Medellin is a rising star within Colombian and South American tourism nowadays. Travellers are consistently enthralled by the city’s remarkable turnaround from violent no-go zone to modern and vibrant city. However, there is more to Medellin than simply this incredible story of change and renewal. The city is also home to some really excellent museums.
Museo de Antioquia
The Antioquia Museum would certainly be in the running for the title of Best Museum in Colombia, were such a competition to be created. Why? For a start, it features a massive exhibit dedicated to Medellin’s most famous artist, Fernando Botero, as well as some fascinating exhibitions focusing on modern, colonial, and religious art. The stunning architecture of the building housing this museum is arguably reason enough to part with the very reasonable sum of 10,000COP ($3.50) to visit.
Cl. 52 #52-43, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, +57 42513636
Museo de Arte Moderno
With an entrance fee of just 8,000COP (around $3) and some world-class modern-art exhibits, there’s really nowhere better for an art-lover to go in Medellin than the Museo de Arte Moderno in the Ciudad del Rio neighbourhood. Housed in an imposing and dramatic structure – itself a marvellous work of modern art – the museum is home to an incredible series of works by Débora Arango, a well-known modern artist who was born in Medellin.
Casa de la Memoria
A new museum dedicated to the victims of Colombia’s long and brutal civil conflict, the Casa de la Memoria is conveniently located in El Centro neighbourhood and is definitely the museum to visit if you have an interest in learning more about the violence that has so defined Colombia’s recent history. It’s also free to visit and should only take around an hour to experience, so there’s very little excuse not to pop in and learn about something that is often misunderstood outside of Colombia.
Cl. 51 #36-66, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, +57 43855555 ext. 4001
A much less well-known museum in Manrique neighbourhood, the Casa Gardeliana is dedicated to tango music and, more specifically, the legendary tango superstar Carlos Gardel. But why a tango museum dedicated to Carlos Gardel in Medellin? Gardel died in the city after a plane crash at nearby Olaya Herrera Airport, effectively sealing the city’s connection to the Argentine genre ever since. It’s not a big museum, but it houses some interesting memorabilia and artefacts and is worth a visit if only for the uniqueness of the subject and the pretty location.
Cra. 45 #76-50, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, +57 42135965
This amazing interactive science park is a true testament to Medellin’s incredible urban renewal over the past few decades. With a fascinating mix of fun exhibits ranging from aquariums and vivariums to a 3D cinema and interactive science exhibits, it’s probably the best place to visit with children on a trip to Medellin. It’s one of the more expensive experiences at 22,000COP ($7.50), but the sheer scope of the place, along with the number of diverse experiences you can have there, makes Parque Explora one of the top museums in Medellin.
Cra. 53 #7375, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, +57 45168300
Cementerio Museo de San Pedro
A cemetery might seem like an odd spot for a museum, but San Pedro Cemetery, founded as a burial ground for Medellin’s elites in 1842, is not just any old cemetery. With many dramatic funerary monuments erected in memory of various prominent figures in the history of Colombia, San Pedro is a wonderful place to not only discover the stories of various important Colombian figures, but also to enjoy some of the finest sculptures on show in the entire city of Medellin.
El Castillo Museo y Jardines
Not many people expect to come across a huge, European-looking castle in the heart of Medellin, but this castle also happens to contain one of Medellin’s most unique and interesting museums. Entry is just 10,000COP ($3.50), and it’s worth the money just to be able to stroll in the lovely gardens and enjoy the Medellin sunshine. It’s also well worth taking the time to enjoy one of the hourly guided walks of the castle, where you can explore its myriad rooms and discover beautiful antique furniture and decorations from hundreds of years ago.
Calle 9S #32-269, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia, +57 42660900