Medellín has become a popular tourist location in Colombia with more tourists visiting the city each year and we look at 35 top things to do in Medellín. I have lived in the Medellín area for over eight years. And Medellín is my home.
Most of the lists of top things to do in Medellín I have seen on the Internet are missing several of the top things to do in Medellín. And in some cases, these lists include things to do that are closed. Also, be careful of the list of top things to do in Lonely Planet that is missing many places in Medellín and nearby.
In addition, TripAdvisor can’t be trusted for Medellín. For example, TripAdvisor lists the Metrocable as the top thing to do in Medellín. While the Metrocable is nice and worth seeing as part of a trip to Parque Arví, it isn’t the top thing to do in Medellín. The Metrocable in itself is just a cable-car transportation system. TripAdvisor’s best list includes the Metrocable, Medellín metro and tranvia tram line – three different parts of the Medellín metro transportation system as three of its top 16 things to do in Medellín.
Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about the best things to do in Medellín. And we have already covered many of the top things to do in Medellín and nearby on this website in detail. So, we are now ready to look at the top 35 things to do in Medellín and nearby.
Note the rankings in the following list are based on conversations I had with many tourists. In addition, we looked a the number of views of articles on this website. Also, my Colombian wife and her extended family helped to select the top things to do in Medellín and within four hours of Medellín.
1. Feria de las Flores – Medellín’s Flower Festival
Feria de las Flores is a 10-day festival is a huge annual celebration of paisa culture. This year is the 62nd annual Feria de las Flores in Medellín. Also, this festival is the most important social event for the city of Medellín. And the Flower Festival is one of the best ways to get an authentic taste of the local culture.
Medellín’s biggest annual festival starts in August on Friday, August 2, 2019. The La Feria de las Flores 2019 (Festival of Flowers) runs from August 2 – August 11 in 2019.
The three big headliner events during Feria de las Flores each year are the classic car parade, the flower parade and the big Súper Concierto. So, we provided details for these three big events at Feria de las Flores along with expat tips based on my experience going nine times in the past.
Desfile de Silleteros is held the last day of the flower festival and is a unique parade where paisas of all ages carry flower displays known as silletas on their backs for hours. In the parade each year, the participants range from little kids to men and women in their 60s and even older.
2. Medellín’s Christmas Lights
No list of the top things to do in Medellín would be complete without including the world-famous Medellín Christmas lights. While this is a once a year event, it is surprising that no post on the Internet I have seen of top things to do in Medellín includes Medellín’s Christmas lights.
Each year up to 4 million people see the Alumbrados Navideños display in the city. And last year an estimated 90,000 tourists visited Medellín to see the world-class Medellín Christmas lights.
The Christmas lights display in Medellín is extremely popular and you will see many families with children out to see the lights.
Last year, the Medellín Christmas lights were on display from November 30 until January 7.
Picturesque Guatapé is a very popular pueblo to visit from Medellín. It’s a great place for a day trip or a weekend getaway from Medellín. In my opinion, no trip to Medellín and Antioquia would be complete without a trip to Guatapé.
Guatapé is located next to the massive man-made lake that was created for a hydroelectric dam built in the 1970s. So, it’s now a lakeside pueblo with many sidewalk restaurants and cafes plus water activities in the area. And there is also El Peñón de Guatapé – the gigantic rock with incredible views. The above photo by Wilc82 was taken from El Peñón.
Guatapé is easy to get to. It’s only about two hours away from Medellín. And it’s one of my favorite pueblos near Medellín. The pueblo is also extremely colorful with the homes painted many colors and many have additional decorations.
4. Museo de Antioquia
Museo de Antioquia is reportedly the most popular museum in Medellín. In addition, it’s considered one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Inside the museum are about 100 pieces of artwork donated by World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The museum also includes pre-Colombian, colonial and modern art collections.
No visit to the city of Medellín would be considered complete without visiting Museo de Antioquia and Plaza Botero located in front of the museum. Museo de Antioquia is considered one of the top attractions in the city of Medellín.
Entrance fee: 18,000 pesos for foreigners or 12,000 pesos if you are a Colombian citizen or a foreigner resident with a cedula.
