St. Isabel/ Avendia Italia. And of course Bellavista, the place with the highest density of tourists in Santiago. Here you will find many bars, clubs and restaurants. Although very touristy, almost every night of the week lots of chilenians come to enjoy bellavista´s nightlife in Pio Nono´s cheap pubs and bars. A nice, a little more upmarket place is "Patio Bellavista", a great patio with restaurants, bars and some live music.
In Bellavista walk up to the end of Pio Nono (it´s short) and get directly to the Hill "Cerro St. Cristobal". If you´re tough enough, walk through the entrance portal and turn right into a path after some 300 m. This path leads you up to the top in about 25 minutes. If you prefer to take it easy, take the furnicular from the base at the park entrance. The top of the hill offers the best view of Santiago, guaranteed. Needless to say if it´s winter, wait for some rain to wash away the smog before you go up. It´s healthier and the view is better...
Almost all Providencia is great for accomodation. The farther to the east (towards the Andes) you go, the more expensive and luxurious it usually gets. In the west part of Providencia, some of the most agreeable streets are Infante, Roman Diaz, Miguel Claro, beautiful Condell - among others. Bilbao, Pocuro and Salvador are the roads with the heaviest traffic.
Literally all streets from Pedro de Valdivia to the east offer good to excellent living conditions. Some have more traffic and some less, but almost all of them are lined with old trees, a welcome source of shadow in the summer. Here too, the big roads stretching from west to east are the ones with the heaviest traffic, such as Pocuro and Bilbao, 11 Septiembre and Providencia. If you can get an apartment in the area though, be happy: you´re staying in one of the greatest places of Santiago.
Important for business or if you want to buy a car/property: At the office of the "SII" (Servicios de Impuestos Internos) you can get a chilean ID called RUT for foreigners. That card helps you a lot when you want to buy something in Chile, whatever it may be. You just need to bring your passport and immediately get a provisory RUT, and the plastic card will be waiting for you some 6 weeks later in the same office. The RUT is not to be confused with a Visa, it´s just a card with a number and without foto to assign you a number.
For business travellers: Providencia is home to smaller, service-focused companies like architects, private universities, callcenters, medical doctors and hospitals.
Soon to open in Providencia: The Cencosud Center, the biggest Shopping Complex of South America. Built by German-Chilean Mogul Horst Paulmann, this center will have banks, hotels, and a whole lot of shops. It is due to open in 2011.