There are many nightlife zones in Medellin, but there’s only one Parque Lleras. Come the weekend locals from all over Medellin flock to this Disneyland for alcoholics to enjoy night full of fun, dancing and aguardiente. Bars line all sides of the park and even down the streets that lead away from it. Most bars pump out reggaeton, salsa, ballenato and latin flavoured beats. Locals tend to go out in groups and buy bottles of spirits, for a great price, relative to comparable clubs in other western countries. The park itself is also a premium people watching spot if you’d like to buy a beer and kick back on a concrete step.
Whilst some people unfairly stereotype Parque Lleras as the place gringos go to find hookers, the reality is that it’s 99% young Colombians looking to drink and have fun with their friends. Gringos, and hookers for that matter, make up a very small minority of the crowd.
Here is a rough overview of the most popular/best of the Lleras establishments:
- Woka - Posh bar/restaurant on a third story with a slight view of the city playing older tunes and decorated in a faux rain-forest theme. Great for enjoying some cocktails with friends or a date
- Octavia: Rock music, up-beat bar and club
- Chupitos - Shots bars where anything goes
- La Chingona - decoarted in Colombia fonda style playing music to guarantee your in Colombia
- Tropical Cocktails - brightly colored and artificially flavored slushy cocktails set to the beat of the latest electronica.
- Skybar - Swanky, high-class rooftop bar with pool no one goes in. Amazing view of the city. Exclusive and well worth a visit.
- Open Sky Lounge - large cocktails with a background of electronica
- Blue - A club to dance to rock music. At times, throwback western rock songs that might catch you happily off-guard
- El Deck - Foreigners and locals come here to listen to good music and dance. Often times crowded due to international dj's
- Calle 9+1 - Known simply as Calle “9,” this is the bar that a majority of the foreigner, as well as LGBT crowd visits. It’s mostly electronica music, and seems to attract a more youthful/hipster type of crowd. You don’t need to dress up like some of the other more formal clubs
- Salon Amador - drink gin and tonics until the wee hours dancing to hip music and international dj's
- Mansion - small, techno and house music club. Pretty tucked away and only open Friday and Saturday nights
- Lady Luck - popular gay nightclub pumping out the best pop, electronica and reggeaton mix
- Bendito Seas - Decorated in Colombian style with an odd assortment of cheesy decorations. Popular for the younger crowd to come to drink and dance and sometimes enjoy a live act
- Havana - want to dance salsa on a Monday night or any night for that matter? You can at Havana
When you get bored of Parque Lleras you have more great options just by walking 5 mins to both the north and south of Parque Lleras.
Around Parque Poblado
- Latineria - Located on the corner of the park its hard to miss this colorful Mexican inspired cocktail & shots bar. Drinks are cheap and they play great Latin music to dance to
- Vintrash - Restaurant on the main floor, cool underground dance floor underneath. Hipster young crowd but interesting enough place for all
- Alta Gracia - A small but trendy coffee shop during the day and a bar at night starting at 8 pm. Great cocktails and shots. Worth a visit. Electronic music some nights
- El Social - if the tv series "Friends" was shot in Medellin this is certainly where they'd hang out. Busy local bar, no thrills but occupying a cosy corner location, it draws crowds every night of the week
Take a taxi for roughly 6,000 COP from Parque Lleras to enjoy some of the bigger nightclubs of Medellin. It may be on the more expensive side, depending on which club you go to, but if you’re looking to dance the night away in style, Barrio Colombia is the place to be.
Huge clubs like Prizma can hold hundreds of people and become crowded pretty quickly. There is also the American styled MIA VIP room, a newly constructed and modern club. Although these clubs offer a lot of space compared to others, they can be quite intimidating at times. Most of these clubs have a balcony or VIP room you can slip to if you need to cool off from the dance floor.
Note that in some clubs there may be a table fee with a minimum spend, best to check in advance.
La Setenta (La 70)
La Setenta (La 70) is a area packed with wall to wall bars & nightclubs and is known as the SALSA strip of Medellin. Located south of the Estadio Metro, it’s also relatively safe and easy to get to with public transport or taxis. A taxi should cost no more than 15,000 COP. Beverages are relatively inexpensive in most bars here due to the competition.
One popular destination to go to is El Tibri on the corner of La 70 and calle 43. This small, intimate basement club has been packing in the crowds for over 20 years. We recommend you get there early in the evening before the crowds and before the walls start sweating. As one El Colombiano newspaper article states "those who go for the first time drown in a mix of humidity, trombones and Chanel No. 3.
Another historic venue is Son Havana, this time its a Salsa bar with a Cuban flavor. Get an idea of what goes on from the video posted here.
La Treinta y Tres (La 33)
La Treinta y Tres (La 33) is another street packed with nightlife opportunities. Unlike Parque Lleras you're unlikely to find any tourists here. There isn’t a Metro station to get to La 33 but a taxi should cost no more than 15,000 COP. The area is known to be safe but it’s always a good idea to bring a friend or two.
If you're not sure where to go just ask the taxi to drive slowly down La 33 and check out all the bar/clubs from the comfort of the taxi. Many bars have the music and lights blaring out into the street advertising their stuff. There are about a hundred options, so you're bound to find one that suits your style.
For a change of scenery from your normal salsa bars and nightclubs, why not check out the English pub Public House. They offer an assortment of international beers as well if you’d like a change from Aguardiente. If you’d like to bring the house down with your sick dance moves, visit La Rouse. There’s also a terrace if you’d like to relax and watch others bust a move.
If you’d like a change of pace from Parque Lleras, get a group together and head out to the Las Palmas area, located on the stretch of road perched high up valley leading towards the airport. In a taxi it should cost no more than 15,000 COP to get there. There's an assortment of clubs, many with over-the-top decorations designed to draw crowds from far and wide.
One of the most famous clubs in Las Palmas is Dulce Jesus Mio. The place is decorated from floor to ceiling with all sort of games and historic paraphernalia. The staff are dressed up in all sorts of costumes pulling pranks and jokes on the crowd while there are stage shows all nights with singers, dancers, magicians and all sorts of acts. The place is pretty surreal, it could probably be described as Disneyland on steroids. Be sure to reserve a table or get there early if you’d like a good position to see the shows as the place gets packed quickly. Best to bring some girls as all male groups won't be allowed to enter.
Another themed option is Cañahuate Fonda run by the same people as Dulce Jesus Mio. This time decorated with a West Wild Indian Theme.