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17 Fantastic Things To Do in Medellin With Kids

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Medellin is one of the most interesting cities in all of Colombia.  With a dangerous past, the city has taken major strides in the last 10 years to transform the city into a vibrant and welcoming place to be and it’s one of the best cities in Colombia to visit with kids.  

During our 2 month trip to Colombia, we spent 6 weeks in Medellin and absolutely fell in love with the city.  There are so many fun things to do in Medellin with kids and we’re here to show you the absolute best, so you can get the most our of your time there.

Is It Safe to Visit Medellin with Kids?

After a very violent drug filled past, lots of people have got to be wondering how safe Medellin is.  We’ve gotten more questions about that than anything else, so we’ll break it down for you.  Generally, Medellin felt pretty safe, but we did take certain precautions for safety.  While violent crime didn’t seem to be an issue, petty theft is very common in the busier areas.  We tried to keep our valuables (wallet, money, phones) tucked away in my theft proof bag, or inside a zippered pocket of our pants.  One of the few times that my husband just put his phone in his pocket, a guy tried to pickpocket him (which my husband aggressively fought and won).  

We walked around huge portions of the city and never felt unsafe during the day, and at night, we were careful to stay in well-lit areas with lots of people and always felt safe. 

Where to Stay in Medellin with Kids

Medellin is a giant city with over 4 million people, so it can be hard to narrow down where to stay in Medellin with kids.  After staying in multiple places within the city, exploring all over, and meeting lots of different families in Medellin, we’re pretty confident that we can recommend the best family friendly stays in Medellin.

medellin with kids

Laureles – Laureles is a nicer, trendier neighborhood in Medellin that’s incredibly walkable and fun.  This was the first neighborhood that we stayed in while in Medellin and it was an excellent introduction to the city. There are lots of little neighborhood grocers and shops and the dining options there were absolutely FANTASTIC!  This also felt like one of the safest places in Medellin since the streets are well lit and there is a large population of Expats who live there.  The biggest downsides to Laureles are that if you’re near lots of restaurants and bars, you’ll get lots of noise at night and there weren’t many parks or playgrounds.

Top recommendations for family stays in Laureles:
Hotel Suite Comfort
Solar Hotel Casa
Hotel Dorado

Belen – If you want to really mix with the locals and see the less touristy side of Medellin, Belen is our top pick.  We stayed here for several weeks and it felt very safe near our home west of Nutibara Hill.  There are fewer big restaurants but tons of little corner shops and bakeries, so it worked well with the kids.  The thing that we loved the most about Belen is that there are lots of parks and open spaces for kids to play.

Top recommendations for family stays in Belen:

Penthouse in Belen Medellin 
Spacious 3 BR Apartment
Casa Grande – Perfect for larger groups

El Poblado – While El Poblado is easily the most popular and trendy neighborhood in Medellin, it’s not our top pick for visiting Medellin with kids.  The accommodations there are super nice, but everything there is located on VERY STEEP hills, so it’s really difficult to walk around with kids.  Even going a few blocks felt really hard with the kids.   There are lots of great restaurants and malls in El Poblado, which is really convenient, though stay away from Parque Llares at night since the party scene can get a bit crazy there.  We also have heard that tourists in El Poblado are more commonly the targets of robbery and theft.  

Top recommendations for family stays in El Poblado:

Novelty Suites Hotel
Estellar la Torre Suites
Penthouse Apartment with Rooftop Jacuzzi

Tips for Visiting Medellin with Kids

There are a few things that I wish we had known before going to Medellin with kids that would have made our first few days a lot smoother.  Hopefully, they help you as well.

