34 Bucket List Worthy Things to Do in Bogota
To say that Bogota is one of the most colorful, diverse cities might be an understatement. From its rich culture, colonial architecture, world-class cuisine, and world-class museums to its sprawling metropolitan parks.
From ziplining through the jungle to biking through old abandoned parts of the city, and everything in between, Bogota is one of the most exciting cities in Latin America. It has some bucket-list-worthy things to do that you don’t want to miss out on when visiting Colombia’s capital city.
Whether you are planning your first trip to Bogota or looking for more things to do here, this list of 35 will keep you busy until your next visit! The city of Bogota is tremendously rich in culture and everything you’d hope to see in a tourist nation.
We had the opportunity a few months ago to visit the big city a few months ago, and heck, we have beautiful things to say. However, before learning about the other 35 things to do, watch our Bogota travel guide on the 5 Must dos in Bogota, Colombia.
#1: Visit the Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Gardens is the best way to spend a day in Bogota. The gardens are home to over 5,000 species of plants and flowers and even more birds. The best thing about the gardens is that they are within walking distance from most hotels, so you can explore at your leisure.
It is also an excellent place for local guides to take visitors on tours because of its proximity to other popular sites like la Candelaria and Casa de Nariño.
Another important site in the area is Iglesia de San Francisco which has paintings by Colombia’s most famous artist Fernando Botero, who was born just two blocks away.
#2: Try a Free Walking Tour
Bogota is a vibrant city with so much to do. If you’re looking for an excellent place to start, try taking a free walking tour. These tours offer a chance to explore the city while hearing about its rich history and culture.
A great way to get around Colombia is by bus. The best day trips from Bogota include Iguazu Falls and Cali. A good travel guide will ensure your trip goes smoothly. Also, try a food tour to discover some of the tastiest Colombian food.
They take guests on two-hour walks through different neighborhoods where they visit bakeries, traditional markets, cafes, and street vendors.
#3: The Botero Museum
This museum is the best place to learn about Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero. It was opened in 2000 and is located in a beautiful building that looks like an old European palace. The museum is filled with paintings and sculptures of fat people.
It’s one of my favorite things to do in Bogota because it’s a great place to see Latin America at its best. Walking around this gallery, you get to experience all types of art. Whether you’re looking for humor or emotion, this is the perfect place. I highly recommend it!
#4: Museo De del Oro (The Gold Museum)
The Gold Museum, one of the first museums in Colombia, is one of the top things to do in Bogota. It features gold relics from Columbia’s rich history and cultural heritage, including gold figurines and jewelry that date back to 500 BC.
Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero, also has a collection on display here. The Colombian painter’s work can be seen throughout Bogota, but this museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about his background and artistic process.
The museum displays a collection of gold and pre-Columbian artifacts, showcasing the richness and history of Colombian culture. In addition to being Colombia’s most famous art gallery, it’s also one of Colombia’s top tourist attractions.
There are more than 8 million pieces in the Museo del Oro, with more than 100,000 objects on display. Colombia’s heritage can be traced back to 1500 B.C., making this place an unmissable stop for anyone passionate about Colombia’s past.
Learn more about Colombia’s most famous artists by visiting the collection at Museo de Antioquia.
#5: Zona Rosa (Zona T)
The Zona Rosa is a distinct spot in Bogota, bustling with cafes, bars, fine-dining restaurants, and clubs. Many hotels, shopping malls, and designer shops can also be found in this city area, known for its nightlife.
You can stroll through the lively Zona Rosa, one of Bogota’s most important parts, at the end of your working day. Restaurants, shops, and bars line the streets of this charming city.
#6: Plaza de Bolivar
Nestled between Casa Botero (Botero House) and the Palacio de Justicia (Palace of Justice), you will find Colombia’s most famous square, Plaza de Bolívar. Featuring a giant statue of Simon Bolívar (cast in 1846), who led Colombia to independence from Spain in 1819, this plaza serves as an epicenter for social movements and protests.
