In the mid-1990s, a three-hectare strip of land right in the middle of Medellín had become a bit of an eyesore. The semi-abandoned plot lay between some important buildings, including the Metropolitan Theater, and some heavily trafficked roads. Initial plans for redeveloping the plot of land were focused on building a parking lot. But then someone came up with a far better idea: to create a park where everyone walks barefoot.
And so, in 1998, work began on Parque de los Pies Descalzos, or Barefoot Park. It was completed two years later, and soon became a popular spot for picnicking families, stressed-out city workers, and people who hate wearing shoes.
Barefoot Park, as the name suggests, was designed to encourage people to take off their shoes and go for a wander. To inspire such reckless shedding of sneakers, flip-flops, high heels, and Crocs, the park features a series of barefoot-friendly areas.
In the zen bamboo garden, you can kick off your shoes and connect with nature. There are lawns for picnics and shoeless strolls, and shallow pools surrounded by sandbars where splashing kids make the most of the beach-like atmosphere. And if you want to just sit back and relax, there are fountains and pools designed specifically for soaking your feet in the soothing water. Not a bad way to pass the time before returning to the conformist shoe-wearing ways of the city.
Know Before You Go
Parque de los Pies Descalzos is located along Calle 42 and Carrera 58 in the center of Medellín, not far from the Museo Interactivo EPM, Teatro Metropolitano, and Plaza Mayor. It’s easiest to get there by taxi, or you can take the metro to Estación Alpujarra and then walk less than half a mile west to the park.