My wife and I lived in Medellín, Colombia for 3 years. One of the best things about the city is its array of public parks.
Here are eight such parks you must visit when traveling to Medellín, the city of eternal spring. I selected public parks based on accessibility, interest, nearby attractions, and cultural considerations.
1. Arvi Park
This park is at the top of the cable car ride from Acevedo metro station. Descending from the cable car into the natural beauty of Parque Arví, the stunning floral displays, lush vegetation along nearly 15 miles of winding paths, and the park’s diverse offerings, such as arts and crafts stalls, numerous dining options and guided tours through Colombia’s geological and cultural history, are not to be missed. At 9,000 feet above sea level in this Andean hideaway, it’s hard to imagine that just a few miles up the mountain lies a bustling city of 3.5 million souls.
Pro Tip: Exit the metro at Acevedo and go upstairs. Line K cable cars go up and depart from the upper floor of Acevedo Station. Guides assist you during boarding. You must leave line K in Santo Domingo, halfway up. Then take line L to continue to Parque Arví. The best time to ride is mid-morning. Bring a light sweater, it can be chilly in Arví. It’s moderate to strenuous if you plan on hiking. Note that the opening hours of Parque Arví are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Mondays.
2. The EscalerasOutdoor escalators
Built to help people living in the hillside neighborhood get to and from work, the escalators are a major tourist attraction. In Comuna 13 (Commune 13), they are the envy of other hillsides municipalities. The escalators also represent the amazing rebirth of Medellín. Thirty years ago, Comuna 13 was the most dangerous neighborhood in the most dangerous city in the world. Today, its people celebrate life every day, safely welcoming visitors from around the world to show off their arts, crafts and stunning murals, entertaining all who wander through their vibrant and colorful city. common.
- If you don’t speak Spanish, just tell the taxi driver, Go to Las Escaleras electricas, by favor.
- From now on, there are no escalator fees.
- Vendors sell street food and crafts, and music is a constant presence. A guided graffiti tour starts at the escalator site and is well worth taking.
- Getting to and from your taxi drop-off point is steep, so it’s moderately strenuous for a block or two.
- Best time to go: mid-morning.
3. Parque De Los Deseos And Parque Explora
Colombians refer to Parque de Los Deseos as the front yard of Medellín. With a planetarium, aquarium and concert hall every Saturday night, it’s easy to see why. Children run around with colorful streamers, vendors sell snacks, and there’s a free concert every weekend. The venue sometimes hosts the Medellín Symphony Orchestra, as well as its counterpart, the Youth Orchestra of the Medellín Symphony Orchestra.
Parque Explora, on the grounds, is a place to go for interactive science exhibits, the aquarium, video lessons on a variety of topics (most with English subtitles), and plenty of in-room dining options science and the aquarium.
- Weekend concerts are free, so they are always busy. Arrive early and grab a cushion.
- Parque Explora is adjacent to the Universidad metro station. There are many food options nearby and lots of street food. Best time to visit: Saturday evening.
- The planetarium is adjacent to the concert hall. Exit the metro at Universidad station.
- The opening hours of Parque Explora vary. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays following public holidays.
4. Jardin Botanico De Medallín
The Medellín Botanical Garden is a 14-hectare (35-acre) oasis of calm serenity and lush surroundings adjacent to Parque Explora. With over 4,500 flowers and 140 species of birds in a lush arboreal setting, this is the returnCourt.
Raised paths wind through dense forest. Exotic birds fly above our heads. People play chess at public tables and photographers happily snap photos of the resident iguanas, who are happy to pose for photos. Restaurante in Situ, inside the garden, is one of the best restaurants in Medellin. Several shops inside the park offer souvenirs, t-shirts, postcards and photographic collections. Each year, the Botanical Garden’s Flower Show attracts flower vendors from Medellin.
- The Botanical Garden is free to the public and often very busy on weekends. The best time to visit is early in the week.
- Take the metro to Universidad station and the garden is a 3-minute walk away.
