Impressive, stately and very regal, a shopping experience here feels as though you are shopping in a palace (without the royals of course) and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be exploring each floor and making full use of the mirrored escalators.
This is Palacio Nacional, one of the more unique shopping malls in the city and it’s packed with shops (over 400 in fact), and being only my second experience of a shopping mall in Medellín, this is definitely more like it.
Visit on a saturday and you’ll find it rammed with Paisas, checking out rows of garments with helpful shop attendants who try to coax you in as you pass by.
There are so many clothes stores here that you’re spoilt for choice but the big question is…could I really get away with wearing any of them?
Catering more for the twenties trends, I didn’t see one person over thirty here but maybe this is just paisa fashion.
Shops with names such as Paparazzi, Underground and Urban Rappers indicates that is the place to be if you’re wanting to be on trend.
From skinny jeans (of the very tight variety) to bright pink tops for the ladies and funky t-shirts for the men, the mall caters equally for chicas and chicos and there’s even hoodies with built-in masks (a scary concept if you meet them in a dark alley).
If you can’t find any t-shirts you like then just design your own. Ibiza Digital Transfer allows you to choose your own design then wait for it to be printed.
This was one of the busiest shops in the mall and with t-shirts saying ‘game over’ with an imprint of a married couple, I can totally see why.
Visiting at the time of the World Cup there wasn’t a shortage of football tops, and if you prefer one for your own team, you can purchase tops with ‘Mexico’ or ‘England’ in large letters to ensure you definitely look like a gringo.
This isn’t an outlet store so clothes are normal street prices. Once you’ve stocked up on clothes, it’s time for the shoes…and there are lots to choose from.
Expect to pay 280,000 pesos ($150) for a pair of Diesel shoes or 95,000 pesos ($50) for a pair of Etnies, a brand for skateboard shoes and clothing.
Then there’s the hat. Cachuchas Jhonny has a huge selection to choose from:
There’s not much jewelery here as its main focus is clothes, shoes and hats but there is a couple of stores that sell jewels, so ladies head to Joyeria Zafarelly for a variety of gold earrings with jewels.
You can reach dizzying heights on the fourth floor but this floor is just offices only. It’s great to get your bearings though and see the building in all its regal glory with decorated archways and gold painted columns.
The only store on the upper floor is a tattoo and piercing shop which sits on its own away from the crowds.
The building is nearly one hundred years old and was originally built in 1925 by a Belgian architect. It was formerly the headquarters of major government institutions in Antioquia and very much still hold its regal and romantic charm.
There’s more than one entrance here too and expecting a grand entrance hall, I was surprised by the narrow passageways at each corner which snake their way into the building offering even more shops to choose from.
You’ll find the cafes on the ground floor and although there are only two to choose from, the food is extremely good and an ‘economical’ will set you back just 7,000 pesos ($4) for beef, rice and beans – can’t get cheaper than that!
And just when you think you’ve finished, there’s another floor to explore. The basement is even funkier with even more shoes, hats and clothes to choose from. Can you get a better mall than this?
I think it’s going to be hard to beat.