Budget Travel

Medellín's top free things to do are also the city's must-do activities

Medellín is everything you want it to be. On one end, the city's upscale neighborhoods consist of international culinary offerings, world-class shopping options and trendy hotels. Otherwise, the city generally is a budget traveler's dream-come-true. Through the “City of the Eternal Spring,” your dollar can go a long way – from affordable lodging to cheap street eats to inexpensive Aguila beers at local watering holes.

Regardless of the budget and when you decide to go, it never hurts to sprinkle inside a free activity or two. And, when it comes to Medellín, these freebies are a few of its most quintessential experiences. Listed here are the nine best free things to complete in Medellín.

Admire Fernando Botero's sculptures in Plaza Botero

Where in the world will you look for a major city's principal square dotted with 23 sculptures of voluminous characters from Fernando Botero? The reply is: Only in Medellín. Botero is Colombia's most beloved artist as well as in this free of charge and open space, you can admire his larger-than-life sculptures, together with a man on a horse (hombre a caballo), a cat (gato) and Adam and Eve (Adán y Eva). The Museo de Antioquia, Hotel Nutibara and Medellín's metro border you in the square, making for that much more magical of a setting.

Take a self-guided walking tour of the extremely vivid graffiti art

For those seeking that next Insta-worthy snap, Medellín is heaven. Actually, you may earn an entire day perusing some of its most renowned public art hotspots. The Comuna 13 / San Javier neighborhood – particularly near its Metrocable station and famous outdoor escalators – is absolutely loaded with vivid outdoor art depicting the barrio's transformation, locals and everyday Colombian life.

For street lovers of art, additional pedestrian-friendly highlights include Carrera 43C in El Poblado near La Matriarca restaurant and the walls lining the Medellín Aquatic Complex near El Estadio Atanasio Girardot. There is also an Open Sky Gallery across the Ayacucho Tramway near the San José station, with an entire building painted having a 3D traditional chiva bus.

Peruse the wares at Mercados Campesinos

Each weekend, more than 20 of Medellín's most widely used parks are morphed into public, outdoor markets with vendors and goods galore. It's always free to look, but when you're attempting to try some of the region's most unique fruits (e.g., maracuyá, lulo and gulupa, among numerous others) or snag some artisan made crafts, these markets are primed for perusing. You are able to feel better about your purchases, too – a lot more than 600 rural-based families participate each week and take advantage of the sales directly. Parks with regular markets include el Segundo Parque de Laureles, Ciudad del Río and La Foresta. Get shopping!

Walk one of the wildflowers in Parque Arví

Parque Arví is tucked over the northwestern, mountainous edge of Medellín. Amid tons of park options through the valley, Parque Arví is arguably probably the most secluded and nature-focused option. Within its nearly 40,000-acre confines, you'll find a lot more than 50 walking trails, a backyard market and seemingly endless wildflowers and butterflies among.

Admission towards the park is completely free but getting there won't be. Which are more scenic and affordable option, go ahead and take Metro to the Acevedo station, transfer to the Metrocable K Line toward Santo Domingo after which, in Santo Domingo, go ahead and take Metrocable L Line to Parque Arví. A roundtrip ride to Parque Arví will run approximately 25,000 pesos (or $7) and the views on the way are worth it.

Stroll via a mall

The malls in Medellín are more than just a hodgepodge of retailers – they are cultural centers in their own regard. For holidays and major events, the common regions of Medellín's most popular centro comerciales are morphed into playgrounds for children, art installations and totally visual spectacles. A good example: In 2022, for Medellín's iconic flower festival (Feria de Las Flores), the Santafé mall installed a flower art piece composed of a lot more than 180,000 flowers in its common area. In addition to Santafé, El Tesoro, Premium Plaza, Arkadia and Oviedo are among Medellín's most widely used shopping destinations.

Go to church

A predominantly Catholic country, you will find a towering church anchoring most major plazas and squares throughout Medellín. Your purpose in visiting you can vary – perhaps you have to repent for partying too much in El Poblado the night before or you'd like to experience a few of the city's most dazzling architecture. For architectural masterpieces, hit the brown, white and exterior-art-draped Iglesia Nuestra Se~nora del Rosario in Bello and also the all-brick Catedral Basílica Metropolitana in the heart of El Centro. Both welcome visitors, but be sure to be quiet while church is in session.

Talk to some paisa

Stunning mountain views, bumping nightlife and culinary morsels aside, Medellín's notably warm and friendly individuals are what make the city stand out. Wherever your Medellín adventure takes you, take the time to pause and engage with a paisa (the name provided to those from Medellín). For a more formal interaction, you will find regular free language exchanges that connect paisas with foreigners, using the one at Noah Boutique Hostel as being a local favorite.

Museo Casa en Memoria

With decades-long, politically induced armed conflicts to its inner-city drug cartel clashes in recent decades, Medellín has endured heartache and loss with an incredible level. The Museo Casa en Memoria compares the city's past through the lens of those that happen to be displaced because of Colombia's conflicts and massacres. The free museum has three amounts of exhibits, a few of which zoom in on individual experiences of loss, survival and reflection. It is a very emotional experience and you'll leave with this much greater of an appreciation for just what lengths Medellín has come.

Museo de Geociencias en Universidad Nacional

Calling science lovers! As much as Medellín has sprouted from its mountainous shell, there is a lot happening underground, too. This free museum has more than 10,000 fossils, rocks and minerals from throughout Colombia to understand more about. In 2022, the museum celebrated its 100th anniversary, so there is plenty of history to obtain acquainted with here, too.

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