This guide is for everyone who has asked me about what they should when they come to Medellín. I have hosted a lot of visitors in Medellín since I arrived last year. From friends to family and friends of my Mom, I have had a lot of people come to visit Medellín. I have really enjoyed having people coming to visit and having the opportunity to do a lot of touristy things and figure out an ideal itinerary for people visiting Medellín for the first time.
My aunt Beth and cousin Natalie came to visit me here in Colombia during early March for my 25th birthday, and this itinerary resembles all of the stuff they did in Medellín, with some changes. In other words, this flow of activities has been tried and tested, Beth and Natalie really enjoyed their visit, and these are some of what I believe are the biggest highlights if you are visiting Medellín. For the purposes of this guide, I am beginning from Sunday, and for the purposes of this itinerary, you might be staying in El Poblado, since that is where the greatest concentration of hotels are located or in Laureles-Estadio, which is another part of Medellín popular with foreigners.
If you are looking for information on where to stay, here is my guide to my favorite hostels and hotels in El Poblado, tips on getting to Medellín from the airport, tips on exchanging money and using Colombian ATMs, and information on public transit in Medellín, you can check out my guide to using mass transit in Medellín and my guide on getting your Cívica, a free, reloadable transit card, which you can use on the Metro de Medellín Metrocable, and more.
Since I first published this guide, I added recommendations for nightlife in Laureles and El Poblado as well recommendations for LGBT bars and clubs for LGBTQ+ people visiting Medellín in Laureles and Poblado. While Medellín may seem conservative, it is pretty LGBT+ friendly. We have a huge Pride parade at the beginning of July each year and there is even a gay hotel in El Centro (downtown) Medellín. I have seen same gender couples walking around and being affectionate here in public and people don’t seem to care or notice, and we have a vibrant and active LGBTQ+ community in Medellín.
The LGBT+ scene in Medellín is tied with the Bogotá LGBT+ scene for how large it is. I was not expecting this to be the case in Colombia since there are certain places in Latin America and the United States where this is not the case. While this has not always been the case here in Colombia, Colombia during the early 2000s tried to legalize same-sex marriage, and the law here prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, gender expression and sexuality. People in Medellín are definitely more sexually open and liberal compared to other parts of Latin America. In other words, if you’re queer and considering a trip to Medellín, I would say “Hagále pues!” (Just do it), you won’t regret it!
Day 1 (Arrival, Sunday)
Depending on where you are coming from, I am going to imagine that you will probably be arriving in the afternoon or evening. For your arrival day, I would suggest that you check into your hotel, hostel or Airbnb and take some to relax.
If you had arrived sometime on Saturday and are awake Sunday morning, if you are in Poblado, I would recommend checking out the Sunday morning ciclovía and visiting the Farmer’s Market from 7 AM-1 PM at Parque de la Presidenta to have some snacks. Sundays are pretty quiet in Medellín since many stores and places are closed.
Dinner recommendations in El Poblado:
Café Zorba: Calle 8 #42-33, Medellín, Antioquia
Pizza, vegetarian and vegan food, closes at 9 PM on Sundays.
Kebab House (Kebabs and Middle Eastern Food): Carrera 34 #7-129-Arab Fast Food and Delivers on UberEATS if I am not mistaken. It's open later. Kebab House is located up in Provenza.
La Bronca, Carrera 35 8A-125, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia (Mexican food and excellent cocktails): They have excellent tacos and they are open until 11:30 PM on Sundays. If you like mezcal, you should visit at La Bronca, I promise you will thank me later.
Masala (Indian Food): Calle 10 #37-18, Medellín, Antioquia, (034) 310 490 5351. They may deliver and are open until 10 PM on Sundays
Mercado del Río, Calle 24 No. 48-28, Ciudad del Río
Mercado del Río is a large gourmet food hall, that is open until 9 PM on Sundays
Day 2 (Monday, your first full day in Medellín)
Eat breakfast at your hotel or Airbnb
First: Free Medellín Walking Tour with Real City Tours (Approximately 3.5 hours)
My cousin Natalie did the early tour, meeting at 8:40 AM near the ticket booth at the Poblado metro station. This tour lasts approximately 3.5 hours, and it allows you to see most of the significant sites in El Centro (downtown Medellín). However, make sure to arrive by 8:45 AM so you can buy metro fare since you will be taking the metro on this tour. The first tour leaves at 8:54 AM from the Poblado metro station, and you NEED to book this in advance, bookings open approximately 1.5 days in advance (e.g., bookings for Thursday's tours open on Tuesday after 6:15 pm).
Second: Visit Plaza Botero
After you have finished the tour if you have not already visited Plaza Botero, which is front of the Museo de Antioquia, where Fernando Botero’s sculptures are located. Fernando Botero, Medellín’s native son, donated 23 bronze sculptures and many of the works in the Museo de Antioquia. This is an open air plaza, where there are lots of people, be careful with your belongings since El Centro can be dicey and come here during the day, not at night. Anyone in the area should know where Plaza Botero is located. It's situated between Carrera 52 and Calle 52, El Centro, Medellín.
Plaza Botero, Carrera 52 and Calle 52, El Centro, Medellín
Third: visit El Laboratorio de Café at the Museo de Antioquia
If you love coffee, my recommendation is to take some time to have a coffee break and a snack at El Laboratorio de Café. This place has great coffee and is located right off Plaza Botero, at the Museo de Antioquia.
El Laboratorio de Café, Museo de Antioquia, Plaza de Botero, Carrera 52 # 52 – 43, El Centro Medellín, Antioquia
+57 (034) 251 59 31
Fourth: Museo de Antioquia, Carrera 52 # 52 – 43, El Centro Medellín, Antioquia
Hopefully, by this point, you will have had a snack and maybe some coffee, to tide you over before a late lunch. Since you are here, if you enjoy art, I would recommend visiting the Museo de Antioquia, and starting from the third floor of the museum and working your way down to the first floor. This museum is great but not as big as other art museums so you won’t need more than 3.5 hours max to go through the museum and see everything. They also have some interactive exhibits for kids which are fun if you have kids.
