San Juan

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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  • 1. Castillo San Cristóbal

    Old San Juan | Historic District/Site

    This huge stone fortress, built between 1634 and 1790, guarded the city from land attacks from the east. The largest Spanish fortification in...Read More

  • 2. Castillo San Felipe del Morro

    Old San Juan | Historic District/Site

    At the northwestern tip of the Old City, El Morro ("the promontory") was built by the Spaniards between 1539 and 1786. Rising 140 feet above...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 3. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

    Santurce | Museum/Gallery

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

    View Tours and Activities
  • 4. 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 that...Read More

  • 5. Casa Blanca

    Old San Juan | House/Mansion/Villa

    The original structure here was a wooden house built in 1521 as a home for Ponce de León; he died in Cuba without ever living here. His descendants...Read More

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