Address: Carrera 52 # 52-43, El Centro, Medellín
Phone: +57 4 251 3636
Hours: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:30 pm; Sunday and Holidays 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
5. Parque Arví
Parque Arví (Arví Park) is a very large ecological nature reserve in Medelín, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín. Parque Arví is located in in Santa Elena, which is a corregimiento(rural area) of Medellín.
This is a huge park with 39,500 acres (16,000 hectares) of forest, plants and ecosystems. And it has 33 miles (54 km) of walkable trails. Activities include hiking, picnicking, cycling and horseback riding.
Parque Arví is a very popular tourist site in Medellín and in the first six months of 2019 over 450,000 people have reportedly visited this park. And to get to Parque Arví you will get fantastic views from the Metrocable cable cars.
Parque Arví is definitely worth visiting if you like hiking, picnicking, cycling and horseback riding. Even if you don’t like these activities this giant park is still worth a trip to experience the impressive park and the Metrocable cable cars.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; normally closed on Monday. And if Monday is a holiday the park is open on Monday and closed on Tuesday.
6. Jardín Botánico
Jardín Botánico is the popular Medellín botanical gardens, which offers many sights to see and activities to enjoy. The botanical gardens are set in about 34 acres of land (14 hectares). And it has over 1,000 different living plant species.
The ambience of the botanical gardens is relaxed. You will see families, students, groups of friends plus individuals enjoying the green gardens and open space. The botanical gardens are free to enter. It is home to a tropical forest, a small lake, a desert garden, a butterfly farm and much more. And there is a decent variety of birds if you are into bird watching.
Address: Calle 73 # 51D-14, Tel: 4 444 5500
Hours: open daily 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Yet it is sometimes closed for special events or special dates.
All the travel guidebooks recommend Guatapé as a ‘must-do’ day trip from Medellin. But if you are looking for a longer weekend break – to a destination with fewer backpackers – then the valley pueblo of Jardín is just the ticket.
Jardín (pronounced har-deen and English “Garden”) is one of the most well-kept colonial towns in Colombia. Most noteworthy, it’s virtually unchanged architecturally for the last 140 years. This quaint pueblo is bursting with vibrantly colored houses which pop-out against the surrounding green of the banana-leaf and ceiba tree-covered mountains.
Located 83 miles (134 km) south-west of Medellin, it’s a place where men ride down the unpaved side streets on horses with cowboy hats. Where locals congregate around the central square on a Saturday night. And where it is okay to take life a little bit more slowly.
For those wanting a quiet retreat from the bustle of Medellin, it’s a perfect getaway. The pueblo with less than 20,000 people offers both the tranquility of whiling-away the day in a hammock or reading a book. In addition, it offers nature lovers a haven of outdoor adventures.
8. Walking Tour of El Centro (Downtown)
Walking Tours have become one of the best ways to explore a city like Medellín. Real City Walking tours of El Centro are very popular and highly recommended. They operate under the model that they are free.
You can make the decision to make payment after you have done the tour. With this model you tend to get a more enthusiastic delivery from the guide.
All Real City Walking tour guides are born and raised in Medellín. And they can best be described as story tellers rather than guides.
Tours begin with an overview on his city of Medellín explaining the complex environment of politics, extremist groups and drug traffickers that have unfortunately characterized Colombia for many recent decades.
The walking tour of El Centro visits many of the top tourist attractions in El Centro with an English-speaking guide.
9. Rio Claro
Rio Claro Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural Cañon de Río Claro) is considered by many as one of the must-do activities in Antioquia. And it is located only about three hours from Medellín.
Rio Claro is also the perfect place to enjoy an abundance of nature with a picturesque crystal-clear river, canyon and tropical rainforest. In addition, it enables completely unplugging from the hectic pace of daily life in the city.
Visitors to Rio Claro can partake in several activities appropriate for a range of abilities. There is a two-hour and thirty-minute Class I and II (out of a six-point scale) rafting trip in inflatable rafts. And this rafting trip provides access to bird, reptile and monkey sightings as well as a leisurely swimming break.
Also, there are many swimming beaches throughout the reserve. Most have lifeguards and ropes set up to allow swimmers to safely cross from one side of the river to the other.
10. Hacienda Napoles
Hacienda Napoles is Pablo Escobar’s former estate located about 4 hours from Medellín that has been transformed into a family-friendly theme park with a waterpark and zoo.