Entry fees at Museo de Antioquia:
$12.000 COP for Colombian visitors
$18.000 COP for foreign visitors
They offer a 50% discount for adults from any country who are older than 60 years old.
Free entrance for people from Estratos 1, 2 or 3, students enrolled in school in the Valle de Aburrá and children who are younger than 12 years of age.
Hours at Museo de Antioquia:
Monday to Saturday: 10 AM to 5:30 PM
Sundays and Holidays: 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM
The Museum is closed to the public on 1 January, 1 May (Labor Day in Colombia) and 25 December for Christmas.
+57 (034) 251-3636
Lunch: After visiting the Museo de Antioquia, I would recommend having lunch somewhere in El Centro. There are plenty of low cost restaurants in this area where you can grab lunch.
Optional: El Palacio de la Cultura, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Carrera 51 No. 52-03, El Centro, Medellín
El Palacio de la Cultura, Rafael Uribe Uribe is a quick visit, this is a cool free museum and building to visit. They have some paintings, a library, archives, a quiet courtyard and more. It is located across from Museo de Antioquia adjacent to Plaza Botero.
Monday to Friday: 8:00 AM-5:00 PM
Saturday: 8:00 AM-2:00 PM
Fifth: Get your Cívica at the San Antonio Metro Station
Before heading towards the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden), I would recommend getting a Cívica, a free, reloadable transit card, which you can use on the metro, metrocable, Metroplus and more. The San Antonio metro station is located nearby, but in order to get a Cívica if you do not have a cédula de extranjería (foreigner’s identity card) or a Colombia cédula de ciudadanía, if you are a Colombian citizen, you will need to bring your passport in order to do this. It should not take you a long time to get your Cívica, and I would recommend adding somewhere at least $30.000-$50.000 COP to your card for one to two people. It should be less crowded to do this after lunch. Once you get the card, you will have to go outside where the turnstiles are and then add money to the card. Using a Cívica will save you time and money, and the cards themselves are free.
After adding money to your Cívica, then you can re-enter the metro system and take the northbound train heading towards Niquia. You will exit the train at the Universidad metro station to visit the Jardín Botánico which is a couple of blocks from this metro station.
San Antonio Metro Station: Carrera 51A #46, El Centro, Medellín, Antioquia
Sixth: Jardín Botánico de Medellín
The Jardín Botánico de Medellín is Medellín’s botanical garden, is free and open to the public. The only time you will pay to visit the Jardín Botánico is to visit the Orchid dome during the Féria de las Flores during the first two weeks of August or if they are holding a special event. It is quiet, and a beautiful place to walk around and maybe have a picnic, if you want to do something romantic with your partner having a picnic or dinner at the In Situ restaurante at the Jardín Botánico are two great date options.
They also have a pond with ducks, various exhibits, birds flying around, most of this area is pretty flat and if I recall correctly, wheelchair accessible. The Jardín Botánico is a great place to visit for people of all ages from small children to adults since there is a lot to do. While it opens officially at 9:00 AM, if you are walking, you can enter after 6:30 AM. Although it can close earlier for private events, since you can have events here, and they do host weddings here.
Jardín Botánico de Medellín, Calle 73 #51D-14, Medellín, Antioquia (near the Universidad Metro Station)
+ 57 (034) 444 5500 ext. 120
Hours for the Jardín Botánico: Open to the public from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, including holidays. If you are walking you can enter after 6:30 AM. However, it may close early due to private events.
Metro/Uber/Taxi back to wherever you are staying:
After this point, if you have done the activities I have described, I would imagine that you are tired. Since you have done a lot of stuff, my recommendation is to go back to where you are staying, have some chill time, have dinner and maybe go out for drinks or salsa dancing??
Drinks at the Envy Rooftop at the Charlee Hotel in El Poblado
If you are in the mood for checking out a bar with a great view of Medellín, that is great for Instagram photos, my recommendation is to have a drink at Envy Rooftop, the rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 17th and 18th floors of the Charlee, a boutique hotel in front of Parque Lleras. Just a warning, the drinks here are expensive, and the service at the bar leaves much to be desired, so only stay for one drink. I went recently later one Friday night and they had a $300.000 COP alcohol minimum, so this is something to keep in mind, I would recommend to go earlier if you can.
Charlee Lifestyle, Calle 9A No. 37-16, Medellín, +57 (034) 444-4968
Envy Rooftop Hours:
Kitchen: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Bar: 9 AM- 10:00 PM
Wednesday to Saturday
Kitchen: 5:00 PM a 12:00 AM
Bar: 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Visit Amor-Acuyá Gelato for the best gelato in the Americas and third best gelato in the world
Amor-Acuyá actually won the prize for the best gelato in the Americas and the third best gelato in the world during the Gelato World Tour, for their flavor, Amor Acuyá, Maracuya (passion fruit) gelato with pieces of chocolate. Their gelato is amazing and I highly recommend a trip to try some of it. Keep in mind that Amor Acuya only accepts cash or payments via Nequi. I would bringing at least $25.000 COP since this gelato is not cheap, you can also order gelato by the liter on Rappi. Their signature flavor, Amor Acuyá, is one of my favorite flavors, if you like passion fruit, you should try it if you can.
Sundays and holidays: 1:00 PM-8:00 PM
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 1:00 PM-8:30 PM
Thursday: 1:00 PM-9:00 PM
Friday: 1:00 PM-10:00 PM
Saturday: 1:00 PM-11:00 PM
Amor-Acuyá, Carrera 40 #10a-27, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia, +57 314 744-9815
Day 3 (Tuesday, Second Full Day)
First activity: Half day Finca silletera tour with Medellín City Services
On this tour, you will visit a Silletero farm, in Santa Elena, a rural village within in Medellín and learn about Silleteros, the people who carry flowers in Medellín’s annual Feria de Flores, one of the most famous parades, Medellín’s flower festival. You will learn about how the displays for the Feria are made, learn about the history of Medellín’s flower festival and get to see some of the countryside. The tour linked above is a private tour, and your bilingual guide will pick you up in a private car wherever you are staying in Medellín and then drive you up to Santa Elena. After this, you can have lunch near Parque Arví. Make sure to wear layers, bring a jacket and wear sneakers you don’t mind getting dirty for when you visit Parque Arví. Santa Elena is at a higher elevation than Medellín, so it is noticeably cooler up here.
