If you are an expat visiting the city of Medellin, there’s no doubt you’ve heard of or have been advised to visit Parque Lleras. Parque Lleras is considered the nightlife capital of Medellín. And it’s also a tourist attraction in an area known as Zona Rosa in the El Poblado neighborhood.
When I first heard the word “Parque” (meaning “Park”) in Spanish, I expected luscious greenery, places to picnic and endless trees. In actuality, Parque Lleras is none of that. It is a small and an approximately two block concrete park that is surrounded by bars, hotels and restaurants.
This seems to be a theme with many of the “parks” here in Medellin. However, every local and taxi driver will know what and where Parque Lleras is.
Essentially, Parque Lleras is a landmark where you can tell your taxi to drop you off and find an abundance of bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants within a stone’s throw – any way you look.
Day vs Night in Parque Lleras
A day-time visit to Parque Lleras is substantially different than a night-time visit. During the day, take a stroll through the park and stop at the Juan Valdez coffee shop or even sit on the benches enjoying the free Wi-Fi.
Most of the bars and clubs and some restaurants are closed during the day. But some of the best cafes like Cafe Velvet and Pergamino are within two blocks from the park. And you’ll typically find many digital nomads doing some work in these cafes.
In addition, during the day in Parque Lleras you’ll usually find some vendors selling artwork, jewelry, snacks and trinkets.
I find the park very relaxing during the day, and even notice a few locals taking a break from work during their lunch hour. And the park does offer Free Wi-Fi.
At night, the beautiful lights above the park turn on and you’ll notice the noise level, rowdiness and number of people increases tremendously.
All the restaurants surrounding the park open and you’ll hear DJs or live bands in several of the clubs on the weekends. There are many places around the park for cocktails and dancing.
For example, stop at the Charlee Hotel and take the elevator to the penthouse (the bar called Envy Rooftop), for a classy beverage and stunning views of the skyline.
In my opinion, at night, a lot more vendors come out and start to get a bit pushier about their services. You’ll have a range, from those offering flyers from their club or restaurant, or offers for drugs and various trinkets. Use caution, especially as a foreigner.
Parque Lleras Nightlife: Bars and Nightclubs
There are well over 100 open air restaurants, bars and nightclubs located in the streets around Parque Lleras. There are many nightclubs, playing either a mixture of Latin music genres like reggaetón or salsa, rock, electronica music and more.
Here is a list of 11 of the most popular bars and nightclubs in and near Parque Lleras (within a five minute-walk):
- Bendito Seas – full of cheesy Colombian decorations and popular with a young crown for drinking and dancing and sometimes live music. Calle 10A # 38-21.
- Blue – a popular place to dance to rock music with a few western rock songs typically mixed in. At Calle 10 # 40-20.
- Calle 9+1 – Mostly plays electronica music and seems to attract a lot of foreigners and also the LGBT crowd. Calle 10 # 40-10.
- El Deck – Both foreigners and locals frequent this popular club and it’s sometimes packed when it has international DJs. Carrera 40 # 10-34.
- Envy Rooftop – a bar with a fantastic view at the top of The Charlee hotel in Parque Lleras. Calle 9A # 37-16.
- La Chingona – a popular Colombia fonda style club playing lots of Colombian music. Carrera 39 # 7-124.
- Mansion Club – a relatively small club with techno and house music – only open Friday and Saturday nights. Carrera 36 # 10-37,
- Open Sky Rooftop – electronica music and known for having large cocktails. Carrera 38 # 8-13.
- Salon Amador – a popular dance club that frequently has international DJs. Carrera 36 # 10-38.
- Skybar – Rooftop bar with an amazing view of the city. Carrera 38 # 8-83.
- Woka Lounge – a posh restaurant/bar that plays older tunes and is decorated with a rain-forest theme. Carrera 38 # 8-13.