medellin with kids
  1.  You’ll get asked for your passports EVERYWHERE!  It’s actually kind of crazy, but given how common petty theft is, there’s no way we were going to carry our passports around.  Just take a picture of them or carry a photocopy of everyones passports with you.
  2. Cash is king and credit cards are not accepted in lots of places.  Make sure to get your money from a ATM inside the bank (not just an on street ATM) as counterfeit money is pretty prevalent in on-street ATMs (we got some and were out hundreds of dollars).  Most big grocery stores take credit cards, but smaller chains and stores won’t.  
  3. Keep your valuables safe.  I carried this theft proof bag with me and it was perfect for keeping snacks, my wallet, sunscreen, and even a couple of water bottles.
  4. Know some basic Spanish phrases and get Google Translate on your phone.  Most people in Medellin won’t willingly offer the English they know, so do your best with Spanish.  If you’re struggling with directions for a taxi, getting an app where the location is set for your dropoff, can make things simpler. 

Best Things to do in Medellin With Kids

There are so many great things to do in Medellin with kids.  Before you go somewhere, always check opening times, since they always seem to vary.  Many attractions are closed on MONDAYS, so check their website or send a Whatsapp before visiting.  

medellin colombia street food

Parque Explora

Parque Explora is a large, multi-level science museum in Medellin and it’s amazing!  We loved it so much that we visited multiple times while we were staying in Medellin.  At Parque Explora in Medellin, there are several different exhibits each focusing on a different theme.  Everything is very interactive and hands on, and everyone will have so much fun that they won’t even know they are learning.  We’ve visited science museums all over the world and the only one that was better than Parque Explora was the Exporitorium in San Franscisco.   

When you first enter, there are a lot of outdoor hands on exhibits, primarily dealing with Physics.  These are fun, but don’t spend too long there or you’ll miss out on other exhibits.  We recommend starting on the bottom floor at the aquarium exhibit.  Here you’ll find South America’s largest freshwater aquarium and a variety of other fish and aquatic species.  As you exit, you’ll first see the toddler and baby play area.  Kids up to 120 cm are allowed in and it’s a great place for little ones who need a break from all of the stimulation of the rest of the museum.

The remainder of the museum is split into 4 different sections: Mind, Time, Music, and Live! Each one of these areas is designed to get you thinking outside of the box and having real life experiences with the ideas.  All of the exhibit halls are 2 story exhibitions and there is so much to do.  Everyone in our family loved each one from our 6-year-old to our 16-year-old.  

At the top floor, you’ll also see a large, outdoor, dinosaur exhibition, which was fun for our dino lover in the family.  

You could easily spend a full day at Parque Explora. In the middle there is a Dunkin Donuts, but if you follow the signs for the exit (salida), you’ll find a large food court, so you can quickly buy lunch and then go back to the museum.  We went multiple times and found that weekends were the least crowded at Parque Explora, since during the week there are lots of school groups there on field trips.  

Parque Arvi

Next, venture into the great outdoors with a visit to Parque Arvi, a massive ecological nature reserve and archaeological site. The easiest way to get up there is to take the cable acar up to the top.  From the  Acevedo Metro Station, transfer to Line K, heading in the direction of Santo Domingo station (via cable car, but included in your regular metro cost). Upon arrival at Santo Domingo, you’ll need to buy a ticket for the Parqu Arvi Line (12.000 pesos per person) and take that up to the top.  Truthfully, the ride up and down was one of the best parts of Parque Arvi.

When we got to the top, we were truthfully a little bit disappointed.  There was a large area at the top of the cable car and since we went on a weekend there was a market at the top selling homemade goods and food.  The “information center” then told us that if we wanted to go anywhere else, we had to pay $50.000 pesos per person.  Shockingly, none of the locals were paying that price, so we just went on ahead without paying for the crazy price (that literally no one else was being asked to pay).  There are a few nearby trails, but instead, we went to Comfama Parque Arvi instead, which was absolutely AMAZING!

Comfama Parque Arvi

I was shocked that no one had recommended goingt o Comfama Parque Arvi, because it’s absolutely INCREDIBLE!  There is a free shuttle bus that will take you from near the top of the cable car to Comfama (ask if you need directions to it).  Once you get there, prepare to have your minds blown.  For 7 of us, we paid a TOTAL of around $100.000 pesos to get in ($22 USD – just over $3 per person), and it was so amazing.  Everything there is included in your admission price.  

