When it comes to shopping in Medellín, there is no shortage of options.
If you’re looking for retail giants like Nike, Levi’s, The North Face, Victoria’s Secret or Tommy Hilfiger, one of the city’s major shopping centers is sure to meet your needs.
On the other end of the spectrum, small local shops provide a wide range of fashion items, typically of lower quality but for more economical prices, and can be found just about anywhere in the city.
But what if you prefer a more intimate shopping experience where each store carries unique and innovative designs, the quality of materials is high, and the prices won’t necessarily break the bank?
If this sounds like you, then make your way to Vía Primavera and Vía Provenza (Carrera 37 and Carrera 35, respectively) in La Zona Rosa of El Poblado.
This quiet tree-lined street located between Parque Lleras and the Provenza neighborhood is an epicenter of creative fashion, design and gastronomy in Medellín.
It’s packed with beautiful boutique shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries, each one offering something unique.
Fashion boutiques catering to women are the most abundant type of store you will encounter on a stroll along Vía Primavera.
They offer a wide range of styles and price tags with something to suit just about every taste.
Galería Diseño sells designs by more than forty independent Colombian designers; the building itself is not bad to look at, either.
A shop named Caduto specializes in genuine leather shoes, handbags and accessories. Expect to splurge on these unique items; a small purse I looked at was priced at over 200,000 pesos ($100).
At Blanco & Negro you’ll find a selection of cocktail dresses, high-end blouses, shoes and jewelry.
OnA creates an elegant yet casual look with comfortable fabrics like linen and cotton.
Alado Diseño sells one-of-a-kind dresses and gowns as well as elegant shoes and accessories created by young Paisa designers. Styles range from casual to glamorous and prices range from affordable (around $20) to extravagant ($300+).
These are just a few examples of the boutiques you’ll find on Vía Primavera; just about any clothing item or accessory for women is available for purchase.
Since arriving in Medellín, I’ve purchased a pair of shoes on Vía Primavera for 55,000 pesos ($27.50) and a pair of sunglasses for 35,000 pesos ($17); both items are of very high quality.
When you’ve had your fill of shopping and need a nice meal to reenergize, you have another tough decision to make.
With such a large selection of international cuisine and gastropubs all within three blocks, deciding where to eat is easier said than done.
Bistro de Paris serves French-American fusion; their crepes, salads and sandwiches can make for a light and healthy lunch.
Having relocated from Mall Zona Dos, Ole Ole is one of the newest kids on the block, offering Spanish-style tapas, wine and sangria.
If you have a craving for Asian cuisine, Sushi World may be your best bet. Dave told me it’s his go-to sushi restaurant for home delivery.
Mundo Verde offers a wide variety of healthy options, namely wraps, salads and grilled meats. I’ve eaten here on several occasions and have yet to be disappointed.
Or if you’re simply after a caffeine boost, any of Vía Primavera’s cafés will do. Pergamino Café is popular and always overflowing with locals and expats alike.
My new personal favorite is Café Velvet; they have coffee and confections, but unlike Pergamino, they have a full menu of food as well. Not to mention the indoor space is ample and absolutely gorgeous.
Amoretti is another good option for a coffee break, though their focus is more on pastries and a terrific Italian-inspired menu.
If you still have room for dessert, choose from gelato, ice cream, cupcakes or chocolate confections; Vía Primavera has it all.
Aside from fashion and food, you’ll also find The Tea House, a high-end retailer offering eighty varieties of loose-leaf tea and tea-making accessories, and The Wine Connection, offering an extensive collection of imported wines.
Perhaps slightly less glamorous but still worth a wander is Vía Provenza, or Carrera 35, two blocks uphill from Vía Primavera.
This street has more restaurants than any other type of business, with hostels and hotels coming in at a close second.
There are a few clothing stores to be found as well, like the aptly named Sweat, which specializes in fashionable workout gear for women, or La Fama Streetwear, which sells casual men’s clothing and accessories.
A few other places worth checking out on Vía Provenza:
- Ceres, an organic market and health food store
- Como Pez en el Agua, a dessert and coffee shop
- Naan, an authentic upscale Indian restaurant
- La Bicyclette, an American and French-inspired bistro that serves gourmet hamburgers and sandwiches
For the fashion-forward, the foodies, the coffee-lovers, the creatives and the digital nomads, Vía Primavera and Vía Provenza should not be missed.
Come with a full wallet and an empty stomach and expect to leave with neither.