My recommendation is if you want to get a better rate when booking is to send a WhatsApp message to the owner of Medellín City Services, (+57 (311) 341-3715) Camilo, he speaks English. When I booked other tours with Camilo with people visiting Medellín with multiple days of activities with Medellín City Services, I was able to get a more favorable rate per person, since these are private tours, they are more expensive than larger group tours. However, after having done activities not knowing that the guide would not speak English, I started booking with this operator and have had a great experience with them.
Lunch near Parque Arví: My recommendation is you have lunch either at El Tambo which is down the hill from the Parque Arví entrance or at the vegetarian restaurant near Parque Arví.
Alternatives for the morning of Day 3:
If you want, you could also swap this morning tour for a paragliding tour (these tend to get canceled at the last minute because of visibility and weather conditions). My aunt and cousin did this one and had a great time. Or you could consider doing a coffee farm tour in Santa Elena or the surrounding areas. There are plenty of choices on Airbnb experiences. Or worst case scenario, you could sleep in and take this morning off.
Day 3 Afternoon: Parque Arví
Parque Arví is one of my favorite places in Medellín. It is an ecological reserve located 30 kilometers or approximately 18.6 miles from the center of Medellín, in the village of Santa Elena (Medellín) and the municipality of Guarne. The altitude of Parque Arví, which is located on a high plateau above Medellín, is between 2.200-2.600 meters (7.218-8.530 feet above sea level), while Medellín has an altitude of 1.500 meters (4.291 feet). It is 16.000 hectares; 1.760 hectares of the park contain natural forests.
There are also 54 kilometers (33.6 miles) of walkable trails in the park, from the entrance to the park in front of the Arví Metrocable station (Línea L), you can take walking tours and a bike tour. The area the park itself occupies has a lot of biodiversity, as is the rest of Colombia. In Parque Arví alone, there are more than 72 butterfly species, 69 bird species, and 19 mammal species, but you won’t encounter any large mammals here like jaguars or poisonous snakes.
Parque Arví is one of the places I would put on any must see/must do places here in Medellín. It is a beautiful tranquil place for those who enjoy being outside in nature and escaping the city and the pollution without having to leave Medellín. For more tips on Parque Arví, things to do and see, and how to get there, check out my earlier post “Guide for Parque Arví”.
Parque Arví, Via a Piedras Blancas, Medellín, Antioquia
+57 (034) 444-2979
When to visit Parque Arví: Parque Arví is usually open to the public from Tuesday-Sunday from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and it is usually closed on Mondays. However, if there is a
Take the metrocable down to Medellín
At the end of the day, I would recommend taking the metrocable down from the Arví station down to the Santo Domingo station and transferring to take metrocable down to the Acevedo metro station and taking the metro back to wherever you are staying.
Day 4 (Wednesday, your 3rd full day)
Morning: Comuna 13/Graffiti Tour:
Comuna 13 used to be one of Medellín’s most dangerous and violent neighborhoods, but it has undergone an amazing transformation and now is a vibrant community with street art and urban escalators. Visiting Comuna 13 and doing a graffiti tour is something that I consider a must do if you are visiting Medellín. My aunt and cousin did this tour and really enjoyed it, although it went at least 90 minutes over, as it appears this is a pattern with tours with Toucan. They enjoyed this one a lot, so I am recommending this tour.
Day 4, Lunch: Ajiacos y Mondongos
Ajiacos y Mondongos is a Medellín institution. You can read more about it here. They only have three dishes, Ajiaco, a traditional chicken soup from Bogotá, Mondongo, a traditional Antioquean tripe soup and my favorite, Cazuela de Frijoles, a bean casserole (they have a vegetarian version of this dish available). Ajiacos y Mondongos is only open for lunch but the food is great, and it’s one of my favorite restaurants in Medellín.
After having lunch at Ajiacos y Mondongos, I would hail a cab or take an Uber to Museo Casa de la Memoria. While you can take the metro and the tram here, getting here on the metro, and then walking from the tram station is a bit confusing, so it’s best to take a taxi or Uber here.
Ajiacos y Mondongos, Calle 8 #42-46, El Poblado
+57 (034) 312-2520/+57 (034) 266-5505
Monday-Friday: 12:00 PM-3:30 PM
Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 PM-4:00 PM
Afternoon: Museo Casa de la Memoria
Museo Casa de la Memoria is an incredible museum dedicated to remembering urban conflict and human rights violations here in Medellín and the department of Antioquia. Having worked at Chile’s Museo de la Memoria y Derechos Humanos, I really have enjoyed this museum, and it’s an amazing museum. When I was teaching, I took some of my students on a field trip here and have also visited on two other occasions with people visiting Medellín. Visiting really helps you understand the legacy of Colombia’s ongoing 50+ armed conflict. And the museum also provides great insight into what it was like to live in Medellín from the 1970s to the present when violence here reached an all-time high. My high school students really got a lot out of visiting this museum, and I did too, although visiting does make me emotional since this place is intense.
I believe this is such a better and more educational place for learning about Colombia and what has happened here. You will notice I do not mention Pablo Escobar or narco tours here since I am against them. Having been on two (not by choice), they are honestly pretty boring and there is so much more to see and do here, all the old structures from him are gone now, so there is nothing to see just the ruins of his once empire since the government has destroyed almost everything he has left behind. Also, I cannot condone anything that venerates a person responsible for so much death, destruction, violence and harm for thousands of people. There are better ways to engage with that history, like go to this museum or read books, but do not give money for narco tourism, a culture, that has caused so much destruction.
Yes, this is controversial, and he is beloved by some people here but doing a tour of his house or doing anything to celebrate him, do not do it. I beg you not to. Do not be that gringo. You can think of doing a narco tour as doing a tour that glorifies some of the worst people in your country’s history and their destruction. Shit, even the mayor of Medellín, has banned these tours and destroyed his last legacy here in Medellín during February 2019, to create space for a peace park for his victims.