Italian artist Pietro Tenerani cast the statue. In the center of the square are flocks of pigeons that dive-bomb anyone within 50 meters – it’s best to wear a hat.
#7: A Cable Car Ride
Once you reach the top of Monserrate Mountain, don’t forget to hop on a cable car ride down. It may be chilly up there, but it will give you spectacular views of Bogota. From there, you’ll get panoramic views over Bogotá below. On clear days, you can even see Popayan in the distance.
Not only is this Bogota’s highest point, but it is also home to Colombia’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero. Originally from Medellin, he became fascinated with the painting after seeing Picasso’s Guernica exhibit in New York City during the 1950s. His museum, located near the Plaza de Bolívar, features his work and work from other Colombian artists.
#8: A Bike Tour
No trip to Colombia would be complete without going on a bike tour. Get off the beaten path and explore some of Colombia’s lesser-visited neighborhoods. There are plenty of tours available so do your research before deciding.
Most of these are guided and bilingual, meaning they come with a knowledgeable English speaker to ensure you get the whole Colombian experience! And don’t worry about safety; Colombia is a beautiful country that loves welcoming foreigners!
#9: Visit the Local Market
Colombia has many colorful markets, but they differ from the local market. It offers everything from hand-made leather goods, pottery, and jewelry to fresh produce and flowers. It features all kinds of crafts indigenous Colombians make, such as leather goods, pottery, jewelry, and more.
The variety of indigenous people with wares on display makes the local market different. This includes artisans, folkloric dancers, and food vendors. As the most authentic of Colombia’s markets, it is a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs.
#10: Fernando Botero
Born in 1932, Fernando Botero is Colombia’s most famous artist. His paintings and sculptures are characterized by figures that are soft and rounded. Botero’s trademark style is monumental realism, and he is internationally recognized.
Visiting Botero’s studio is the way to go for those interested in learning about Colombia’s most famous artists. His most famous painting, Abu Simbel, depicts King Ramses II. Visitors can visit his studio and learn about the artist’s work.
They can also learn how to purchase a piece of Botero’s work. It’s located in the Zona Rosa area of Bogota and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
#11: Spot the Local Street Art
The streets of Bogotá are filled with stunning graffiti and murals, much of it created by the city’s talented artists. Take a walk through Bogotá’s Barrios, La Candelaria, El Centro, or Chapinero, and you’ll find something eye-catching. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the work of local artist Pedro Nel Gómez and other famous ones out there.
#12: The Local Flea Market
If you’re looking for a place to buy authentic Colombian art, clothing, and souvenirs, head to the Local Flea Market. Located in downtown Bogota, it is one of Colombia’s most famous markets. It has been open since the 90s and is known for having items that are difficult to find anywhere else in the country.
The market features live music on Sundays from 10 am – 4 pm. Visitors can also enjoy local food vendors or stop by museums near the market, like The Museum of Modern Art, Museum Botero, and The National Library.
#13: La Puerta Falsa
Colombia has been making waves as one of South America’s up-and-coming arts destinations, and with galleries like La Puerta Falsa, it isn’t hard to see why. If you’re looking for something more artistic, head to La Puerta Falsa. This local artist’s gallery is always full of exquisite art by Colombia’s most famous artists.
The gallery sells prints, original paintings, and even sculptures. La Puerta Falsa offers a wide variety of pieces that are sure to please every taste and budget. Whether you’re looking for a quick gift or want to start decorating your apartment, stop at La Puerta Falsa and enjoy Colombia’s most famous artists’ work.
#14: An Audio Guide Tour
The best way to see one of Colombia’s most famous locations is to do an audio-guided tour. Plenty of options will take you through the museum, exploring works by some famous artists and hearing stories about his life. Visitors can also download a free audio guide in English or Spanish on their phones.
Bogota offers visitors a vast array of things to do, but not all visitors have time to explore every single nook and cranny. An audio guide makes learning about Colombia’s most famous spots, especially artists, accessible without visiting the museum.
