Home to beautiful beaches, romantic hotels, unique museums, gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Juan offers plenty to see and do.

Explore the three forts around the city that comprise San Juan National Historic Site, enjoy the cafes and restaurants in Old San Juan, and sunbathe on the mile-long Ocean Park Beach. Here are the best things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Scroll to see the full list with photos or jump to the table of contents.


San Juan National Historic Site

San Juan National Historic Site

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Puerto Rico and especially San Juan were crucial areas for Spanish defense efforts and Spanish control of the route to and from the Caribbean. To protect this valuable holding, they spent 250 years building three large, strong forts (Castillo San Cristobal, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Juan de la Cruz) that guarded the entrance into San Juan Bay. Today, the three forts, most of the city fortifications, and the San Juan Gate comprise San Juan National Historic Site and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The best way to learn about the site and the fascinating history of San Juan is with the help of one of the Rangers, who offer short presentations every hour. You can also take a peaceful stroll around old San Juan, climb the ancient walls, enjoy spectacular views of the city and the ocean, and get a feel of the spirit of old Puerto Rico. More info

501 Norzagaray Street, 787-729-6777


Old San Juan

Old San Juan

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There are several excellent reasons to visit Old San Juan, and one of the most compelling is the thrilling history that every cobblestoned street, ancient gate, or imposing fortress exudes. The whole city is old, but so much of it has been wonderfully restored and preserved that visitors feel like they’ve stepped into the past. There are many fun ways to explore Old San Juan: you can take an organized tour through the Old San Juan Heritage Walking Tours company or rent a bike, boat, or even a hydroplane. If you are wondering what to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico today, this is a great place to start exploring. Depending on your interests, you might want to take a cultural tour, a tour of the countryside, or food tour, which are just a few options. Alternatively, you can just walk around and soak up the atmosphere, sample tasty street food, and listen to one of the many street musicians.


Ocean Park Beach, San Juan

Ocean Park Beach, San Juan

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Your trip to San Juan has to include at least one visit to Ocean Park Beach. This one-mile stretch of sugar fine sand is a favorite place among locals for morning strolls, making sand castles with the kids, enjoying a refreshing swim, or taking a nap under an umbrella. The beach is lined on one side with numerous condos, hotels, restaurants, and shops. On the beach side you can find a few shady spots under swaying palm trees. Most days, is not terribly crowded, making it perfect for relaxing. There are few entrances to Ocean Park Beach, but the most convenient one is located at the end of Condad through the Parque del Indio.


Castillo ToursSan Juan

Castillo ToursSan Juan

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For the last 30 years, Castillo Tours have been introducing tourists from all over the world to the authentic Puerto Rico. First, they take you on a tour of the Historical Old San Juan. After that, you get to choose which direction you want to go: Explore the Rainforest, see how they make rum at Bacardi Tour, hike through El Yunque Rainforest, or do some spelunking at Camuy and Window Caves.

If you would rather be on the water, you can try your hand at deep sea fishing for marlin, do some snorkeling on one of the many deserted islands, or take a romantic Sunset Cruise. Your itinerary depends on how much time you have, how much money you want to spend, and what you really like to do for fun. In and around San Juan, there is something for everyone.

101 Doncella St., Punta Las Marias, 787-791-6195


Walter Otero Contemporary Art

Walter Otero Contemporary Art

© Walter Otero Contemporary Art

Walter Otero Contemporary Art (WOCA) is a progressive and modern art gallery in San Juan. It is dedicated to supporting and promoting young Puerto Rican contemporary artists. The gallery, designed by Luis Luis Gutiérrez and Pedro Muñoz Marín, is located in the Old San Juan’s Historic District in Puerta de Tierra. It has more than five thousand square feet of gallery space spread out among three floors.

There is also a rooftop garden that serves as a venue for outdoor exhibits, parties, and other gatherings. The gallery represents a large number of Puerto Rican artists with international reputation. It is the brainchild of celebrated art dealer Walter Otero, and the gallery has acquired a reputation for being the most influential modern art gallery in Puerto Rico and one of the best things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

402 Ave. Constitución San Juan, P.R. 00906, 787-998-9622


The University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden

The University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden

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The University of Puerto Rico Botanical Garden is a live laboratory featuring the country’s tropical plants and their ecosystems. The garden is spread out across 289 acres of land that includes magnificent lakes, waterfalls, sculptures, and 30,000 plant species, some endemic and some endangered.

