Medellín is a city with a rich history, beautiful architecture and delicious food. There are many things to do here, but you’ll need some time to explore all of them. If you’re planning on visiting Medellín anytime soon, read on for our list of top things to do during your stay.
There are many things to do in Medellín!
There are many things to do in Medellín! The city has a lot to offer, including:
- Exploring the city. After you take a bus from the airport, your first stop should be the Mercado del Rio, where you can eat lunch and explore the food stalls. Then go on an adventure through other areas of town like El Poblado or Laureles.
- Eating at Mercado del Rio.
- Taking a salsa class with Salsamundi Dance Studio (or any other dance studio). This is one of our favorite things to do when we visit Medellín! There’s nothing like dancing salsa with all your friends at night after enjoying some good Colombian food during the day—and it’s also an excellent way to meet new people while exploring new places! We recommend taking classes either early in your trip so that they don’t interfere with your sightseeing plans later on down south (like us), or simply before leaving town so that you can show off how much better than everyone else those steps were back home…maybe even brag about winning last year’s competition? 😉 Either way works well; just make sure not too much attention goes towards anyone but yourself! Just kidding 🙂
If you want to experience a traditional Colombian town, Pueblito Paisa is the place to go. Located in Medellín’s Comuna 13, it’s a complete replica of a typical town from Antioquia.
The town has many attractions including:
- A restaurant and bar
- A market with fresh produce, meat, cheese and more
- A museum where you can learn about Colombia’s history and culture (in Spanish)
- A church with beautiful stained glass windows made by local artists from recycled glass bottles! The roof was designed by one of my favorite architects in Colombia- Ramon Correa: https://www.instagram.com/p/BV1Nnx2F-M7/?taken-by=ramoncorreaarchitecture&hl=en
- Plaza Bolivar- This plaza is lined with trees that were planted by locals who wanted something green after so much violence during the 90s when Pablo Escobar was at his peak power in Medellín city limits (or so I’ve heard). There are also statues made from recycled materials throughout this plaza too 🙂
- Parque Explora: This is an indoor/outdoor children’s museum with many exhibits and activities to keep your kids engaged and entertained. There’s a butterfly garden, planetarium, and even a chocolate factory. It’s a great place to spend the day if you want to escape the heat or rain while still enjoying the outdoors.
- Cerro Nutibara: If you’re looking for something more adventurous and active than Parque Explora, this park is perfect! The main attraction here is its zip-lines, which are located within the mountain itself rather than built on top of it as many other zip lines are in Colombia. They offer different difficulty levels depending on how brave you feel – so whether your kids have never been ziplining before or they’re experienced pros themselves, everyone will have fun here!
If you’re looking for a place to hang out and take pictures, the Botanical Gardens are great. It has so many different types of plants and trees that you could spend hours just walking around and appreciating their beauty. The best time to go is during spring when all the flowers are blooming!
If you have friends in town who want to do something fun, this is definitely where they should go with you. There are plenty of places where groups can sit down together while enjoying fresh air and sunshine (or shade if it rains). One thing I like about this park is that there aren’t any crowds—it’s never too crowded here!
In the north of Medellín, there’s a park called Parque Arvi. This is a great place to have a picnic with your family or friends. The park has lots of space so you can have fun running, jogging, biking or walking around.
Jardín Botánico de Medellín
One of the most popular places in Medellín is the Jardín Botánico de Medellín. It’s located in the north of the city and was established in 1823, making it one of Colombia’s oldest public parks. The botanical garden contains more than 6,000 species and over 1,000 varieties of orchids, bromeliads and cacti (to name just a few). There are also over 500 varieties of palms within its 25 hectares (60 acres).
Guatapé (El Peñol)
In Guatapé, you can climb the rock formation El Peñol. The town is known for its rock formations and has become a popular destination for tourists. If you’re feeling adventurous, then this is the place to go!
Barrio Provenza is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Medellín, and it’s a great place to live. It’s also very close to El Poblado, so you can get there by taxi or bus. If you want to buy some clothes, Barrio Provenza is packed with shops for all tastes and budgets. If food is more your thing, Barrio Provenza has plenty of restaurants offering everything from pizza to sushi and karaoke bars that are open until dawn. If partying is more your thing (and let’s face it—it probably is), then Barrio Provenza has plenty of places where you can have fun until the sun comes up!
Medellin is a destination that caters to those who enjoy nature, shopping and urban parks.
- Medellín is a destination that caters to those who enjoy nature, shopping and urban parks.
- Medellin is surrounded by mountains, so if you are looking for an active vacation or adventure trip, this would be the place to go. It has some of the best national parks in Colombia including Parque Arvi and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (the highest peak in South America).
