When you think of Bogotá, you probably don’t immediately think of shopping. Especially if you don’t look beyond La Candelaria, you won’t expect Bogotá to be one of the biggest shopping cities in South America. But really: Bogotá is the perfect shopping city. And I’m not talking about the souvenir markets in the historic center. But about where the locals themselves shop: the giant and luxurious shopping malls full of fashion, and commercial centers full of cheap goods. In fact, the huge difference between rich and poor is also reflected in the shopping malls. Wherever you stay in Bogotá: if you love shopping, this is the place to be. Curious about the best and biggest shopping malls in Bogotá? Or rather to the commercial areas where you get yourself into a totally different world? And want tips for where to buy souvenirs in Bogotá? In this mini shopping guide, I’ll take you through shopping city Bogotá!
Shopping in Bogotá: how does it work?
Bogotá is home to almost everything. In every price range. But shopping in Colombia is a little different than in, say, the Netherlands. In the Netherlands you will find cozy cities where you stroll through the shopping streets and in between drink tea and eat a pastry at a bakery. In Colombia, these types of shopping streets are almost non-existent. Of course, there are stores on the street. Very much so. But those are often places to go if you need something specific. For example, there is not a typical shopping street in Colombia as you may know it from your country. Shopping in Colombia is done in huge luxury malls or in commercial areas. It’s comparable to shopping in the United States. Depending on your budget and requirements.
In the malls you will find international brands, as well as many Colombian and South American chains. Like the leather stores Bosi and Velez, and the amazing luggage store Totto. In addition, many shopping malls contain the Falabella (see below).
With children in Bogotá
Are you traveling through Colombia with children? Then you should definitely visit a large shopping mall in Bogotá. Here you will find everything for children, from carousels to trains through the mall to complete play parks. With a reason is a shopping mall a family weekend getaway for many locals.
To the cinema
In Bogotá, go to the cinema in a shopping mall. There is a movie theater in all major shopping malls, which makes a visit extra fun. Only movies in Spanish? No way! Read all about going to the cinema in Colombia here.
Shopping malls in Bogotá | A world of luxury and fashion
Bogotá old and worn out? Think again. Maybe you know the huge shopping malls from the US? So you have those here, too. And not just one: Bogotá has dozens of large luxury shopping centers. If you are fond of shopping, you can have days of fun shopping in Bogotá. After all, each shopping center is different. And so you never get bored. You will also find many designer shops in Bogotá, especially in and around Zona Rosa.
Are you only in Bogotá for a short trip and still want to experience what this is like? Then visit one of the upscale shopping malls I’ve listed for you below. As mentioned, there are dozens of shopping malls in Bogotá; below I give you a list of my favorites and the most famous ones. All these shopping malls are well and safely located in the city.
Andino | Favorite
Centro Comercial Andino is not very big, but it is one of the most luxurious and exclusive shopping malls in Bogotá. Located in the expensive El Retiro neighborhood, and in the middle of Zona T, you’ll find Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana, among others. It is wonderful to stroll through this shopping mall and see what kind of luxury Bogotá has to offer. Perfectly to combine with fine dining in Zona T. Andino is definitely one of my favorite malls.
Also located at Zona T, almost next to Andino, El Retiro is also an exclusive shopping center. You will find beautiful fashion boutiques, small designer stores and also unusual Colombian handicrafts. El Retiro is best known among tourists for the immensely popular restaurant Andrés Carne de Res which you can find here. With an entrance that alone is special.
Okay another one then near Zona T: Unilago. This is not an ordinary shopping mall, but the shopping center for electronic products in Bogotá. Phones, computers, cameras and every other technological item you can imagine: in Unilago they have it.
This shopping mall has nothing to do with luxury, but convenient to know it exists. Besides being able to get just about anything electronic there, you can also get help here when you have problems with your phone or computer. Is your phone broken? Or something wrong with your camera or your computer? Then Unilago is the place to be.
Hacienda Santa Bárbara
We leave Zona T and head even further north into Bogotá, namely to Usaquén. Not only is this neighborhood a must see if you are in Bogotá, but you will also find an extraordinary shopping center here. Definitely not my favorite (I always get lost there and don’t really like the stores here), but worth mentioning.
