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.