Wondering what to do in Bogotá? Colombia’s capital, Bogotá is a sprawling, metropolitan city. That means there’s no shortage of things to see in Bogotá. Here I am going to give you the lowdown on 14 fun things to do in Bogotá that I’ve actually done myself. I’m also going to throw in a few honorable mentions that are on my list of activities in Bogotá for the next time I go.
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14 Things Do in Bogotá – What to See in Bogotá
So the truth is, despite living in Colombia for 8 years now, I’ve spent remarkably little time in Bogotá. I traveled there several years back with my wife Susana, and recently returned with Susana and my mother in the summer of 2019.
There’s quite a number of things to see in Bogotá! In fact, there are a number of things I would like to do in Bogotá that I haven’t been able to. However, here I’m going to tell you about 14 things to do in Bogotá that I have done. And at the end I’ll mention those I hope to get to do soon.
I hope they help you plan what to do in Bogotá when you visit!
1. Visit Monserrate
You will probably see this number 1 or very high on just about any list of things to do in Bogotá. That’s because it is absolutely worth doing!
The hill of Monserrate was sacred to the indigenous Muisca people, and after colonization, the Spanish also built a shrine atop it. Today, ascending the hill is a popular attraction. There are cable cars, or if you’re up to it, you can also walk up the hill.
Once at the top, you can see the shrine, some pretty gardens, and enjoy the spectacular view of the city below (the photo at the top of this article is from atop Monserrate). Everyone recommends Monserrate for a reason. It really is a can’t miss activity in Bogotá.
For more info on Monserrate, check out my full visitors guide here.
While it isn’t necessary to book a tour in advance, if you’d like to here are a few tours that include Monserrate:
- Full Day Tour including Monserrate, Candelaría, museums, and lunch (via GetYourGuide)
- Full Day Tour including Monserrate, La Candelaría and the Gold Museum (via Viator)
- Full Day Tour including Monserrate, several museums, and food tasting (via Viator)
- Half Day Tour including Monserrate, Candelaría, and museums (via GetYourGuide)
- Private Tour of Monserrate including Lunch (via GetYourGuide)
2. Visit the Quinta de Bolívar
Simón Bolívar is known as the Liberator and played a leading role in the wars of independence. He later served as president of the Republic of Colombia, more commonly known today as Gran Colombia, that included Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, and Colombia.
For his service, the new nation gifted him a piece of land on the then outskirts of the capital. Although Bolívar spent much of his life traveling, he did spend time here as well. Today, the home and its grounds are a museum. The grounds and mansion are pretty and you can learn a bit more about his life.
The Quinta de Bolívar is just down the hill from the entrance to Monserrate, easily reached walking, making it number 2 on this list of things to see in Bogotá.
For more info on the Quinta de Bolívar, check out my full visitors guide here.
3. Explore La Candelaría – Bogotá’s Historic District
La Candelaría is Bogotá’s historic city center. There are a number of things to see and do here. It is a popular spot for hostels, and there are some neat and trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants.
With lots of neat street art and colorful buildings, it’s fun just to walk around and explore a bit. Be sure you check out the Plazoleta Chorro de Quevado with its church La Ermita San Miguél Principe, the site where most consider the city to have been founded. From there, be sure to stroll down the Callejón Embudo and enjoy the street art.
There are a slew of tours through La Candelaría. Here are a few:
- Beyond Colombia’s Free Walking Tour (they also have free food tours and a tour about Colombia’s internal conflict)
- Walking Tour of La Candelaría (great value and has great reviews, via Viator)
- Bike Tour of Downtown Bogotá (unique and has a ton of great reviews, via Viator)
- Candelaría Graffiti Tour (via Viator)
- Note: Most of the tours listed above for Monserrate also include a tour of La Candelaría
4. Explore Bolívar Plaza
As all great former Spanish colonial capitals do, Bogotá has its central plaza with the house of government and cathedral. Known today as the Plaza Bolívar, it is next on this list of things to do in Bogotá.
At the Plaza Bolívar, you can see the Colombian Capital that houses Congress with the Palace of Justice that houses the Supreme Court opposite it. You can also see the National Cathedral.
And there is of course a statue of Simón Bolívar and lots of pigeons to hang out with.
5. Visit the Museo del Oro
Next up on this list of things to do in Bogotá is the country’s Gold Museum. Colombia’s indigenous peoples were expert goldsmiths. Gold was used for a number of religious and social purposes by ancient cultures.
Unfortunately, much of their work was stolen and melted down by the Spanish. However, some of it remains. You can see some great examples on display at the Museo del Oro. Some of it is really impressive. My favorites are the little figurines made to look like birds and other animals. Also, there is an incredible raft complete with oarsmen in the museum. It is undoubtedly another of the can’t miss things to do in Bogotá.
For more info on the Gold Museum, check out my full visitors guide here.
