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
- 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
- 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 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 are another option to get to Parque Lleras. Every taxi 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 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.
Editors note: update on January 30, 2021 to remove the Ay Caramba and Federal Ribs restaurants, which have closed.
Thanks Stephanie, Will check it out in due time, after I get there.
Thanks, nice guide to Parque Lleras. But how about adding restaurants to this?
Hi David, thanks for the suggestion. We’ll add restaurants to this guide in the next few weeks.
He david and stephanie, thank you for your opinion about Medellin.
I must say, nothing has changed in the international toursim perspective.
Selling the idea that getting to know the “real” medellin is to hang around in Lleras, la Setenta, La 33 or in Laureles.
It is oke with me, but please dont advertise it as the real colombia or the real Medellin,, because it is not!!!
I don’t even know how much is a beer in Poblado, laureles, sabaneta or wherever,,, that is for you rich people and tourists, and for sure that is not Medallo.
Why never talk about or visiting los mellizos, la 65, la francia, manrique, bello, la florida etc. That is were the real Medellin is…
Sorry for being a bit critical.
Un saludo cordial Pieter,
Travelers around the world are interested again in Medellin. For a very long time they stayed away, fearful of what could happen to them if they came here. If you travel the world and mention Colombia, often the first words out of people’s mouths will be “drugs” and “crime”. That is the simple reality of how people around the world think but it’s not today’s reality “down here on the ground.” The word is spreading that those bad days are long gone. Medellin has been victorious in saving itself because the fabric of decency running through the soul of this city, even in Laureles, made it impossible for evil to triumph. I see it every day between 70 & 80. Visitors and expats alike have opened their hearts to all the good things. There will always be a minority that come for the wrong reasons and do the wrong things. We know we can never be authentic but we can be respectful and be friends worth having.
I guess I’m feeling a bit cranky but why is it that someone always has to come in and say, “That’s not the real ________”? This is a great post from the author. I liked Parque Lleras too. It’s a nice area with some of the cities top restaurants. I had a good time and I think most travelers would too. Why can’t an upscale area be just as real as anywhere else in the city? My hometown has an upscale “overpriced” area too. It’s still just as authentic as the rest of the town I live in. Honestly, there’s some violent things going on in Comuna 13 right now but you don’t see anyone be they foreigner or local wanting to go there to get a taste of the “real” Medellin experience right now do you? What the heck does that even mean?
The people of Medellin designed the roads, built the park and zoned the area for businesses such as they are…the people of Medellin. It’s a park/neighborhood in Medellin. Therefore, it’s the real Medellin too. That’s counts as authentic by sane and reasonable people.
Can’t afford the area? Think it’s too expensive? Fantastic! Stay away while drinking cheap beer and discounted arepas at a bar in Belen then. Life is short but thankfully Parque Lleras is fun.
Hi Jeff, thanks. I agree with you, every city has an upscale area. But to each his own. Some expats I have met don’t really like Parque Lleras while many others do.
Thanks this is helpful and a good example of why Medellin Living is worthless and old.
Yes, Medellin Living is full of old posts by backpackers from years ago that were never updated. So, it is a pretty worthless site. Medellin Guru is a much better site with articles that are kept up to date.
This an awesome newsletter. I’m searching for info on Carnival in Barraquillas. Any suggestions? Places to stay? Anyone have experience with Carnival? Tomas
Hi Tom, we provided a guide to Carnival in Barranquilla early this year – see; https://medellinguru.com/carnaval-de-barranquilla/. We’ll update this guide before the next Carnival in 2019.
Also, Stephanie provided her experiences at Carnival this year: https://medellinguru.com/carnival-in-barranquilla/
It is definitely an interesting place, changes a lot once the sun goes down. Some great food around, and overall a great vibe.
Two suggestions, First, just saw in some travel news that British Media Group that publishes Time Out Mag just published for their 50th anniversary 25 coolest neighborhoods on the planet for 2018. They listed Nueva Villa De Aburra in Medellin. Might be of interest to your younger crowd.
Second, I’m a senior and most of your articles for night life and restaurants are for a younger crowd. Perhaps in your review you could list the age group these clubs cater too. I’ve been in some or the places for your reviews and agree they are good places, but some are just to busy and loud for singles looking for a relaxing meal. Also when listing “How to get there” in some articles you list the Metro Station to get off on but fail to say what Metro line the Station is on. Other wise you do great work and learned a lot about the city and the process of obtaining things of need. I recommend this site for all who want to visit or live in Medellin regardless of the length of there stay.
Is Parque Lleras still lined with prostitutes? When I lived in Medellin for a stint in 2017 the bars areas were decent but you couldn’t walked down the sidewalk with out being propositioned by hookers or men offering drugs along with their candy and gum.
Yes, it is still a problem for Parque Lleras.