UPDATE (March 2020): Due to the risk of spread of Covid-19, the Governor of Antioquia, in conjunction with the Mayor of Medellín, have announced the closure of all bars in Antioquia until May 30th, 2020
Over the years, Medellín has evolved into a dynamic city attracting travelers from all over the world and impressing them with its warmth and charm. The city is becoming increasingly popular for its nightlife. More and more tourists are visiting this city to enjoy the best Medellín nightlife options and have a one of a kind experience.
Parque Lleras in the El Poblado neighborhood is the go-to choice for many tourists coming to Medellín. The park encompasses numerous trendy bars, cafes, and restaurants. The sheer number of options is enough to keep you entertained all night.
Located in the well-known neighborhood, Parque Lleras is considered one of the safest zones in the city, due in part to the city’s efforts to protect tourists. You will almost always find a visible police presence in this area, until late into the night. However, visitors should definitely still use caution and common sense during a night out in Lleras, as it can be known to attract thieves that are well aware that it is frequented by tourists.
However, in many places, the food and drinks tend to be a bit pricier than average. Also, if you are looking for a more Colombian experience, it may not live up to your expectations. On a typical night out in Parque Lleras, most gringos can expect to be repeatedely solicited by prostitutes and baby-faced Colombian teenagers whispering their offer of drugs.
In spite of this, Parque Lleras is still the go-to medellin nightlife place, and the streets in the vicinity of the Parque tend to be packed on weekend nights. While there is definitely a lot to explore in this area, don’t make a classic gringo traveller mistake of limiting yourself to only the Lleras / El Poblado area during your time in Medellín.
Locals use the term Zona Rosa to describe the areas concentrated with discotecas. Other Zona Rosas that are worth checking in the city include the following:
La 70 (pronounced se-ten-ta) is located in the lively Laureles neighborhood. It begins outside the Estadio metro station and runs for approximately 10 blocks, until it ends at the entrance of a major University, the UPB. La 70 features a wide range of bars and restaurants that offer a more local experience, with many places playing Latin music such as salsa, reggaeton, and bachata. Given its proximity to the stadium, la 70 is particularly boisterous when one of the local soccer teams is playing.
Known for its authentic Colombian atmosphere, La 33 is another popular medellin nightlife zone. Named after one of the major streets that divides the Laureles and Belen neighborhoods (Calle 33), it is home to countless bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. As this zone is located in a less touristy neighborhood, the nightlife options tend to be very inexpensive, and you will get more opportunities to mingle with the locals. One downside of a night out on la 33 is that the popular bars are spread out over a long distance running along Calle 33, so to pass many of the popular spots, plenty of walking is required. Additionally, of the Zona Rosas on this list, la 33 includes some of the rougher spots that might not be as appealing to newly arrived travellers.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, contact us for a list of Zona Rosas that are really off the beaten path, that we can’t with good conscience recommend publicly due to safety concerns.
If you fancy partying with a big crowd, then Barrio Colombia has many options to offer. Barrio Colombia is located in the El Poblado neighborhood, but away from Parque Lleras. This area has a high concentration of swanky nightclubs and discos. The clubs in this zone are typically huge, and the drinks in such venues can get expensive (only relative to other local prices).
Rio Sur is another prominent option for enjoying an upscale nightlife experience. Located on Avenida Poblado, it has quite a few fancy bars and nightclubs, including the popular Sinko bar and Kukaramakara. The popular spots are located on the 7th floor of the Rio Sur building.
Avenida Las Palmas is located on the outskirts of the city, on the road that heads towards the international airport. When the sun goes down, and you’re done basking in the stunning panoramic sunset views from the lookout, check out some ritzy restaurants, and nightclubs in this zone. One of the most quirky nightclubs in the city, Dulce Jesus Mio, is situated in Las Palmas. Both the eccentric décor and the employees dress contain things that would not currently be acceptable in North American society. Go visit them on a Friday or Saturday night to find out what I mean!
One cannot properly describe the Medellín nightlife without mentioning Chiva party buses. Chivas are colorful buses that are filled with enthusiastic revelers drinking booze and partying to thrilling Latin music. The buses don’t have windows or doors, but they do have a dance floor.
After meeting at a set location, and hopping aboard the Chiva, the driver will take you on a tour around the city – stopping at a variety of different lookouts to take in the views or stop to load up on alcohol. There is usually a dance floor / pole in the middle of the seats, and it won’t be long before your crew is imbibing and enjoying a party – in motion. While Chivas are most popular in December, they can be booked year-round from a variety of tour companies in the city. If you get the chance to join a local’s Chiva adventure, don’t pass it up! And if you already have a big group (anywhere from 15 to 60 will work), you can write to us for information about how to book a party chiva in Medellín.
Although in this clip they are enjoying South Korean pop, the party chiva is a traditional Colombian experience that makes for a highly enjoyable night out.
Have you had some wild nights out in Medellín? Tell us about it. Contact us or leave a comment below.