Along with the exhibition, audio guides are available in many languages, including English and Spanish. Downloading one takes only minutes and helps visitors discover more about this incredible country than they could ever imagine.
#15: The City Center
One of the more famous attractions in Bogotá is The City Center, a collection of museums and galleries. Colombia’s most famous artist is Fernando Botero, and his artwork can be seen all over the city. It’s worth visiting a museum to see some of his work. He has paintings, sculptures, and sketches displayed around the city center.
If you are into art or just want to learn about Colombian culture, it’s worth taking time for this tour stop. Many other attractions make up the city center, like the Banco de la Republica Museum, Museo del Oro (Gold Museum), and Planetario.
#16: Santuario Nuestra Señora Del Carmen
The Santuario Ntra. Sra. Del Carmen, or the National Shrine of Our Lady of Carmen, can be found among many other museums in Bogota’s historical center. Located in the Florentine Gothic style, this church is known for its Byzantine and Moorish influences.
High above La Candelaria, the church’s distinctive red-and-white striped exterior can be recognized without difficulty, extending the red-and-white striped design to the inside. It becomes even more noticeable as it stands within the colonial backdrop of the city. Your trip isn’t complete if you don’t check out this beauty right here.
#17: The National Museum
The National Museum in Bogota is also another landmark spot you should consider. The National Museum of Colombia has amassed more than 20,000 objects from national history and heritage.
It includes objects from pre-colonial societies, present-day indigenous and African-Colombian populations, various periods of Colombia’s history, and paintings ranging from the colonial period to the modern works of the first modern.
There are many renowned Colombian artists, including, but not limited to, Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón, Guillermo Wiedemann, Juan Antonio Roda, Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Edgar Negret, and Enrique Grau.
#18: A Live Music Festival
For anyone who is a fan of going to a concert, Colombia has some of the best and most diverse music festivals in the world. Coachella is overrated– check out some of Latin America’s biggest and brightest festivals right here.
The great music of Colombia is one of the country’s significant assets, so it should come as no surprise that some great festivals come to it each year – from gigantic, free rock concerts in city parks to traditional celebrations of music from the Caribbean and Pacific coast, important for that culture.
#19: Try a Private Tour
Try a private tour if you’re looking for a great way to experience Bogota. Touring Colombia’s most famous locations will take you through the streets of Bogota and give you an insider’s look at what it is like to live in this vibrant city.
Your tour guide will also show you some of the best places to visit. Avoid the crowds and tourist traps with a private guide who will give you a customized, personalized Bogota tour.
#20: Try Different Street Foods
There are many delicious street foods that you can only find in Colombia, so make sure to take advantage of them. Empanadas are savory pastries that are stuffed with meat or cheese. Colombians also enjoy coca cola, which tastes different than American Coke due to the sugar cane being processed differently.
The one thing you must absolutely try while in Colombia is food from local restaurants, which tend to have better quality ingredients than restaurants in other countries. Don’t forget to try Colombia’s signature coffee (known as cafecito), too!
#21: Art Galleries
We mentioned a few art galleries like La Puerta Falsa in the previous options, but the list is endless. There are more than 100 commercial galleries in Bogotá, most of which are located in hub neighborhoods such as San Felipe, La Macarena, and Quinta Camacho.
The galleries are attracting thousands of collectors and curators worldwide, indicating that Bogota’s art scene is alive and well. In this case, it can be quite challenging to resolve. We recommend giving it a shot if you find yourself in the big city of Bogota.
#22: Zona G
Zona G is located within the popular, cosmopolitan Chapinero area and has several upmarket hotels. A foodie hotspot, Zona G’s swankiest restaurants include chic brunch spots, cafes, and restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world. The nearby Quebrada La Vieja offers hiking trails ideal for nature lovers.