In fact, Hacienda Santa Bárbara was once a colonial home. This has now been turned into a shopping mall, but the beautiful colonial architecture has been preserved. The first floor in particular, though, is very cozy with old fountains, nice coffee joints and lots of greenery. If you’re in the area definitely don’t skip it!
Extra tip: you can also take easy and inexpensive Zumba classes take. Did this once and is fun!
Santafé | Favorite
Not only one of my favorites, but also one of the biggest shopping malls in South America. In fact, it is so big that you can easily get lost. Is that bad? Not at all! Getting lost in this shopping mall is just fun.
You will find so many stores, a whole play paradise for kids, a big cinema and a wonderful dining area. There are so many restaurants that soon you don’t know which one to choose. This is a typical mall for a day out and an absolute must for when you are in Bogotá. And of course, not to be missed by the real shopaholics!
Parque la Colina | Favorite
This brand new and immense shopping mall is a great place to spend a day. Not only do you eat your heart out in all the luxury, there is also a garden at the mall to sit outside. Parque Colina has a fantastic dining area with a choice of many great restaurants. You can spend hours wandering around and shopping in the many designer and cheaper stores.
Extra tip: right next to Centro Comercial Colina you will find a big Decathlon. Useful if you still need inexpensive outdoor or backpacking gear, such as hiking boots.
Gran Estación | Favorite
This is the first large and upscale shopping center you will encounter as you drive from the airport to your hotel. And thus the ideal place if you have some time left before a flight. This 15th largest shopping center in Bogotá has much to offer. Many luxury stores, cozy terraces, many restaurants and a large cinema. If you come to Colombia in December, the huge Christmas tree and lights immediately catch your eye as you drive by. I come here several times a week by the way.
Fontanar | Favorite
Okay admitted: this shopping mall is not in Bogotá. Still, this one cannot be missing from this list. Centro Comercial Fontanar can be found in Chía, just outside the city, and is one of the largest (and newest) in Bogotá and surroundings.
Here you can not only do fantastic shopping, but also find many good restaurants, delicious ice cream, toilets with a very special way of washing and drying your hands, a terrace outside to enjoy sitting and many activities for children.
You can also visit the VIP cinema to watch the movie lying on a leather chair and enjoy a delicious meal. Highly recommended! By the way, you get here easily by bus from Bogotá Portal Norte.
Other shopping centers in Bogotá
As mentioned, there are too many shopping malls in Bogotá to highlight all of them. The ones mentioned above are the most famous and top shopping centers. In addition, there are hundreds of other large and small shopping malls. Some more big ones are:
- Titan Plaza
- Unicentro (is a nice mall, but the restaurant part is not so nice)
- Centro Mayor (Colombia’s largest shopping mall)
- Calima (nice shopping center, near La Candelaria, not to be walked to)
Shopping malls are open pretty much year-round, including Sundays and holidays. Only on January 1 is everything is closed and possibly on some other holidays as well. Most malls are open until 9 or 10 in the evening on weekdays and until 8 or 9 in the evening on Sundays and holidays. Check the website of the mall you want to go to for exact opening hours, but they will correspond to these times.
Shopping malls are very safe places in Bogotá. Especially the really big ones. These are also excellent places to withdraw money. Beware of pickpockets: especially when it is crowded (and it often is), pickpockets are active. I even saw it happen once in Centro Comercial Santafé in front of me. Shopping malls in Bogotá are very safe, but like anywhere in the world, keep a close eye on your valuables.
Food and drink
As you have read by now, you can eat great food in most shopping malls. In most malls, you’ll find the dining area on the top floor. There you can choose from often dozens of restaurants and cafes. At some restaurants, such as WOK and Crepes & Waffles, you can expect a 30- to 45-minute queue during lunch and dinner on busy days. The restaurants you find in malls are quite diverse. Besides typical Colombian, you’ll find mostly international. From sushi to crepes and from Mexican to Italian. So there is something for everyone!
Perhaps the most famous store in Colombia is the Falabella. You’ll find everything from clothing to home decor. You can also buy from the Falabella online.
In addition to these centro comerciales, you also have the homecenters. These are huge stores where you can find everything for the home. From handyman stuff to toilets, decorations and beds. If you are going to live (temporarily) in Colombia, you can find a lot here for your home.
Note: stuff for the home is expensive in Colombia. Especially in a Homecenter. There are special areas in the cities for certain stuff. There are streets where they only make and sell furniture, for example. This is often cheaper than a Homecenter.