This theme park is very popular. Hacienda Napoles Theme Park (Parque Temático Hacienda Nápoles) comes complete with a waterpark with multiple attractions, a zoo without cages and much more. Also, there are five hotels nearby associated with the theme park.
Hacienda Napoles Theme Park is a large amusement park with a total size of 3,953 acres (1600 hectares). In comparison, Disneyland in California is tiny with only about 85 acres.
The entrance fee to Hacienda Napoles in 2019 varies from 42,000 to 127,000 pesos per person depending on what you have access to.
Address: Kilometer 165 of the Medellín-Bogotá highway (or 259 km from Bogotá)
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday including holidays: 9 am to 5 pm, closed on Mondays for maintenance. The aquatic attractions are open from noon to 4 pm during low season and open from 10 am to 5 pm during high season or on the weekends during low season.
11. Plaza Botero
Plaza Botero is one of the top tourist attractions in Medellín. Plaza Botero is an outside park in front of Museo de Antioquia that displays 23 abstract bronze sculptures created by World-renowned Colombian artist Fernando Botero. Botero donated the statues and many other artworks found in Museo de Antioquia.
The 23 bronze statues found at Plaza Botero include chubby women and men, a cat, a dog, Adam and Eve and many others. The above photo of Plaza Botero is by Jenny Bojinova. The building in the photo is Rafael Uribe Uribe Palace of Culture (Palacio del la Cultura Rafael Uribe Uribe).
Plaza Botero is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín. Most tourists that visit Medellín go to this plaza as well as Museo de Antioquia.
12. Parque Explora
Parque Explora is Medellín’s popular interactive science museum and aquarium. It has over 300 interactive activities and the largest freshwater aquarium in South America.
This is actually an interactive science museum with over 300 interactive activities. In addition, there is a large aquarium, a terrarium (with frogs, snakes, turtles and other reptiles), an outdoor dinosaur exhibition, a small television studio, a 3D movie auditorium, restaurants, cafes and a souvenir shop.
Parque Explora is perfect for families with children, as there are plenty of things for kids to do and it’s very kid-friendly. But kids and adults alike can have a great time here. The bottom line is that it’s really a place for all ages.
The entrance fee is currently 27,000 pesos per person. Or if over 60 years-old or a student with a student ID, the fee is 24,000 pesos. And children less than 1.1 meters (3 feet 7 inches) can enter for free. Furthermore, residents of an Estrato 1, 2 or 3 barrio can enter Parque Explora for free by presenting an original utility bill from EPM.
Address: Carrera 52 # 73-74, Medellín
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (ticket window closes at 4 pm). Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10:00 am to 6:30 pm (ticket window closes at 5 pm). Closed on Monday except when it’s a holiday.
13. Santa Fe de Antioquia
Santa Fe de Antioquia a pueblo is known for its well-preserved colonial architecture and cobbled streets. And it’s the perfect pueblo for a day trip from Medellín.
The weather is nearly perfect in Medellín almost every day. The people are friendly. The mountains are beautiful. But sometimes, you just need to escape the city.
Sometimes you just want a change of scenery and some fresh air. And Santa Fe de Antioquia is a good place to go. Also, a road-trip to Santa Fe takes you through some spectacular landscapes.
When you stroll through the town, you will encounter a plethora of architectural gems from historical churches to bougainvillea lined plazas. All of which have been declared a national monument.
Santa Fe de Antioquia popular due to its well-preserved colonial architecture, cobbled streets and many things to see and do.
14. Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) or MAMM
Medellín’s Museo de Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum) or MAMM is definitely worth a visit with an intriguing mix of exhibitions located in a striking building.
The building and the terrace views of the Modern Art Museum are worth the visit alone. But the permanent exhibitions are why you should really come.
On the 4th Floor, you will find three permanent exhibitions that show a diverse collection of artworks from Colombian artists. This floor is a real draw.
So often exceptional artists are never shown outside of their home country due to the huge costs of insuring and transporting artworks. Without individuals interested in paying to see them on the other side of the world, they remain hidden gems in their countries of birth.