Museo Casa de la Memoria, Calle 51 #36-66 Parque Bicentenario, Medellín, Colombia.
+57 (034) 520-2020
Museo Casa de la Memoria Hours:
Mondays: Closed to the public unless it is a Monday holiday, if Monday is a holiday, then the museum is closed to the public the next day (Tuesday)
Tuesday-Friday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
Day 5 (Thursday, your 4th full day)
Your possible choices for visiting small towns outside of Medellín (pueblos) include the following, keep in mind there are of other pueblos worth visiting, these are just a few to consider.
Guatapé and El Peñol, you can climb the infamous 695 steps for la Piedra de Peñol, this place is super popular, so I would recommend leaving early and visiting on a weekday. I like Guatapé but almost everyone visiting Medellín goes since it’s written up in Lonely Planet. Personally, I think there are more fun or interesting places to visit. This is an excellent place to visit if you want to improve your Instagram aesthetic. It is maybe a two hour drive from Medellín depending on traffic, just a warning tours with Toucan tend to go at least an hour or 90 minutes over their scheduled time.
Santa Fe de Antioquia
Santa Fe de Antioquia, is about two to two and a half hours from Medellín, it is one of Colombia’s heritage towns, and it is beautiful. I prefer this to Guatapé, the colonial architecture is gorgeous, and it’s not far from Medellín, maybe 80 KM away. I love Santa Fe de Antioquia and Jardín, it is also less crowded and not filled with tons of backpackers and tourists.
Jardín is one of my favorite pueblos in Colombia. It is approximately three hours from Medellín in the part of Antioquia where they grow coffee, and it is stunning. I took my Dad on the tour linked here, while it was a really long day, you could stay overnight Jardín to make it worth your while, we had a great time visiting a coffee plantation, learning about how coffee is made, had an amazing meal and a great guide. This is a great tour since you can combine a trip to a coffee farm and a visit to a beautiful pueblo into one day. My aunt and cousin also did this tour, and they had a great time as well. Your bilingual guide will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel and drive you to Jardín and drop you off back at your hotel in the evening.
Day 6 (Friday, your 5th full day)
Morning: Visit Museo de Arte de Moderno de Medellín (MAMM)
The Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (MAMM) is Medellín’s modern art museum which has an excellent collection of modern and Colombian art. I went last year one Friday when you could visit for free between 6:00 PM and 10:00 PM, it’s a great museum to visit and spend the morning at in Ciudad del Río. They have free entry to the public the last Friday of each month from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM and they used to have outdoor movies on Friday nights here, I am not sure if this is still the case.
MAMM Entry Fees:
$12.000 COP General Admission for children over 12 years old and adults
$9.000 COP, admission for children under 12 years old, people over 60 years old and students younger than 25 with a valid student ID
**The Museum is free on the last Friday of each month from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM**
Hours for the MAMM
Monday: Closed to the public unless there is a Monday holiday. If Monday is a holiday, the museum will be open to the public and will be closed the next day, Tuesday.
Tuesday-Friday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Carrera 44 #19A-100, Ciudad del Río, Medellín, Antioquia
+57 (034) 444-2622
1:30 PM Medellín Street Food Tour
My cousin and aunt did this tour on the last full day they were here, and they loved this tour. I was not able to go, but from what they told me they were able to see a lot of Medellín and try so many different foods. It sounded awesome, and I was sad that I was not able to go on this tour with them. This tour is only offered on Fridays and Saturdays. You will eat tons of food on this tour so make sure to go on the tour hungry so you can eat and enjoy all of the delicious food. Be prepared that this tour may run long by at least one to two hours, depending on traffic and other factors. So, make sure if you are planning anything for after this give yourself more time than you think you need to do the tour. Also, be sure to bring an umbrella/rain jacket and wear comfortable shoes since you will be doing a lot of walking.
Delirio Exquisito in El Poblado or Laureles for fantastic fish tacos.
Carrera 33 #8a-36, El Poblado, Medellín
Avenida Nutibara #74b – 09, Laureles, Medellín
After dinner: Go Salsa dancing at Son Havana, the famous salsa bar in Laureles.
Carrera 73, Av. San Juan ##44-56, Laureles, Medellín, Antioquia
+57 (034) 586-9082
Hours for Son Havana:
Wednesday: 8:00 PM-2:00 AM
Thursday: 8:00 PM-3:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 PM-4:00 AM
Day 7 (Saturday, possibly your 6th full day) (Possible departure)
Breakfast before you leave, if you are leaving? If you are not leaving you could have brunch and visit Museo El Castillo and Gardens located in Poblado.
Museo El Castillo y Jardínes
Museo El Castillo is Medellín’s gothic castle museum and cultural center, designed after houses in France’s Loire Valley, which boasts beautiful and extensive gardens here in Loma Los Balsos in El Poblado. They have tons of artwork and other imported items from Europe. The gardens and parks on the grounds for the museum are worth visiting because they are so spectacular. You can take an Uber or Taxi here since the museum is located up an extremely steep hill, I would not recommend walking up here from CC Santafé. Having walked up this hill before, it is no joke.
The museum’s café has a picnic service. You need to reserve at least two days in advance for couples with packages ranging from $65.000 COP to $95.000 for a picnic basket with a bottle of wine. Museo El Castillo’s gardens and grounds are a beautiful spot that is sometimes rented out for private events. If you are looking to do something romantic with your partner, this could be a picnic here on the grounds of the Museum could be a great idea.
