Everyone knows Parque Lleras, but the people who want to end the night when the morning light begins go to Itagüí.
That’s the first thing I think about when the suburb, just south of Poblado and across the river from Envigado, comes to mind.
I can’t say Itagüí is trendy, because it’s not. I can’t say it’s up and coming, because that’s not the case either.
But there are things to see here and work has already started to improve the city so it can soon claim those descriptions. Take a look.
Itagüí is 176 years old. The city has a comprehensive history on its website.
Today there are about a quarter of a million people living there.
Points of Interest
There is no landmark in Itagüí more popular than the Plaza Mayorista.
I was there recently to go to the bank and I stopped at the Olimpico to pick up some groceries, some chicken, mushrooms and broccoli, and a liter of milk with a couple of packs of my favorite granola bars.
If you like sports, you can go to the Estadio Metropolitano de Itagüí, a 12,000-person capacity stadium that’s home to the Itagüí F.C., the local professional fútbol team.
Lately, they’ve been pretty good. They finished in the top five last year.
If a mellow park is your preference, Parque de Itagüí might work. The city completed renovations of the park in late 2013, just in time for the Christmas light displays so popular each December.
You won’t find much more than Colombian food here, but you’ll find the best Colombian food in the valley.
Forget the suburb. Buena Mar is one of the best restaurants in the valley.
If you like seafood, you have to try their cazuela de mariscos. It’s the best seafood soup I’ve ever had, so good it makes me wish I lived closer.
If you’re headed to the Mayorista for some shopping, stop at Buena Mar for lunch.
There’s so much to choose from.
I think the best place is Palmahía. For the damn-right-we’re-gonna-party-til-dawn crowd, this is your place.
I went recently, but not for that. I went to the see The Wailers. Yep, that’s right, as in Bob Marley and the Wailers.
It was awesome. The venue is big enough to fit nearly a thousand people, but small enough that there are no bad seats in the house. I paid 34,000 pesos for my ticket, only $18.
Along the Autopista, you’ll see a handful of other clubs, places with a variety of music, house to reggaeton.
Even better, though, is a more underground spot, Ambar Violeta Azul. It’s a hipster bar that has yet to become unbearably hipster. Go check out the trippy spaces, such as the upside down room with furniture attached to the ceiling.
You technically won’t find a mall in Itagüí, but at the city’s metro station, all you have to do is turn right as you exit and the pedestrian flyover will take you into the Mayorca Outlets, one of Sabaneta’s big shopping centers.
Otherwise, enjoy the small businesses that have great deals.
During the day, Itagüí is fine. You can go anywhere, just keep your eyes open and your fine.
At night, be more cautious. The lonely roads here are like lonely roads anywhere in the valley — anything can happen.
I also recommend staying away from the area on the west side of the Plaza Mayorista, what’s known as La Raya. It’s a haven of drugs and gangs and prostitutes that should be avoided after dark.
Cost of Living
Itagüí, still not known as a prime residential area, is extremely affordable.
You can find a comfortable, unfurnished, two-bedroom place for 400,000 pesos a month (about $210). It’s comparable to Bello that way, although more development seems to be underway in the northern suburb.
Maybe Itagüí will follow suit, once the building stops in Envigado and Sabaneta.