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The best shopping centers in Bogotá: why I like Unicentro

Unicetro
María Montes

María Montes

I'm a social anthropologist working in marketing and I'm passionate about food, traveling to big cities and dogs. I like being that person everyone comes for recommendations especially if it is in Bogotá, a city I love dearly and where I been living intermittently for over 12 years. Instagram: @mariaisaturtle

Unicentro Shopping Center was founded in 1976 and is one of Colombia’s most popular and renowned shopping malls. Located between Carrera 15 and Carrera 11 and Calle 121 to Calle 127, this mall has over 100.000 square meters of shops, cinemas, parking spaces and more! Due to Unicentro’s size and popularity the mall opens its doors every day at 6am to allow different running groups to exercise throughout the property and it typically closes at 11pm every day of the week.

Unicentro has department stores, restaurants, cafes, free concerts, electric vehicle charging points, strollers for your dog and free yoga lessons. They really go the extra mile to offers visitors a lot of activities and events so you never have the need to leave this place. So, if going to stores and spending all your money in clothes and shoes is not your thing, (to see the full list of shops click here), there are many more activities you can do here!

Check out my top three picks of things to do in Unicentro:

1. Drink cocktails while bowling

The Best Shopping Centres in Bogota2

Located in the first floor of Unicentro you can find a bright and colourful sign that reads “La Bolera,” this place has 24 bowling lines, four pool tables, a restaurant, and a bar! Opening every day of the week from 9 am to midnight, this place is a favorite of visitors of all ages looking to have a good time!

On average a game can cost around USD $8/$22.000 COP (shoes included) per person and I recommend that you book before arriving, especially on the weekends which are very popular for families. Snacks are around USD $7/$20.000 COP and drinks can cost on average USD $6/$17.000 COP.

2. Watch the theatre, the opera or visit a museum in a movie screen

In select Cine Colombia theaters across the country, including the one located in Unicentro, the alternative section offers live showings from the New York Metropolitan Opera (USD $25/$70.000 COP), plays from the National Theatre of London, art exhibitions, ballet performances from every corner of the world and independent documentaries and classic movies that are worth watching on a big screen!

If you are not a big fan of the opera or ballet, you can always come to enjoy all the Hollywood new releases in one of the 4D theatres at any time of the day, and you do not need to worry if you don’t know Spanish because most if these movies are screened in English with Spanish subtitles!

The Best Shopping Centres in Bogota

In order to promote the movies and make them more affordable for all audiences, Cine Colombia released a 50% discount on all tickets for anyone coming on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, so there is no excuse to miss the all latest movies for just USD $4/$11.000 COP!

No matter if you are a blockbuster movie fan or if you have a more alternative taste, due to its size, Unicentro’s cinemas offer so many options that is almost possible to watch a different thing every day!

Quick tip: If you are a great fan of going to the movies, you can buy the “Tarjeta Cineco”, a top-up card that allows you to have access to special offers in tickets and food in any Cine Colombia theatre if the country.

3. Attend to a food fair

If while you visit Unicentro you are lucky enough to coincide with one of these open food fairs located on the first floor of the parking building do not hesitate to go in!

These food fairs are organized by Carulla, one of Colombia’s biggest supermarket (click here for more information of supermarkets in the city).

The Best Shopping Centres in Bogota

Carulla focuses on selling fine dining products made with high-quality local and imported goods. It is something like a Colombian take on Whole Foods. Carulla hosts wine and cheese fairs, healthy eating fairs, organic markets and more! These events are totally free and you can check out upcoming events and dates here. If walking through food stands and eating free samples of cheese doesn’t come across as an appealing experience, Unicentro hosts other types of events in that space, from construction fairs to fashion and retail, there are plenty to choose from!

Overall Unicentro is a big and fun place where you can do plenty of activities that go beyond this list. I also recommend you stop by the food court in the third floor and try some of our Colombian take on fast food. Furthermore, you can visit the casino, go to the arcade  and even attend one of the daily free classes of Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates with professional instructors at 6am! I strongly encourage you to explore all that Unicentro has to offer and to explore the neighbourhood around it.

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