Medellin doesn’t do anything small.
This dedication to the big and the bold is part of what makes this such a fantastic city for shopping. While the city has it’s own wealth of artisanal design, perhaps its biggest commercial draw is the shopping malls or centros commerciales. They’re huge.
They’re packed with great restaurants, exciting attractions, movies theaters and designer brands we know – and don’t know – and love.
Plus, many are open to the air, affording visitors stunning views of the city and a fresh ambiance within their cavernous interiors.
While Medellin may be up and coming in many ways, it’s always offered those with an eye for style and flair a plethora of cosmopolitan options.
Let’s have a look around the 7 best malls to visit in Medellin.
#1 El Tesoro Parque Comercial
Perched on the lush hillsides of Poblado, El Tesoro Mall is half park, half swanky shopping experience. Strolling through the four levels of modern marble causeways, you’re afforded a stunning view of Medellin below.
The shopping wings were built around a central forest attraction. Well, more like a jungle. Full-size trees, palms, flowering plants and a running stream pass beneath and set a serene tone everywhere you go.
But there’s more to it than that. Hop on the ferris wheel or go for a whirl on the selection of carnival rides. These child-friendly offerings (as well as the choo-choo service) help keep Tesoro a lively and pleasant atmosphere that, despite it’s high-end shops, doesn’t end up feeling “stuffy.”
The mall is home to a baby center for those looking for time to shop in peace. There’s also a backside pet park. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, a free yoga class is offered on the patio overlooking the river. Very peaceful!
After class, head up to Namasté for a local Colombian tea experience you won’t soon forget. The caramel almond Rooibos and the green tea with lychee and jasmine are so good you might just give up coffee.
If not, there’s Juan Valdez Coffee bistro just around the corner. For a delicious burger in a trendy setting, try the Chef Burger. For something healthy, hit up Crepes & Waffles offering an affordable and delicious salad bar among savory and sweet crepes you won’t want to miss.
There’s also a Cine Colombia movie theater … an insider’s tip: don’t rely Google for the showtimes in Colombia though – always visit the theater website for accurate listings.
For the artists, there’s both a Faber Castell and Todos Artes store here. Everything from upscale pens to canvases and paints and crafts and puzzles are available. All told, there are 358 shops from which to choose.
Favorites: Adidas, Banana Republic, Bershka, Calvin Klein, Coach, Diesel, G-Star Raw, Kenneth Cole, Lacoste, LEGO Store, Mont Blanc, Quiksilver, Ragged, Reebok, Tennis, The North Face, Zara
#2 Centro Comercial Oviedo
Though certainly smaller than El Tesoro, Oviedo Mall in Poblado makes a real effort to make its visitors feel comfortable from the get-go. A giant peach made of flowers (reminiscent of Jeff Koons “Puppy”) greets you at the entry. As does free valet parking and free WiFi.
The prominent feature of the ground floor is the outstanding French fusion restaurant, Le Gris. With a comfortable and casually trendy ambiance, you could easily spend all day sipping and sitting around people-watching.
Otherwise, there’s a great food court with a massive, ancient tree growing in the center of it. Certainly not average. Or you could go see what’s playing at the Cine Colombia theater.
If you prefer a more active form of entertainment, visit the newly installed Space Jump. It’s an anti-gravity simulator that both children and adults can make a “stellar” time enjoying.
The most notable shopping here is the Colombian boutique Arturo Calle. Started by Antioquian native Don Arturo, the label strikes a balance between bright and bold Latin stylings with a refined European elegance appreciated anywhere in the world.
The long-time retailer offers pristine formal wear, an adventurous and elegant casual collection, leather goods, shoes and a full line of accessories.
Other favorites: Alchemy, Diesel, I MAC TECH, Turkish Garden, Leonisa, Mario Hernandez, Tag Heuer
#3 Centro Commercial Santafé
This is the motherlode.
Santafé is just a few blocks from Oviedo, but it’s five times the size and ten times as grand. Inside is a shoppers playground. And a regular cultural center in the Poblado neighborhood.
Escalators zig zag between five levels, spiralling open air communal spaces appear around every corner as breaks in the spacious corridors. Meanwhile, you float by a seemingly endless array of shops, boutiques, confectionaries and eateries.
Try the Taco House for the Colombian version of Chipotle – it’s almost identical.