This museum is recommended as it has an intriguing mix of exhibitions and public space that provides a civilized outing for a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Entrance fee: Adults 10,000 pesos; children and students less then 25-years-old 7,000 COP; adults older than 60-years-old 7,000 pesos. And on the final Friday of each month the museum is open later with entry free from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Address: Carrera 44 #19A-100, Ciudad del Rio, MedellÍn, Colombia
Phone: +57 4 444 2622
Hours: Tuesday to Friday: 9 am – 6 pm; Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm; Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm; closed Monday except on holiday Mondays.
15. Barbosa, Antioquia
Barbosa, Antioquia is a pueblo or small town located less than an hour from Medellín. Barbosa is a close and great getaway from Medellín with streams, waterfalls, natural swimming pools, hiking, horseback riding and many other things to do nearby. It’s located at the northern end of the Aburrá Valley.
Surprisingly, Barbosa is off the beaten path and hasn’t yet been discovered by many foreign tourists. This is due to Barbosa not being in any of the English-language Colombia guidebooks and not much information about this pueblo is available on the Internet.
But it’s located so close to Medellín that it makes for a very easy day trip. In addition, there is much to do in Barbosa and nearby making it also a nice weekend getaway location.
In addition, Barbosa has trails linking the town with surrounding villages. So, there is ample opportunity for hiking or horseback riding while being surrounded by nature for those who like getting off the beaten path. This is also a kid-friendly location with many water activities for kids.
The bottom line is that Barbosa is a great getaway from Medellín. It’s located very near Medellín but provides the feel of a pueblo surrounded by nature with nice views.
17. Parque Piedras Blancas
Parque Piedras Blancas is an ecological park located in Santa Elena near Medellín. It’s a tranquil getaway park located less than an hour from Medellín where you can enjoy nature with hiking paths, a lake with row boats, insect museum, hotel and much more.
Parque Ecológico Piedras Blancas is a nice location for a day-trip from Medellín or even a tranquil weekend getaway location to escape the hectic big city life in Medellín. Also, it’s a kid-friendly location and a good place to go with kids.
Parque Piedras Blancas is located only about 45 minutes from Medellín, so it’s an easy day-trip or weekend getaway destination. It’s a beautiful park and a good place for hiking, connecting with nature, rowing a small boat, having a picnic and more.
Entrance fee: 7,500 pesos for the museum plus 5,700 pesos to enter the park. Entrance to the museum is free for kids less than 7-years-old.
17. Parque Sabaneta
Parque Sabaneta is arguably the nicest city park/plaza in the Medellín metro area. And Parque Sabaneta is worth visiting particularly during the Christmas season. In addition, Sabaneta is one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in the Medellín metropolitan area.
The daily life in Sabaneta is typically centered around Parque Sabaneta, which is a one square block plaza that is filled with trees for shade. In addition, this park is surrounded by several small restaurants, bars and shops.
This city park in Sabaneta definitely comes alive on the weekends with many people and families from around the Medellín metro area visiting the park. Along the streets near the park on the weekends you’ll find many stands selling typical Colombian street food and arts and crafts.
Parque Sabaneta is considered by locals to be a convenient place in Sabaneta to meet up with friends. In addition, this park is considered to be the epicenter of public events in Sabaneta. Outdoor concerts are sometimes held on the street nearby.
18. Museo El Castillo
You wouldn’t expect to find a European-style castle in South America, but Medellín has a castle. Museo El Castillo is a Gothic-style castle in Medellín that was a former residence, which is now a museum.
The gardens of the castle are kept in very good condition and offer nice panoramic views of the city of Medellín. And it’s a great place to relax for an hour or more. Also, it’s a good place for a picnic.
Museo El Castillo is a unique building in Medellín that is worth visiting. Furthermore, it’s a great place to get away from the bustle of the city and relax in a nice setting with great views. Also, it is kid-friendly and you will see many families with kids.
Entrance fee: 13,000 pesos for adults or 9,000 pesos for children and students and free for children less then 3-years-old.
Address: Calle 9 Sur 32-269 Loma Los Balsos, El Poblado, Medellín
Hours: Monday – Friday: 9 am – noon and 2 pm – 6 pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10 am – 5 pm.
19. Viva Envigado Mall
Viva Envigado is the newest mall in the Aburrá Valley located in Envigado, which is the municipality directly south of Medellín. This new mall is reportedly the largest mall in Colombia. And it opened on October 5, 2018.
