Sophisticated and modern, Bogotá neighborhoods have something for everyone.
Sophisticated and modern, while steeped in colonial history with a progressive eye towards cutting-edge trends, Bogotá is one my favorite cities in South America. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining, cool bars, boutique shops, beautiful art galleries, spectacular panoramic views and much more, there’s a neighborhood just for you.
Here’s a simple breakdown of seven neighborhoods in one of the world’s best cities!
Reputation: Elegant architecture and center of art.
The 411: As the beautiful historic center of Bogotá, La Candelaria is the one of the city’s most visited and popular neighborhoods. Founded in 1538 by Spanish conquistadors, it’s the city’s oldest neighborhood, full of cool cafes, museums, restaurants and theaters. As a hotspot for art lovers and museum enthusiasts, check out Museo Botero (Museum Botero) to see over 200 pieces of world-renowned art from Picasso to Dali, as well as Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold) for a breathtaking glimpse of over 34,000 pieces of gold artifacts, ranging from the pre-Hispanic to the modern era.
Reputation: Fine dining and gay nightlife.
The 411: Known for its fine dining, Chapinero-Zona G is every foodie’s dream destination! This district is rich in culinary diversity, from superb sushi (Tanoshii Lounge & Sushi Bar), exquisite Italian food (Pimento Cucina Italiana), delectable ceviche (Central Cevicheria), world-renowned Peruvian cuisine (Astrid & Gatón), artfully crafted dishes of beautiful design (Criterion), and, of course, traditional Colombian cuisine (Harry Sasson).
Nicknamed ‘Chapigay’ or ‘Gay Hills’, this district is home to a large LGBT community and has some of the best nightlife in the city (check out Theatron, one of the city’s biggest gay clubs).
Reputation: Best nightlife and drinks.
The 411: Also known as “Zona T” (due to the T-shape of the district), Zona Rosa is where rollos (residents of Bogotá) go to party! One of the top spots is La Villa, with its Gringo Tuesdays (starts off as a fun language exchange for locals and foreigners before it heads to full party mode late into the night) and Exchange Salsa (free bilingual salsa lessons, which is vital for newcomers to learn to truly guarantee a good time). For the best martini in town, you have to go to Pravda.
Reputation: Downtown city center full of art galleries and spectacular cityscape views.
The 411: Completely surrounding La Candelaria is the sprawling district comprised of three neighborhoods, known as Santa Fé-Los Mártires. Sante Fé is the financial district, which doesn’t have much to do, whereas Los Mártires is a quiet, bohemian hot spot with art galleries, cafes, mid-priced to high-scale restaurants and is in general a great place to hang out. Though La Macarena has some good cheap eats, it’s not the safest place for a stroll, especially at night. Bogota’s MoMA houses some of Colombia’s most famous artists, including Alejandro Obregón, Fernando Botero, Enrique Grau Araujo and Édgar Negret and many more. For beautiful panoramic views of the city, stop by Bogotá’s tallest building (Torre Colpatria) and don’t forget to take a funicular ride (COP$14,000 or USD$4) up to Cerro de Monserrate for a breathtaking view of the cityscape!
Reputation: Beautiful scenery and great eateries.
The 411: Just north of Zona Rosa is Parque 93, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in all of Bogotá. The centerpiece is the park, which has temporary art exhibits, long and lovely pathways for a beautiful stroll with family or friends, and amazing views of surrounding mountains in the background, which, along with its tranquil ambience, perfectly sets the scene for a romantic evening picnic. For a romantic dinner Gato Negro is exquisite and divine, while one of the city’s coolest hangout spots for a drink is Salto del Angel.
Reputation: Boutique shops and luxury
The 411: Located in the northwest corner of the city, Usaquén boasts some high-end shopping malls and antique shops, a gigantic golf course (Country Club de Bogotá), and plenty of restaurants and clubs. Many of Bogotá’s elite can be seen strolling around the area, which means you may just brush shoulders with some of the country’s most influential denizens!
Reputation: Known for exciting sports stadiums and open-air concert venues.
The 411: If you’re fanatical about sports then this neighborhood has everything you need for a great time! The 48,000-seat capacity of Nemesio Camacho “El Campin” stadium makes it the place to catch a frenzied match on the pitch. No visit to Bogotá can be complete with a visit to Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park, the largest park in the city. And located within this sprawling green space is Simón Bolívar Aquatics Complex, a cutting-edge multi-purpose complex, is one of the best in South America, with an Olympic-sized pool and can host more than 4,000 people.