The La Lolita coffee shop on the fourth floor offers a commanding view of the Western hillsides of Medellin. This entire side of the mall is a fantastic space to spend an afternoon or evening, open to the breeze and enjoying the lovely weather.
Little surprise, there’s a Cine Colombia theater. There’s also a car wash, multiple children’s play parks and zumba classes.
Speaking of classes, this is a very high-end mall. Lots of beautiful women stroll the corridors during the day “dressed to the nines.” And of course, the shops can help you keep in stride with the best of them.
Falabella is the Colombian equivalent of Macy’s. Full of gear, garb and gadgets of every size, style and function, this is a great one-stop shop for those just arriving into town. From suits to swimsuits, headphones to headwear, you can find everything you want to play on or wear here.
On a specialty side-note, there’s a great comic store, Local City Comics. And the iSolution Service Center can help with all Mac-related worries.
Favorites: Carolina Herrera, Converse, Diesel, Forever 21, Gef, Hugo Boss, La Hora, Levi’s, Massimo Dutti, Mizuno, Nautica, Nike, NoBrand, Velez, Victoria’s Secret, Zara
#4 Centro Commercial Premium Plaza
Down the way in Poblado is Premium Plaza. Though less open and fancy than the others, it certainly provides its own fun spin on the mall experience.
Those looking for a boost of adrenaline can race one another around a full-size go kart track. The track is open from 2 p.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays, 12 p.m.-10 p.m. during the weekends. There’s also a race car simulator and driving instruction for helicopters and drones.
Inside the entertainment area, there’s also three synthetic grass soccer fields. These 32mx32m fields are designed to let 7 player teams play another in the shade and comfort of the third floor. If you’re really trying to break a sweat, check out the BodyFit gym upstairs as well. Who knew going to the mall could get you so fit?
Visit the Royal Films Theater if you’re ready to sit and relax.
For some more adult entertainment, the Alegre Casino provides all the high-stakes excitement you could want. The action really heats up on the weekends, but any night of the week is great for the nearby karaoke bar.
Sit with friends and enjoy food and drinks while you sing and laugh together in the Alegre Lounge. This is a very fun, comfortable and enjoyable setting to let loose and sing at the top of your lungs.
Favorite Shops: Arturo Calle, iSolution Service Center, The Perfume Shop, Nike, Sasteria Tailors
#5 Centro Commercial San Diego
Legend has it that San Diego Mall was the first Western-style mall built in South America. It’s grown from 54 shops after opening in 1972 to over 230 today. Located just a few blocks down Avenida Poblado from Centro Commercial Premium Plaza, this is a Paisa landmark in Medellin.
Did you know that Colombia is the third largest producer of lingerie in the world? It’s true. So stop by Leonisa – it’s been going strong for 60 years!
Happy City is the children’s area inside San Diego, complete with a mini-ferris wheel and go karts.
Buy the basics at the supermarket retailer Exito! and stop by Alkomprar for all your electronics, computers and appliances. Apple products are consistently listed in Alkomprar at 5% below market cost in other countries.
#6 Centro Comercial Mayorca
This is the outlet mall in Medellin. And there’s no better place, perhaps on Earth, to find amazing discounts on everyday and specialty items you need – or never knew you needed until you saw them!
The favorite shop here is Colombia Exotica: a shop specializing in quaint, quirkey and outright awesome memorabilia.
Favorites: Adidas, Alkomprar, American Eagle, Casio, CAT, Crocs, Croydon, Diesel, Gef, Levi’s, Leonisa, Nike
#7 Terracina Plaza
Located in Envigado, this is a recent and charming addition to one of Medellin’s best neighborhoods. The beautiful outdoor and indoor landscaping makes this a welcome hangout spot for drinks and dinner on both the weekdays and the weekend.
The best part?
The entire roof is an open air terrace with trees and lights making this quite the place to be. Check out the many boutique designers and couture brands filling the newest mall in Medellin.
These seven shopping centers will give you access to anything you could ever need or want in Colombia. Whether you’re in search of something specific or in need of just a bit of retail therapy, the malls here are a cut above the rest in the world.
These shopping centers also make for fun and engaging social scenes, frequented as they are by families and visitors of all ages.
From upscale to outlet, from movies to go karts, it’s always a great experience to see what’s in the centros commerciales, and Medellin makes it more rewarding than anywhere else!