Santa Fé is the traditional downtown of Bogotá, surrounding the historic district of La Candelaria. Los Mártires is the western end of downtown (west of Kra 10/Caracas), and more rarely visited by foreigners, except to check out its sketchy market for extremely good deals.
Santa Fe is the seat to glittering skyscrapers and historic museums, and century old churches. Combining both traditional republican architecture and houses, with modern skyscrapers and financial districts, travelers should make a point to visit the great restaurant area La Macarena, and the famed Centro Internacional. The Centro Internacional is one of Bogota's largest financial centers, built in the 1950s it is where the majority of foreign companies and chains were located back then. Today It remains an amazing place to discover with wide avenues, high-rise Cristal skyscrapers, and the National Museum of Colombia; One of the largest museums in Latin America. Take a break from the cosmopolitan life of Bogota, and walk through the calm streets of the La Merced neighborhood. This is like a little enclave of London in Bogota, with Georgian and Tudor style mansions, that have been converted into museums and shops. Highly recommended for all visitors, but especially those from England, if they want to catch a glimpse of their native homeland in Bogota.
In the northwest of Santa Fé, you'll find the International Center, which has the city's main convention center. This is a historic area of the capital district, originally built in the beginning of the 20th century, has seen the great changes of architecture in the city. There are symbols of each era present in this same district, from the great republican era mansions of beginning of the 20th century renowned for their intricate wood, glass, and stone work , to the colonial revival neo-classical and neo-gothic architecture of the 1920s and 1930s characterized by their elaborate designs, Collums, and arches, to the art deco movement well known it's use of geometrical shapes in the 50s, and the modernist architecture of 60s and 70s , to the futuristic and contemporary architecture of the 21st century, characterizes by it's tall modern glass and steel skyscrapers. This area of the city has seen it all, and there buildings of each era in the Centro Internacional. For architecture lovers, this area of the city is a must-see destination. Additionally the Centro Internacional also houses the great National Museum of Colombia, another must-see destination for all visitors to the city. Walk around Carrera Septima, and take a sightseeing tour of the historic buildings such as Torres del Parque, or the modern skyscrapers such as the futuristic glass and steel skyscraper; Torre Atrio, or the modern Torre Colpatria, which was a symbol of the city's modernity back in the 20th Century.
The centuries old and historic neighborhood of La Macarena, to the east of Parque de la Independencia, contains the city's Planetarium and Plaza del Toros (Bogota's major bullfigting ringt built in 20th century), is one of the city's quaintest and most delightful places to hang out. It's a quiet, bohemian neighborhood filled with artsy cafes, art galleries, and great area filles with mid-range and upscale restaurants. It's considered one of the most up-and-coming parts of the city, and a great place to visit.
This is an easy part of town to get to, with stops all along Ave Caracas in the A zone of the Transmilenio. Calle 26 and Las Aguas are the closest stops to La Macarena, although after dark, post-drinking, you might want to call you a cab from your restaurant as a safety precaution. That's a matter of comfort level.
Busetas come here from all over, which makes it rather easy to get on one going the wrong way when leaving! Parque Tercer Milenio is a good landmark that you'll see on the buseta signs.
If you are going to the dodgy yet fun San Victorino market, the optimal Transmilenio stop is Avenida Jiménez, but the De La Sabana and Calle 19 stops are also very close.
- Cerro de Monserrate. A truly beautiful panoramic view of the city is only a funicular or transferico ride away. You can take the funicular up and the transferico down, or vice versa. You have the option to buying one way tickets, too. You will have the most amazing views and also enjoy Colombian or French food in the two full-service restaurants at the top. There are also souvenir stalls on the weekends. Remember to bring a warm coat, because it is chilly up there. On Sunday is a very crowded place, so be ready to get into a long line. It is very important to also wear sunscreen and hat because at such a high altitude, you will burn very easily even if it is "cloudy". This is especially true if you are going around noon. You can also hike up the stone-set path up Monserrate like the locals do. It takes approximately 1-1.5 hours up and approximately 45 minutes down. Remember to allot more time if you are not accustomed to being two miles above sea level! 14,000 COP round trip (9,000 COP on Sundays).
- Torre Colpatria, Carrera 7 # 24-89. Bogota's tallest building and one of South America's tallest buildings is in El Centro. You can visit the panoramic deck on the top of building on Saturdays and Sundays; make it a must see. 3,000 COP.
- Museo Nacional, Carrera 7 No. 28-66, ☏ +57 1 334-8366, email@example.com. Tu 10AM-8PM; W,Sa 10AM-6PM; Su 10AM-4PM. The National Museum is the oldest in the country and one of the oldest in the continent, built in 1823. Its fortress architecture is built in stone and brick. The plant includes arches, domes and columns forming a sort of Greek cross over which 104 prison cells are distributed, with solid wall façade. The museum houses a collection of over 20,000 pieces including works of art and objects representing different national history periods. Permanent exhibitions present archaeological and ethnographical samples from most antique Colombian vestiges: 10,000 years BC, up to 20th century indigenous and afro- Colombian art and culture. The Founders and New Kingdom of Granada room houses rich Liberators and other Spanish authorities iconography; the round room exhibits a series of oils synthesizing Colombia painting history. Free in 2010 to celebrate two hundred years of Bogotá.
