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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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

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Religious Building/ Site/ Shrine 3

Spa–Sight 3

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San Juan Sights

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Balneario El Escambrón

  • Beach–Sight

In Puerta de Tierra, this government-run beach has a patch of honey-colored sand shaded by coconut palms. An offshore reef generally...

Balneario de Carolina

  • Beach–Sight

When people talk about a "beautiful Isla Verde beach," this is it. East of Isla Verde, this Blue Flag beach is so close to the airport...

El Capitolio

  • Government Building

The white-marble Capitol, a fine example of Italian Renaissance style, dates from 1929. The grand rotunda, which can be seen from all...

Jardín Botánico

  • Garden/Arboretum

This 75-acre forest of more than 200 species of tropical and subtropical vegetation is the Universidad de Puerto Rico's main attraction.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

  • Museum/Gallery

This Georgian-style structure, once a public school, displays a dynamic range of works by established and up-and-coming Latin American...

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

  • Museum/Gallery

One of the Caribbean's biggest museums, this beautiful neoclassical building was once the San Juan Municipal Hospital. The collection...

Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte

  • Museum/Gallery

The Universidad de Puerto Rico's small Museum of History, Anthropology and Art offers rotating exhibitions in three areas. Its archaeological...

Playa de Ocean Park

  • Beach–Sight

The residential neighborhood east of Condado and west of Isla Verde is home to this 1-mile-long (1½-km-long) stretch of golden sand.

Playa del Condado

  • Beach–Sight

East of Old San Juan and west of Ocean Park, this long, wide beach is overshadowed by an unbroken string of hotels and apartment buildings.

Plaza del Mercado

  • Plaza/Square/Piazza

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

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