San Juan

In Old San Juan, Calle Fortaleza and Calle San Francisco have everything from T-shirt emporiums to jewelry stores to shops that specialize in made-to-order Panama hats. Running perpendicular to those streets is Calle Cristo, lined with factory-outlet stores, including Coach, Dooney & Burke, Guess, and Tommy Hilfiger. On weekends, artisans sell their wares at stalls around Paseo de la Princesa.

With many stores selling luxury items and designer fashions, the shopping spirit in Condado is reminiscent of that in Miami. Avenida Ashford is considered the heart of San Juan's fashion district. High-end chain stores such as Ferragamo and Gucci huddle together in a formerly derelict shopping strip, betting that the newly renovated luxury hotel La Concha will attract people ready to plunk down their platinum cards. A little farther west along Avenida Ashford are the one-of-a-kind clothing retailers that make this neighborhood worth a visit.

Just as in most other American cities, however, the real shopping occurs in the mall, and Plaza Las Américas—the largest in the Caribbean—is not to be missed. Known to locals simply as "Plaza," it's often host to artisan crafts fairs, art exhibitions, antiques shows, live Latin music, and pageants, depending on the time of year. For high-end shopping at stores like Saks and Louis Vuitton, head to the newer Mall of San Juan.

Thanks to Puerto Rico's vibrant arts scene, numerous galleries and studios are opening, and many are doing so in Santurce, Puerta de Tierra, and other neighborhoods outside the walls of Old San Juan.

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  • 1. Eclectika

    Old San Juan | Souvenirs

    Here the inventory, most of it Indonesian, ranges from bedspreads and furnishings to beaded jewelry and hand fans. ...Read More

  • 2. El Galpón

    Old San Juan | Crafts

    At El Galpón, knowledgeable owners Betsy and Gustavo will fit you with a Panama hat ($65–$900), and you'll learn that the genuine article is...Read More

  • 3. Olé

    Old San Juan | Crafts

    Aficionados of the famous Panama hat, made from delicately handwoven straw, should stop at Olé. The shop sells top-of-the-line toppers for as...Read More

  • 4. Spicy Caribbee

    Old San Juan | Souvenirs

    Kitchen items, cookbooks, jams, spices, and sauces from around the Caribbean are on offer. ...Read More

  • 5. Butterfly People

    Old San Juan | Souvenirs

    Exotic mariposas cover the walls of Butterfly People. Clear plastic cases hold common species as well as many rarer specimens. The butterflies...Read More

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