Medan is a sprawling city that clusters around the Deli and Babura rivers. A taxi from Polonia airport into town should set you back around Rp50,000. If you fancy a day's exploring, why not take a walk around the city or alternatively, save your legs and take a spin in one of the city's unique, three wheeled motorised becak (rickshaw). Medan is chock-full of Dutch colonial architecture and many of these old buildings are still in use. Medan's City Hall, central Post Office, Water Tower and the Titi Gantung railway bridge all make for great photo opportunities.
Medan's Mesjid Raya (Grand Mosque) can be found in the centre of town on the corner of Jl Mesjid Raya and Jl SM Raja. This unusual Moroccan style building was erected by the Sultan in 1906 and features Italian marble, CHinese stained glass and many ornate carvings. Just around the corner from the mosque you'll find the somewhat dilapidated Istana Maimoon (Maimoon Palace). The palace was built by the Sultand of Deli in 1888 and the current Sultan still lives there.
JMuseum wise, the Museum of North Sumatra over on Jl HM Joni houses a large collection of Sumatran artifacts, including some fascinating stone carvings from Nias. More architectural ghosts of Medan's colonial past can be found along Jl Ahmad Yani starting from Jl Palang Merah and heading north to Lapangan Merdeka. Lapangan Merdeka itself is a former parade ground surrounded by beautiful old art deco buildings. If you're after something a little more culturally contemporary then why not pop along to the Tondi Gallery at Jl Keladi Buntu No 6 for a modern art fix.
Further out of town, Hill Park at Green Hill City Sibolangit lies an hour's drive from the downtown area and features plenty of funfair rides, entertainments, cafes and restaurants. A visit to the park makes a really nice day out for the kids. Alternatively, the Pantai Cermin Theme Park lies on the coast 40 minutes from town and is a water park featuring slides, pools, jet skis and plenty more besides.
If you're feeling peckish after all that, rest assured that Medan's healthy ethnic mix of Batak, Chinese, Javanese, Minangkabau and even Indian peoples will ensure a tasty meal. Tip Top Restaurant at Jl Ahmad Yani 92 was at one time the place to eat and dates right back to colonial times. The nostalgic flavours of ox tongue sandwich and Dutch bitterballen can be ordered from a very sweet little typewriter printed menu that seems to have been caught in a time warp. Bollywood Food Centre over at Jl Muara Takus No 7 serves up spicy Indian food and various Malay Indian roti shops are also located nearby.
After dark, the new and hip Cava Lounge is perhaps the slinkiest bar in town and a great place in which to enjoy a few cocktails. Alternatively, the Shoot Pool Lounge and Sports Bar over on Jl Kapten Pattimura features live big-screen sports action plus pool, liv emusic and DJs. The Tavern in the now somewhat aged Hotel Danau Toba over at Jl Imam Bonjol 17 remains a popular nightspot.