In the 1990s, the drug cartels left their mark on Medellín’s decadent party scene, particularly on Vía de Las Palmas, the colorful, Las Vegas–style “party row” where, quite literally, anything goes. Medellín’s best dance clubs are located on Vía de Las Palmas or La Strada (a mall in Poblado), popular with the area’s young and glamorous, national celebrities, and international travelers. If you plan to party here, you’ll need to dress the part. La 70, centered on Carrera 70 near the stadium (Metro: Stadio), is another popular party area featuring smaller, no-frills clubs and bars. Dotted across the city you’ll find salsa bars, ranging from stylish dance halls to makeshift storefronts; regardless, the carnival atmosphere tends to be as welcoming as it is infectious.
The upscale enclave of Poblado is the best place to bar hop. At the center of it all, Parque Lleras, in La Zona Rosa, is one of the most vibrant spots in town and a great place to people-watch and try out local spirits and cocktails, or partake of the city’s growing passion for craft beers. Avoid the bars and cantinas in Centro, which tend to be seedy at night. Many of the more casual restaurants in La Zona Rosa turn into bars around 9 or 10pm.
Medellín is one of the few places in Colombia that abides by the “must be 18 to party” rule; if you look young, bring a copy of your passport. Drinking and driving has a zero tolerance rule. Even one drink behind the wheel and you run the risk of your vehicle being towed and a very hefty fine. Don’t risk it.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.