San Victorino & San Andresito | A totally different experience
Besides large, upscale shopping malls, there are many other places to shop in Bogotá. Like San Andresito and San Victorino. Here you won’t find designer stuff (or the fake ones), but rather you can shop cheaply. You’ll find everything from shoes to kitchenware to toys.
These areas are totally different from the big shopping malls. Here you walk outside as you go in and out a store, or find a number of small stores in a building with many corridors where you struggle through the crowds. In addition, unlike large malls, prices are not fixed. So in such a shopping area, you can haggle.
Bogotá’s historic center La Candelaria is separated from the rest of the city by carrera 10. Here you will also find the Transmilenio and the San Victorino station, among others. Crossing carrera 10 at the San Victorino station brings you to the San Victorino shopping area.
Here you can find many cheap stuff, often of good quality what is mostly made in Colombia. BUT: this area is not for tourists. Do you want to go here? Then go exclusively with a Colombian who knows the area. It can be bizarrely crowded and riots occur regularly. You also enter an unsafe area. Still, it is quite an experience to witness. But again: better not go without a Colombian who knows it.
San Andresito is similar to San Victorino, only here you will find many fake products. Also, there are many San Andresito’s in the city and therefore not just one.
A big one is San Andresito San Jose. This is a shopping area with many small stores. It is located near Hospital San Jose where I worked for a while. So I know this area pretty well and came there almost every day when I worked there. It is less chaotic than San Victorino, but especially if you have never seen this, it is still mega chaotic. Much happens on the streets and in small stores.
The stores are not like the shopping malls I described above. It is a warren of corridors with small stores where it is always crowded. You can find cheap stuff here and you can also eat very cheaply. Especially Colombian food or food from the Middle East.
Again, the advice is: don’t go alone, but take a Colombian who knows the area with you.
Shopping in Colombia | Which other cities are interesting?
Colombians love to shop and this is reflected throughout Colombia. Cities such as Medellín, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla and Cali also have those large luxury shopping malls. And what about Cartagena? There you will find not only shopping malls, but also colorful shopping streets and crafts markets. Are you a true shopaholic and in doubt whether Colombia is your country? Yes it is!
Going to a shopping mall in Bogotá is a treat, even if, like me, you don’t like shopping….
Shopping in Bogotá is quite an adventure. You have everything there: extremely expensive, too cheap for words, designer stuff and fake brands. I myself do not like shopping at all, but to a shopping mall in Bogotá I am only too happy to go to. Wonderful wandering around, going to the cinema, eating out at a good restaurant, sometimes buying something new or shopping for gifts for my family and friends. And do you travel with kids? Then a large centro comercial is ideal: you will find trains and often mini amusement parks for children.
Shopping for souvenirs in Bogotá
In addition to these shopping malls, there are also many places where you can buy souvenirs. Some of the possibilities.
The market in Usaquén
Every Sunday there is a very cozy market in Usaquén where you will struggle to keep your wallet in your pocket. They sell the most beautiful things there. From beautiful scarves to colorful bags to beautiful paintings. And much more. With what else there is to see in Usaquén and the excellent restaurants, you can easily spend the whole day here. Read all about Usaquén and the market here.
Artesanías de Colombia
It’s not cheap, but they have wonderful stuff. Several places in Bogotá (and the rest of the country) sell these handmade products. Much of the proceeds of which go to the creator. More information can be found here.
La Casona del Museo
Next to the Gold Museum in La Candelaria, you’ll find this colorful building full of souvenirs. From bags to scarves to emeralds. You can also eat or drink coffee there while shopping. The location on the map.
Perhaps the most famous place in Bogotá for souvenir shopping. And thus also one of the most standard tourist spots and tourist stuff. Doesn’t that matter to you? Then this is the place to pick up cheap souvenirs. Whether everything is real I am not sure… Want to make sure the ruana you buy is real and from 100% wool, go to, for example, Nobsa or Cucunubá. You can find this souvenir street here in La Candelaria.
Centro Artesanal 140
Staying all the way north of Bogotá and not in town on Sunday to go to Usaquén? Then check out calle 140 No. 9-69 for souvenirs. A great place for souvenir shopping without tourists. Click here for more information.
Would you like to discover Bogotá as a shopping city?