So this month we want to explore one of the most famous neighborhoods in the city, Usaquén. It used to be a small town of its own and got absorbed with the growth of the suburbs in Bogotá. Today it still holds plenty of its small town charm, including the main square, the church and the colonial houses, colliding with one of the most active food and drink areas in the city north. We asked our friends from Alta Suites, luxury furnished apartments in the area to share their knowledge and recommend the top 10 things to do in Usaquén.
1. The Usaquén Flea Market
Well known by locals and tourists, the Usaquén flea market has been operating for many years and has become a Sunday and Holiday tradition for the visitors to Usaquén. There are actually two official flea markets, one known as Los toldos de San Pelayo and the other Carpe Diem. Together they make up several blocks of tents showcasing everything from natural remedies, local arts and crafts to coca leave tea and leather goods.
One of the first things to bring this quaint, traditional neighborhood into the hot spot of Bogota cuisine was the establishment of two restaurants: 80 sillas and Osaki, in an old remodeled house with a beautiful patio in the middle. Since then, this area has become mecca for international foods, author restaurants and establishments from the hottest restauranteurs in town. Food is available for every taste and budget.
3. Cafes & Bakeries
Another common way of spending your time in Usaquén is by visiting the cafes and having the traditional “Onces” From the French styled cafes in colonial houses, to the sweets in crepes and waffles, to traditional bakeries making pan de yuca, almojabana and other Colombian pastries, this is the place for an afternoon meetup.
4. Bars & Pubs
And as the sun comes down, the neighborhood doesn’t lose its appeal. A number of bars and pubs including the famous Bogota Beer Company light up the area with a bohemian style night life that strays away from the flashing lights and electronic music of clubs in other areas of the city.
5. Hacienda Santa Barbara
Nowadays a shopping center, this hacienda was originally the house of a wealthy business man in the city, and was considered to be the edge of town. Now the old house has a modern, red brick building that works as an annex and together they hold stores, cafes, bars, restaurants and a food court that makes it a great place to spend a day. And if shopping is not your thing, the architecture and gardens are more than enough to make the visit worthwhile.
6. Cinema Paraiso
Named after the beautiful Italian film, this cinema has everything a movie lover could ever want; it is located inside a beautiful restored house, has a bar with nothing to envy the others around the neighborhood, comfortable chairs, tables and a selection of independent films from all continents that goes beyond the mainstream in the larger cinema chains. An experience to remember.
7. Tren de la Sabana
The Usaquén train station becomes a portal for a day trip and traveling around the Sabana area to the towns of Zipaquira and Cajica on the old train tracks. On weekends, the touristic train of the Sabana embarks on a route of typical food and music to pair with the scenery along the ride, and it’s open for families, groups of friends, individuals and couples to enjoy.
8. Street performers
If the curious and artsy is your scene, Usaquén is also known as a hub for street performers. Human statues, jugglers, and even a dog who does tricks for her master are always cheering up the scene in the area. If you want to practice your listening skills, there are plenty of story tellers who gather hundreds of people to listen to them all for whatever amount of money you can spare as a tip.
9. Usaquen church
This church used to be the main church of Usaquén, a cathedral of sorts when the neighborhood what a small town. Nowadays it remains a landmark in the main square, and a place where the devout go to attend mass. The church is decorated with paintings from the XVII century school of Colombian artists, and has become a favourite spot for couples getting married.
10. Staying in Alta Suites
And to top it all off, if you are planning on staying a few days in Bogota, and want to enjoy all the amazing thing this neighbourhood has to offer, what a better place to stay that right in the heart of it all?