At the heart of Medellin’s city center lies Parque San Antonio, a cultural, historical, and recreational spot well worth seeing.
Inaugurated in 1994, the park has a commercial area, an amphitheater, a wide-open plaza, and a landscaped park located in front of the San Antonio de Padua Cathedral.
San Antonio has a number sculptures by the famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero. The destroyed remnants of his statue titled the “Pajaro de Paz (Bird of Peace)” sit next to an identical replacement as a reminder of the park’s violent history.
On June 10, 1995 an alleged FARC bomb was detonated under the sculpture during a concert, killing 23 people and injuring dozens more. In 2000, Botero had an identical sculpture placed in the park as a “homage to stupidity,” a symbol of peace, and a memorial to the victims.
Today the plaza is often filled with children playing and locals taking rest on the park’s shadier benches. Lined with a number of out-door restaurants, San Antonio is a great place to people-watch while sipping a beer dashed with lemon juice from a salt-rimmed cup, known as a “michelada.”
While visiting the park, be aware of pickpockets and robbers who are particularly active in this part of the city.