For tours that include the Gold Museum check these out:
- Full Day Tour including Monserrate, Candelaría, and lunch (via GetYourGuide)
- Full Day Tour including Monserrate, La Candelaría and the Gold Museum (via Viator)
- Guided Tour of the Gold Museum (via Viator)
- Half Day Tour including Monserrate, Candelaría, and the museum (via GetYourGuide)
6. Visit the Museo Botero
Fernando Botero is Colombia’s most famous artist. Much of his work he has donated to his native country to be enjoyed by all Colombians. A lot of it is on display at the Botero Museum, the next thing on this list of attractions in Bogotá.
At the museum, you can see lots of Botero’s paintings and statues, as well as some of his personal collection, including works from Dali and Picasso. Located within the same complex is a museum of Colombia’s mint. Best of all its all free!
For more info on the Botero Museum, check out my full visitors guide here.
Many of the tours listed above for Monserrate, La Candelaría, and the Gold Museum include a stop at the Botero Museum if you’d like a guide or to combine a visit with some of the other things to see in Bogot´å.
7. Try Ajiaco
Ajiaco is practically an institution in Bogotá. This hearty soup is made with chicken, corn, and three types of potatoes. It is served with white rice and a slice of avocado. Be sure to throw in a few capers and drizzle some cream on top for the complete experience.
You will notice Bogotá can be a bit chilly, which is all the more reason to enjoy this traditional soup native to Bogotá. You will find Ajiaco at any restaurant serving up traditional fare in Bogotá, and there are lots that specialize in it located in La Candelaria around the Plaza Bolívar. It makes for a great lunch, especially on a chilly day.
8. Visit the Salitre Mágico Amusement Park
Ok, this item on the list of attractions in Bogotá is probably more for Colombia residents like us than international travelers. Salitre Mágico may not hold a candle to Disney World, however it’s still a fun way to spend half a day.
The park has a decent roller coaster, a ferris wheel, and a great haunted house. There’s also a Boeing 727 jet on display, games, and some smaller rides. A bit off the gringo beaten path, Salitre Mágico would be an especially attractive option for those looking for things to do with children in Bogotá.
For more info on Salitre Mágico, consult their website here.
9. Take the Tourist Train to the Salt Cathedral
This would also qualify as one of the family friendly things to do in Bogotá. A visit to the Zipauira Salt Cathedral is a great way to spend half a day and see a unique attraction. The former salt mine turned tourist attraction is considered the First Wonder of Colombia, and is a common inclusion on lists of things to do in Bogotá.
However, if you’d like to see it in a unique way, take the Tourist Train de la Sabana. You’ll get to ride on a historic train that will take you to Zipaquira and then stop at the little town of Cajicá on its way back to Bogotá. It’s a nice, rustic way to enjoy a bit of scenery outside the city.
For more info on taking the train to Zipaquira, see my full visitors guide here.
If you want to see the Cathedral but skip the train, you can also check out these tours:
- Private Salt Cathedral Tour (via GetYourGuide)
- Get a Prepaid Entrance Ticket (via Viator)
- Half Day Tour to the Salt Cathedral (via Viator)
- Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita (via Viator)
- Salt Cathedral Group Tour (via GetYourGuide)
- Salt Cathedral and Lake Guatavita (via GetYourGuide)
10. Explore Chapinero
Chapinero is one of Bogotá’s nicest neighborhoods. Several of the city’s universities are located here, and the area feels a bit like a college town. It’s plenty safe to walk around, and there are some cool restaurants, bars, and cafes. We had some great burgers at Gordo Brooklyn Restaurant, and the pizza at Bobs Cafe also looked great.
Chapinero is also a great place to stay in Bogotá. The prices are much more reasonable than in Zona Rosa, its safer than most spots in La Candelaria (especially at night), and it’s still very close to most of the attractions in Bogot´á.
We have stayed at both the Hotel L’Etoile and the 6 Suites Hotel in Chapinero. We liked L’Etoile, but liked 6 Suites just a bit more since it’s a bit more in the neighborhood and not on a busy avenue.
Regardless of whether you stay there or not though, it’s worth walking around in Chapinero and sampling the great food, or stopping by the next place on this list of things to do in Bogotá.
11. Recharge with a Coffee at Amor Perfecto
You can’t visit Colombia without sampling some of its world famous coffee. On our last visit to Bogotá, we stopped in and tried some at Amor Perfecto, just a short walk from 6 Suites.
They have 2 other locations in Bogotá. The coffee was delicious, and they have a number of different methods you can have it prepared. Stopping in and enjoying a coffee here is certainly one of the best activities in Bogotá!
With a nice area with magazines and newspapers, this would also be a great spot for digital nomads, even aspiring ones like me.
12. Enjoy a Craft Beer at BBC
As a Beer Lover, this has to be on my list of what to do in Bogotá!
Bogotá Beer Company have been pioneers in bringing craft beer to Colombia. While they were bought out several years back, they still are true to their origins and serve up very solid beer. My favorites are the Septimazo IPA and Macondo Coffee Stout.
BBC has a number of locations around Bogotá. Some are small, Bodega watering holes, while others have full restaurant service. Regardless, stopping in for a beer or three is another one of the can’t miss things to do in Bogotá. Enjoying one at the airport is also a must for me anytime I fly through Bogotá.
