How to Experience Medellín in One Day

From quirky neighborhoods and downtown plazas to museums and hillside communities, get the most out of 24hrs in Medellin with Simon’s one-day itinerary.


Photo © iStock/holgs

A Walk and Coffee in El Poblado

Begin the day with a stroll through the shady streets of El Poblado, Medellín’s trendiest neighborhood.

El Poblado is a hotspot for hotels, restaurants, bars, and plenty of places to splurge your pesos in boutique stores.

Savor a fresh brew at one of the chic cafes, and don’t forget to buy a bag of single origin coffee.

Learn About Culture in El Centro

Take the Metro Line A to Parque Berrío Station and walk to Plaza Botero, (Medellin’s most visited plaza) to see 23 bronze statues sculptured by Fernando Botero.

On the way, pass through Parque de las Luces and admire the artificial forest of 300 tubes of light, which marks the city’s positive change from gangster’s paradise to Colombia’s most innovative city.

Wander around the Museum of Antioquia and admire the works of both modern and pre-Hispanic artists.

Within walking distance is the gothic-style Rafael Uribe Palacio de la Cultura, which houses an art gallery and historical archives.

Traditional Lunch

A typical lunch in Medellin is a rather large endeavor. The famous bandeja paisa is a tray of rice with an arepa (flat corn bread), plantain, avocado, minced meat, chorizo, black sausage, fried pork rind, and a fried egg. It’s considered Colombia’s national dish. You'll find it at almost every local restaurant serving lunch.

Top it off with a tinto, a small cup of sweetened black coffee.

Explore a Science Museum and Botanical Garden

By taking Line A north to Universidades Metro Station, we arrive at Jardín Botánico. The 14-hectare garden, its lagoon, and diverse flora and fauna offer a break from the busy streets.

Have some fun at Parque Explora, a large complex with over 300 interactive experiences based on physics, neuroscience, and communication, as well as an aquarium and a terrarium.

Cementerio de San Pedro

Walk less than 1km (0.6 miles) from Parque Explora, to arrive at Cementerio Museo San Pedro, a 19th-century cemetery which has been declared both a national monument and Cultural Heritage of the Nation. Many prominent artists and politicians have been laid to rest here.

Take a walk through the grounds for a cultural experience, bringing life and death, past and present into one continuous time frame. This is a great way to appreciate Medellin’s history.

Santo Domingo Library Park

Line A takes us to Acevedo Metro Station, where you should make a quick switch to Line K, and soar high above the city in the country's only Metrocable.

The Metrocable has changed the lives of the residents living in these poor neighborhoods; safely connecting them with the city.

Exit the cable car at Santo Domingo Metro Station and walk to the large black building, Santo Domingo Savio Library Park. Reach this spot before sunset to enjoy the two faces of this contemporary city.

Sample Medellin’s Vibrant Nightlife

With tired legs, hop back on the Metro and take Line A south until you're back at El Poblado. End the day with a drink in Parque Lleras, one of the city’s most popular nighttime watering holes for ambitious foreigners.

If you're looking for something a little more local, head to La 70, a long strip of bars and clubs in the trendy Laureles neighborhood for a more authentic Colombian vibe.

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  • Ian Dignon said

    You must add the Real City free walking tour based in El Centro. One of the best walking tours around the world done by locals in English!

  • Marco said

    YES - absolutely outstanding! Tour is "free", but generous tips are warranted. RSVP is mandatory.

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