101 things to do in Bogotá

  1. Climb a tower at the Botanical Gardens and watch the hummingbirds fight in the sky.
  2. Make like a cachaco and get a bespoke hat designed in Calle San Miguel.
  3. Be the rebel who wears neon and rollerblades with a dog on the ciclovia.
  4. Read poetry on the TransMilenio on a rainy Sunday and remember Gabo did that too.
  5. Row a boat onto the lake at Parque Simón Bolívar and enjoy the solitude.
  6. Dunk cheese in your chocolate in a two-hundred-year-old tradition.
  7. Catch a match at El Campín and whoever wins, invite the lechona.
  8. Go old school and read a Bogotá newspaper while a gentleman shines your shoes.
  9. Unearth an underground coffee shop and buy a bag of their best beans.
  10. Rescue an ageing typewriter from a flea market. Take it home and write.
  11. Sneak into a concert at the National University and enjoy the best acoustics around.
  12. Lick your plate clean at Prudencia, Trattoria de la Plaza or even el Cielo.
  13. Marvel at the red, white and blue beauty of Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
  14. Mountain bike downhill like a madman at Parque Nacional.
  15. Locate a tejo hall with a jukebox and make Shakira the soundtrack of your victory.
  16. Take your seat in the Gods among the gilt and gold at the intricate Teatro Colón.
  17. Decode the city’s street art and strife with the help of a graffiti guide.
  18. Order a cocktail made with precision at 8ycuarto, Bar Enano or The Cooper.
  19. Summit Monserrate with your beloved because some rules are made to be broken.
  20. Tip a traffic light artist because there’s a good chance it will rain.
  21. Scare the snobs and slide into a vallenato hall where the men cry over Alejo Durán.
  22. Lose yourself in a book temple like Torre de Babel, Casa Tomada or Luvina.
  23. Prove you’re hip and dine at Tres Bastardos. One table. Three chefs. No pressure.
  24. Mull your next move over a pint of artisanal beer.
  25. Turn into a nosey neighbour and take a tour around Casa Grau.
  26. Bump all the way to the Salt Cathedral on our charming tourist train.
  27. Cry over the Bogotá Philharmonic then insist the altitude makes your eyes water.
  28. Purchase a paleta ice-cream on a cold day because no-one tells you how to snack.
  29. Escape to the wilderness. Hike the hidden La Vieja or Las Delicias mountain trails.
  30. Seek out yellow street roses and buy them just for you.
  31. Chase the ghosts of dead poets from their armchairs at Café Automático.
  32. Hang a beautiful Bogotá image on your wall and watch the city’s mysteries unravel.
  33. Exclaim “Ooh la la,” while you get a sugar fix at a French bakery.
  34. Buy a kite from a roadside vendor. Be a child and go fly it.
  35. Shiver your way around the city in a chiva. Pledge to try and appreciate its charms.
  36. Devour Living To Tell The Tale then pause at the spot where Gaitán was shot.
  37. Sing as you sprinkle arequipe, cheese and coconut over your ‘Mick Jagger’ oblea.
  38. Stop when you see an old man typing documents in the street. Compose a love letter.
  39. Enter the restored prison that is the National Museum. Escape before they lock up.
  40. Raise a glass to La La Land and seek out the jazz at the Bolon de Verde or San Café.
  41. Waltz into Crepes & Waffles and order a crocantino because you eat dessert first.
  42. Pay your respects at the Botero House because those paintings also ate dessert first.
  43. Melt Colombia’s finest cacao in your mouth at a chocolate masterclass.
  44. Watch the old men trade emeralds on the streets outside Banco de la República.
  45. Trace the city’s past on the tourist tram and hope a deer will jump on for a ride.
  46. Indulge and order postre de natas, brevas con arequipe and a merengón.
  47. Shock your senses at Plaza Bolívar on a week when the artists take over.
  48. Download a podcast and learn why others love this town too.
  49. Brave rollercoasters and go-karts or settle for golfito at Parque Salitre Mágico.
  50. Celebrate something at a Bogotá festival, be it salsa, rock, books, art, food or film.
  51. Pop into the Central Cemetery and whisper your wish in Leo Kopp’s ear.
  52. Linger over a Club Colombia or W brunch. Live on empanadas for the rest of the week.
  53. Relish the joy of a good empanada. Eat a whole basket at Las Margaritas.