There are four popular Parque Lleras sports bars, which are good places to watch major sporting events like the Super Bowl, World Cup, World Series or the NBA finals:
- Ay Wey Bar & Grill – serves Tex-Mex food – Calle 10 #35-33.
- Hooters – the U.S. based chain that serves wings and many other dishes – Carrera 37A # 8-44.
- Patrick’s Irish Pub – a popular sports bar with a very large menu – Carrera 37A # 8A-43.
- Medellin Beer Factory – a popular sports bar with two locations in Parque Lleras and nearby – Carrera 37A # 9-9A in Parque Lleras and Calle 10 # 35-16 (nearby).
We included all four of these sports bars in an article about 6 popular sports bars in Medellín.
Parque Lleras Restaurants
There are many restaurants in Parque Lleras and within a few blocks. And 11 of the most popular in the nearby area include:
- Al Rojo – Italian and steak restaurant – Calle 9 # 38-09
- Ay Caramba – Tex-Mex – Carrera 37A # 8A-60
- Basilica – a mix of Peruvian and sushi – Carrera 38 # 8A-42
- Carmen – one of the best restaurants in Medellín with good international food – Carrera 36 # 10A-27
- Café Zorba – a very popular pizzeria with very good vegetarian thin-crust pizzas – Calle 8 # 42-33
- Chef Burger – a popular gourmet burger chain in Medellín – Calle 11A # 42 – 05
- El Cielo – another of the best restaurants in Medellín – Carrera 40 # 10A-22
- Federal Ribs – a popular chain of rib restaurants in Medellín – Carrera 35 # 10B-17
- Hanami – perhaps the best Japanese restaurant in Medellín – Calle 10B # 35-8
- Il Forno – a popular chain of Italian restaurants in Medellín – Carrera 37A # 8-9
- Mondongos – traditional Colombian food with large portions – Calle 10 # 38-38
And there are many more restaurant choices on the streets around Parque Lleras. Also, there are many more restaurant options in the nearby Provenza neighborhood.
In addition, along Calle 10 near Parque Lleras you can find many fast food options including American fast food like Domino’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Subway.
Parque Lleras Coffee Shops
Also, there are several popular Parque Lleras area coffee shops including:
- Buenavida Café – a small coffee shop that isn’t a crowded as the others – Carrera 37 # 8A-116
- Café Velvet – a popular café with digital nomads – Carrera 37 #8A-46
- Juan Valdez Café – a huge coffee shop chain in Colombia – Carrera 37A # 8A-74
- Pergamino Café – perhaps the best known independent coffee shop in Medellín, also popular with digital nomads – Carrera 37 # 8A-37
- Swiss Bakery – small coffee shop with Swiss bread and desserts – Carrera 39 # 8-74
Safety in Parque Lleras
In general, I find Parque Lleras to be a safe area if you choose to stay away from trouble. There is usually a noticeable police presence, particularly at night.
Parque Llleras has been experiencing problems with drugs and prostitution resulting in an increased police presence. Also, you are no longer permitted to drink alcohol in Parque Lleras.
Foreigners tend to be targeted a bit more for the things that could get one in trouble here in Medellin, so it’s best to stay away from all negative temptations.
Most notable, there is a popular expression here called Dar Papaya – which translates to Don’t Give Papaya. This means, don’t give people a reason to target or steal from you. This can include wearing expensive jewelry, having your phone out unnecessarily, or drinking too much and looking inebriated.
Also, dress conservatively and lose the shorts and flip-flops. Try not to be such an obvious foreigner tourist that can make you a target. See how typical Colombians dress. An expat in shorts and flip-flops speaking English loudly on an iPhone is likely to attract some unwanted attention in Parque Lleras and other parts of Medellín.
But you’ll see obvious foreigners in Parque Lleras all the time dressed in shorts and flip-flops and sometimes doing things that shouldn’t. So, you should see our 17 Medellín security tips to keep yourself safe.
