San Juan Sights

San Juan's metro area stretches for 12 miles (19 km) along Puerto Rico's north coast, and defining the city is rather like assembling a puzzle. Neighborhoods are irregular and sometimes overlap—locals disagree, for example, about where Condado ends and Ocean Park begins. The areas most visited by tourists run along the coast.

Farthest west is Old San Juan, the showplace of the island's rich

history. On this peninsula you will find some of the city's finest museums and shops, as well as excellent dining and lodging options. To the east is Puerta de Tierra, a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the ocean and the bay. The area is home to a couple of famous hotels and two noteworthy parks, the Parque de Tercer Milenio and the Parque Muñoz Rivera, as well as Escambrón Beach. The rehabilitation project of the waterfront and cruise docks, Bahía Urbana, is bringing in new galleries, shops, and luxury housing developments. Beyond Puerta de Tierra is Condado, an upscale older neighborhood that is a mix of beautiful Spanish-style homes, larger apartment buildings, and resort hotels. Here you'll find designer fashions in the boutiques and on the people strolling down the main drag of Avenida Ashford. Ocean Park, to the east of Condado, is mostly residential, but the handful of inns and restaurants here are among the city's best. Don’t miss Calle Loíza, parallel to McLeary Street; it’s becoming the area's new gastronomic hub. Beyond Ocean Park is Isla Verde, a more commercial zone, and also where you'll find the biggest resorts on the best city beach.

South of Condado and Ocean Park lies Santurce, a business district with a growing artistic community, thanks to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. La Placita de Santurce is home to two of San Juan’s top restaurants, Santaella and José Enrique. Bordering Santurce and across the bay from Condado, the quieter, residential neighborhood of Miramar is also a great place for off-the-beaten-path dining. Hato Rey is a busy financial district, where you'll find the large Plaza las Américas Mall. The mostly residential Río Piedras area is home to the Universidad de Puerto Rico.

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Old San Juan 25

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Puerta de Tierra 2

Rio Piedras 2

Santurce 3

San Juan Suburbs 3

Side Trip from San Juan 1

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Archaeological Site/ Ruins 2

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Government Building 3

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Information Center 2

Market/ Bazaar 1

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Museum/ Gallery 14

Observatory/ Planetarium 1

Park (National/ State/ Provincial) 2

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Plaza/ Square/ Piazza 5

Promenade/ Boardwalk 1

Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 3

Spa–Sight 3

Winery/ Brewery/ Distillery 1

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San Juan Sights

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Plaza del Mercado

  • Market/Bazaar

Though mostly overlooked by tourists, La Placita, as known by locals, is one of the most charming corners of San Juan. At its center...

Plazuela de la Rogativa

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

According to legend, the British, while laying siege to the city in 1797, mistook the flaming torches of a rogativa —religious procession—for...

Puerta de San Juan

  • Archaeological Site/Ruins

Dating back to 1520, this was one of the five original entrances to the city and is the only one still in its original state. The massive...

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, San Juan

  • Spa–Sight

Popular treatments at this posh spa include stone therapy, the balancing lomilomi massage, based on a Hawaiian ritual mimicking waves,...

Zen Spa

  • Spa–Sight

This family-run spa focuses on wellness, with staff trained in Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic techniques, but all kinds of treatments...

Galería Nacional

  • Educational Institution

Built by Dominican friars in 1523, this convent—the oldest in Puerto Rico—once served as a shelter during Carib Indian attacks and,...

Iglesia de San José

  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

With its vaulted ceilings, this little church is a splendid example of 16th-century Spanish Gothic architecture. It was built under the...

Museo del Niño

  • Museum/Gallery

This three-floor, hands-on "museum" is pure fun for kids. There are games to play, clothes for dress-up, a mock plaza with market, and...

Museo de Nuestra Raíz Africana

  • Museum/Gallery

The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture created this museum to help Puerto Ricans understand African influences in island culture. On display...

Fortín San Gerónimo del Boquerón

  • Military Site

At the eastern tip of Puerta de Tierra, this tiny fort is perched on a hilltop like an afterthought. Added to San Juan's fortifications...

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