The anchor tenants of the large mall include Cine Colombia, Decathlon, Exito, Happy City, Homecenter and Smart Fit. In addition, the mall has space for a total about 400 shops.
This is an impressive mall and in January 2019, it arguably has become the best mall in Medellín after all the shops have opened.
The shops and businesses in the mall include male and female fashion, children’s and youth clothing, footwear, sporting goods, furniture and decoration, lingerie, opticians and fast food places. And there are over 50 fast food places and restaurants in the mall.
Viva Envigado is easy to get to, as it’s located only about a 5-minute walk from the Envigado metro station on Line A.
Address: Carrera 48 # 32B Sur-139, Envigado
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday and holidays: 11 am – 8 pm.
20. Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Bello
Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Bello is arguably the most beautiful church in the Aburrá Valley. This church is very impressive with the most beautiful interior out over 75 churches I have seen in the Medellín metro area.
Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Rosario is even reportedly considered to be a museum due to all the religious artwork found in the church. And it’s located in the municipality of Bello, which is north of Medellín in the Aburrá Valley.
The church has a decorated façade and decorated columns, walls and arches. In addition, it has a big range of artwork inside including murals, beautiful stained-glass windows, carvings, paintings, sculptures, reliefs and liturgical objects.
Address: Calle 51 # 49-44, Bello
Year opened: 1947
Architecture style: Neo-Byzantine
21. Museo Casa de la Memoria
Museo Casa de la Memoria (House of Memory Museum) is a museum in Medellín dedicated to honoring the victims of urban conflict in Medellín and Colombia. And it’s worth seeing this museum to better understand the history of the city of Medellín.
The museum was created to contribute to the comprehension and overcoming of the armed conflict and the diverse kinds of violence of Medellín, Antioquia and Colombia.
In addition, Medellín’s Museo Casa de la Memoria is a place intended to give voices to Medellín’s victims of violence. Also, it’s intended to provide a place to grieve, reunite, remember, and develop strategies to avoid future violence.
Museo Casa de la Memoria is worth visiting to better understand the controversial history of Medellín and Colombia. The museum does a good job of documenting Colombia’s armed conflict. And it can help you understand how far Medellín and Colombia has really transformed over the past several decades.
Entrance fee: Free.
Address: Calle 51 #36-66, Parque Bicentenario, Medellín
Telephone: +57 (4) 520 2020
Hours: Tuesday – Friday: 9 am – 6 pm; Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 10 am – 4 pm. Closed on Monday.
22. Parque Lleras
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.
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.
At night, the beautiful lights above the park turn on and you’ll notice the noise level, rowdiness and number of people increases tremendously.
Overall, Parque Lleras has an abundance of nightlife, restaurants, cafes and rumba. So, it’s worth a visit. Also, directly east of Parque Lleras is a neighborhood known as Provenza that has many more restaurants and bars.
23. Catedral Basílica Metropolitana
Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de la Inmaculada Concepción de María (Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellín) is the main church of the Archdiocese of Medellín and is the largest church in the city and is impressive.
Furthermore, it’s considered the most important church in the city, as it’s the seat of the Archbishop of Medellín. In addition, this large church is considered a tourist attraction in the city.
This Roman Catholic church is reportedly the largest brick cathedral in the world. And it’s supposedly the largest church in South America. About 1,120,000 adobe bricks were used in the construction of the church. This neo-Romanesque style church is located in El Centro, directly north of Parque Bolívar.
Address: Carrera 48 #56-81, El Centro, Medellín
Year opened: 1917
Architecture style: Neo-Romanesque
24. Pueblito Paisa
Pueblito Paisa is located at the top of Cerro Nutibara (Nutibara Hill) and it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Medellín. Also, Museo de Ciudad, the Medellín City Museum is nearby and worth seeing.
Pueblito Paisa is a replica of a turn of the century town in Antioquia, complete with a fountain in the middle of a cobblestone town square plus a white church.
Since it is located on a high hill in the middle of the Aburrá Valley, it also offers great views of the city of Medellín and the surrounding mountains.
Due to being a popular tourist spot, there are several shops selling souvenirs. In addition, there are several restaurants serving coffee, ice cream and many typical Colombian foods like bandeja paisa.