- Museum of Modern Art of Bogota (MamBo), Calle 24 No. 6-00, ☏ +57 1 286 0466, +57 1 293 3109. Tue to Sa : 10AM-5:30PM / Su 10AM-3:30PM. Exhibits a complete collection of modern art work basically consisting of drawing, paintings, engraved work, sculpture and assembly. Houses work of Colombian masters Fernando Botero, Alejandro Obregón, Enrique Grau and Édgar Negret, among many others together, with important Latin American artists. The modern building, designed by architect Rogelio Salmona, achieves optimum space and natural light management. Adult : 4000 COP / Student : 2000 COP.
- Planetario Distrital, Carrera 7 Calle 26, ☏ +57 1 334-4546, firstname.lastname@example.org. Dome cinema as well as telescope observation on Friday nights.
- Plaza de Toros de Santamaria, Carrera 6 No. 26-50, ☏ +57 1 334-1482. Santa Maria's bullring
- Photography Museum
- Parque del Bicentenario. The Parque del Bicentario is a newly built 9,000 square meter bridge that connects the Parque de la Independencia and the Bogota Museum of Modern Art. This innovative arhictectural piece designed by renowned arhcitect Giancalo Mazzanti, comprises vertical gardens, pathways, various plant and tree species, and a water chanel . The Park was built in honor of Colombia's bicentenario, or 200 years of Indepence, and was indented to connect two parts of the city; The Historic Center and the Centro Internacional, which had been cut off due to the construction of the five-lane Avenida El Dorado. The park therefore also has a tunnel underneath, under which the avenue passes through, and acts as a land bridge between two sections of the city.
- El Mundo De La Camiseta, Cra. 10 #11-85 (San Victorino), ☏ +57 312 310 0039, +57 311 811 4032. Located upstairs, has replicas of football jerseys. 15,000 to 25,000 COP.
- La Superliga, Calle 11 #11-67 Local 7-8 (San Victorino), ☏ +57 1 342 9408, +57 283 5379, +57 314 244 7644, email@example.com. Replicas of football jerseys as well as official ones at good prices. 15,000 to 45,000 COP.
- At San Victorino at the Avenida Jiménez Transmilenio station you will find a plaza surrounded by all kinds of cheap stores selling different types of goods, from clothes to food and pets. If you do go, do not take anything with you, and keep your cash hidden and out of reach of pickpockets; gringos are not well received there and may get robbed. Daytime only, please!
- Tapas Macarena, Cra. 4A # 26-01, La Macarena, ☏ +57 1 2439004. If you like tapas, you'll love this place. Tapas inspired by Spain, including a wide variety of beer and wine pairings. At least $150 per person.
- La Taperia, Cra. 4A No. 26 B - 12, La Macarena, ☏ +57 1 8053252. The second tapas bar in Bogota. Great food and drink selection. Live Flamenco music on Thursdays. At least $150 per person.
- Kiuri Sushi Wok, Cl 26b #4 a 03, Santa Fé, ☏ +57 3178316665. Great place for sushi, although the pork ramen is excellent as well.
- Panadería La Santa María, Carrera 5 # 26B-71, Santa Fe. Locally treasured bakery for breakfast and pastries, as well as coffee and hot chocolate. Very reasonable prices.
- Santa Fe Restaurante, Calle 26b # 4-30, Santa Fé. Moderately-priced restaurant serving upscale Colombian food. Definitely worth visiting while in the area; try the Tartin de Arequipe for dessert.
- La Monferrina, Cra. 4a #26B-22, Santa Fe. Italian restaurant in the northern part of the Santa Fe neighborhood. Popular with couples. Excellent place to go on a birthday.
- Chibchombia, Cra. 4 #26D - 90, Santa Fé. Eclectic restaurant serving Colombian cuisine. Great place to try ajiaco.
- CHA-CHA, Cra. 7 No 32-16, ☏ +57 1 350-0202. One of the most exclusive night clubs, located on the 41st floor of what once was the Hilton Hotel, today just an abandoned building. It is in the "Ball Room" of the old hotel, and keeps the traditional elegant decoration. Crystal Chandeliers meet Electronic music. Has amazing views of the city at night and an amazing terrace to hang out. Frequently visited by world famous DJs. Cover : 15,000 COP.
- Hotel Centro Internacional, Carrera 13A # 38-97, ☏ +57 1 2885566, toll-free: +18000 915086. Hotel Centro Internacional offers 52 air-conditioned rooms all equipped with TV with cable channels, mini-bar, high-speed Internet access, and has a complimentary American breakfast. Some of its facilities and services include restaurant, travel agency, car rental, currency exchange, and medical services. starting from $88.
This area tends to be generally very safe, at both day and night, especiallt the Macarena, La Merced, and International Center neighberhoods, who are heavily policed. San victorino (the great market area), can be a little sketchy, especially at night, so don't neglect your personal belongings and be weary for pickpocketers, but the borough tends to be very safe, especially during the day.