Visit Big Cities on a Sunday

Bogota Colombia

If you’re visiting a big city on almost any continent and are looking to stretch your budget, try to time your travels so that you will have all of Sunday there.

Most long-term travelers figure this out eventually, but I was reminded of this strategy again when I was in Bogota, Colombia this past weekend. As I’ve talked about before in Quito and Mexico City, a main avenue running through the city is blocked off to traffic, opening it up for anyone wanting to ride a bike in safety.

That’s just the start though. In many cities this is the most likely time for free outdoor concerts and cultural events. After all, it’s when you’re going to have the best chance of getting a crowd. Since many weekend visit tourists are gone by the afternoon, you’ll be mingling with locals more than foreigners too, which is always interesting.

Free museum days can vary a lot and I know in popular cities like NYC or Paris they will usually be on a certain weekday each month to keep the numbers down, but for many other countries it’s politically favorable to make the free day whenever the most families can visit. So when I visited the Gold Museum in Bogota a few days ago, the normal 3,000 peso ($1.75—still a bargain) entrance fee was waived.

Guidebooks will usually tell you this info, but double-check it online to be sure. This is a case where the official city tourism site is usually your best bet as it’s kept up to date and will link directly to the museum/attraction.

The one downside of all this is you may find places more crowded than usual, so time it earlier or later than the masses to avoid a crush. The flip side of that is you’ll get a real taste of who lives in a place, which can be enlightening.

Have fun!

  1. Andreas Moser

    Also, hotels are often not booked out from Sunday to Monday or much cheaper than for Saturday to Sunday.

  2. DML

    Even in big cities in the US, Sundays are often days for farmer’s markets. Those are always fun to walk around and there is usually well priced food to be had as well.

  3. Thomas

    Non-food shops in cities like Angers will be closed up tight on Sunday – like each alternative large city in France. Same with Saumur – however it’s not a massive city. Both cities may seem like ghost cities. Many retailers keep closed Monday morning also. We never visit cities on Sundays.

    • Tim Leffel

      Thankfully, in this day and age, cases like that are a rarity. France is an oddity because of its strange labor laws. Most countries are more market-centric about Sunday openings.

  4. Jessie

    You are so right! From overseas travel to Seattle and the resorts in Myrtle Beach SC, Sunday is usually a go-home day. I love to depart on a Monday or Tuesday, but some companies don’t et you take odd day vacations, which is a pity. Sunday should be for total relaxation and fun, even if you are on vacation, not worrying about driving or flying – great column! I love the picture with the crown!

  5. Bogota to Medellin

    Visiting the cities of Colombia was good. Hotel services like Catering, cleaning etc are nice. Peoples are also good in nature. I love this place.

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