9 Top Things to do in Medellín, Colombia
Updated: Apr 21, 2019
Medellín is Colombia’s second-largest city and has an undeniable vibe and energy. Contrary to popular belief, Medellín is safe and is not only one of the most innovative cities in Colombia, but the entire region of South America.
Known as the 'City of Eternal Spring' for its all-year-round perfect climate, Medellín is famous for its flowers (which have their own festival), entrepreneur scene and friendly locals called ‘paisas’. There seems to be something new happening everywhere you turn.
Here is a list of must-do things when in Medellín.
This is the perfect place for a little escape away from the city. One of the best things about Parque Arví is how you get there – using Medellín’s Metrocable. This will give you some great views of the city as you go all the way up to the top of the mountain. The cable cars are symbolic of Medellín and representative of its innovation and transformation over the last two decades. They connect the poorer communities who live up along the mountain side with the main part of the city.
The park itself is a mix of hiking trails, lakes, butterfly houses and a handful of places to grab snacks or lunch. On Sundays you can find a farmer’s market, with local produce such as, fruits, street food and homemade jams.
The most famous Colombian artist - Fernando Botero – is from Medellín and the best place to see his work is Plaza Botero. Located in “downtown” it is a crazy sculpture laden plaza that characterizes people and animals with excessively large and often fat features.
Comuna 13 is a symbol of Colombia’s transformation over the past 10 to 15 years. A neighbourhood which was once considered even too dangerous for Colombian’s to enter is now a tourist hot-spot. This transformation was initiated by a government funded plan to transform the community by building outdoor escalators. Here you will find some of the best street art, music and dance performers, and proud locals who will happily tell you about their story of hope and transformation.
Day Trip to Guatapé
Although Guatapé is technically not in Medellín, it’s just a few hours away by bus and is a must-visit when you’re in Medellín. A climb up the famous El Peñol, after more than 500 steps, will give you spectacular views, and the little town of Guatapé has charming colonial coloured houses with a truly incredible lake.
The Bandeja paisa originates from the Antioquia region of Colombia, of which Medellín is the capital. This mammoth of a meal is a mix of rice, arepa, frijoles (beans), minced meat, pork rind, avocado, black sausage and a fried egg. However, it is not exclusive to the region as it is probably the most popular dish across Colombia, but the very best Bandeja paisa can most definitely be found in Medellín.
One of the most relaxing spots in the city, the Botanical gardens boasts a selection of different plants and flowers. Renovated in 2007, you will find tropical gardens, a butterfly farm, a lake, and the odd Iguana roaming around the grounds among the 200+ different species of plants and trees. You will see families, couples, students, and individuals strolling around and enjoying the green and open space. As a bonus, it is free to enter!
Go to a Football Match
Medellín is home to Colombia’s most successful football team – Atletico Nacional. Wherever you go in Colombia there will be people wearing their famous green and white jersey. The matchday atmosphere is very different from any game you’ll experience in Europe or North America, and is a must-do activity when in Medellín!
Museo de Antioquia
Inside the most popular museum in Medellín are more than 100 pieces of artwork donated by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The museum also includes pre-Colombian, colonial and modern art. No spoilers here, but no doubt it is a world-class museum.
Parque Lleras & Laureles
Parque Lleras is full of bars, restaurants and coffee shops and is a great place for a night out from Thursday to Saturday. It is important to highlight that now it mainly caters to tourists, so if you are looking for a more authentic Colombian experience then this place might not be for you, as you are likely to see more foreigners than locals. But do visit some of the hotel terrace bars located nearby in the neighbourhood of 'El Poblado' and enjoy having a drink while overlooking this beautiful city!
Laureles is certainly one of Medellín’s best neighbourhoods, and unlike Parque Lleras in El Poblado it has still not yet been fully discovered by foreigners. It has its own nightlife in ‘La 33’ and ‘La 70’, both are strips of bars and restaurants where you can find almost anything and are usually full of locals. It is also home to some of the best restaurants and independent coffee houses in the entire city.
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This blog post was written & published by Intern Colombia on 18 April 2019