When you first get there, sign up to go on the adventure ropes course.  The sign-in is right past the entrance, but you need a timed entry and they regularly sell out of slots.  While you’re waiting for your ropes course turn, there are lots of playgrounds, and cultural exhibits to visit.  Our kids especially loved dressing up in traditional Colombian clothes and taking photos.

The biggest highlight of Comfama Parque Arvi is the ropes course.  You have to be over ages 6 and 120 cm to do it.  There’s a higher course for older kids and adults and a lower course for younger kids.  Both were spectacular and one of the best things to do in Medellin with kids.  There were ziplines, tightropes, swings, balancing challenges and so much more.  The course took about 75 minutes, and was the best thing to do at Parque Arvi!

Tour of Comuna 13 with Kids

History and culture converge in Comuna 13. Once notorious for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, Comuna 13 is now a beacon of transformation and resilience.  We took a “free” guided graffiti tour and it was such a fantastic way to learn about the history of the neighborhood and the changes that they’re making to improve it.  COmmuna 13 was once one of the most dangerous neighborhoods IN THE WORLD with all of the drug problems there, so there is a complicated and violent past.  We talked to our guide at the beginning about wanting to learn but not expose our kids to things that would not be appropriate for their age, and they were VERY RESPECTFUL!  There were even a couple of points where the guide told us that he wanted to talk about some more mature content with the rest of the groups, so we took the kids to look at something else for a few minutes.  We booked our tour through Guru Guides and it was a great experience.  While the tour is technical “free” tipping is expected.  

On our tour of Communa 13, we got to go up and down the escalators that have transformed the neighborhood and to learn all about graffiti and the role it’s played in the community transformation. It was fantastic.  Of course, the kids favorite was when the guide handed them a can of spray paint and let them have a chance to create their own graffiti right on the walls in Communa 13.  

Medellin Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens, a serene oasis in the heart of Medellín, is an absolute must-visit. Best of all, it’s open every day and is FREE!  Home to around 4,500 flowers and hundreds of bird species, it provides an opportunity to teach your little ones about biodiversity. If you’re okay paying an entrance fee, you can enter the butterfly dome, which is really amazing.  However, there is lots to see and explore if you don’t want to pay.  There are giant iguanas roaming all over the Medellin botanic gardens, and in the pond there are giant fish, turtles, and lots of birds.  This seemed to be one of the best family friendly hangouts in the city and all over there were families picnicking, couples reading on the grass, and people just generally enjoying being outside together.  

The Medellin Botanical Gardens are located just to the east of Parque Explora, so it’s great to combine the two. 

Visit The Little Colombian Village at Pueblito Paisa

Located at the top of Nutibara Hill, you’ll find a little replica of a traditional Colombian village called Pueblito Paisa.  It’s got a church, some little shops, and a restaurant, along with lots of little shops selling snacks and ice cream.  It can get really busy on weekends, but if you go in the morning during the week, it’s practically empty and it makes a great spot for taking some fun photos.  

While you’re there, make sure to take a little bit of time to go to the museum at the top of the hill.  It costs $5.000 pesos to get in (a little over $1 USD), and it has a photographic represendation of the changes that Medellin has undergone in the last 150 years or so.  While most of the descriptions were in Spanish, so our kids couldn’t understand them, they did enjoy looking at how things have changed.  The best part was the 3-D replica of the city, where the kids LOVED finding places we had visited and explored.