Entry fees for Museo El Castillo
Adults: $13.000 COP
Students with ID: $9.000 COP
Children younger than 13: $9.000 COP
Children younger than three years old: FREE
Museo El Castillo Hours
Monday to Friday: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM
Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Museo El Castillo, Calle 9Sur #32-269, Loma Los Balsos, El Poblado, Medellín
+57 (034) 266-0900
Nightlife Recommendations in El Poblado
Parque Lleras in El Poblado is one of Medellín’s biggest nightlife districts, the actual park itself, located on Carrera 37A 9A is more of a small concrete plaza no larger than two blocks, surrounded by bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. The area surrounding Parque Lleras and la Zona Rosa del Poblado, between Calle 10 to the north and Calle 7 to the south, and Avenida Poblado (Avenida 43A) and approximately Las Palmas, is an area where you can find restaurants, stores, boutiques, etc. has a lot of hotels, hostels, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. The neighborhood above Parque Lleras, Provenza, where you can find la Via Primavera (Carrera 37), is an area where you can find some great restaurants, boutiques, cafés and more. La Via Provenza (Carrera 35), a few blocks above the Via Primavera slightly less glamorous than la Via Primavera has some hotels and other boutiques. While la Via Jardín (Carrera 33) a few blocks above la Via Provenza mainly has restaurants.
When in Parque Lleras no matter the time of day or night you need to have your wits about you and be careful with your belongings, electronics, any flashy jewelry, etc. There is a large police presence here at night on the weekends, but be careful and take all of the regular precautions you would take going out anywhere. And if it’s late do yourself a favor and do not walk alone, if you can take a taxi or Uber to avoid getting into trouble. And do not be surprised if you are a man or masculine presenting person walking around Parque Lleras if a sex worker solicits you, I have heard of this happening. Personally, when I am near Lleras, I tend to go to Provenza since it’s less crowded and there are better restaurants. This area is more expensive than other areas in Medellín since it is an expensive part of Poblado and given that so many foreigners are here in Provenza, but there are some good restaurants and bars in Provenza and la Zona Rosa de Poblado.
People might drag Poblado because it’s “too Westernized” or gringolandia, that might be true in Provenza given the number of backpackers here and hostels. But Poblado is mainly filled with wealthy Colombians, and some expats do live here but not as many as expats live here despite what some might lead you to believe. And the infrastructure here in Poblado is good, but the traffic can be horrendous at rush hour. Poblado does have the largest concentration of hotels and many companies have offices here, it’s a nice place to go out, but be aware of the hills, Poblado is not flat, it’s filled with hills. However, there are places to go out here for every budget from street food to high-end restaurants.
antro Severo, Carrera 36 #8A-123, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia, (LESBIAN BAR/CLUB)
antro Severo is a Lesbian bar close to Parque Lleras situated behind Donde Aquellos which is a gay bar. This club welcomes trans, lesbian, non-binary, and bisexual women in this space where those who identify as women can dance to electronic-urban rhythms, drink and have fun in Parque Lleras.
antro Severo Hours
Sunday: 9:00 PM-4:00 AM
Thursday-Saturday: 9:00 AM-4:00 AM
antro Severo, Carrera 36 #8A-123, El Poblado, Medellín, +57 312 708-0515
BarChiquita, Carrera 37 #10-37, El Poblado Medellín, Antioquia (LGBTQ+ Bar)
Chiquita is an LGBT+ bar located a flew blocks from Parque Lleras in the Zona Rosa de Poblado right off Calle 10. When you arrive to Chiquita you will be greeted outside by a pair of yellow flamingo statues, this place has a fun kitschy theme, excellent cocktails, and a large outdoor terrace. This is a great place to visit for cocktails before hitting the clubs or other bars later on in the evening.
Wednesday-Saturday: 5:00 PM-2:00 AM
BarChiquita, Carrera 37 #10-37, El Poblado Medellín, Antioquia (LGBTQ+ Bar), +57 304 218-5842
Bolívar - Bailadero y Fresquería, Calle 10 #40-30, El Poblado, Medellín
Bolívar is one of Medellín’s more posh and exclusive clubs located in la Zona Rosa de Poblado, styled after Miami during the 1980s with a Latinx Miami Vice aesthetic. They do accept walk-ins and reservations from 12:00 PM-6:00, Tuesday to Friday, +57 (034) 311-4208. The music they play at Bolívar includes plenty of hip-hop, R&B, and moombahton (a house/reggaeton hybrid). If you want to visit Bolívar, you will need to dress up, pay their cover, and keep in mind that they do not let anyone in who is younger than 23, so this club attracts a slightly older crowd compared to other places here in Poblado.
Thursday: 8:00 PM-4:00 AM
Saturday: 9:00 PM-4:00 AM
Botánika Lounge, Calle 9A #37-03, Avenida Primavera, El Poblado, Medellín
This restaurant/café/lounge is known for its location near the Charlee Hotel in Parque Lleras, during the day it’s a conventional café where you can do work and at night it becomes a lounge with great cocktails made by professional mixologists. They have a varied menu throughout the day and also offer a vegetarian menu. The botanical theme and excellent cocktails makes this is a great place to come if you want to feel like you are in a lush oasis without leaving Medellín. Some nights they will also have live music. They serve brunch on Sundays until 2 PM and all of their food is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Botánika Lounge Hours
Sunday-Wednesday: 9:00 AM-11:45 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-1:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 9:00 AM-2:00 AM
Reservations: +57 (034) 366-8091
DANCEFREE (Salsa and Bachata classes in English and Spanish in El Poblado)
DANCEFREE is a hugely popular dance school located two blocks from Parque Lleras, which offers private dance classes in English and Spanish 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 7:30 PM depending on their instructors’ availability. DANCFREE offers dance classes for people looking to learn: Salsa, Bachata, Tango, Kizomba, Merengue, Porro, Reggaeton, Cha Cha, Foxtrot, Bolero, Cumbia, Hip Hop, Dancehall, Stretching and more. They also offer language classes for people looking to learn Spanish. DANCEFREE has male and female instructors and are flexible if you want to change instructors or want to learn a different type of dance. They also offer group Salsa classes and Bachata classes are for all levels, from beginner/1st-timer to expert. For their group dancing classes, you do not need to bring a partner, enroll or make a reservation and you can arrive and start on any date.
DANCEFREE has a bar for Salsa, Bachata and more every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 PM until as late as 4:00 AM (www.dancefree.com.co/bar). There is no cover if you arrive before 9:00 PM on Thursdays and Saturdays, except when there is a special event. And there is no minimum consumption at their bar. They have a live band most Thursdays beginning at 10:00 PM and Saturdays beginning at 10:30 PM. They also rent their space out for parties, events and have shows as well. Here is a link where you can see their calendar. DANCFREE is located two blocks from Parque Lleras and they also have language exchanges certain nights.
