How to Celebrate July 4th in Medellín

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Roughly 20% all visitors to Medellín come from the USA, so it’s no surprise that there’s a strong American community in the City of Eternal Spring and that national holidays like July 4th do not pass unnoticed. Although over 2,000 miles apart, American expats have brought their traditions down south and cities like Medellín are gradually becoming more accustom to participating in important dates from the U.S. In fact, Colombia’s own independence day takes place a few weeks after the U.S (July 20th) and so the month is the perfect time to show some national pride and let loose with both fellow Americans and Colombian locals.

Whether you’re looking to party with a Paisa twist or indulge in all the typical festivities, here’s how to celebrate July 4th in Medellín.

city buildings during sunset
By Joel Duncan

Host a BBQ

Is there anything more American than a good old-fashioned BBQ? Make the most of Medellín’s warm weather and organize a cook-out in your garden for friends. Most supermarkets in the city sell burgers, sausages, chicken wings and other meats, so buy in bulk and serve with potatoes and salads – and, if you’re feeling creative, try whipping up a pie for dessert too. The majority of tiendas and shops have American beers and the famous red cups to complete your event. To add a Colombian flair to the BBQ, bring a bottle of Aguardiente and see who can really hold their drink…

For particularly patriotic hosts, make an all-American music playlist in advance: think of legends like Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Foo Fighters and Bruce Springsteen. If you don’t have time or are struggling to find inspiration, Spotify has plenty of pre-made playlists to use.

six sausages on black charcoal grill
By Harry Knight

Visit a microbrewery

For the people who prefer to get out of the house to celebrate July 4th, Medellín has a cool selection of independent beer breweries that are ideal to spend the day sipping on craft beer with groups of ‘Murcians. Located over in Ciudad del Rio, Cerveceria 3 Cordilleras is set in a converted warehouse and boasts a fun, social atmosphere. There’s normally live music playing, plus the option to take a tour and learn about the brewing process. Elsewhere, 20Mission is relatively new but is a hit with expats. The brewery has six specialty beers, as well as a whole host of tasty snacks and very friendly staff.

Image may contain: 6 people, crowd and indoor
By 20Mission Facebook

Watch classic films

If you’re not the type to automatically associate July 4th with drinking – or maybe a low-key day is more your style – treat yourself to a marathon of classic films. This is also a great option if you’re feeling a little homesick and want a few comforts to get through being apart from family and friends on the holiday. Gather a group of Americans, make popcorn and settle in for an evening of wholly-American movies. Our top suggestions include:

Independence Day
Born on the Fourth of July
The Patriot
Lincoln
Top Gun
Forrest Gump
Rocky
Captain America

Alternatively, check the showings for any of the Cine Colombia locations or Museo de Arte Moderno, as some of the cinemas in Medellín show films in English with Spanish subtitles (rather than dubbing in Spanish). Not only can you see the latest releases but tickets are much cheaper than they would be back in the USA.

popcorn in clear glass bowl
By Alex Munsell

Dine out

With the influx of tourism to Medellín over recent years, more recognizable American restaurants have popped up over the city. The Hard Rock Café in Poblado needs no introduction, serving up hearty American fare, a ton of music history, live bands and impressive terrace with views stretching across the city. Down in Envigado, the Classic Diner is a restaurant inspired by America in the 1950s – with a black and white chequered floor, Cadillac booths and Marilyn Monroe impersonators. An evening here never fails to be entertaining, and the menu will guarantee you leave feeling very full.

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting and indoor
By Classic Diner Facebook

Plan a finca break

One of the most popular activities in the states on July 4th is to head to the beach. Unfortunately, Medellín’s closest beach is a plane journey away. However, Medellín does have a variety of nearby pueblos (towns) that are great for a holiday vacation. Guatape, Santa Fe de Antioquia, Barbosa and San Carlos are just a few of the fantastic spots in Antioquia for sunshine and swimming. If possible, organize a finca (kind of like a beach house but in the countryside) with a collection of people and head for the hills. Fincas are relatively inexpensive when split between a large group, and normally come with great amenities and views, plus total privacy to party.

By Alquiler De Fincas de Recreo Facebook

Wear red, white and blue

Colombians are no strangers to sporting their country’s flag or colors, so why not follow suit and wear something to show your American pride. Anything red, white or blue should do the trick, or even a sports jersey from your home town – something sentimental that reminds you of the U.S. Equally, don’t be afraid to fly flags from your balcony, car, or do as Paisas do and accessorize your pet with a patriotic bandana.

short-coated brown dog biting American flag
By Camylla Battani

Rally the troops

If you’re in Medellín by yourself and want to meet up with other solo travelers on July 4th, there are a number of platforms and groups to organize an event and make new friends. Generally, expats in the city are very welcoming and often embrace the opportunity to reminisce about their homeland, so spending the day with strangers can be an awesome experience. Post in these groups and suggest some July 4th activities to the community:

Gringo Paisas (Facebook)
Americans in Medellín (InterNations)

people sitting beside brown wooden table inside room
By Kevin Curtis

 

Important note: Fireworks in Medellín are technically illegal all throughout the year, except in December (when Christmas festivities mean fireworks are everywhere). If you have fireworks, don’t be tempted to set them off – especially if you live in a residential area. Not only is it dangerous, but you also run the risk of police involvement and a heavy fine.

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