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. 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

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  • 2. 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

  • 3. Casa de Ramón Power y Giralt

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    The restored home of 18th-century naval hero Don Ramón Power y Giralt is now the headquarters of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. On-site...Read More

  • 4. Fundación Nacional Para la Cultura Popular

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    This nonprofit foundation serves many functions: museum, performance space, dance and music school, and archive dedicated to preserving the...Read More

  • 5. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

    Santurce | Museum/Gallery

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

  • 6. 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...Read More

  • 7. Museo de las Américas

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    On the second floor of the imposing former military barracks, Cuartel de Ballajá, this museum houses four permanent exhibits: Folk Arts, African...Read More

  • 8. Museo de San Juan

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    A bustling marketplace in 1857, this handsome building now houses the small San Juan Museum. You'll find rotating exhibits of Puerto Rican art...Read More

  • 9. Museo Felisa Rincón de Gautier

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    This tiny but fascinating museum honors Felisa Rincón de Gautier, who served as San Juan's mayor from 1946 to 1968. Throughout her life, "Doña...Read More

  • 10. Museo la Casa del Libro

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    Dedicated to the artistry of the printed word, this museum counts among its holdings approximately 400 books printed before the 15th century...Read More

  • 11. Museo Pablo Casals

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

    This small museum located on the first floor of the Ballaja plaza, contains memorabilia of the famed cellist. Manuscripts, photographs, and...Read More

  • 12. Parque de las Ciencias Luis A. Ferré

    Museum/Gallery

    The 42-acre Luis A. Ferré Science Park reopened in 2016 after an impressive renovation. Attractions include a 4-D theater, mini golf course...Read More

  • 13. Museo de Nuestra Raíz Africana

    Old San Juan | Museum/Gallery

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

  • 14. Museo del Niño

    Old San Juan | 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 even...Read More

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