We included Pueblito Paisa in our recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín. Pueblito Paisa is a popular tourist location in Medellín that is definitely worth seeing. And Nutibara Hill offers some great views of the city of Medellín.
25. Comuna 13 Tour
Going on a graffiti tour in the Comuna 13 neighborhood is now one of the most popular tourist attractions Medellín has to offer.
Comuna 13 or District 13, also known as San Javier, which contains 21 different barrios (neighborhoods). San Javier is primarily residential, occupying a hilly area at the western edge of Medellín. In addition, it’s one of the most densely populated areas of the city.
15 – 20 years ago there was heavy internal conflict between guerillas, narcos, the government and other rebel groups in Comuna 13. It was a no-go area for tourists.
But there has been a major turnaround in the area after the installation of escalators, which turned a walk up 357 stairs (that took approximately 35 minutes to climb) into a trip via escalators that takes six minutes.
Comuna 13 is a community in Medellín that has been transformed through improved accessibility, investment, street art and community solidarity.
26. Eat Bandeja Paisa
Bandeja Paisa is a traditional Colombian dish from Colombia’s Antioquia region. This is a huge meal that is not for the faint hearted. When visiting Medellín you should at least try this dish once.
Bandeja Paisa is a plater that normally has a steak (or ground beef), crunchy chicharron (pork crackling), chorizo sausage and served with rice and red beans, a fried egg, plantain, arepa and fresh avocado.
There are some disagreements to what should be included in Bandeja Paisa. So, you may see some variety at different restaurants.
We have covered several of the best Colombian restaurants in Medellín where you can find Bandeja Paisa.
27. Plaza Minorista
Plaza Minorista José María Villa is a popular farmers market in Medellín with hundreds of small stores. It’s a place where you can find seemingly unlimited amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, Plaza Minorista is a good place to find many of the exotic tropical fruits of Colombia.
Plaza Minorista is best known for its fruits and vegetables, which occupy the biggest portion of Minorista. But this market has two floors with hundreds of small shops in several sections. And many of the shops sell other products.
Beyond the huge selection of fruits and vegetables, you can find groceries, meats, fish, birds, plants, chocolates, grains, sauces, drugstore items, clothing, footwear, restaurants and bars.
Plaza Minorista is a very interesting market with low prices and lots of local color. So, it is worth a visit. It’s an old-fashioned market for both commercial and retail customers. And it’s a great place to find a big variety of exotic tropical Colombian fruits.
28. Mercado Del Rio
Mercado Del Rio is a large gastronomic market in Medellín, which has a collection of over 50 trendy restaurants in a sizable warehouse space located next to the Bancolombia Headquarters building.
This trendy food market reportedly opened in October 2016. And it has become very popular. Mercado Del Rio has over 50 restaurants with a big variety of cuisines available.
Also, there are also several bars, a coffee bistro and desserts at several kiosks on the first floor. And on the second floor are located a couple sit-down restaurants along with the Sinko Market, which is a bar that serves food.
It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. It’s an outstanding place to have lunch or dinner and hang out with friends. It has a good atmosphere and a very wide variety of food and drinks as well as desserts. And it’s also a good place to take out-of-town guests.
This Mercado gastronomic market format is popular in Medellín and there are now eight of these gastronomic markets in Medellín.
29. El Hueco
El Hueco is an area of El Centro in Medellín that is full of thousands of small shops of all types with good prices. This is an area of Medellín where you can find the cheapest prices for almost anything.
You can find so many products in this area with typically the cheapest prices in the city. You can find clothing, shoes, baby items, toys, home improvement items, sports equipment, textiles, art supplies, furniture, watches, jewelry and so much more. You can find almost anything but it may take some time to search in the large area.
El Hueco is an area with a mix of small shopping malls, standalone shops as well as street vendors. This is a big area with reportedly over 80 small centro comercials (shopping centers) filled with thousands of small shops. And many of these shopping centers are interconnected.
In addition, there are thousands of small standalone shops and seemingly countless street vendors. In total, there reportedly are over 12,000 shops in the area that employee over 45,000 people. El Hueco is a great place to find bargains in Medellín.