- There are many museums in Medellin such as Museo Nacional de Colombia (Colombia National Museum), Museo de Antioquia (Antioquia Museum) and Museo Botero (Botero Museum).
- There are also many shopping centers like Unicentro Shopping Mall where you can buy souvenirs or just walk around with some cool architecture.
Explore the cathedral Metropolitana
Located in the center of Medellín, this cathedral is not only one of the largest cathedrals in South America, but also the seat of the Archbishop of Medellín. The Gothic-style cathedral was built between 1923 and 1953 and features a museum inside with religious statues and historical artifacts. Visitors can also take an elevator to the top floor for a panoramic view of this historic city.
Ride the Metro cable.
The Metro Cable is the best way to get around Medellin. It’s not just a convenient mode of transportation, it gives you the opportunity to see the city from above and experience its amazing views.
The Metro Cable is made up of two lines: The Metrocable Line K and Line J. Both are easy to use and safe for tourists, making them ideal for those looking for an alternative way to explore Medellín.
Line K runs between La Estrella station in El Poblado, through Barrio Belén with stations at 14th Street, 18th Street (about 20 minutes away), 25th Street (25 minutes away) and 28th Street which will take you into El Recreo where many restaurants are located. Line J goes between Santo Domingo station downtown Medellin with stops at San Javier Park (30 minutes), Laureles Park (35 minutes) & Robledo Park (45 minutes).
Taste Colombian coffee.
Coffee is a big part of the culture and you can find it in cafes and restaurants, or buy it at grocery stores. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also buy fresh beans and make your own coffee at home.
Learn about Pablo Escobar’s life in Medellin.
Pablo Escobar was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1949. He was a drug lord and the wealthiest criminal in history, with an estimated personal net worth of $30 billion by 1989. His cartel was responsible for 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States in the 1980s. In 1989 he was gunned down on a rooftop by Colombian National Police officers.
A great way to learn more about Pablo Escobar’s life here is to visit his house and museum located about 20 minutes from downtown Medellín. The tour includes videos about his childhood and rise as a drug kingpin, as well as information about how he lived here in this house until he went into hiding after escaping from prison (where he’d been held since 1976).
Eat at Mercado del Rio.
The Mercado del Rio in Medellín is a great place to grab some cheap eats. The market has a lot of food stalls, and since it’s open 24 hours you can find something to eat at any time of day or night. There are lots of seafood options here too, which makes sense considering that Medellín is located on the river!
The market caters mostly to locals, so don’t expect anything fancy or gourmet—the prices are cheap because they come with the downfalls of being on an open-air street corner: limited seating and questionable hygiene practices (i.e., not much). But if you want authentic traditional Colombian dishes without paying high prices for them, then this is the place for you!
Take a salsa class.
If you want to experience the local culture and learn how to salsa, a great way to do this is by taking a class. Salsa classes are affordable and fun. You can take classes at local dance schools or at the mall, or even in your hotel if it has one!
Classes usually start in the evening and are accompanied by a meal. The teacher will often play music while you practice with others who have also signed up for lessons that night.
Visit the Botero Plaza de las Esculturas.
- Botero Plaza de las Esculturas. Botero Plaza de las Esculturas is a public park and sculpture garden located in the center of Medellín, Colombia. It was opened in 1993 as part of the urban renewal program for central Medellín and contains works by Colombian sculptor Fernando Botero. The park lies between Parque Berrío to the north and Poblado metro station to the south; three large sculptures are placed at each end, while 25 smaller sculptures are scattered across the park grounds.
Shop at Las Palmas Factory Outlet Shopping Center.
You can spend hours upon hours at the Las Palmas factory outlet shopping center. The mall has more than 180 stores, including Nike, Lacoste and Victoria’s Secret. The mall also has a food court where you can find all of your favorite comfort foods and a movie theater showing all the latest blockbusters. If you need to rest after shopping, there is even a hotel on site that offers spa treatments and massages while you shop! If you have children in tow while you are visiting Medellín, Las Palmas has an amazing children’s play area complete with slides and interactive games that will keep them entertained for hours (and give Mommy some time off).
Las Palmas is open from 10 am to 9 pm Monday through Sunday so make sure not to miss out on some great shopping deals when visiting Colombia!
One of the best things to do in Medellín is explore the city, traveling by foot or by bus. You’ll find plenty of options for food and drink along the way, too—from traditional Colombian fare at Mercado del Rio to modern fusion dishes at La Isla de la Juventud. Be sure not miss out on some of our favorite recommendations!