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Want to get some time in nature while you’re in Medellin? Situated high in the Colombian hills, Medellin is surrounded by green spaces, but shockingly, we found it surprisingly difficult to find Medellin parks and Medellin playgrounds were even more rare.
During the 2 months we spent in Medellin, we made a very deliberate effort to discover as many parks and playgrounds in the city as possible. We learned that while Medellin doesn’t have a lot of playgrounds or parks, there are a few that are really fun if you don’t mind traveling to get to them.
Where are the best playgrounds in Medellin?
We had to ask several locals to discover where the best parks and playgrounds in Medellin are. We were shocked that in a city of this size, we had found so few. We were told that Medellin grew the most right as the drug cartels were in power, and people were scared to go outside. During that time, no one was prioritizing outdoor spaces, since they were not safe, and a lot of the city got built up without regard for many green spaces. In other Colombian towns, parks and playgrounds are much more prominent and frequent, but they’re much more rare in Medellin. While there are lots of little neighborhood playgrounds (mostly very small with a slide, monkey bars and maybe a swing, rarely with green space), if you’re willing to travel, we’ve found a few other great playgrounds in Medellin that are worth visiting!
Parque Arvi is easily the most well known park in Medellin. Located high above the city, a popular cable car route will take you to the top. Honestly, the cable car ride was half the adventure for our kids. Everyone loved getting an aerial view of the neighborhoods below, and once we left the city, traveling up high in the forest canopy was so absolutely STUNNING!
While everyone RAVES about everything there is to do at Parque Arvi, the park itself didn’t really win us over. We came on a Saturday and we loved seeing the little market at the top (and the fresh fruits and snacks were delicious), it wasn’t the nature packed experience that we were led to believe. The staff told us that to get on any trail, we had to pay $50,000 per person (though they didn’t check for wristbands or payment from any locals), and the mountain bike rentals that we were told were up there, were actually cheap folding bikes.
In the end, we caught the free bus to Parque Arvi Comfama and it exceeded our expectations in every way. If you’re going to Parque Arvi with kids, spend a few minutes at the top of the cable car looking around and then go right to the Comfama bus to get to the park (it’s about a 10 minute free bus ride).
Parque Telemedellin was our younger kids’ vote for best playground in Medellin. It’s got a giant climbing area that is perfect for high energy kids and we loved that there were 4 sides to it so that there was plenty of space for lots of kids to play. The highlight for the kids was the treehouse area with the twisty slide going down. The treehouse easily had room for 10 kids and it was such a fun place for the kids to have some imaginative play time.
The outside of the play area has a little forest bridge walk. It’s quite short (only 1-2 minutes for kids to go through it), but it was a fun addition to the playground area. It’s tucked right against the forest, so it gives the whole area more of a natural feel. There are also some small swings for kids and some swinging benches that are perfect for parents to sit on and chat while the kids play.
One side of the playground had a small little creek area that was filled with goldfish, which was fun to see. THe kids also loved that there is a shop selling ice cream and snacks at the park, and as a parent, I loved that there were nice bathrooms there (that were free and actually clean).
Weekends get VERY busy here, but during our midweek visits, we rarely ever saw other kids (even in the late afternoons and evenings after school is out). Parque Telemedellin is one of the best Medellin playgrounds for kids.
We had many people recommend Parque Uva as a great playground for kids, so we were excited to go and try it out. Truthfully, it’s okay, but not amazing. Located on a steep hill in Poblado, Parque Uva is great for walking and exercise, but feels rather disjointed for a kids playground. The best place to get to parque Uva is at the Tesoro Mall, just across the street to the west. As you go down the hill, there are several small sets of playgrounds. One has swings, another music toys, another jumping structures,and another has climbing areas. While each of them were just okay, the whole effect was pretty good. The only problem was that each of the little playground sections was pretty spaced out so it was difficult to watch kids at 2 different areas. If you’ve got just one kid, this is a great playground, but otherwise, it can be a bit of a juggling effort.
The bonus is that the location is FANTASTIC! It’s right next to the Tesoro Mall, so if you need to do some shopping, a promise of a visit to the park is a great way to get the kids motivated to behave well while at the store.