An eclectic section of Bogotá with university students, bohemian cafés, bars, and restaurants. Zona G runs from Calle 39 in the south to Calle 100 in the north and is limited on the west by Avenida Caracas and to the east by the mountains. Another fantastic location you can check out while you are vacationing in Bogota.
#23: Lake Guatavita
The sacred lake of Guatavita is physically and legally part of Sesquilé. During elaborate ceremonies that gave rise to the El Dorado legend, it used to be where Indians worshipped Chie, the goddess of water.
On a wooden raft, the Muisca Indian chief would travel with four of his priests, treasures collected within the community, and throw them into the lake as a sign of adoration. Gold was more than an economic asset for the natives: it was a way to become closer to their gods.
This location is often associated with the legend of El Dorado and many failed attempts to drain the lake. There are trails and a multitude of bird species. On the other hand, nearby, the town of Guatavita features a craft center, while Tominé Reservoir is the best area for water sports.
#24: The Presidential Palace
The neoclassical building at the end of the National Capitol Building in Carreras 8 or 7 on Plaza de Bolívar is the Casa de Nariño, where the country’s leader resides and holds work sessions. The building is named after Antonio Nariño, a Spanish independence revolutionary, who secret translated France’s human-rights laws into Spanish, was imprisoned, and then miraculously released to witness the turmoil of El Bogotazo.
To visit, email, or go to the website and scroll down to ‘Visitas Casa de Nariño’ under ‘Servicios a la Ciudadanía.’ You don’t need permission to watch the presidential guard change. I’ve seen the best view from the eastern side, which would be from 3:30 on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.
#25: La de Leyva
Colombia’s most beautiful town, famous for its historical importance and magnificent square designated a National Monument in 1954. With over 150,000 square feet, the Plaza Mayor in Villa de Leyva is the largest in Colombia and one of the most impressive in South America.
Villa de Leyva is characterized by its many rural landscapes, from the moor to the desert. With so many activities available at Villa de Leyva, it’s an ideal place for history, science, arts, culture, and nature enthusiasts. Another great spot you should check out.
#26: Capitol Building
Capitolio Nacional (or the National Capitol) is a building in Bolivar Square in Bogotá. Where its construction began in 1876 under the order of President Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera and was completed in 1926.
It houses both houses of Colombia’s Congress. Santiago Martínez Delgado painted a majestic mural commissioned by Alberto Lleras Camargo and Laureano Gómez (both later presidents of Colombia) for the 1947 Inter-American Conference.
The fresco style depicts Bolivar and Santander emerging from the Congress in Cucuta. This mural is considered the most influential fresco in the country, and it is the artist’s most famous work.
#27: Candelaria District
In La Candelaria, which surrounds Bolivar Plaza, you will find colonial-era monuments, such as the cathedral and neoclassical Capitol of Bogota. Culture hotspots such as the Gold Museum, which exhibits pre-Columbian artifacts, and Museum Botero, which exhibits international art in a colonial house, are found on narrow streets filled with shops selling emeralds and handicrafts.
The local specialty dish patacones (plantain chips) is usually eaten at breakfast. A traditional Mexican dish, ajiaco (chicken and potato soup), is also served in casual dining establishments. There is an extensive and impressive arts scene here, the most famous being La Candelaria, Colombia’s most famous artist colony.
#28: Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira
Zipaquirá’s Salt Cathedral, a monumental architectural masterpiece built by the miners’ own hands and that became a beautiful temple, was illuminated by glowing light during the day and decreased in light at night. The first thing you see before entering the cathedral is the plaza of flags that features a sculpture of the Virgen de Guasá, the patron saint of miners.
Among the sights in the Ceremonial Plaza are a Cardinal Cross, a mining monument, a bell tower, and fountains. Tourists are awed by the glowing lights at the mine. The Zipaquirá Salt Mine is only 48 kilometers from Bogota, in the town of Zipaquirá, the capital of the Cundinamarca Department. At a height of 2,652 meters above sea level, with an average temperature of 14 degrees Celsius, it lies deep inside the hill of Zipa (the name of the most important indigenous chief).