30. Try Colombian Street Food
Colombian street food seems to be available everywhere in Medellín and other cities in Colombia. And there are so many options. Colombian street food can be found at busy intersections, in the parks, near metro stations and in many other places in the city.
Colombians are particularly fond of food that has a combination sweet and salty flavors. From fried food, to milky juices and all bewildering array of corn manifestations, nearly all of their dishes have hints of savory and sweet.
Colombian food is also very regional, and there is a different approach to national dishes in each city you visit. In fact, some of these dishes are only found here in Medellín. So, head to the streets to try these particularly Antioquian delights.
We previously looked at 9 Colombia street food options to try in Medellín.
31. Drink Colombian Coffee
Colombia is famous for its coffee. And no trip to Medellín would be complete without trying some of Colombia’s famous coffee in Medellín.
Colombian coffee is renowned the world over for its quality and delicious taste. Colombia’s coffee is generally seen as some of the best found in the world.
There are several good coffee shops in Medellín and we previously looked at the five best coffee shops in El Poblado and the eight best coffee shops in Laureles.
32. Cerro el Valador
Cerro El Volador is reportedly the largest natural park located in the city of Medellín, sized at 262 acres.
Furthermore, Cerro El Volador was even named a natural Colombian heritage site in 1993. The large hill and park are located in an area that was once sacred ground for Indians, the original inhabitants in the Aburrá Valley.
Activities in the park include biking, bird watching, hiking, jogging and kite flying. There are even a few places to buy food, snacks and drinks. The park is a popular location for family picnics. In addition, many families take their dogs along.
Also, the park has a small museum with exhibits showing the historical evidence of the indigenous people that lived there in the past. In addition, a guided tour is available that takes you on a historical Indian trail.
Cerro El Volador rises to an elevation of 269 feet and offers very good views of the city. It’s a good place to hike or jog while enjoying the views, read a book or have a picnic and get away from the city. Police regularly patrol the park, but it’s a large park. So, we recommend sticking to the main paths with other people around.
33. La Sierra Tour
La Sierra Tours was developed by two partners who bring complimentary experiences. Arthur, the behind the scenes maverick, has been in the tour industry for eight years and was one of the originators of the Comuna 13 tour.
Milena is the other partner and also serves as the head tour guide. A lifelong resident of Medellín, she has seen the city’s very best and worst days. The passion and love she has for her city shines through and commands respect. This passion provides an amazing foundation for her storytelling.
For many years, La Sierra was not only a dangerous area for tourists, but even Colombians would not dare venture there. However, to put it in perspective, many felt the same way about Comuna 13 five years ago. And now there are popular graffiti tours in Comuna 13.
Like many areas of the city, the Metrocable and electric tram have changed how people access areas previously inaccessible like La Sierra. In December 2018, the metrocable line that takes you to La Sierra (Line H) celebrated its two-year anniversary. This metrocable line provides citizens and tourists the ability to easily enter and exit.
34. Santafé Mall
Santafé mall is one of the largest shopping malls in Medellín and it is very popular. And this mall reportedly has about 460 shops. Santafé was built in El Poblado due to a desire to target the higher incomes in El Poblado, the wealthiest neighborhood in Medellín.
Santafé mall is a pretty unique mall in the city, as it has a retractable roof that is opened when the weather is nice.
The main tenants in the mall are Falabella, Jumbo and Cine Colombia. In addition, the mall has about 460 shops and businesses of all types, including banks, clothing stores, drugstores, eye-care, home furnishing stores, mattress stores, shoe stores and many more varieties. Also, there are nearly 60 restaurants and fast food places in the mall.
Santafé is worth going to, as it’s one largest mall in Medellín with one of the biggest selection of shops. In addition, it is located near where most expat tourists stay in the city.
Address: Carrera 43A # 7 Sur-170, El Poblado
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday and Holidays: 11 am – 8 pm
35. Cerro de Las Tres Cruces
Cerro de Las Tres Cruces (Hill of Three Crosses) in Medellín is definitely worth visiting, as it’s a hill that has some amazing views of the city. Also, it’s a great place to take photos.
However, not many expats living in Medellín or tourists visiting know about Cerro de Las Tres Cruces, as it’s not found in the English language travel guidebooks
Hiking to the top of Cerro de Las Tres Cruces is a short 30 to 45-minute hike for most people or even longer depending on your fitness level and pace. It’s a steep and moderately difficult hike.
