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Guide to the Medellin Holiday Lights

Posted on December 9, 2017 at 8:45 AM

By Rebecca Pittore

From Christmas carols to twinkling lights, to an expectation of snow—or to an escape from it—the happiest time of the year, undoubtedly, is here again. Other cities have put on magnificent winter wonderland displays using white or colored LED lights. One of these cities lies right in South America: the City of Medellin in Colombia.

Medellin is fast becoming one of the most important destinations in South America. The city is home to cultural museums, a thriving nightlife, as well as an innovation and creativity. The city is also home to millions of twinkling lights through out the month of December, creating a colorful holiday show.

“El Alumbrado”, or “The Lighting” as it’s called in English, takes place from December 2 to January 8 this year. Celebrating 50 years of EPM’s magnificent Christmas show, the lights will be on from 6:00pm through midnight. The theme of this year’s spectacular light is “estamos de fiesta” or “we’re celebrating”, with 37 million lights, 50,000 figures, 27 moving structures, 66 LED projections, one hologram, one water show, and one “mapping” feature showing you the history of Medellin’s lights since 1967.

Parque Norte

Located at the metro stop ‘universidad’, this amusement park is the main light show for two straight years now, as the lights filled up the ‘Rio Medellin’ in the past. This is because the city is working on a construction project along the river, so the lights have found a new home. The park offers free admission during the Christmas season; and Individual tickets, on the other hand, are available for purchase for the rides or games. Upon entering the small amusement park, you will be greeted by a 50-foot tall and 127-foot wide Nativity Scene. You can wander through the park’s colored lights and find your way to the lake, where a surprise light show will take place


On Avenida La Playa there will be 17 different light scenes creating a colorful LED roof over the road, spanning almost a half mile from Pablo Tobon Theater to Avenida Oriental. At the end of this colorful drive, you’ll find a 70-foot lit up statue of the Three Kings. The lights continue down to the Avenida Junin. Look out for the giant Christmas tree! The old EPM building, Edificio Miguel de Aguinaga, will be lit up and decorated to look like a giant Christmas tree with green metallic paper and lights spanning the structure. See also the Parque San Antonio, home to Fernando Botero’s famous ‘birds of peace’ statues, and Parque Bolivar, home to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Medellin, to catch the lights, and Parque Aranjuez, near the botanical garden and planetarium, to catch more light displays.


The main parks of every comuna of the city, plus the surrounding corregimientos (villages), and municipalities will feature their own Christmas light display. If you’re in the north of the city, you’ll be able to see the lights at Parque Santo Domingo Savio, and along Calle 107, both of which you’ll catch a glimpse of if you take the metrocable toward Parque Arvi.

In the south of the city, Parque Poblado, home to all the nightlife, restaurants and cafes you need, will put on a light display. Parque Cristo Rey near the domestic airport, Parque Belen, in the Belen neighborhood will also light up, as well as the first park of Laureles, Carrera 70, Estadio Atanasio Girardot, and Parque Floresta in the west of Medellin. This area is similar to El Poblado, but a little bit less touristy, giving you restaurants, cafes, and dancing, with a little more authenticity.

Outside the city, Parque Envigado, Parque Itagui, Parque Sabaneta, and Parque San Antonio de Prado are all filled with colorful displays, as well as local restaurants and bars for you to get to know some less tourist-filled parts of the Medellin Metropolitan Area.

Another park you can’t miss sits above the city atop Cerro Nutibara. This is the 262-foot high hill houses Pueblito Paisa, a replica of a traditional Antioqueno town. Aside from 360 views of the whole city, the site will have its own lights on display. Go late in the afternoon to check out the views while it’s still light out; watch the sky turn orange, pink, and purple as the sun sets over the city of eternal spring. Then stay to watch the lights come to life—both the Christmas lights of Pueblito Paisa and the lights of the sprawling city below you.

Photo: Ivan Eree Jota

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Categories: South America, Attractions

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