We provide a guide to Parques Del Río (River Parks), which is an important project of urban transformation in Medellín and the first phase of this park is open.
This strategic project for the city of Medellín includes the improvement of infrastructure, mobility, landscaping and vegetation along the Medellín River.
The first stage of the project, which is complete, is located along the west bank of the Medellín River in the Conquistadores neighborhood of Medellín.
And one of two major locations of lights for the 2019 Christmas lights in Medellín is at Parques del Río along the river. The Parques del Rio location will have a more modern lights display. Next to Parques del Río, the Medellín River will have lighting that will change color, the EPM Building’s cube will have projections and the Medellín City Hall will install monumental sculptures.
The Parques Del Río Project
The Medellín River essentially divides the city of Medellín in two. And on the banks of the river are two major roads that further divide the city physically as well as socially. The Parques Del Rio project is envisioned to overcome the river that is like a wall that fractures the city.
The project is burying highways by the river in some parts of the city with parks located above the highways next to the river. This provides people with the ability to approach the river, which they have not really been able to do for more than 60 years.
Also, the project is creating quality public spaces that promote sectors that have been depressed by the development of road infrastructure along the river. Parques Del Rio will facilitate integration of the two sides of the river. The project includes a series of park bridges (two are complete), which connect the two sides of the river for pedestrians and cyclists.
Parques Del Río is a multiple stage project with reportedly eight stages. The first stage (1A) was completed in August 2016 and took about two years to complete. And the second stage 1B is reportedly 70 percent complete and is supposed to open in 2019.
This is an ambitious project that ultimately will cover about 12 miles (20 km) of riverbanks and take up to 15 years to complete. And the parks are expected to attract dense residential developments near the Medellín river.
Medellín’s River Parks Today
The initial phase of Parques Del Río (River Parks) that is open today is relatively small. The park on the west side of the Medellín River runs between two pedestrian bridges that cross the river. And there are lines of trees along the river and there are some seats to sit in the sun.
Also, there is a pavilion and reproductions of artwork from Pedro Nel Gómez Casa Museo in the park along the river.
It’s a nice park that is perfect for relaxing, picnicking, sunbathing and playing with children and dogs. And it’s definitely a kid-friendly park.
You will see many families with kids and dogs in this park. Also, there is sand for the kids and some rope climbing apparatuses for kids. Also, there are vendors in the park selling drinks, ice-cream and snacks.
How to Get to Parques Del Río
The easiest way to get to this park is via the Medellín metro. To get there take the A line of the metro to the Exposiciones station.
Exit the metro station to the west and it’s about a 15-minute walk west to the park. And you will need to cross the Medellín river via a car and pedestrian bridge to get to the park. Or you can take a minimum fare taxi (5,600 pesos) from the metro station.
In addition, any taxi driver in Medellín will know where Parques Del Río is located.
Hours: Open 24 hours but we don’t recommend going after dark except during the Medellín Christmas lights.
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: Parques Del Río – Medellín’s River Parks
Parques Del Río is an ambitious project for Medellín and only the first stage is open so far. If you go to see this park, keep in mind that it’s currently relatively small but ultimately will be much larger.
The best time to go to this park is on the weekends or on one of Colombia’s many holidays, as there are more people in the park.
I have been to this park a few times with visitors to Medellín. It’s a small park but you get some nice views of the city from the park. Also, you can get an idea of the vision for this massive project that will ultimately cover about 12 miles along the Medellín river.
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Editors note: updated on November 29, 2019 with information that ParquesDel Río is one of two major location for the 2019 Medellin Christmas lights.