  54. Browse antiques row in Chapinero Bajo. Beware of three million peso lamps.
  55. Beat Queen Victoria to it. Buy a mangosteen and delight in every slurp.
  56. Bother a keen Bogotá bird watcher for clues (They know where the owls live).
  57. Peer through the caged entrance that leads to the city’s underground labyrinth.
  58. Pony trek your way up La Calera. Stash some aguardiente in your saddlebags.
  59. Observe the pomp that is the changing of the guard in the President’s backyard.
  60. Boost your nerd credentials. Learn about life and the universe at Maloka.
  61. Experience déjà vu. Take the double decker tourist bus around the city’s sights.
  62. Practice some quirky Bogotá slang and test it out on passers-by.
  63. Salsa your ass somewhere, be it Galeria Café Libro, El Goce Pagano or Son Salomé.
  64. Picnic on a sunny Saturday at the Chicó Museum or in Parque El Virrey.
  65. Breathe the imposing air that encircles the Bogotá Cathedral.
  66. Polish your hands and feet with a mani-pedi at any street corner salon.
  67. Wander up to the 3,200m summit of the city’s Guadalupe peak.
  68. Breakfast with a filling tolimense tamal.
  69. Walk in a weird human bubble at Mundo Aventura.
  70. Test your knowledge and defy the tricky trivia at a city pub quiz.
  71. Dazzle yourself with the treasures sparkling at the Gold Museum.
  72. Squint to spot snow on distant peaks through the Mirador de los Nevados telescopes.
  73. Scour the unexpected objects and artwork sold on the street.
  74. Borrow a public bike in Parque El Virrey and peddle as if your feet had grown wings.
  75. See where they smashed that vase and made history, as we know it.
  76. Slip into Pastelería La Florida and grab an almojábana with agua de panela.
  77. Hop galleries in La Macarena and reward your cultural efforts with cake.
  78. Photograph the palm trees in Calle 57 because they are awesome and they are there.
  79. Sip wine with your movie at a classic cinema like Paraíso, Cinemania or Tonalá.
  80. Respect the silence and academic aura at the Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango.
  81. Skip the gym and exercise on the free machines in your nearest park.
  82. Investigate the Héroes monument. There’s more to it than meets the eye.
  83. Feast on a chunk of chocolate served with hot chocolate at a chocolatería.
  84. Smell the richness of the bags, coats and jackets sold in the city’s leather district.
  85. Shelter in a café during a downpour and watch the havoc unfold.
  86. Secure a nostalgic Jet chocolate for a Colombian who’s having a bad day.
  87. Serve up a storm with a gourmet cooking class.
  88. Note the city window where The Liberator escaped with his life.
  89. Adapt as Darwin suggested and permit pineapple to be applied to your hot dog.
  90. Gamble on a guinea pig and good luck with that.
  91. Understand our insignificance with a trip to the Planetarium.
  92. Explore a hilly urban eco-system at Parque Entrenubes.
  93. Warm up with a Juan Valdez carajillo – coffee laced with something cheeky.
  94. Shake your booty at Andrés.
  95. Get your grind on at Theatrón.
  96. Hunt for fairies in the bowery in Simon Bolívar’s old garden.
  97. Spend your Sunday in Usaquén and your pennies at its market.
  98. Count the paintings and sculptures in the Iglesia Museo de Santa Clara.
  99. Give up and just eat your way through the streets with a foodie as your accomplice.
  100. Burn those extra calories on a bike tour before it’s too late.
  101. Print this list for the next time you hear: “Bogotá? Is there anything to do?”

Cover picture by McKay Savage.

Like this? You’ll love Colombia a comedy of errors.

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12 Comments

  1. Karen Attman

    This should be required reading for every visitor to Bogota. In fact, it should be required reading for all of us who live here. This is an ode to Bogota, a song of joy for a culture we often take for granted. Thanks.

  2. Juanma

    “Rescue an ageing typewriter from a flea market. Take it home and write.”

    I’ve always thought about a writing jam session, where anybody gives you a word or an idea, and you have to write something for them. A typewriter would be lovely for that purpose We should try it 🙂 …

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