#29: Monserrate Mountain
Since long before Spanish colonizers came to the Colombian territory where the mountain resides, locals, the Muisca tribe, have seen Monserrate mountain as an essential place of sacred worship. They saw it as such because the sun’s rise on the morning of the summer solstice occurs behind the peak. It can be seen from the Plaza Bolivar and is thought to be the reason for the location of the first cathedral in the city.
As a religious group, the Brotherhood of Vera Cruz asked permission to build a small religious retreat on the mountaintop, which they named after the Morena Virgin of Montserrat in Barcelona. With the church and mountain becoming an essential destination for pilgrims and tourists, some even crawl to the top on their knees: in 1929, the city opened a funicular railway route, and a few decades later, it inaugurated a cable car line.
#30: Eat at Andres Carne de Res
This is not just a restaurant. The original Andrés Carne de Res is located in a small Colombian town called Chia, but now there is a Zona Rosa location. When you’re looking for a wild time on the town, pack as large a group as possible, or sign up for a trip that provides transportation and is accompanied by like-minded individuals.
The aptly named Night Fever was once a family restaurant that has since been turned into a nightclub. It even throws Colombia’s major holiday, Carnaval, on its second Saturday night. With multiple themed rooms, there is a theme-park-like atmosphere with vibrant decor, fancy cocktails, confetti, and even an outdoor parade every Saturday night.
#31: Play Tejo
Colombian people enjoy playing Tejo, similar to jai alai, which incorporates gunpowder, targets, and loud explosions. Players throw heavy metal disks (each about the size of a bowling ball) from one end of the room to the other. If the disk hits the clay target at the other end, you get a bang and points for your team.
It usually accompanies drinking, so we recommend you have a couple of rounds while in Bogota. Try La 76 de Tejo if you want to play, or head up to Mini Tejo, where beginners can be more accurate with the smaller targets. Some Bogota bike tours might also take you to a Tejo bar.
#32: Try Ajiaco and Chocolate Completo at La Puerta Falsa
La Puerta Falsa offers classic local cuisine like ajiaco, a soup with potatoes and corn topped with capers, avocado, and cream. Colombians often eat hot chocolate, cheese, and fresh bread for breakfast.
When it’s super busy, several other restaurants serve the same thing next to La Puerta Falsa if you’d like to soak your cheese in hot chocolate until it melts.
#33: Plaza de Mercado de Paloquemao
Discover how locals shop for groceries at an authentic market while you’re in Bogotá. Several vendors sell fruits, vegetables, flowers, spices, eggs, seafood, and recently-butchered meat in Plaza Paloquemao.
You can enjoy breakfast at the market before exploring the exotic fruits and taking photos. You can also buy cooked foods like ajiaco, tamales, fried fish, and soups outside the market. Get there early, don’t expect English, and prepare to be overwhelmed with all the flavors.
#34: Ciclovía Sundays
On a Sunday, you’ll see how awesome Bogotá is when it closes over 100 kilometers of roads to cars for the weekly ciclovia. Cats, dogs, and families make their way around Bogotá on bikes, skateboards, rollerblades, and skateboards.
On Sundays, street stalls pop up where you can grab fresh juice or arepa as you explore Bogotá. Rent a bike, enjoy the fun, and explore like a local. You can also participate in a free exercise or dance class along the cycle route at a park along the route.
We hope you enjoyed this list of 35 bucket-list-worthy things to do in Bogota. As the home of Colombia’s most famous locations and artists and one of the world’s best coffee shops, Cafe de Colombia-Bogota is a cultural hub for those looking for new adventures and experiences. The next time you plan a vacation, add Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, to your itinerary!
I absolutely LOVE Colombia! I have been lucky enough to visit three times this past year, but I have not yet been to Bogota. It’s next on my bucket list, and I am so glad to have this great list of things to do and see for when I get to visit!