With so many things to see and do, here’s a simple breakdown.
Few cities endear itself more to the heart of visitors than Bogotá. Steeped in colonial history and diverse culture, avant-garde art and street graffiti, passionate music and cool bars, exquisite restaurants and bohemian cafes, this city has a way of captivating the mind like no other.
With so many things to see and do, here’s a simple breakdown of the top 13 things to do in Bogotá!
1. Explore The Bohemian Neighborhood Of La Candelaria.
Situated in the city’s historic downtown district, La Candelaria is THE place to sightsee and the preferred area to stay at in Bogotá. Centrally located and full of expats, this bohemian neighborhood is always the first stop for visitors given some of the most worthwhile sights are located nearby, including Plaza de Bolívar, Museo del Oro, Museo Botero, Casa de Nariño (Colombia’s presidential palace) and Cerro de Monserrate. A hotspot for cool cafes and restaurants, not to mention full of spectacular museums and theatres, La Candelaria has everything you need for a great time!
2. Gaze In Wonder Inside The Gold-Filled Museo del Oro.
With over 55,000 gold artifacts, spanning from pre-Hispanic cultures to modern time, a visit to Museo del Oro will leave you mesmerized by the glitz of such a breathtaking display! From animal-like statuettes (e.g. jaguar/frog, man/eagle) made of pure gold, impressive female figurines of the Zenú (pre-Colombian society) to the famous tunjo (gold votive) of Balsa Musica (a boat figurine made entirely of gold), there’s a reason why Museo del Oro remains Bogotá’s most popular museum. For a deeper understanding of Colombia’s rich history and treasured past, I highly recommend visiting the museum between Tuesday and Sunday (11am-4pm) for a free one-hour tour (in Spanish and English).
3. See Firsthand Some Of The World’s Greatest Artists At Museo Botero.
Named after Colombia’s most famous artist (Fernando Botero), Museo Botero houses artwork from some of the world’s greatest artists, including Picasso, Chagall, Monet, Miró, Renoir and Dali. The highlight of the museum is unquestionably the various robust paintings and sculptors of women, oranges, birds, mustached men, key members of Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), produced by Botero. Entrance is free and photos are allowed inside (without flash).
4. Catch A Breathtaking View Of Bogotá From Cerro de Monserrate.
For an unforgettable view of Bogotá’s magnificent cityscape, a visit to Cerro de Monserrate will surely take your breath away! Atop the 3,152m (10,341ft) mountain, you’ll see a church and a shrine dedicated to El Señor Caído (Fallen Lord). To reach the mountaintop, you need to take a funicular ride, which costs COP$14,000 or USD$4.
5. Dine On Juicy Steaks At Andres Carne de Res.
If you love a good steak then no stay at Bogotá can be complete without dinner at one of the world’s most legendary steakhouses: Andres Carne de Res. Complete with surreal décor, gimmicky menus that hang down from the rafters and a lively atmosphere that will have you wanting more, this is one of my favorite restaurants in all of South America!
6. Party-It-Up In La Zona Rosa.
Famous for nightlife and drinks, La Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is THE place to let loose and dance the night away! With so many restaurants, bars and clubs in the area, it’s little wonder why so rollos (residents of Bogotá) and foreigners come here to have a good time. We highly recommend La Villa, for its incredibly fun Gringo Tuesdays (free language exchange for locals and foreigners) and the always sexy Exchange Salsa night (free bilingual salsa dance lessons, guaranteed to get your heart pumping!). For the best martini in the city, Pravda can make them like no other!
7. Take A Free Tour Around The City With Bogotá Bike Tours.
With more than two million Bogotanos (almost 30% of the city’s population) riding on more than 300km of specially designated bicycle lanes, Bogotá is a cyclist’s dream! To ensure a quality time in this beautiful city, make sure to visit Bogotá Bike Tours, which offer everything from free walking tours, bicycle tours and rentals and even cooking classes!
8. Ride In Style Like A True Local During Ciclovía.
Don’t think for a second that the cycling ends when the tour ends! No bicycle-enthusiast can leave without a ride during the Ciclovía, a hugely popular biking event that began more than 40 years ago. Every Sunday, (7am-2pm) and during every festivals, many roadways are closed off to cars and open only to bicyclists.
9. Embrace World Class Street Art With Bogotá Graffiti Tour.
Bogotá is a city renowned for its visionary artists. Take stroll with one of the city’s most well respected tours Bogotá Graffiti Tour and see firsthand how graffiti remains the creative pulse by which this city breathes beautiful art into the world. There are free tours every day (though donations are always welcomed), wear comfortable walking shoes and tours are conducted in English (tours in Spanish and German can be arranged).
10. Don’t Miss An Unforgettable Daytrip To The Salt Cathedral.
Located just an hour outside of the city, Zipaquirá remains the most popular daytrip from Bogotá. The highlight of the town is the Cathedral de Sal de Zipaquirá (Salt Cathedral), a Roman Catholic cathedral constructed 200m (656ft) below ground and produced entirely of salt excavated from a local salt mine. Featuring neon-blue lighting and a Matrix-esque type of atmosphere, more than 3,000 tourists flock to this incredibly popular tourist destination every day.
11. Visit Colombia’s Most Beautiful Church, Museo Iglesia de Santa Clara.
As the oldest church in Bogotá, Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara is one of the visited and celebrated sites in the entire city. Constructed between 1629-1674, the church is operated by the government and doubles as an impressive museum, featureing148 paintings and countless sculptors. Entrance is free.
12. Embrace The Beauty Of Nature At Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park.
Beloved by locals and tourists alike, Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park is the largest green space in the entire city. Conveniently located in the city’s city, the park features more than 400 acres of open space, trees, lakes, public facilities, as well as an Olympic-sized swimming pool, gym, sauna, motocross track, amusement theme park and water park! If you were to include the surrounding green spaces, Parque Simón Bolívar (as it’s known locally) would encompass more than 970 acres, far exceeding the acreage of New York City’s Central Park. No wonder it’s known as the ‘Lung of the City’!
13. Shop The Finest Artisanal & Crafts Goods At Artesanías de Colombia.
Bogotá is known for its niche boutiques and local markets, especially when it comes to high-grade leather and quality wool goods. The natural oils found in wool, farmed locally from the high plains, make them almost waterproof and a highly desirable material in hand-woven ruanas (ponchos). Not to mention, toquilla (a native fiber of straw) has been a favorite of local artisans to make everything from hats, shoes, handbags and umbrellas. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, then Artesanías de Colombia is THE place to shop in Bogotá!