While I personally, have experienced no issues, you can easily get yourself into trouble by accepting or purchasing unethical things. As with any visit to a new country, keep your wits about you, stay aware and do not walk home alone. Also, at night it is best to take a taxi or Uber unless you are going a very short distance.
Also, in the center of Parque Llleras you will see a statue that is a memorial from a darker time in Medellín. On May 17, 2001, there was a car bomb detonated in Parque Lleras that killed eight people and wounded almost 100 others.
How to Get to Parque Lleras
Parque Lleras is located very close to one of the main streets in El Poblado – Calle 10. And technically, the park is surrounded by the following four streets: Calle 9A, Carrera 40, Calle 9 and Carrera 37A.
The nearest Medellín Metro station is the Poblado station on the A Line. Parque Lleras is a 20-minute walk uphill from the metro station. In addition, two other popular parks – Parque Poblado and Parque Presidente, are about a five-minute walk from Parque Lleras.
Taxis or Uber are other options to get to Parque Lleras. Every taxi or Uber driver in Medellín will know where Parque Lleras is located.
And if you are looking for a specific address in or near Parque Lleras, I think it’s fair to say that many locals do not know the exact street numbers or names. This includes taxi and Uber drivers.
However, people are very aware of the important landmarks and parks, and their corresponding location.
So, if you’re going to a restaurant near Parque Lleras, you can easily tell your driver Parque Lleras and walk a block or two to your bar or restaurant destination. The one-way streets that surround the park can get a bit confusing and frustrating.
I also recommend using the smart phone apps Waze and Google Maps, which are two of the 20 best mobile apps to use in Medellín and Colombia.
Parks and Plazas in Medellín
On the Medellin Guru website, we have looked at 12 different parks and plazas in the Medellín and Aburra Valley area:
- Parque Arví – a very large nature reserve, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín.
- Parque Lleras – the top nightlife district in Medellín.
- Piedras Blancas – an ecological park near Medellín worth visiting.
- Parque Sabaneta – arguably the nicest park in the Medelllín metro area.
- Plaza Botero – a popular outdoor plaza with 23 sculptures by Fernando Botero.
- Plaza Cisneros – Parque de las Luces, Medellín’s Park of Lights in El Centro.
- Jardín Botánico – the popular Medellín botanical gardens.
- Parques Del Río – Medellín’s ambitious River Parks project along the Medellín River with the first stage open.
- Plaza San Antonio – a large plaza with four Fernando Botero sculptures and sometime has concerts.
- Cerro el Volado – a huge park with incredible views of Medellín.
- Cerro Pan de Azucar – a park with amazing views of Medellín.
- Parque de los Deseos – a popular park in Zona Norte offering a wide variety of free cultural activities.
The Bottom Line: Parque Lleras
Overall, Parque Lleras has an abundance of nightlife, restaurants, cafes and rumba. It’s worth a visit if you’re in the El Poblado area. Also, directly east of Parque Lleras is a neighborhood known as Provenza that has many more restaurants and bars.
Parque Lleras is an area very popular with foreigner tourists with all the nightlife and restaurants. In addition, many hostels, hotels and furnished apartments are nearby. One downside is that drinks and meals in this area tend to be more expensive than other areas of the city.
However, Parque Lleras is not the only nightlife area in the Medellín metro area worth visiting. Significantly less frequented by foreigners, but no less lively, is Calle 33 in Laureles. Another popular nightlife area is LA 70 (Setenta), also in Laureles. In this area you will find few foreigners and various salsa bars and small clubs.
Also, there are some large and popular nightclubs in Barrio Colombia and Las Palmas. In addition, Parque Sabaneta in Sabaneta is arguably the nicest park in the Aburrá Valley that comes alive at night on the weekends with more of a traditional Antioquian experience in many nearby bars and fondas (local discos).
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Editors note: updated on May 30, 2018 to add restaurants, sports bars and coffee shops to the article.
Editors note: updated on January 31, 2018 to remove Randy’s Beach Sports Bar, which has closed.