Medellín is one big ball of friendly energy, and the best places to soak up the vibe of the city are Medellín's lively parks. The park landscape in Medellín is as diverse as the city's vibrant neighborhoods, spanning everything from secluded nature preserves to hubs for outdoor sports and the concrete-clad heart of the city with its iconic Fernando Botero statues.

Whether you’re looking for a tranquil reprieve from the hectic traffic, a prime spot for people-watching or a green space for a tropical Colombian adventure, one thing is clear: in Medellín, there is a park for that. Here's a guide to the best parks in Medellín.

Scultures at Plaza Botero
Crowds swirl around the famous Fernando Botero sculptures at Plaza Botero © sunsinger / Shutterstock

Plaza Botero

Best park for art lovers

The most famous artist in Medellín – if not all of Colombia – is Fernando Botero, and 23 sculptures from this Colombian icon grace Plaza Botero in the El Centro neighborhood. Each depicts a local character in Botero’s trademark, voluminous style. Lined with benches, the plaza is a prime spot to take a seat and watch the energizing hecticness of El Centro swirl by.

For some bonus Botero, the adjacent Museo de Antioquia has a permanent exhibit of the artist's work and the nearby Parque San Antonio has a few outdoor pieces as well.

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Estadio Atanasio Girardot

Best park for sports

There's more to Medellín’s vast stadium complex than its 45,000-seat soccer venue. On any given day, Medellín residents gather in droves to do laps around the stadium – on foot, by bike or on rollerblades – and take advantage of the sports fields and arenas dotted around this massive chunk of land just north of Laureles.

Facilities for sports fans include a martial arts coliseum, a handball court, a gymnastics area, basketball courts, indoor and sand volleyball courts, a skateboarding park and, along its southwestern edge, an outdoor gym. Even if you don’t want to exercise or join a game, the Estadio complex is a great spot for a people-watching stroll.

Cerro Nutibara

Best park for touristy fun

Within Medellín, there are seven “guardian” hills (or cerros), that make excellent vantage points for looking out over the city. At the geographic center of the city is Cerro Nutibara, with the Pueblito Paisa – a model Colombian town – at its peak. Within Pueblito Paisa, there’s a model church, a central fountain and a handful of restaurants serving up Colombian grub. Beyond this touristy stop, you can drop by an open-air auditorium for community performances, visit a sculpture park and follow numerous, tree-shaded walking trails to reach the peak of the cerro.

El Cerro de Moravia

Best park for experiencing changing Medellín

The 30,000 sq meter, garden-covered hill that is El Cerro de Moravia is quite captivating, particularly when you consider that this flowery, green hilltop used to be one of the city's landfill sites! The former dump has been miraculously transformed over the past 20 years and today, a handful of paved walking trails guide visitors to the peak of the hill, with historical photos and signboards explaining the story of the neighborhood along the way. Make it to the top and you can enjoy a quaint greenhouse and panoramic views over the entire city.

A woman walks over a wooden bridge in Parque Arví, Medellín
Walking in the calm greenery of Parque Arví © RicardoImagen / Getty Images

Parque Arví

Best park for an escape from the city bustle

Just getting to Parque Arví is a treat in itself. From the Acevedo metro station, you’ll need to hop on the Metrocable (Medellín’s gondola transit system), transfer at Santo Domingo station, and then take the L line to Parque Arví. The journey here offers incredible views of the city, culminating in a ride over towering trees as you approach the park. On arrival, you can hike nearly 60 miles of walking trails, view butterfly and flower exhibits and, to help fuel your adventure, browse an open-air market for snacks and souvenirs.

Parque de El Poblado

Best park for people-watching

There's more to do in Medellín’s snazzy El Poblado neighborhood than eat, drink, shop and party. For a break from the frenetic activity, head to quaint, brick-clad Parque de El Poblado for some well-earned downtime. Find a shady spot to cozy up with a book, or savor some empanadas from the best empanada spot in town, nearby El Machetico. You’ll see people from all walks of life pass through Parque de El Poblado – local business people heading to the Poblado metro from the Milla de Oro, globe-trotting tourists snapping selfies, and families exploring the park’s outdoor market at weekends.

Parque de los Deseos

Best family-friendly park

Surrounded by the Parque Explora science museum and planetarium, the city’s botanical gardens and the University of Antioquia, Parque de los Deseos is a lively hub for sightseeing. This small, all-concrete park, whose name translates as “Park of Desires,” has outdoor tables that are perfect for a calm picnic and a break from the action. For families, there's a large sandbox to play in, plus water fountains and regular free concerts and movie screenings. You probably won't spend a whole day out at Parque de los Deseos, but you will be grateful for it on a busy day of seeing the sights in this part of the city.

Woman walking above the Medellín cityscape
Medellín is full of places where you can get up above the city © Getty Images / EyeEm / Fabian Schmiedlechner

Parque de los Pies Descalzos

Best park for barefoot fun

Take off your shoes and give your feet a breather. It’s positively encouraged in Parque de los Pies Descalzos – literally, "Barefoot Park." Located just south of Avenida San Juan, near the eastern bank of the Medellín River, this park has a massive expanse of sand for barefoot fun, and expansive areas of grass, fountains and bamboo to complement the peaceful vibe. If you get hungry, there are some great restaurant offerings along Carrera 57 in the Plaza Mayor complex, Medellín’s principal convention center.

Parques del Río

Best park for a long walk

Just east of Parque de Los Pies Descalzos, you’ll find the twin Parques del Río lining both sides of the Medellín River. The first stages of these linear, north-to-south parks were completed in 2016 and 2019, and the area covered by parkland is set to expand from here. Upon completion, the parks will stretch nearly 12 miles along the banks of the river, providing a welcome green space for promenading.

Come now and you'll find green spaces, bicycle paths and walking trails filled with local families and dog walkers. While you’re here, don’t forget to snag a selfie with the towering and colorful Montaña Medellín sculpture by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone.

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