Parque del Rio Medellin
Parque Del Rio is one of the best public parks in Medellin and it also has a great and unique Medellin playground. If you’re looking for a park where you can just hang out for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather, this is our top recommendation. Located on both sides of the river, Parque Del Rio has lots of open space, lounge chairs, and places to just hang out and relax. For the kids, the highlight is the giant climbing structure with the sand pit below it. If you have high energy kids who area always looking for place to run and things to climb on, they’ll love it. It’s very spacious with lots of room to run and play, and even our 10 and 13 year old kids loved climbing on the giant net. There’s very little shade here, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to go on a hot day.
The west side of the river has the play structure and a couple of restaurants and the east side of the river is more designed for hanging out. The east side has river overlooks, loungers, and is a popular spot for flying kites. Whichever side you choose, you’re likely to see lots of vendors selling raspos, ice cream, and other snacks.
Jardin Botanico – Medellin Botanical Gardens
Our favorite green space in the city is the Medellin Botanical Gardens. The Botanic Gardens in Medellin are free to the public and are basically like a giant well maintained park. When you’re there, you’ll see families picnicking, children laying in the grass reading, and lots of families out for a stroll. The botanic gardens is located in the heart of Medellin, which makes it even more amazing.
While you’re there, you can pay a small fee to go to the butterfly exhibit, though there’s plenty to see without going in there as well. Throughout the grounds, you’ll find lots of giant iguanas that are so fun to watch. There is a large pond in the middle of the gardens that has lots of fish, turtles and ducks in it that are fun to watch and enjoy.
Unidad Deportiva Belen
If you like sports, then this is the Medellin Park for you. Here is where you’ll find one of the highest concentrations of sports fields in all of Medellin. There are lots of covered basketball courts, football pitches (soccer fields), as well as beach volleyball, tennis courts, a running track and a large weightlifting area. While weekends are busy here with lots of scheduled games and matches utilizing the fields, if you go during the week or in the evenings, you’ll find places to play around and enjoy sports on your own.
Inder, the local recreation program, has regular zumba classes here (free), and there are also 3 pools that are popular for swim lessons and aqua aerobic classes. There is a small playground right by the weight area so it’s a great place to let mom or dad workout for a bit while the kids play right in your view.
Barefoot Park – Parque de los Pies Descalzos
The barefoot park in Medellin is one of the most unique parks you’ll find in Medellin and it’s a great place for kids in Medellin. While there’s not any actual playground equipment, there are lots of things for kids to play on and around, making this one of the best Medellin parks with kids. The whole park is in theory designed so that you can run around barefoot and enjoy all of the different sensations under your feet. There you’ll find bamboo gardens, a giant sand pit, water pools to soak your feet, and splash pads. In fact, I think these are the best splash pads in Medellin! There’s also a giant waterfall structure that kids can play in, though it was closed on our most recent visit.
The barefoot park is run by EPM who also operates the Museo de Agua next door and there are regular staff on hand to help with questions and to make sure that everyone is taking good care of the park.
Cerro Nutibara (Nutibara Hill Medellin) and the Parque de Toboganes
Cerro Nutibara is home to Pueblito Paisa and most of the hill is often overlooked as people make their way up to the top, but that’s a big mistake. There are lots of trails all over the hill and there is exercise equipment and small (very small) playground equipment along the route. On the north side of the hill, you absolutely MUST stop at the slides at the Parque do Toboganes. They are MASSIVE concrete slides that will have you going down really fast and having a great time. Everyone in our family had an absolutely WONDERFUL time there. At the bottom of the slides, there are several picnic areas and grills so it’s a great place to have a family picnic.
Parque el Salado
Parque El Salado is a great green space with a flowing creek you can play in, hiking trails and educational opportunities. The park has been designed to incorporate the creek into several of its attractions, including a series of lovely picnic spots spread out along its banks.
One of the main highlights of Parque El Salado is its nature trails. These trails wind their way through hills covered in greenery, showcasing the native flora and fauna of the region. The paths are well-marked, making them perfect for quick hikes. Along the trails, visitors will find information boards providing details about the local ecosystem, making this one of the most educational parks in Medellin.
Parque el Salado is a fantastic place for birdwatching, so if you’re into birding, make sure to bring your binoculars with you.
The park hosts various workshops and events throughout the year, focusing on environmental conservation and sustainability. These programs are designed to engage and educate the public, particularly younger generations, about the importance of preserving our natural environment.