Sunday: 9:00 AM-7:30 PM
Monday-Wednesday: 9:00 AM-11:00 PM
Thursday-Saturday: 9:00 AM-4:00 AM
DANCEFREE, Calle 10A #40-27, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
DANCEFREE WhatsApp/Telephone: +57 316 288-7063/(+57) (034) 204-0336
Donde Aquellos Bar, Carrera 38 #9A – 26, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia (GAY BAR)
Donde Aquellos is a gay bar located blocks from Parque Lleras and from what I have heard this supposed to one of the best gay bars in Poblado. It is larger than Chiquita and has a different vibe than Chiquita, which is an LGBT+ bar, where both masculine and feminine and non-binary people are welcomed. Donde Aquellos has a large outdoor terrace which is great for people watching.
Donde Aquellos Hours
Sunday-Thursday: 5:00 PM-2:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 5:00 PM-4:00 AM
Donde Aquellos Bar, Carrera 38 #9A – 26, El Poblado, Medellín, +57 (034) 312-2041
El Social Tienda Mixta, Carrera 35 #8A - 8, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
This casual/bar restaurant located in the Provenza neighborhood of Poblado was one of the first places open in Poblado, given that it has been around 1969. It’s a fun place to eat, drink, and enjoy the atmosphere, they have a cool downstairs patio and upstairs which is a fun place to hang out. This bar is not a place with mixologists like Botánika, but it’s a cool place to have a drink with locals at prices. I have been a couple of times during 2019, and I have enjoyed the atmosphere both times, although I have never eaten here so I cannot comment on the quality of the food here.
El Tienda Social Mixta Hours
Sunday and Monday: 3:00 PM-10:00 PM
Tuesday: 3:00 PM-11:00 PM
Wednesday: 3:00 PM-12:00 AM
Thursday-Saturday: 2:00 PM-2:00 AM
Envy Rooftop at the Charlee Hotel, Calle 9A No. 37-16, Parque Lleras, El Poblado, Medellín
If you are in the mood for checking out a bar with a great view of Medellín, that is great for Instagram photos, my recommendation is to have a drink at Envy Rooftop, the rooftop bar and restaurant located on the 17th and 18th floors of the Charlee, a boutique hotel in front of Parque Lleras. Just a warning, the drinks here are expensive, and the service at the bar leaves much to be desired, so only stay for one drink. If you go later, you may need to make a reservation to get a good table. I went recently later one Friday night, closer to midnight, and they had a $300.000 COP alcohol minimum, so this is something to keep in mind, I would recommend going earlier if you can. Usually, I think either the first or last Sunday of each month they have brunch, but if you are interested my recommendation is to check with them about their brunch schedule.
Envy Rooftop Hours:
Kitchen: 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Bar: 9 AM- 10:00 PM
Wednesday to Saturday
Kitchen: 5:00 PM a 12:00 AM
Bar: 9:00 AM – 2:00 AM
La Bronca, Carrera 35 8A-125, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
La Bronca is actually a Mexican restaurant that has a great bar with excellent artesian cocktails and excellent tacos. La Bronca is more of a place that I would probably find in Washington, D.C., with their food choices and the variety of cocktails they have. I really enjoy their mezcal cocktails and the staff here, the many times that I have come for tacos have always been great and the atmosphere and outdoor terrace are also excellent. I stumbled upon La Bronca (it had a different name at this point) accidentally with a friend of mine during March 2018 and was happy that I found it again. The prices and atmosphere are definitely more upscale so you will want to look nice, and it’s not filled with backpackers, it’s a more local place. I love that I can come here since it’s one of the few places where I can go and not need to bring my own hot sauce and I can also get mezcal cocktails here, it’s hard to find mezcal in Medellín and good Mexican food here. La Bronca is one of my favorites and it never disappoints.
La Bronca Hours
Sunday - Wednesday: 12:00 PM - 11:30 PM
Thursday - Friday: 12:00 PM - 1:30 AM
Saturday: 12:00 PM - 12:00 AM
Perro Negro, Carrera 35 #7-83, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
An old friend of mine who lives in Bogotá introduced me to this underground reggaetón club in the Provenza neighborhood of El Poblado, above Parque Lleras. I like to come here to dance reggaeton, but if you do not like spaces that are dark and crowded this may not be a great place to visit for you. It is a place that attracts a more local crowd and young crowd, mainly Colombians in their twenties or thirties. This club is actually down the street from Vintrash Bar in Provenza. This place is not accessible if you have mobility issues since you have to go down a set of stairs to reach a basement and there is no elevator here. The last time I was here there was a cover of $25.000 COP per person regardless of gender, but this cover may have increased, so make sure to bring at least $30.000 COP per person when you come here. Also, bring your passport/cédula/ID when coming since they will want to check your ID at the door, this club might only take people 21 years of age or older.
Perro Negro Hours:
Thursday-Saturday: 10:00 PM-4:00 AM
Perro Negro, Carrera 35 #7-83, El Poblado Medellín, +57 (300) 646-0216
SkyBar, Carrera 38 # 8-83, Parque Lleras, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
SkyBa is a fun bar for dancing and cocktails in El Poblado, located right near Parque Lleras. I went here with my roommates and some of their friends in a huge group during January 2019, before I got a boot on my foot and was not able to go dancing anymore. I had a great time and enjoyed the atmosphere here. I cannot remember whether or not there is a cover for men, but there was no cover for women as far as I can remember.
Monday-Thursday: 4:00 PM-2:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 4:00 PM-4:00 AM
SkyBar, Carrera 38 # 8-83, Parque Lleras, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
(+57) (034) 266-4449/(+57) (301) 562-4911
Vintrash Bar, Carrera 35 #8A-39, Provenza, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia
A Brazilian friend of mine introduced me to this bar in Provenza neighborhood of El Poblado, above Parque Lleras during March 2018. There are other locations in Bogotá and Bucaramanga. It’s a chill bar with a good dance scene, and I believe there is no cover for women. Vintrash attracts a younger crowd, typically people in their twenties and thirties. Just keep in mind that if it is a holiday such as Holy Week (Semana Santa), especially the Thursday and Friday for Holy Week, Vintrash might not be open. Also, bring your passport/cédula/ID when coming since they will want to check your ID at the door.
