Published May 05, 2021
10 Awesome Things to do in Medellin, Colombia
Medellin was known as a “bad-ass town.” Violence reigned, social order had been disrupted, and no one seemed to know how to reassemble Medellin. Since then, Medellin has experienced a turnaround over the last 15 years, transforming it into one of Colombia’s most urban centers. Now Medellin is a beautiful city teeming with law-abiding business owners. It is one of Latin America’s success stories and one of the fastest-growing markets on the continent.
Medellin is Colombia’s second-largest city. It is the capital of the Antioquia department and has a population of over 3 million people. The city has since improved dramatically, and the people are clearly proud of what they have achieved. Medellin exudes a tangible sense of hope. Thanks to improved protection, Medellin is now being promoted as one of the top must-see destinations. Here are a few awesome things to do in Medellin, Colombia.
1. Explore the Numerous Parks and Plazas
Medellin is commonly known as the “Ciudad de la Eterna Primavera.” This translates to “City of Eternal Spring” in English and refers to the near-perfect spring-like weather, which is why Medellin is undoubtedly one of several greenest cities in Colombia. Parks multiply in the City of Eternal Spring; there is always a new green space to discover. Here are some of the city’s most impressive parks and plazas.
2. Explore Jardín Botánico
The Medellin Botanical Garden, also known as the Joaquin Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden, is a 14-hectare botanical garden in Medellin, Colombia. The gardens are a perfect place to unwind while also learning about Colombia’s biodiversity. There are 4,500 flowers and 139 bird species in the botanical garden. There are many sights and events to enjoy. The gardens are perfect every day of the week, whether you are a nature lover or simply looking for something free to do in the city.
3. See a Soccer Match
Soccer is a way of life for the people here; if games are going on, you can see one if you are ever in town. Seeing one of Medellin’s two professional teams, Atletico National or Independiente Medellin is an excellent way to experience Latin America’s extraordinary football passion. Expect an onslaught of noise, drumming, and cheering.
4. Take a Day Trip to Guatapé
Guatapé is a pleasant vacation destination located on the shores of the Embalse Guatapé, a large artificial lake. It is well-known for the fresco-style decoration of its historic buildings. The lower half of some houses have brightly painted depictions of humans, animals, and shapes. Spend at least a day walking through the colorful streets of Colombia’s most colorful town; it is only a short bus ride from Medellin, so there is no reason not to!
5. Take a Free Walking Tour
If you are looking for things to do in Medellin and want to explore the surrounding area, this is the place to be. Explore the historic districts and let myths, interpretations, and urban legends bring this fascinating city to life; all of this is discussed to you by a local guide while walking the streets of Medellin. The Medellin Walking Tour is a fan favorite because it allows you to learn about and explore different cultures and locations.
6. Visit Diverse Array of Museums
Medellin’s museums capture the essence of its people and rich history. If you are looking for something more profound and meaningful, visit one of the city’s museums. With these museums, you will learn about Medellin’s cultural, artistic, technological, or historical aspects. There are also incredible museums here that detail science, the cosmos, water, animals, and so much more. Medellin caters to a wide range of interests and is well worth a visit.
7. Take a Food Tour
A food tour introduces you to the best restaurants in Medellin and allows you to learn about the paisa culture through food. They will take you on a delicious journey, visiting secret small restaurants only recognized by locals and introducing you to Medellin’s street food. They will clarify the tradition and cultural background of each specialty at each location. They make sure to point out some fun places you can visit after the tour and provide you with some exciting information about the neighborhood along the way.
8. Tour Comuna 13
One neighborhood in Medellin, Comuna 13, also known as San Javier, has the city’s most turbulent past, once dubbed the most violent community due to astronomical homicide rates and forced relocation of thousands of residents. It seems to have undergone a full transition over the last seven or eight years. Comuna 13 is now well-known for its street art, but this neighborhood is more than just pretty murals and selfie spots. It is also associated with graffiti, street art performances, and walking tours. It also encapsulates Medellin’s progress by showing that even its most violent community can become a hopeful symbol that one can tour.
9. Visit a Microbrewery
Colombia has a flourishing craft beer scene. While Colombia has several truly independent, up-and-coming craft breweries, Medellin has small brewpubs and offers microbrewery beer tours and tastings. Medellin currently has over 30 craft breweries, which is very surprising. However, several of these are one-person activities, with kitchens serving as labs and brew houses housed in living rooms.
10.Don’t do the Escobar tour
Escobar is a controversial figure in Medellin, and bringing up his name is a touchy topic. Most Paisas regard him as a killer who was responsible for the deaths of 4,000 people and the assassination of politicians and journalists. Colombians’ memories of the Escobar years’ bombings, assassinations, and brutality are still raw. Tour companies offer Pablo Escobar tours. Many Colombians are sick and tired of the Pablo Escobar saga and are annoyed that international tourists flock to the city. Also, they seem to revere him in the process as they see this as profiting from the bloodshed and glorifying his life.
Altogether, the things to do in Medellin, Colombia, will always be breathtaking and an exciting adventure to add to your bucket list. Seeing how Medellin has transformed from the “most dangerous location on Earth” to a tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world is one of the many reasons you should really visit this place. To visit Medellin at least once in your life to see for yourself how much the city has improved will surely be a memory to treasure.
Visit the most colorful town in Colombia: Guatapé.
A short bus ride away from Medellin, Guatapé is a must-visit for any influencer or somebody who just wants something to post on their Instagram. There’s an entrance fee, which is 18,000 Colombian Pesos (about $5), which is relatively cheap for quite the attraction. Walk around with your camera and snap a few or many pictures of the sights.
They also offer some street food here, which you should definitely give a try. And once you’re done with that, you can people-watch while enjoying a coffee, for which Colombia is world-famous.
While the salsa dancing capital of Colombia is Cali, Medellin is no slacker in that category. Salsa dancing is a great way to blow off steam and meet the locals. And let me tell you, it’s true what they say, the women in Medellin are incredibly gorgeous.
Bar-hopping at Parque Lleras
If the nightlife is right up your alley, make a trip to Plaza Lleras. Hit the streets and go bar-hopping. With the sheer number of bars lined up, you’ll surely be able to find one that suits your tastes. It’s generally safe to walk around here at night, but you can never be too careful. Just make sure you and your company don’t get too wasted that you won’t be able to return to your hotel.
Pig out on some Bandeja Paisa.
If you could have a dish that fully embodies the Paisa culture, it would be Bandeja Paisa. This dish is one of the most traditional Colombian ones, featuring a boatload of food on one plate. Because of its sheer size, it’s often referred to as “a festival of meat on a Frisbee-sized plate.” If that’s not enough to convince you of its size, the word bandeja actually means platter in Spanish.
So what’s in this dish? Here is the food you can expect to find on this dish:
- Two types of Colombian sausage
- Ground beef
- A slice of avocado
- Red Beans
- Chicharrón (a crispy fried pork rind)
- A plantain
- An arepa (a bit like cornbread)
- A fried egg
And yes. That’s all in one dish. You’ll find this incredible plate of wonders practically anywhere in Medellin.