Things to do in Bogotá

Things to do in  Bogotá

A mountainous metropolis

Steeped in history and cosmopolitan cool—and freshened by breezes from the surrounding Andes mountains—Bogotá is bustling and unapologetically bold. While Colombia’s capital might not be as immediately charming as Medellin and Cartagena, stick around for a couple of days, and you’re bound to be seduced by its Latin spirit, striking architecture, and burgeoning food scene. Things to do are dazzlingly diverse and range from admiring street art in quaint La Candelaria, visiting the Catholic pilgrimage site on Mt. Monserrate, dancing salsa ‘til dawn in Zona Rosa, descending underground to the Zipaquira Salt Cathedral, and sipping freshly ground coffee grown just miles away in the trendy Usaquén district.

Top 15 attractions in Bogotá

Plaza de Bolivar

Bogotá’s main square is built on a grand scale, from a landmark statue of Simón Bolívar to the 16th-century La Catedral Primada. In between is a colorful crowd of vendors, travelers, and downtown workers. A starting point for exploring the historic La Candelaria neighborhood, the Plaza de Bolivar is a key stop for visitors to Bogotá.More

Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate)

Towering 10,341 feet (3,152 meters) tall at the edge of Bogotá, forested Mt. Monserrate (Cerro de Monserrate) can be spotted from across the city. Set like a pearl on the summit is the Monserrate Sanctuary, a 17th-century church whose shrine is a major pilgrimage place for Colombian Catholics.More

La Candelaria (Historic Old Town)

The graceful and carefully planned Spanish colonial city center, known as La Candelaria, is the oldest part of Bogotá, Colombia. Now a vibrant hub of activity for young artists, bohemian university students, and hip indie businesses, La Candelaria centers on Plazuela del Chorro del Quevedo, the spot where the city was founded in 1537.More

Zipaquira Salt Cathedral (Catedral de Sal)

This spacious cathedral is carved into a warren of salt mines 600 feet (183 mt) below the ground. Venture into the Salt Cathedral to see chapels and altars carved directly into solid rock, learn about the mine’s history, and see intricate statues in chapels representing the Stations of the Cross.More

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro)

Gold Museum (Museo del Oro) is one of the city’s most popular attractions. It sparkles with more than 55,000 priceless archaeological and artistic treasures. Only a fraction can be displayed at any one time, laid out to tell tales of pre-Colombian mining, manufacturing, and metallurgy of pre-Hispanic Colombians.More

Botero Museum (Museo Botero)

While the plump proportions of Fernando Botero’s sculptures have earned him international acclaim, it’s his generosity that’s made the artist Colombia’s favorite son. At the peak of his fame, the artist donated more than 150 pieces worth $200 million to the Colombian government—you can enjoy all of this art for free at Museo Botero.More

Bogotá Mint Museum (Museo Casa de la Moneda)

Now a museum dedicated to currency, the Bogota Mint Museum traces its origins back to the 1620s, when the Spanish king ordered gold coins to be minted en masse. Today it's a great place to not only see cool coins, many of which are centuries old, but to also learn about the history of Colombia from the 17th century until the modern age.More

Lake Guatavita

Conquistadors dreamed of a golden city called El Dorado, and modern-day archaeologists find traces of that myth in historic practices at Colombia’s Lake Guatavita. Here, the Indigenous Muisca people are believed to have made offerings to the gods by casting gold figures into the crater lake—a scenic and popular day trip from Bogotá.More

International Emerald Museum (Museo Internacional de la Esmeralda)

Though better-known exports include coffee and salsa dancing, Colombia is actually the world's largest producer of emeralds. Located on the 23rd floor of the Avianca Building, Bogota’s International Emerald Museum (Museo Internacional de la Esmeralda) exhibits the history and processes of emerald mining in Colombia, and boasts 3,000 of the world’s finest emeralds.More

Quinta de Bolívar Museum

Throughout South America, you’ll probably encounter the name Simón Bolívar on an almost daily basis. Nicknamed “The Liberator,” he led the movement for many nations to gain their independence from Spain, but in between political battles, he’d return to his home in Bogota’s eastern hills. Today, the house is known as the Quinta de Bolívar Museum, and documents Bolívar’s fascinating life, while providing valuable insights into Colombia’s history.More

Nariño Palace (Casa de Nariño)