Wednesday-Saturday: 4:00 PM-2:00 AM
Vintrash Bar, Carrera 35 #8A-39, El Poblado, Medellín, +57 (301) 571-3724
Zero by Purple Nightclub: Carrera 39 # 8-81, El Poblado, Medellín, Antioquia (GAY CLUB)
Zero is a gay nightclub situated near Parque Lleras by the Purple Club, they claim to have the best gay rumba in Medellín.
Sunday: 6:00 PM-2:00 AM
Wednesday and Thursday: 6:00 PM-2:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 6:00 PM-4:00 AM
Nightlife Recommendations in Laureles
Laureles-Estadio is another comuna popular with foreigners, it is located closer to the center of Medellín, on the metro line, Línea B, from San Antonio heading towards San Javier. Laureles is flatter than Poblado, includes the Estadio Antansio Giradot. However, Laureles is super confusing for me since it all looks the same to me, and is formed by a lot of different traffic circles and does not follow a grid system like Poblado. The designer of Laureles wanted it to feel like a European city if I am not mistaken he was inspired by Italian city planning. It is increasingly popular with expats, but it can be as expensive as Poblado, and sometimes there are some safety issues in Laureles there that I do not hear as much about happening in Poblado. Some of the traditional expats say Laureles is “more authentic,” but it appears to be gentrifying as it becomes the new hot place to be and go in Medellín. I like Laureles, but as I said, I get lost almost every time I go there, and it’s not always the place as accessible via metro as certain parts of Poblado are. I know that by writing this, some people might come after me for saying this, because some of the Medellín Expats, especially some of the older expats can be vicious and petty, but that but this is something to keep in mind.
Laureles has two main nightlife areas, la 70 (Carrera 70) and la 33 (treinta y tres/Avenida 33/Calle 33) to the South. Avenida Nutibara (Transversal 39B), is the heart of Laureles, which runs diagonally across Laureles from the Southeast corner to the Northwest corner of Laureles. This area is more or less bordered by Avenida San Juan (Calle 44), Avenida 33 (Calle 33) to the South, which is a major nightlife area here. Carrera 80 (actually it’s 81, but it’s known here as la ochenta) to the west, and Carrera 70 (la Setenta) to the east. Most of the major activity in Laureles centers around Avenida Nutibara, the Transversales that run parallel to Avenida Nutibara and the Circulares which form circles. Also the Primer Parque Laureles and Segundo Parque Laureles, first and second parks in Laureles are where you will find a lot of restaurants.
If you walk on la 70 between the Estadio metro station (Carrera 70 # 47D-15) and the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) campus (Circular 1 #70-01), or if you walk on Avenida 33 (Calle 33) between the UPB and la 80, you should have some luck finding something that you like. It is important to keep in mind that there might be more nightlife options here than Poblado because there are two nightlife zones here, although this is a more local neighborhood for going out. Laureles can be a great neighborhood to visit if you want to go salsa dancing and/or escape Poblado for a little while. On la 33 (Calle 33) there are definitely some gay and lesbian bars and nightclubs, there appear to a lot of establishments catering to the LGBTQ+ community in Laureles and El Centro.
Barrio Central Café Bar, Circular 2, 68 – 123, Laureles, Medellín
Barrio Central is a British owned bar which offers a hybrid British Pub/Colombian bar and Beer Garden in Laureles, located near la 70 (Carrera 70). They have lots of football (soccer matches) on television here as well as trivia nights and a free language exchange every Tuesday night.
Barrio Central Hours:
Sunday: 10:00 AM-12:00 AM
Monday and Tuesday: 4:00 PM-12:00 AM
Wednesday: 1:30 PM-12:00 AM
Thursday: 4:00 PM-12:00 AM
Friday: 1:30 PM-2:00 AM
Saturday: 3:00 PM-2:00 AM
Del Patio Bar, Circular 2 # 70 - 39, Laureles
Del Patio, located off right of la 70 (Carrera 70) one of Laureles’ nightlife zones, in a converted house, has a lush, tropical feel and is one of the best patios in Laureles, which makes this a great place to come with larger groups since they have large tables and many staff.
Del Patio Hours:
Sunday-Wednesday: 4:00 PM-12:00 AM
Thursday-Saturday: 4:00 PM-2:00 AM
Reservations via WhatsApp: +57 (317) 410-6480
Happy House, Avenida 33 (Calle 33) #78-232, Laureles, Medellín, Antioquia (Lesbian Club)
Happy House is one of the lesbian bars on Avenida 33 here in Laureles. While I have never been personally, I have heard good things about Happy House.
Happy House Hours:
Sunday: 5:00 AM-2:00 AM
Thursday: 6:00 PM-2:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 6:00 AM-4:00 AM
Panorama Rooftop Bar, Carrera 73 con Circular 3-8, Laureles
This rooftop bar is known for having a pretty, open-air rooftop patio, and good cocktails, what it lacks in views, it makes up for in ambiance and lush greenery, so you feel that you are no longer in the city. They have good food and offer from what I have heard a good Sunday brunch.
Sunday: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Monday-Saturday: 5:00 PM-2:00 AM
+57 (034) 411-7613/+57 (301) 504-7562
Purple Club, Avenida 33 (Calle 33) # 78-107, Laureles, Medellín, Antioquia (GAY CLUB)
Purple is another gay club located on la 33 in Laureles, known for the parties they host on the weekends with guest DJs and a variety of shows they host.
Purple Club Hours:
Sunday: 9:00 PM-4:00 AM
Thursday-Saturday: 9:00 PM-4:00 AM
Son Havana, Carrera 73 #44-56, Laureles, Medellín
Son Havana is one of Medellín’s best and most famous Salsa bar located on Carrera 73, located one block north of Avenida San Juan (Calle 44). This bar is located slightly out of the way from the main drag in Laureles, la 70 (Carrera 70). Son Havana is definitely a more Colombian spot, with a great vibe. This is a great place to come to meet locals, improve your salsa and Spanish. They have a live band playing every night from Wednesday to Saturday and free salsa lessons on Wednesday nights.
