Most of the northeast part of Bogotá enjoys a very interesting historical, cultural, and social atmosphere where you can find traditional and modern neighborhoods. El Nogal is one of the most traditional ones. Developed around the 1940s, it was named after the oldest tree species in the city and it is considered to be an important residential and business area in Bogotá.
The neighborhood El Nogal is located in the northeast of Bogotá, between Calle 76 (76th Street) and Calle 83 (83rd Street), and from Carrera Séptima (Seventh Avenue) to Carrera Once (Eleventh Avenue). It’s part of the locality of Chapinero (read my article Localities in Bogotá: Chapinero) and is largely considered a commercial area, though it also hosts offices of important national and international companies, some universities, and numerous restaurants and embassies (like the United Kingdom Embassy). El Nogal is a nice area to walk around and discover because it has a relaxed atmosphere even with weekday’s traffic.
A little bit of history
In the 1940s Bogotá was expanding to the north and to the west, which at that time were still enormous pieces of land belonging to the wealthiest people. In 1949, the Hacienda el Chicó (read our article Your Guide to Bogotá’s Chicó Neighborhood), which covered up a pretty big part of the north of Bogotá and was owned by Pepe Sierra, was dismantled, and its territory divided up. Well, what is known today as El Nogal was part of Hacienda el Chicó, so when it was split, it began to urbanize with the mobilization of thousands of people to the north and to the west.
Nonetheless, this urbanization was not as aggressive as in other parts of the city, which is why several trees have been conserved after all this time, and among them, the oldest one in Bogotá (from the El Nogal species) which is more than two hundred years old. From big houses with gardens (many of them preserved as well, but turned into offices) to modern buildings that marked a milestone in the residential architecture of Bogotá, El Nogal is a neighborhood that contains an important part of Bogotá’s history (read our article 7 Cool Facts About Bogotá History) and is worth a visit.
In addition, if you want to stay or live in El Nogal, know that your budget must be on the higher range. Living in this neighborhood is not cheap at all. A monthly rent for a small flat can be around four-five million pesos, which is more than $1,000 USD. If you are planning to live here, I would definitely recommend having a monthly budget (which includes rent, food, bills, and other expenses) of about six million pesos ($2,000 USD).
What to do in El Nogal
- Go for a nice walk with amazing views
One of the best things to do in El Nogal is just to walk around and enjoy the views and the atmosphere. Although it’s pretty busy during weekdays, it’s really nice to visit it and to try to soak up a little bit of one of the typical lifestyles of Bogotá. Pay attention to the architecture of the big houses that have been restored and used for purposes other than residences; they show a particular style very characteristic of the second half of the 20th century in Bogotá.
- See one of the oldest schools in Bogotá, El Gimnasio Moderno
(https://gimnasiomoderno.edu.co/) It’s located in El Nogal, and though it might seem like a normal educational institution, its campus is one of the most beautiful and well preserved in the city.
In fact, most of it is designated as a cultural heritage site, which means it can’t be taken down. The church, designed by the architect, Juvenal Moya, in the 1940s, is also one to see, for sure on the list of the most stunning churches in Bogotá. Additionally, the school also has a cultural center, where you can go and enjoy a theatre play, concerts, and other kinds of cultural shows.
- Visit nice restaurants like Club Colombia
(http://www.restauranteclubcolombia.com.co/), PF Chang’s (https://pfchangs.com.co/restaurantes/) and La Biferia (http://labiferia.com.co/) are a little bit expensive (for us at least) at about $30,000-$60,000 COP or $9.55 – 19.00 USD for a meal, but worth it because of the quality and the great atmosphere they offer.
- Visit some of the best cafes and bakeries around
Like Masa (http://www.somosmasa.com/), Brot (http://www.brot.com.co/), and Miriam Camhi (https://www.myriamcamhi.com/). These ones are not expensive, but not that cheap either. The average is between $4,000-$25,000 COP or $1.27-7.96 USD for a meal. These cafés and bakeries have really nice atmospheres to hang out with friends or even for work meetings, and of course, pastries and hot drinks of outstanding quality. Also, read our article Panaderías: All About Colombian Bakeries to find out more.
- Take advantage of the local shopping
If you want to do some local shopping, you can go to the shopping malls that are close to El Nogal. Just about one to two blocks to the east, there’s Andino (https://www.centroandino.com.co/), El Retiro (http://www.elretirobogota.com/esp/), and Atlantis Plaza (http://atlantisplaza.com/).
Nonetheless, I would recommend visiting independent local stores around the area (some expensive, some cheaper) and the flea market located on Calle 82 (82nd Street) by Carrera 13 (13th Avenue) called Pasaje Artesanal Calle 82. This way, you can have a more local experience, with local products and local companies (read our article to The two flea markets you cannot miss in Bogotá: San Alejo & Usaquén)
El Nogal neighborhood is a must on your to-do list in Bogotá. Don’t miss the opportunity of coming and exploring this part of the city, which also upholds part of our history and local culture!
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