Medellin Neighborhood Guides: Popular

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Medellin Neighborhood Guides: Popular

TLDR? The Popular neighborhood’s mountainous landscape allows for one of the city’s better viewpoints, El Pinar.

If you want to experience the true paisa culture, you should visit the Popular commune.

Classified as the city’s poorest neighborhood, it’s also one of the most visited because of its old architecture, labyrinthine streets, and friendly residents.

Keep reading to find out all about Comuna 1 or the Popular neighborhood!

Popular is in the northeastern area of Medellin. It borders the Santa Elena Corregimiento, Santa Rita neighborhood, Comuna Manrique, and Comuna Santa Cruz.

Today, this commune has an area of approximately 1,2 square miles (3,3 square km). As you can see, it’s a small neighborhood compared to others like El Poblado or Laureles.

It’s in a mountainous area, and the terrain’s inclined, so the houses are almost one on top of the other. These conditions make the place susceptible to floods during the rainy season (from March to May).

This area is residential, so in addition to households in socio-economic states 1 and 2, you’ll only find small stores and some family businesses. 

Popular is made up of 12 neighborhoods:

  • El Popular
  • Santo Domingo Savio N° 1
  • Santo Domingo Savio N° 2
  • La Avanzada
  • Granizal
  • La Esperanza N° 2
  • Carpinelo
  • Aldea Pablo VI
  • El Compromiso
  • San Pablo
  • Moscú Nº 2
  • Villa de Guadalupe

It’s also crossed by four streams: 

  • Cañada Negra
  • La Herrera
  • Carevieja
  • El Zancudo. 

Although it’s in a mountainous area of Medellin, with messy roads and blind alleys, this area has three road axes running through it: Carreras, 39, 42B, and 46.

Medellín’s government took on improving mobility in this vulnerable part of the city. Today, despite being a small neighborhood, it has about 122,000 inhabitants, even slightly more than Laureles.

The K-line of metrocable or cable aereo, which has 90 cabins and three stations, is currently being implemented. It’s a different way to get to Popular and have an aerial view of the entire neighborhood!

Overall, the best way to move around the neighborhood is on foot. But it’s always recommended to be accompanied by a guide to help you get to the Popular tourist spots.

The Popular zone is known for its green areas, parks, shopping, food stalls, and other representative cultural places of Medellin. Now, let’s take a look at what to do in this gorgeous neighborhood!

España Park Library 

You’ll find España Park Library in the Santo Domingo Savio neighborhood next to the metrocable station that bears the same name. 

Designed by architect Giancarlo Mazzanti, it consists of three buildings: a library, a community center, and a cultural center. 

However, due to structural problems, you’re currently not allowed to enter the library.

It’s a perfect place to breathe fresh air and do some people-watch at the library park. You can also take good pictures next to the giant black structures and watch the riverbed of La Herrera stream.

Address: Cl. 107a #Cra 33B # 107A-100, Popular, Medellín, Antioquia

Granizal Sport Center

Granizal is an integral sports space for the inhabitants of communes 1 and 2. Here, you’ll find Medellin’s second synthetic grass court!

If you were wondering, it’s possible to book this place to play a soccer game with friends. Or if you’re lucky, you can join a quick match with the locals!

Address: Cl. 101a #35a-46, Popular, Medellín, Antioquia

If not being able to enter Spain Park Library left you with a sense of bitterness, take the opportunity to visit Popular Public Library, where residents of all ages enjoy a space of art and culture.

Among the activities offered by the library are:

  • Reading club 
  • Workshops
  • Conferences 
  • Book lending

Address: Cra. 43 #118-26, Popular, Medellín, Antioquia

El Pinar Viewpoint

To get to this viewpoint, you must get away from the neighborhood towards the mountains, passing through the undergrowth and lush greenery.

The reward is a beautiful view of  Medellin and other surrounding communes! It’s the best spot for a small photo shoot.

Address: El Pinar, Popular, Medellín, Antioquia

Although Popular is a well-known spot, it doesn’t have a large flow of people like other tourist neighborhoods of Medellin.

Still, security might be an issue. In recent years, security has improved with multiple government plans; however, you must still keep some things in mind if you want to visit this place.

Here’s what to know:

  • The best way to enjoy a walk through Popular is with a guide. As you know, the streets and alleys can get a bit tricky, and we don’t want you to get lost!
  • Leave your valuables at home and take a light backpack with just what you need to take a walk around the neighborhood.
  • Don’t wear flashy clothes that can attract attention, and avoid wearing jewelry or watches.

As you can see, getting to know Medellin in depth doesn’t only mean visiting the most famous tourist places. As a matter of fact, the poorest and most vulnerable neighborhoods are the other side of the coin, which we mustn’t forget.

Although Popular was formerly known as a dangerous area of the city, it currently works to attract more tourists who wish to enjoy art and culture. Popular has something for everyone!

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