Son Havana Hours:
Wednesday: 8:00 PM-2:00 AM
Thursday: 8:00 PM-3:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 8:00 PM-4:00 AM
Son Havana: Carrera 73 #44-56, Laureles, Medellín, +57 (034) 586-9082
Tibiri Bar, Calle 44b ##70-03, Medellín, Antioquia
Tibiri Bar, also known as El Tibiri or El Tibiri Tabara is an informal basement salsa bar that has been open since 1992. This Salsa bar plays Guaguango, Boogaloo/Bugalú, Rumba, Pachanga, Guajira, Bomba and Cha Cha Cha. This place is frequented by university students as well as a more elderly crowd and some foreigners. Sometimes they have dance shows. Tibiri is a place where you can let go without any formalities. Keep in mind that since it is a basement, there is little ventilation so the walls will sweat. You can easily come here via metro if you get off at the Estadio metro station or take any bus which has a route passing through Avenida San Juan (Calle 44). This bar might by cash only and is not wheelchair accessible.
Tibiri Bar Hours:
Wednesday-Saturday: 9:00 PM-2:00 AM
Tibiri Bar, Calle 44b ##70-03, Medellín, Antioquia, +57 310 849-5461
Top Secret, Avenida Colombia/Calle 50 No. 67-100, Laureles, Medellín
This underground electronic after hours club in Laureles is the place you come to after you have had dinner, drinks, danced and want to go somewhere else. Top Secret has a warehouse vibe with electro beats, it’s a bit sweaty and sordid, but it is a great place to come if you want to keep dancing until the morning, after all of the other places have closed.
Top Secret Hours:
Thursday: 12:00 AM-8:00 AM
Friday and Saturday: 12:00 AM-10:00 AM
Sunday: 12:00 AM-8:00 AM
Top Secret, Avenida Colombia/Calle 50 No. 67-100, Laureles, Medellín, +57 (315) 342-1612
Viva Discotek, Calle 51 # 73 - 100, Laureles, Medellín, Antioquia (GAY NIGHTCLUB)
Viva Discotek is a huge gay club located north of Laureles, with a huge gay party on Saturday evenings. Viva has two main dance areas, the larger, main dance area, where you can twerk to reggaeton and electronic music, and a second separate dance area, more intimate, with Salsa and other classic Latin genres. We loved it just for this – gay couples dancing salsa together in one room, while twerking to a Maluma reggaeton beat in the other! Viva is only open on Saturdays from 9 PM to 4 AM and it’s situated near the Estadio Antansio Giradot.
Additional suggestions for activities
Medellín’s interactive science museum, which houses South America’s largest freshwater aquarium, great for kids. Parque Explora is adjacent to the Universidad metro station.
Carrera 52 #73-75, Medellín, Antioquia
+57 (034) 516-8300
Entrance fees for Parque Explora:
$27.000 COP per person for the whole museum for Parque Explora
$40.000 COP per person combination Planetarium + Parque Explora, includes one ticket for Parque Explora and the Planetarium, in order to visit the planetarium, you must reserve your ticket in advance
Parque Explora Hours
Monday: Closed to the public, unless there is a holiday on Monday, then the museum will be closed the next day, Tuesday.
Tuesday to Friday: 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, the ticket booth closes at 4:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 AM-6:30 PM, the ticket booth closes at 5:00 PM
Medellín’s planetarium and space museum (Kid Friendly)
Carrera 52 # 71-117, Medellín, this is close to the Universidad metro station
+57 (034) 516-8300
Entrance fees for Planetario de Medellín
$16.000 COP per person includes a tour of all of the spaces in the planetarium, temporary exhibit, planetarium dome show, and 42 interactive experiences
$26.000 COP per person is a bonus with two visits to the planetarium dome
$15.000 COP for students with an ID card
$15.000 COP for adults older than 60 years of age
Children under two years of age can visit for free
Planetario de Medellín Hours:
Monday: Closed to the public unless there is a holiday and then it is closed on Tuesday
Tuesday-Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 AM-6:30 PM, the ticket booth closes at 6:15 PM
Museo del Agua, Medellín’s interactive water museum (Kid Friendly)
Carrera 57 #42-139, Medellín
+57 (034) 380-1790
Museo del Agua Entrance Fees
Free for up to four people living in Estrato 1-3 if you bring an EPM bill
Free for children under five years old and adults over 60 years old
$6.000 COP per person for everyone else
Museo del Agua Hours
Monday: Closed to the public unless there is a holiday and then it is closed on Tuesday
Tuesday-Friday: 8:30 AM-4:00 PM
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays: 10:30 AM-5:00 PM
This zen park with water features and more is great for kids, adults, and everyone in between. It is situated between the Plaza Mayor, Medellín’s convention and expo hall, EPM’s smart building, this park has cafes, restaurants and more. This large plaza has space for concerts and events throughout the year.
Carrera 58 #42-125
+57 (034) 380-8080
Watch a fútbol match at Estadio Antansio Giradot
Watch a soccer match at Estadio Antansio Giradot, here is a popular Airbnb experience, where this is set up for you, Airbnb Experience Soccer Match at Estadio Antansio Giradot.
I hope that after reading this post, you will feel confident about planning your visit to Medellín, have some ideas about what you might want to do here in Medellín and all that Medellín has to offer. This list includes my personal highlights for the things I would do here in Medellín and recommend for other people to do, it is in no way, shape or form, the be all-end-all guide for things to do here in Medellín. Each day has the highlights for what I would do here in Medellín and the surrounding areas.
If there is something that you believe that I should cover, that I have not already covered on the blog, please let me know. If this post has helped you in any way or if you have learned something, please tell me in the comments, slide into my DMs or send me an email, since I LOVE hearing from my readers. Finally, if you are enjoying reading my blog and want more, do not forget to click the subscribe button below and you will receive emails from me on a weekly basis whenever I have posted new content on the blog.