Bogota, the capital of Colombia, with a population of around 8 million people is located at an altitude of 2,640 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest capital cities in the world. Known for its historical center in La Candelaria and its world-class museums, mountain views, and fine dining, Bogotá is a must-visit destination for lovers of culture and the arts. Since Bogotá is a sprawling metropolis, deciding how to spend your time there can be challenging. With this in mind, we’ll review the top-rated things to do in Bogota.
Walk Around Plaza de Bolivar
Let’s get the obvious things to do out of the way first, with a walk around Plaza de Bolivar, a beautiful colonial square located in the heart of the historical area of the city. Surrounding the square are some stunning cathedrals, monuments, and palaces for you to indulge yourself in the colonial part of the city. Be sure to walk up some of the hills toward the mountain, as you will be able to see some nice colonial houses and a great view of the area.
Explore La Candelaria
The Candelaria neighborhood makes up Bogotá’s historic center, ranking it as the top thing to do in the city. This area is filled with Spanish colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, churches, endless museums, and even street art! You’ll probably spend a good amount of your time in La Candelaria since it houses most of the city’s main attractions.
For example, you can find many of Bogotá’s best museums, like the Gold Museum, the Botero Museum, and the Colonial Museum here. Moreover, historic sites like Monserrate, the Plaza del Chorro de Quevedo, and the Calle del Embudo are also located in this neighborhood.
Go Up the Cerro Monserrate
It is by far everyone’s favorite thing to do in Bogotá. A few minutes’ walk away from Plaza de Bolivar, there is a Teleferico de Monserrate, a cable car station where you can take a cable car up to the lookout point on Cerro Monserrate. The lookout is a perfect place to watch the sunset over the cityscape of Bogotá. We highly recommend you to see this place both at night and during the day. It gives a different vibe depending on when you are there.
Peruse The Botero Museum
The Museo Botero, located in the Candelaria neighborhood, is one of the best free things to do in Bogotá. Famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero donated 208 pieces of art to create this institution under the condition that it be open to the public. It opened on November 1, 2000, and is now considered one of Latin America’s most important international art collections.
Even if you aren’t familiar with Botero’s work, you’ll enjoy experiencing his signature style in person. If you didn’t know, he’s best known for depicting people and other subjects on a larger-than-normal scale! Apart from Botero’s 123 pieces in the museum, you’ll also find 85 artworks by other artists, including Picasso, Monet, and Dalí.
Enjoy Local Dinner at Andres DC
The giant local restaurant/bar with several floors dedicated to different types of people from fine dining to a salsa dance floor, Andres DC is a perfect place for dinner. The amazing and particular decor, the delicious food, and the friendly live band that comes up to your table and dances with you will leave you nothing but great memories of Bogotá.
See the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Carmen is a Catholic temple built in the Florentine Gothic Style. Situated in the historic Candelaria neighborhood, this church was designed by architect Giovanni Buscaglione. Although construction began in 1926, Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen was not consecrated until 1938.
You’ll most likely recognize this church from a distance, thanks to its red and white striped façade! The National Shrine of Our Lady of Carmen is open every day from 7:30 am-11:30 am. Nonetheless, even if the temple is closed to visitors, we still recommend walking by to see the exterior of this colorful landmark!
Book a Street Art Tour
Did you know that Colombia’s capital is famous for its vibrant street art and graffiti? One of the best things to see in Bogotá is all of the beautiful art surrounding its historic center. If you’d like to take a quick look at some of the murals in La Candelaria, take a walk down Calle del Embudo.
Our recommendation is the Original Bogota Graffiti Tour, which is available at 10 am every day in English. Additionally, this company offers private Spanish, German, French, and English tours for smaller groups. We highly suggest having cash on hand on the day of your tour. You’ll need it to be able to leave a donation at the end of the experience.
Visit the Gold Museum
Who doesn’t like gold? The Gold Museum in Bogotá contains the largest collection of gold artifacts in the world, most of which are from pre-Columbian times. You will get to see the history of the people who inhabited Colombia before the Spanish colonists unfold through their shamanistic rituals and craftsmanship. It offers a different perspective on the history of the indigenous people here.
Sunday Stroll at Usaquén Flea Market
After various adventures, there is no better way to relax on a sunny Sunday than to go to Usaquén park and enjoy the quieter and more relaxed vibe of the city. There is a flea market at the park where you can find all kinds of handicrafts and hipster items for souvenirs. If you are not interested in shopping, there are also areas where you can sit and enjoy a cup of Colombian finest coffee while listening to music performed by local street performers. A memorable end to your trip in Bogotá.