At the western end of Carrera 34, in barrio San Fernando lies Parque del Perro – the doggy park. It’s small, and although is has a statue of a dog named Teddy and dog owners occasionally meet up there, the real reason for going is the wide selection of little watering holes, juice bars and restaurants that surround the park, and lay scattered around the neighboring blocks. It’s one of several Zona Rosas in Cali (the others being Granada, El Peñon, Avenida Sexta, Menga and the strip in Ciudad Jardín), and one that attracts a lot of young people.
Many of the bars are tiny, meaning just a fridge, a countertop with a cooler, a stereo and some funky lights. Patrons socialize on the sidewalk outside the bar, sitting on plastic footstools. The atmosphere is very casual, prices are cheap and the audience includes many students. Wednesday to Saturday are the best days to go for nightlife.
There must be at least 20-30 restaurants and cafés in the area as well, all within a block or two from the park. Whether you’re looking for pizza, burger joints or cafés there are plenty to choose from.
Juice bars like CUUC and Cosechas make good places to bring a date on a weeknight.
Restaurants include, but are by no means limited to, Mr. Wings, Blondie, Primos and Carne & Maduro. El Arca is little different than the rest. They serve all dishes on top of a plantain chip, known as a patacón. The place is really popular among Caleños. From their restaurant you’ll have a view of the entire park. If you’re looking for a fancy dining experience, La Comitiva, two blocks from the park, is getting great reviews. Go Go Ramen is by far the place in Cali for noodles that I’ve found. Cafélicious is a nice little place to stop for a cappuccino and their wifi works well.
Occasionally there will be an event taking place in the park. A few weeks ago there was an organic festival with lots of veggie food stalls, a small circus for kids, artists, musicians and vendors of organic and sustainable products. I haven’t been able to find a event calendar just for the park. You just gotta pop by and join the fun.