On your way down, go down the north side of the hill and visit the massive concrete slides at Parque de los Tabogonnes. 

parque de toboganes cerro nutibara medellin

Take a Tour of El Castillo

El Castillo, a European-styled castle turned museum, provides a unique European experience in the middle of Medellín. Its gardens are perfect for a leisurely family picnic, and the guided tour of the castle’s interior will transport you to a different era.  There are tours available in both English and Spanish, and our kids really enjoyed learning about the family that built the castle and how they lived.  It’s different from most other Medellin experiences, so this was a nice change of pace.  

medellin colombia el castillo
medellin colombia el castillo

Parque Norte

Just down the street from Parque Explora is Parque Norte, Medellin’s Amusement Park.  While it didn’t compare to the amusement parks we were used to in other big cities, it was a fun way to spend the day.  There were a good variety of rides for both thrill seekers and for those who like things more relaxed.  Best of all, on our mid-week visit, there were hardly any people there so the kids never really had to wait in line, which was incredible.  The entry price for all the rides is incredibly affordable at $39.000 pesos (about $9.50 USD).  

medellin colombia parque norte
medellin colombia parque norte

Riding the Cable Cars 

If you have kids who just need some downtime, but you want to see more of the city, take one of the metro lines to the cable cars.  They’re excellent for viewing the cities hilly landscape.  While the Parque Arvi metro cable car can get more expensive, all of the other metro cable cars are included in the price of your metro ticket.  Best of all, you can ride to the top and just stay on and ride down for the same price.  Our top pick is the line from San Javier metro station that goes up and gives cool views looking over towards Communa 13.  

medellin colombia cable cars

Go To A Football Match

There are few things in this world that compare to a football match in Medellin.  Medellin has 2 professional football teams so it’s not too difficult to find a time when someone is playing a match.  We took the kids to see a game of Independiente Medellin and it was such a fun experience.  While the football was good, the crowd is what made it super fun.  Every time there was a goal, the crowd would all chat and sing at the top of their lungs for at least 5 minutes.  The energy there is unlike anything else we experienced in the city and it was so much fun.  

Tip:  The seats on the north side of the stadium are where the most excited crowd always sits and can get VERY LOUD and rowdy.  If you’ve got older kids or teens, they might love it, but it’s probably too intense for younger kids.  We sat on the east side and it was perfect!  Overall, the games are really loud, so we opted to keep our youngest at home with a babysitter since he struggles with really loud noises.  

Visit Plaza Botero

If checking out fun and funky art sounds like fun, head to Plaza Botero with the kids.  The whole square is PACKED with lots of Botero sculptures, which our kids found hilarious.  They’re often distorted versions of humans and animals, which our kids found especially entertaining.  Botero is a Colombian artist and you can find his works celebrated throughout the country, though this is the biggest concentration of his sculptures that we’ve found.  Best of all, it’s free to visit.  While you’re there, go inside the Palace of Culture (the black and white checkerboard building) and walk around looking at the cool architecture, but especially take the time to go up to the roof.  The views are incredible from up there.  

Note:  Plaza Botero is located in a rougher section of downtown Medellin.  While the actual plaza has a heavy police presence and feels safe, just outside of the gated plaza isn’t as safe feeling with kids (it was actually where my husband was almost mugged in broad daylight). This is a place we recommend taking a taxi to, and leaving right from if you’re visiting with kids.   

Museo de Agua + Barefoot Park

Continue the educational journey at the Museo de Agua, a water-themed museum perfect for kids and adults. The interactive exhibits emphasize the importance of water conservation and offer hands-on experiences. Follow this up with a visit to the Barefoot Park just outside.  Its zen-inspired design encourages visitors to kick off their shoes and feel different textures underfoot. This sensory park, with sand, water, and grass areas, is the perfect place to relax after a long day of exploring.

barefoot park medellin colombia

Check Out the Animals at Parque Zoológico Santa Fe

A visit to Parque Zoológico Santa Fe is our next recommendation on your family trip to Medellin. Home to over 200 species, including native and exotic animals, the zoo provides an opportunity for kids to learn about conservation efforts. From mammals, birds, and reptiles to amphibians and arthropods, the collection includes both native Colombian and exotic animals from around the world. This means that on your visit, you can expect to see creatures like the African lion, the spectacled bear (native to South America), flamingos, macaws, spider monkeys, and even white-tailed deer.

