Sundays are a family day in Colombia – traditionally spent at church, sharing a meal and spending quality time together. As a foreigner however, Sundays in Medellín can be a little quiet. Most businesses close, including shops, cafes and restaurants (except in the Poblado area), so it’s harder to plan activities. That said, there’s still plenty to keep entertained if you know where to look. If you’re not nursing a heavy hangover, here are the top things to do in Medellín on Sundays:
The traffic in Medellín on Sundays is noticeably quieter; roads have fewer cars and the air even feels fresher. While Colombian families tend to socialize in their homes on Sundays, the streets are also quieter because of the Ciclovia – when one of the main roads in the city is shut for people to cycle, skate and run down. From 7am to 1pm, Avenida Poblado blocks all car access, stretching from Envigado in the south, up to El Centro in the north.
EnCicla is a free bike rental service in Medellín and is available for tourists as well as locals and visitors. To sign up, you need to have a Civica card and register online before confirming in-person at the headquarters in Centro (Carrera 53 #40A – 31). Foreigners on a tourist visa can use the service for seven consecutive days, while visa-holders have unlimited use. There are several bike points and bike paths all over Medellín, as the city becomes increasingly easier to explore on two wheels.
Museo de Arte Moderno (MAMM)
Located in Ciudad del Rio, MAAM is one of the coolest hangout spots in the city, and on Sundays in particular, is perfect for culture and people-watching. The museum itself is chic and has a range of exhibits from local and international artists, including paintings, sculptures and audial experiences. Visitors can equally soak in the incredible views from MAMM’s rooftop, which overlooks the Medellín skyline and is great for impressive photos of the city. Standard entrance costs $12,000 COP and $9,000 COP for children under 12.
There’s additionally a theater in the building where guests can enjoy films from around the world, including ones in English. Tickets are surprisingly cheap (around $8,000 COP per person) and movie choices vary from classics to new blockbusters. The museum also sometimes has special events showing films outdoors where they project the picture onto the building’s back wall.
If museums aren’t your thing, one of the best parts of MAAM is the grassy area at the back of it. Locals and foreigners alike flock here on Sundays to enjoy a picnic, listen to music and walk their dogs. The space has a very laid-back vibe that’s ideal for a chilled Sunday with friends, and there’s a Ganso & Castor, Crepes & Waffles plus other cute eateries nearby too.
A quick walk from Universidad metro station, Jardín Botánico (the botanical garden) boasts a huge selection of plants and trees dotted across 13.2 hectares. Sundays are the busiest day at Jardín Botánico but still aren’t too overcrowded. Most visitors arrive early and set up elaborate picnics, while others simply stroll with an ice cream and admire the nature. For the wildlife-explorers, there are ponds in the garden, home to fish and turtles, as well as big iguanas that freely roam around the place.
Jardín Botánico is not only colorful and picturesque, it also has a tienda to buy plants, pots and all things garden-related, as well as restaurants and cafes, and events like music and cultural festivals held here throughout the year. Visit on a Sunday and keep an eye out for quinceañera photo shoots – girls wearing elaborate dresses and posing among the flowers is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Parque Comfama Arví
While Parque Arví is an obvious choice for Sundays, the lesser-known Parque Comfama is arguably even better. Comfama is a Colombian organization that promotes healthy living and happiness through a range of activities, classes and experiences. Their location in Arví is really family-friendly and a fantastic day out. From kids’ games to archery and high ropes courses, the park has loads of things to do, and the scenery is beautiful. If you visit, be sure to do the zipling – it’s well worth the wait to soar above the tree tops and see Parque Arví from a bird’s eye view.
Only Colombians and visa-holders can be registered with Comfama, however, non-members are also welcome to visit but entrance prices will be higher. Non-members’ fee is $18,000 COP, while members can pay from as little as $2,300 COP depending on your income or stratum. If you decide not to check out Comfama, the metrocable journey up to Parque Arví is an incredible Sunday activity in its own right – remember a camera and prepare for stomach-churning heights.
Medellín is famous for its markets, and while the larger ones like Plaza Minorista and La América aren’t open on Sundays, there are a few smaller markets that do take place. Parque La Presidenta is a farmer’s market that happens in Poblado every Sunday on Calle 8 #42-25. Vendors here sell everything from bread to honey, herbs, arepas and more. The market is open from 8 am to 1 pm and is a wonderful place for breakfast and organic products. Elsewhere, in Ciudad del Rio (Calle 24 #48-28) there are often artisanal markets held outside of Mercardo del Rio. These independent markets sell jewelry, clothes, vegan and specialty foods, and are best found through Facebook events or Compás Urbano. After shopping, eat at Mercardo del Rio – the food court has a wide selection of cuisines and a trendy atmosphere.
Although not a weekly occurrence, the first Sunday of every month there is a sustainability market over in Conquistadores, next to Unicentro Mall (Carrera 66B #34A-76). Stalls here have all sorts of items from producers in Medellín, such as fruits, coconut oil and coffee. This market is brilliant for healthier lifestyles, as well as supporting smaller, local businesses.
For those who prefer to work up a sweat on a Sunday, there’s an abundance of day hikes in Medellín. Cerro de las Tres Cruces in Laureles is a relatively easy 45-minute uphill walk, reaching a summit that provides unforgettable views over most of the city. On Sundays, the top is normally filled with Paisas flying kites, listening to reggaetón and sipping a beer – that or working out using the outdoor gym. Another fantastic hike in Laureles is Cerro el Volador, which takes around the same amount of time and is just as picturesque. Not to mention, this hike is known for attracting butterflies and even has a butterfly garden mid-way up.
Outside of Laureles, Arenales is a hike beyond Envigado that takes around three to four hours and is slightly more advanced. The route winds through dirt roads and lakes (your feet will 100% get wet) and ends at an awesome waterfall. It’s certainly a tiring day activity but is ideal to escape the city and has views that are reminiscent of Colombia’s coffee region. Alternatively, Cerro Pan de Azucar is in the north of Medellín and is known for being the ‘backdoor’ to Parque Arví. The route starts way up in the hills in Communa 8 – where the streets feel vertical – and follows a clear path to the top. Along the way, there’s a huge ‘Jardín’ sign sitting on the side of the hill, snack points and lookout platforms. As with other hikes, plenty of locals at the top spend the day here with their dogs, flying kites and tucking into a picnic.
While Sunday is generally quieter in Medellín, it certainly isn’t boring. From classic lazy Sunday activities to physically-demanding hikes, there’s tons to keep busy and make the most of the beautiful the postcard-worthy city. If you have any favorite hidden gems for a Sunday, let us know in the comments!
If you are looking for other fun activities to do while you are in Medellín, don’t forget to visit our article “Top 10 events of the week in Medellín” where you can find a variety of events: from art exhibitions, to movie nights, free language exchanges, classical music concerts, theater nights, gastronomy events and much more!