Nightlife in Medellin

Colombia's second city has a lively nocturnal scene
Nightlife in Medellin

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Medellin is a city famous for its nightlife. Every weekend numerous sections of the city come alive with music, revelers and party goers. Unlike other large cities, such as Bogota, nightlife here caters almost entirely to local tastes. Latin music is the order of the day, and dancing is a central feature of almost all the city's nocturnal venues.

For the most part, nightlife is overwhelmingly concentrated in the Thursday – Saturday night period, with little to nothing happening in even the major nightlife spots during the week. One notable exception to this is Tuesday evening at Eslabon Prendido in downtown Medellin. Located just off the somewhat unsavory Parque Periodista in the city center, Eslabon Prendido is lively on Tuesdays with live salsa music playing all night. The place gets very busy from fairly early (arrive after about 10pm and you are unlikely to find a table), and is packed with locals and foreigners alike, practicing their salsa moves.

Eslabon Prendido is lively on Tuesday nights with live salsa music playing all evening

At the weekends, options are far more plentiful. The area most popular with tourists is Parque Lleras in the exclusive Poblado district. This area has more than 100 open air restaurants and bars located in and around the small park. There are several clubs, playing either a mixture of Latin music genres or electronic music, which are generally open till about 3am. Another popular spot among the trendy, affluent groups in Medellin is Rio Sur on the Avenida del Poblado, just down from Parque Lleras. This mall hosts a number of upmarket bars, mainly playing electronic music, and a few clubs. Similar options are available at the Estrada mall, also on the Avenida and a couple of minutes’ walk from Rio Sur, but this has somewhat fallen out of fashion in the past year or two. Further up the same road is Parque del Poblado. This is a slightly more alternative area to the rest of the Poblado district, and hosts a few bars frequented by a more rock / emo-type crowd. The park itself is also a popular place to drink and socialize.

Slightly more run-down, and arguably all the more enjoyable for it, are the salsa bars and clubs located along La 70

Significantly less frequented by foreign visitors, but no less lively, is Calle 33. This long strip of bars and slightly less elegant (though still decent) clubs is situated in the Laureles district. There are a few more places in Barrio Colombia, an industrial area located a few minutes’ taxi journey from Poblado. This part of town offers larger clubbing options, open for longer hours, but there is little in the way of bars or restaurants here. The Las Palmas area, on one of the main roads out of the city, is also home to a few clubs which tend to stay open later than those in Poblado. Slightly more run-down, and arguably all the more enjoyable for it, are the various salsa bars and small clubs located along La 70, a major road near the central football stadium.

A full list of Medellin's dance clubs and nightlife options is available on the Medellin Living website

A more traditional Antioquian experience is available in the districts of Envigado and Sabaneta, located in the far south of Medellin. Venues here are less trendy than those in areas such as Poblado and cater more to local tastes and style. Bars tend to be small and play loud music; they get very packed with people dancing later on the evenings. There are also a variety of traditional fondas in both districts. Such venues are decorated in the style of village bars, with small wooden tables and chairs, and walls bedecked with farming equipment and other rural regalia. The music played here is entirely Latin American, featuring a heavy dose of melodies for Colombian singalongs, accompanied by healthy doses of aguardiente, the local spirit.

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