There are a number of other craft breweries in Bogotá worth trying as well. We stopped into Estatua Rota once with my friend Tom, and it had great beer and a cool vibe. Tom says they have great burgers too, and I consider him a trustworthy source. Other beers I’ve had the pleasure of trying elsewhere that hail from Bogotá include Chelarte, Manigua, and 6 Pesos.
If you want to know more about the craft beer scene in Colombia, be sure to check out my list of Colombian craft beers to try.
Looking for craft beer in Cartagena? See where to find it here.
13. Have Dinner at Andres DC
Andres Carne de Res has also become an institution in Bogotá. Their original location is located outside the city in the suburb of Chía. However, they have a newer location in town at Andres DC.
I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. It is sort of like a Colombian version of Hard Rock Cafe, but the food is actually good, but like really good. They are known for their steaks, and they are worth it. The carne de trapero is their signature, and it is juicy and delicious.
It is pricey. However, word to the wise, most of their steaks come in a smaller and larger portion. Susana and I were able to share one of the larger portions.
However, it’s not just the food that makes dinner here fun. The place has DJs and encourages a sort of nightclub atmosphere. It is a particularly great place to celebrate a birthday or other event. Go and enjoy a steak, and maybe even get your boogie on.
It is highly recommended to make reservations before hand. If you’d like to book transportation to and from Andres DC and have your reservations arranged, you can do so through Viator here.
If you’d prefer to get the full experience and go to the original Chía location, you can do so with the following tours:
- Day Tour-includes Salt Cathedral, Candelaría, and Andres Carne de Res (via GetYourGuide)
- Transfer to and From Andres Carne de Res (3 hours at the restaurant, via GetYourGuide)
- Tour to the Salt Cathedral and Andres Carne de Res (via Viator)
14. Go Out in the Zona Rosa
Bogotá’s Zona Rosa, aka Zona T (technically one area of the Zona Rosa), is the location of its posh nightclubs. You’ll also find lots of nice restaurants here. In fact Andres DC is located adjacent to the Zona T.
You’ll find bars or clubs for just about any taste around this area. A bit farther to the north, you will also find nice places around Parque 93 (although its more dining than partying and has more to do during the daytime).
Either area makes for a great place to treat yourself to a nice dinner and drinks.
Honorable Mentions – A Few More Things to Do in Bogotá
Ok, so these are the activities in Bogotá I have not done but have at the top of my list for the next time I’m there.
Visit the Museo Nacional
I know, I know, a historian and I haven’t been to the National Museum. We had planned to do it back in July, but just didn’t have the time in the afternoon. It is, at least for me, a must do in Bogotá on my next visit. Learn more about visiting the museum at its website.
Visit Jaime Duque Park
This is Susana’s top of the list of must see things in Bogotá next time. The Parque Jaime Duque is located a bit north of the city in the town of Tocancipá. It is a combination theme park, zoo, and nature park. There are even replicas of the the Taj Mahal, the 7 Wonders of the World, and a giant map of Colombia. It seems a tad odd, but in a very fun way. Check out its website to learn more.
Visit the Guatavita Lake
La Laguna de Guatavita is located about 2 hours outside of Bogotá and is a popular day trip. The lake was sacred to the Muisca. They reportedly made gold offerings to their gods in the lake, leading to many Spanish attempts to drain it and find all the buried treasure. In addition to enjoying the view of the lake itself, it sits in a natural park and there are also signs explaining the history. If you’d like to learn more about visiting the lake, check out this great guide from How to Bogotá. Several of the tours listed above for the Salt Cathedral also go to Lake Guatavita.
Visit the Botanical Gardens
Bogotá’s Botanical Gardens are located just outside of Chapinero, near the Simón Bolívar Metropolitan Park (almost like Bogotá’s version of Central Park). The gardens show off a ton of flora and fauna, and would be a good way to escape the hustle and bustle of Colombia’s largest city. Learn more about them at their website.
There you have it. 14 Fun things to do in Bogotá along with a few bonus honorable mentions to help you decide what to do in Bogotá when you visit. I’d love to hear what you enjoyed the most or any other suggestions you have to add to out list for next time in the comments below.
Cheers and Happy Exploring!
Looking for a place to stay in Bogotá?
I highly recommend where we stayed during our last visit at the 6 Suites Hotel. It’s a nice, cozy property with comfortable rooms, located in safe area with lots of nearby restaurants and easy access to many of the Bogotá’s main attractions, and it’s a terrific value.
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You may also be interested in the following posts on things to do in Bogotá:
Take a Train to Explore the Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral
Seeing the Street Art on Bogotá’s Callejón Embudo
Quinta de Bolívar, the Liberator’s Bogotá Mansion – Visitors Guide
Visitors Guide to the Botero Museum in Bogotá
Visitors Guide to the Bogotá Gold Museum
Explore Bogota’s Chapel in the Sky – Visitor’s Guide to Monserrate
Planning your trip to explore Cartagena?
Check out the following posts to help plan:
Insider’s Guide to the Best Areas to Stay in Cartagena
Complete Packing List for Cartagena
Top Things to Do in Cartagena