Amusement Park at El Tesoro Mall

A shopping mall might seem like an odd recommendation, but El Tesoro is not your ordinary mall. Its terrace hosts an amusement park with rides catering to all ages. When you’ve had your fill of fun, grab a meal at one of the many eateries while enjoying panoramic city views.  It’s not somewhere that you’d want to spend all day, but it is a fun stop for the kids and it’s easy to grab a bite to eat after.

Best Parks and Playgrounds In Medellin With Kids

For a city that’s so green and lush, Medellin has a really small number of parks and an even smaller number of playgrounds.  When we travel with kids, visiting parks and playgrounds is always a MUST, so we actively seek them out.  We wrote a full article with all of the details of the best playgrounds in Medellin, but here are some of our top picks.  

Parque Telemedellin

This park had our kids favorite playground.  There’s a little clubhouse, a climbing area, and some swings.  Around the park is a small waterway with little goldfish in it as well as a tiny little nature trail.  The setting of this park is beautiful and makes you feel like you’re in the jungle!

playground medellin colombia

Parque Del Rio Medellin

This park straddles the river on both sides and has become a community hangout.  You’re regularly see people flying kites, drive R/C cars. And playing catch here.  The highlight for our kids was the giant climbing net that winds around the sandpit for kids.  There always seem to be lots of vendors there so it’s easy to grab some mangos or an ice cream.

Medellin Parks and Playgrounds

Unidad Deportiva Belen

If your kids are into sports, head here.  This is one of the largest sports complexes in the city and there are often open courts and fields that you can play on.  Our kids love the large climbing wall there, running on the track, and as parents, we loved the outdoor exercise equipment right next to the playground so we could workout while the kids played. 

playground medellin colombia

Best Medellin Restaurants with Kids

Medellin has lots of great food, but you have to know where to look for it.  Here are some of our top recommendations for eating out with kids in Medellin.  For more family friendly Medellin restaurant recommendations, read our article about Medellin dining.

medellin with kids

La Mayoria

On weekend nights, La Mayoria has dancing horse shows right through the middle of the restaurant.  It was incredible.  The food is traditional Colombian Fare, but the atmosphere was the absolute BEST!  

Crepes Y Waffles

Crepes y Waffles is a chain restaurant, and you’ll see it all over town.  While it’s not authentic Colombian food by any means, it does have an extensive menu, so your kids are sure to find something that they like here.  It’s also very affordable andthe food is pretty good too!

Mercado Del Rio

Mercado Del Rio is kind of like an upscale food court, and our kids loved eating there.  It can be tricky making everyone happy when you’re looking for restaurants, but here, everyone can order from the restaurant that they want and you can still all sit together.  

Best Way To Get around Medellin

With our large family, transportation can often be a bit of a challenge.  In fact, I think that regardless of your family size, transportation in a new country can always be a little bit tricky.  We tried a bit of everything and found that there were lots of great ways to get around Medellin.  

At first glance, traffic in Medellin is INSANE!  There are motorcycles swerving in and out, and the cars switch lanes like they’re in a giant game of Frogger.  Shockingly, we never saw a single accident, and while the traffic appears chaotic, the drivers were all surprisingly aware of others, and even cyclists on the road.  So if you show up and things seem too crazy on the road, step back and trust the process!

Taxis and Best Taxi Apps For Medellin

Taxi’s are abundant and cheap in Medellin, but nearly all of them are SUPER SMALL!  In main areas, it’s easy to just flag down a taxi, but at night or in less crowded areas, ordering one through a ride share app was easiest.  We had the best luck with Didi and Uber during our visit in Spring of 2023.  There are no options for an Uber XL, which can be difficult for larger families, but both of these apps were reliable and we always had great drivers.  We rarely paid more than $20.000 pesos for a 30 minute ride  (about $4.50 USD), and for shorter drives, it was often just $10.000-$12.000 pesos.