- The park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and closed on Mondays.
5. Primero and Segundo Parques Laureles
The primary and secondary parks of Laureles — a popular suburb of Medellín named for its majestic laurels — are a great place to get a taste of life in this temperate, bustling city of 3.5 million people. A 10-minute walk from each other, Primer and Segundo de Laureles parks are both surrounded by fine dining, free bikes on the Metro transit system, and free Wi-Fi. always free. Segundo Parque was our favorite place to buy farm fresh fruits and vegetables at the weekly farmer’s market and fresh flowers daily. Both of these parks are a great place to sit and relax, read, and people watch.
- For the caffeine-starved, there’s a Starbucks adjacent to Segundo Parque.
- In both parks, street performers demonstrate their acrobatic skills for tips.
6. Inflection Park
“Inflection” means changing our view of something. Inflection Park was built to shift the perspective of the violent years of Colombian history away from the perpetrators and towards its victims. This inflection received a major boost on February 22, 2019. At 10 a.m. this Friday morning, the Monaco, a mansion belonging to Colombia’s biggest drug trafficker, was turned into rubble by high explosives placed by the city of Medellin. The controlled and highly publicized demolition cleared the land for the construction of Parque Inflexión.
Built on the site of the demolished house, Parque Inflexión reused crushed rock from the destroyed building to form a protective wall around those to whom the park is dedicated. Granite markers placed around the grounds contain citations from prominent anti-trafficking citizens, some of whom paid for their efforts with their lives. There are 43,000 perforations in the park’s black granite wall, with each hole representing a victim of violence. Families place flowers in each hole. The wall inscription reads Somos lo que dejamos a los demas. “We are what we leave behind.”
- The best time to visit is at night when the granite wall is backlit. The effect is fascinating and moving.
- The people of Medellín do not want to look back on the terrible years of drug-fueled violence. Avoid doing drug lord tours. The name “that man” is not used in Medellin, nor do I use it here.
7. Botero Square
Named in honor of Medellín native son Fernando Botero, this public space houses many of the sculptor’s most recognizable works, as well as a museum with others. Señor Botero, who now lives in Italy, donated some of his sculptures to the city in 2004. Located in downtown Medellín near a section of shops and vending machines called The Carabobo, the Plaza Botero is always alive with street vendors, acrobats, street food carts and the din of the city.
8. Parque De Los Pies Descalzos
In Spanish, los descalzos pies means “barefoot”. Barefoot Park is a fun place to take kids of all ages, kick off their shoes, relax, and splash around in the fountain-fed pools. It is one of the most visited parks in Medellín, not only for its leisure offers, but also for several nearby attractions. EPM, Colombia’s largest electricity provider, maintains the parks and various public spaces surrounding its headquarters overlooking Barefoot Park. Nearby are the Medellín Symphony Hall and the Water Museum, with a fascinating look at Colombia’s quest for renewable energy.
Barefoot Park isn’t just the water feature. The nearby Zen garden and bamboo grove promote the theme of the three elements: air, earth and water. The children’s playground is safe for barefoot walking, and several picnic tables are available. Barefoot Park pool water is chlorinated and changed daily. Barefoot Park is another public space dedicated to the revival of Medellín after years of drug trafficking.
From the park, it’s an easy walk – with or without shoes – to the convention center, Plaza Mayor. Every year, the center hosts ExpoArtesano, a large exhibition of handicrafts by artisans from all over Colombia.
- The best time to go is mid to late afternoon (when the weather is hottest) and after a long day of visiting other parks and sites.
- The park is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and closed on Mondays.
General Councils of Medellín
- The best time to visit Medellín is between December and March.
- Medellin International Airport is a 3 hour flight from Miami.
- No Spanish? No hay problem; many signs and menus are in English, and people are happy to help and practice their English with you.
- The best places to stay are Poblado, Laureles and Envigado.
- As of this writing, the Colombian peso is trading between 0.25 USD and 1,000 COP. So 10,000 pesos equals 2.50 USD.