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Usaquen

Bogota's Usaquen neighborhood is perhaps the most up-and-coming part of the city. Located east of the Septima, roughly between Calle 110 and 120, behind Centro Comercial Santa Barbara, it is teeming with sophisticated nightlife and dining options, as well as quirky cafes and hangout spots. While not as large as the entertainment zones in Zona T, Parque 93, or the Candelaria, it's rapidly carving out its niche as a major destination for tourists and Colombians alike.

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Usaquen is characterized by Spanish colonial architecture, and has historically been a place for Bogota's wealthy to reside. It has also played an important role in Colombia's history. It's named after an indigenous "cacique" or chieftain, and was the site of battles between Spanish troops and pro-Independence forces under Simon Bolivar. It also was the site for a decisive battle between various factions in the Colombian Civil War (1860-1862), after which perrenial general and politician Tomas Cipriano de Mosquera assumed power of the country.

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Usaquen's many interesting hangout spots and cafes compare favorably to Buenos Aires. One problem in Usaquen is location and transportation. It's far north of the city, and also is not served by the Transmilenio, meaning that a bus along the Septima or a taxi are your only transportation options. While Bogota is currently studying the possibility of constructing a metro running along the eastern Cordillera, until then, Usaquen is a bit difficult to get to.

But for those who make the trip, they will be pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety of restaurants. Everything from Japanese to Argentine to Italian to French cuisine can be found. Head to the Iglesia de Santa Barbara, whose characteristic steeple towers over the neighborhood, and walk around until you find what you like. The park is a popular meeting point, and in Christmas is beautifully decorated with lights and adornments.

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