Cerro de Las Tres Cruces has some amazing views of the city of Medellín and is definitely worth visiting. Also, it’s a relatively short hike up and down that can be done in about two hours including taking a break at the top.
The Best of Medellín
Besides this article about the top 35 things to do in Medellín and nearby, Medellin Guru has several more articles about the best and top places and things to do in Medellín including:
- 35 Top Things to Do in Medellín and Nearby: Top Tourist Attractions
- 21 Best FREE Things to Do in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 17 Top Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Medellín and Nearby
- 14 Best Malls of Medellín – the Ultimate Guide to Medellín Malls
- 12 Best Museums of Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 8 Best Pueblos Near Medellín Worth Visiting
- 7 Best Panoramic Views of Medellín
- 5 Best Neighborhoods in Medellín
- 2 Best Walking Tours in Medellín
- 14 Top Churches in Medellín Worth Visiting
- 22 Best Mobile Apps to Use in Medellín and Colombia
Also, Medellin Guru has several more articles about the best restaurants and coffee shops in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley:
- 19 Best restaurants in Laureles in Medellín
- 15 Best Restaurants in Envigado, Colombia
- 15 Best Restaurants in Sabaneta, Colombia
- 14 Best Pizza Places in Medellín: The Best Pizzerias in the City
- 13 Best Burgers in Medellín: Best Burger Places in the Aburrá Valley
- 12 Best Steakhouses in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 12 Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in El Poblado
- 10 Best Mexican Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Colombian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Italian Restaurants in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley
- 9 Best Places for Brunch in El Poblado
- 5 Best Independent Coffee Shops in El Poblado
- 8 Top Coffee Shops in Laureles
- 5 Best Nano/Micro Breweries in Medellín
The Bottom Line: 35 Top Things to Do in Medellín and Nearby – Top Tourist Attractions
The bottom line is that Medellín has more tourists visiting the city each year. And in this article we looked at 35 top things to do in Medellín. We hope you enjoyed this article about the top things to do in Medellín. Please share it on social media like Facebook.
Note that we specifically DID NOT include a Pablo Escobar tour in our list of the top things to do in Medellín. Many people living in Medellín don’t like the idea of tour companies offering Pablo Escobar Tours glorifying Pablo Escobar. We respect this and previously looked at alternatives to a Pablo Escobar tour. We encourage you to skip Escobar tours.
Also, we previously provided a recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín. In addition, we looked at the top 20 tourist attractions in Colombia – top things to do in Colombia.
What are your favorite things to do in Medellín?
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Nice post with some great photos. This is very helpful and should be required reading for any tourist visiting Medellin.
This is a great article and one that makes us want to visit Medellin Colombia even more. Our biggest desire is to see the Botero sculptures and art work. One concern we have about visiting and doing some of these activities is that we are not sure which might be appropriate for the older person (we are in our mid70s) My wife has some ambulation issues but is not confined to a wheel chair. I am wondering if you might be able to develop a list, perhaps an itinerary for people with ambulation issues. I think there are people who would like to visit this great city but are not sure if they would be able to handle it. Thank you. We really like your style and honesty. We hope to visit later in 2019.
Hi David, thanks! Great suggestion about a list or itinerary for people with ambulation issues. I added this to our future topics list but it will take some time to research.
Nice post with a great list of things to do. Tripadvisor is a joke with metrocable listed as the best thing to do in Medellin and riding the metro as #10 and the metro tram as #16. Riding on the metro system as 3 of the top things to do in Medellin – jajajaja!
Why is it a joke to include the Metrocable? Without a doubt it’s the best thing to do in Medellín, and in many ways it’s the only thing that makes the city unique. Yes, its primary purpose is transportation, not tourism, but the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. Surely a list of “best things to do” that contains two shopping malls, Christmas lights and drinking coffee (really?) has room for one of the most spectacular urban cable car systems in the world.
You use the Metrocable to visit Parque Arví, which is #5 in the list (and also use a different Metrocable line in #33 in the list). So, we decided not to list Metrocable as a separate thing to do.
This is very helpful. Thank you for information. Naki