Public Transportation in Medellin with Kids

The public transportation system in Medellin is actually really good and efficient.  We took the metro SO MANY TIMES, and even the buses.  To use the metro, you’ll need to get an eventual Civica card at the metro station (available at self serve machines or at the ticket office), and they cost $5.000 pesos each.  The good news is that the whole family can use one card and you just swipe it for each person.  Fares are quite cheap and are about $1 each way. 

medellin colombia train station

If you’re going to be riding A LOT Of public transportation, you should consider getting a personalized Civica card which gives discounted rates for children and for riding both the metro and the bus on the same trip.  You can get them at the  Itagüí, Niquía, San Antonio and San Javier metro stations, though you must have a passport to get one.  While there are buses that go all over the city, we just used the ones that connected into and out of the metro stations.  If you only have an eventual Civica card, you will be charged the full fare on both the bus and the metro, even if you’re just transferring between the two.

The Medellin Metro is VERY crowded from about 4pm-8pm most days and on weekends after noon, so keep that in mind.  While the metro is fun and works well, for a family, it was often cheaper for us to just taxi directly to our location since taxi’s are so cheap in Medellin. 
 

Should I Rent A Car In Medellin? 

For most visitors, we recommend not renting a car in Medellin.  Traffic is difficult to navigate and parking is really limited and hard to find.  If you’re just staying in the city, plan on getting around mostly by taxi or public transportation – it will be cheaper and easier!  If you’re doing day trips to surrounding cities like El Carmen de Viboral or Guatape, a rental car is absolutely worth it.  If you won’t need one for your whole stay, consider just renting a car from the local airport in town instead of MED airport which is 45 minutes outside of the city.  

Getting From The Airport To Medellin with Kids

For nearly all visitors to Medellin, you’ll fly into MED airport, which is about 45 minutes outside of the city.  The standard fare to get into the city is $100.000 pesos (about $22 USD).  Ignore all of the people offering you a great ride after you get out of baggage claim and follow the signs for the airport taxi stand.  There you’ll find larger sedans and minivan taxis (both of which are very rare in the city), so it’s the best way to get into the city.  There is a toll tunnel, but that cost is included in your fare. 

Is Medellín safe for a family trip? 

Yes, Medellín has undergone significant transformation from it’s drug filled past and is now considered safe for tourists, including families. However, like any large city, it’s always important to maintain vigilance and be aware of your surroundings. We were there for over a month with our 5 kids and felt very safe while we were there. There was one time that we went to a busier and more crowded section of the city, and a man tried to rob us, but he was unsuccessful. Having my theft-proof bag gave me lots of peace of mind! We’re not big fans of traveling in big cities with our kids, and we LOVED Medellin! If you’re looking for other family friendly cities in Colombia, Cartagena with kids is amazing and Bogota has great spots for families as well!

What is the best time to visit Medellín with kids? 

Thanks to its mild climate, Medellín is a great year-round destination for family travel. The months from December to March are generally the driest, making it ideal for outdoor activities.  We were there in April and May and even though there were occasional afternoon rainstorms, they never lasted too long, so it was never a problem.

Is Medellin stroller friendly? 

Most of Medellín’s indoor and established attractions, like Parque Explora and the Botanical Gardens, are stroller-friendly. However, most of the sidewalks and public transportation throughout the city ARE NOT.  unless you really need a stroller, it’s much easier to just use a baby carrier in Medellin. 

Is the food in Medellin kid-friendly? 

Yes, Colombian cuisine is quite diverse and child-friendly. Dishes like bandeja paisa can be adapted for children, and treats like arepas and empanadas are kid-favorites and can be found in most restaurants and with many street vendors. If all else fails, just order a limonada de coco to drink and everything in the world will feel practically perfect. My kids all fell in love with coconut lemonade in Medellin and begged for it at every meal!

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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