Amongst locals, La Candelaria has a reputation for being a dangerous area of the city full of tourists. While, yes, La Candelaria is full of youth hostels and backpackers, the
neighborhood has changed a lot in recent years and is one of the best cultural centers in the city.
The art scene in La Candelaria is incredible. There is so much to see and do here apart
from the well known museums and historical sites listed in every guidebook. On every street you can find a theater, or a gallery, or a concert hall, or just about any other artistic venue imaginable. Events abound here. You don’t need to look hard to find something awesome and affordable happening every night. In fact, it sometimes feels overwhelming having to pick how to spend my evening. I recently found myself choosing between an African dance performance, a jazz jam session at a local recording studio, and the ‘Women in Theater for Peace’ festival, all happening within a 5 block radius. Believe it or not, this kind of predicament is very typical of the area.
Going off the excellent art scene, La Candelaria is also home to some of the best graffiti in Bogota. The city is pretty well known for its street art, but in La Candelaria we are spoiled. Walking the neighborhood streets is like walking in a museum. Beautiful murals line the
sidewalks and greet pedestrians as they pass. And if you’re not fond of a mural, don’t worry, a new one will probably show up in a few days to catch your eye. I love watching the old concrete walls transform into true masterpieces.
The food around the barrio is pretty great as well. While it doesn’t compare to the foodie
center of La Macarena, La Candelaria is packed with great hole-in-the-wall type places and unassuming cafés. My favorite example of this is a tiny Russian restaurant around the corner marked only by a sign with a star on it. Like many of the places to eat around here, the menu is small, the prices are reasonable, and the food is pretty tasty. Will you get a gourmet meal? Not necessarily, but these sorts of restaurants are a fantastic way to get a feel for the diverse community in La Candelaria while eating pretty decent, affordable food.
You never know what you will stumble upon here, which is one of the reasons I love
walking through La Candelaria. This neighborhood changes quickly and if you don’t pay
attention you could miss out on some awesome stuff. So what are you waiting for? Come check it out for yourself!