City Guide: Medellín

Medelin city photo

Medellín Rising

Medellín is exploding—however, not in the way most westerners might think. Gone are the days of senseless violence, drug cartels, assassinations, and right-wing paramilitary takeovers that marked the last part of the 20th century. This northwestern metropolis in Colombia is now synonymous with technology advancement, productivity, ingenuity, and community building. The turnaround is astonishing; five-star hotels, luxury condominiums, first-class entertainment, and restaurants that push the edges of gastronomy now carpet the city. Recently, Medellín was named Innovative City of the Year, beating out New York and Tel Aviv. Here are some of the reasons:

Transportation: The metro is fast, clean and provides access to most parts of the city. Taxis are super cheap. Try the metrocable—a gondola ride that takes visitors high up into the hills, showing breathtaking views of the gorgeous valley.

metrocable 2

Don’t miss: The Botero Plaza and Museo de Antioquia hold several works of art by Fernando Botero, Medellín’s most well-known artist. Make your way to Parque Explora, an indoor and outdoor interactive science center. It boasts South America’s largest aquarium and 3D cinema.

parque-de-las-esculturas-1

Parque de Los Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Park) is a beautiful space where families and college students relax near bright open-air cafes and outdoor fountains. Swing by Pueblito Paisa—an exact replica of a typical Colombian village. Sample the Bandeja Paisa (a plate of beans, rice, plantain, chicharron, fried egg and avocado). The strains of Vallenato music will evoke peaceful sensations as you stroll among the artisan craft and food stalls.

pueblito paisa 2

Attending a soccer game in Medellín is A MUST. Take the metro to Estadio, get off and walk to the stadium. You’re either rooting for the Nacional team (white and green colors) or Medellín (red and blue). Be warned: Fans take their teams very seriously!

Nightlife: 

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Go to Parque Lleras, known as the Zona Rosa of Medellín (THE place to hang out and be seen). Thousands of locals and tourists flock to this upbeat grid of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs. Vinacure is a popular spot due to its eccentric night-circus ambiance. Guests (often masked) come to enjoy the Cirque du Soleil-esque acrobatic performances. Teatro Matacandelas has an incredible experimental theater. Enjoy some coffee and explore the quirky art gallery before the show.

SALSA ANYONE? El Eslabon Prendido is definitely a diamond in the rough. You will never have a better time in a small, dark, and cramped space. Slither your way up to the bar and chug down a shot of Aguardiente.

salsa-medellin-eslabon-prendido

More salsa? Ask the cab driver to take you La 33 or La 70.  These streets are lined with dive salsa and reggae bars that pulse well into the night.

Stay: The Charlee Hotel may be for you. Sleek and spacious hotel rooms are filled with top-of-the-line amenities. Models, actors and industry professionals cluster nightly around the swanky rooftop pool priced from $160/night.

the charlee hotel

-Tanya Harry  @tanyaharry

Tanya Harry

An educator by trade, traveler by choice, wine sommelier at heart, and food critic to a few friends on Yelp, Tanya Harry brings all of her passions together in her blog, Global Souls. The daughter of immigrant parents (an Asian mother and Caribbean father), Tanya has turned her life-long exposure to global culture into a career of sharing her diverse experiences. Whether she’s in the classroom educating students or exchanging perspectives online, her goal is the same: leave others with a better knowledge of what the world has to offer.

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