Set in historic La Candelaria, this neoclassical palace is the official home and office of the President of Colombia. It's an impressive sight from the outside, with its mix of grand columns and fountain features, while the interiors house elegant furnishings and oil paintings, many created by famous artists.More

Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Center

Designed by the Colombian architect Rogelio Salmona, this modern cultural complex celebrates Colombia’s most famous author, Gabriel García Márquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Along with hosting a vibrant program of cultural events, the center boasts a huge bookstore and an exhibition space.More

La Catedral Primada

With a grand perch by Plaza de Bolívar, Bogotá’s biggest cathedral is a neoclassical landmark with centuries of history. A chapel houses the tomb of Bogotá’s founder, and paintings deck the walls and the dome’s interior. While not as elaborate as some Colombian cathedrals, this historic place remains one of Bogota’s top attractions.More

La Chorrera Waterfall

Hidden away in the mountains outside of Bogotá is La Chorrera, a slim cascade that tumbles 2,000 feet (590 meters into the jungle. This waterfall is Colombia’s tallest and among it’s most striking natural attractions.More

Colombian National Museum (Museo Nacional de Colombia)

The country’s history and heritage are on display in the Colombian National Museum, whose vast collections include more than 20,000 objects. Permanent exhibitions range from golden treasures to colonial-era artwork, paintings, sculpture, and ethnography. It’s easy to see why Colombia’s first museum remains a top destination in Bogotá.More
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All about Bogotá

When to visit

Because of its high altitude, Bogota remains refreshingly cool year-round, but it can be prone to downpours—visit December through March to reduce your chance of rain. Highlights of the Colombian capital’s calendar include Festival Centro, a celebration of Latin music in April, and free Festivales al Parque, which sees open-air concerts of different musical genres in the city’s parks throughout the year.

Getting around

Bogota doesn’t have a subway, but the TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit is the quickest and most cost-effective way to get around outside of rush hour, when it’s best to avoid hitting the road altogether. Historic areas such as La Candelaria and La Plaza de Bolivar are best explored on foot, while cycling is also a great option—the capital boasts more than 300 kilometers (190 miles) of dedicated cycle lanes.

Traveler tips

Colombia’s capital is rife with hidden gems, if you know where to look. The arty and bohemian barrio of La Macarena is a creative hub with quaint parks and a planetarium, and it’s far less crowded than La Candelaria. While Zona G is an off-the-beaten path spot that’s considered Bogota’s premier dining destination. A visit to this ritzy enclave might even result in you rubbing shoulders with a Colombian celebrity.

Local Currency
Colombian Peso (COP)
Time Zone
COT (UTC -5)
Country Code

People Also Ask

Is Bogota worth visiting?

Yes, Colombia’s vibrant capital city is certainly worth visiting. Highlights include the cobblestone historic center of La Candelaria and its street art, world-class museums such as the Gold Museum and the Botero Museum, and some of Colombia’s best nightlife, fueled by the rich rhythms of salsa music.

What is Bogota famous for?

Bogota is famous for the grand architecture in the historic center of La Candelaria and for its vibrant street art scene, which is present in all parts of Colombia’s sprawling capital. It's also renowned for its salsa-dancing nightlife and coffee culture—Colombian coffee is held in high regard worldwide.

Is 3 days enough in Bogota?

Yes, with three days in Bogota you can cover the highlights, including La Candelaria, home to Plaza de Bolívar and Teatro Colón; Mt. Monserrate, topped by a 17th-century church; and the Gold Museum. You could also take a day trip to Villa de Leya or Zipaquira's Salt Cathedral.

Should I visit Bogota or Medellin?

Bogota is much larger than Medellin, and therefore it has much more to see and do—top picks include the Gold Museum and the historic center of La Candaleria. However, Medellin is considered safer and offers a warmer climate—it's known as the city of eternal spring.

Is Bogota a party city?

Yes, Bogota is a party city. Indeed, Colombia’s capital is famous throughout Latin America for its nightlife. The best places are Zona Rosa, with plenty of places to salsa dance and drink cocktails, and Zona T, with its nightclubs. La Candelaria sees backpackers enjoying a beer or two.

When is the best time to visit Bogota?

Because of its elevation at 8,800 feet (2,700 meters) above sea level, Bogota can be chilly and rainy regardless of when you visit. However, you’re least likely to experience downpours and icy winds in the South American summer months of Dec.–Feb.

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