The garden is not only a popular spot for locals and tourists to enjoy the lush greenery, but it is also a place where kids come to do their school assignments, experts hold seminars and workshops, and scientists determine the best ways to preserve these live treasures under pressure from human development for future generations. One of the most beautiful of the many thematic gardens is the re-creation of Monet’s water garden in Giverny. The entrance to the Botanical Garden is located on Guaracanal street. Phone: 787-758-9957


Felisa Rincon de Gautier Museum, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Felisa Rincon de Gautier Museum, San Juan, Puerto Rico

© Felisa Rincon de Gautier Museum

Located just across from the historic San Juan Gate, there is a lovely 300-year-old house that was the home of Felisa Rincon de Gautier, one of the most prominent and influential Puerto Rican women of the 20th century. She was the first woman mayor of an American capital city, and she served as a mayor for 22 years.

The museum holds many of her personal effects, awards, and memorabilia. It is open to the public and offers a rare glimpse not only into the life of a remarkable woman, but into the way of life of an influential Puerto Rican family. The museum frequently holds conferences, seminars, and workshops. The Felisa Rincon de Gautier Foundation manages the museum.

Caleta de San Juan 51, 787-724-7239


Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico

© Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico

If you get tired of eating and walking your way through San Juan, Puerto Rico, you should consider seeing the country from the point of view of some of its fine contemporary artists. The Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico, one of San Juan's top attractions, is located in the historic Rafael M. Building, which used to be school, and it is part of the San Juan Sacred Heart University. Established in 1984, the Puerto Rican Museum of Contemporary Art not only displays the works of modern Puerto Rican and Caribbean artists, but it also introduces the general public to all forms of modern art expressions.

The galleries are located around an open courtyard on two floors. The art ranges from paintings and sculptures to sound, video, and multimedia installations. A small gallery in the museum’s basement displays art created during the museum’s various workshops.

Av. Juan Ponce de León, corner of Ave. Roberto H. Todd, Parada 18, 787-977-4030

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Spoon Food Tours

Spoon Food Tours

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For foodies, every trip is an opportunity to sample the best foods each new place has to offer. Taking this journey with the help of knowledgeable insiders who are part of Spoon Food Tours makes the experience so much more enjoyable. Their guides will take you off the beaten path to visit places tourists normally do not have the chance to see. You will savor real authentic Puerto Rican dishes in restaurants and cantinas that are the favorite spots frequented by locals.

By experiencing the food, you will learn so much about the culture, history, and everyday life of the island. Morning people will particularly enjoy Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour, which starts at breakfast. With the San Juan Drive Around Lunch Tour, you will explore San Juan’s lunch menu from the comfort of an air-conditioned car, while the Sip & Savor Drinking Tour will take you around San Juan’s most popular drinking establishments.

787-249-4488


Casa Blanca Museum

Casa Blanca Museum

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The Casa Blanca Museum was erected in 1521 and originally served as the home of Juan Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico. It holds the distinction of being the oldest residence in San Juan and is a fantastic example of Puerto Rican architecture and design. Today, this former residence is a beloved cultural and historical museum that features a permanent collection filled with artifacts from the 16th and 17th Centuries. Stroll through the halls of the Casa Blanca Museum to get a glimpse of what life would have been like centuries ago and to get a taste of Puerto Rican design and culture.

1 CII San Sebastian, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00926, Phone: 787-725-1454


Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort

Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort

© Casino del Mar at La Concha Resort

Play the game of luck during your Puerto Rico getaway at Casino del Mar. Located in the la Concha Resort, Casino del Mar is one of the top gaming destinations in San Juan. Elegant, exciting, and sophisticated, the casino offers all of the most popular games and slots in the business such as Blackjack, Three Card Poker, Roulettes, Mini Baccarat, and more. Thanks to its fantastic location, guests to Casino del Mar enjoy easy access to great dining, the hottest bars in San Juan, top-rated accommodations, and event wellness programs or local adventures to enjoy in between the excitement at the slots.

1077 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907, Phone: 787-721-7500


Condado Beach

Condado Beach

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Condado Beach is undeniably one of the most popular beaches to visit in San Juan. Teeming with activity and home to a bustling nightlife, this beach is the perfect spot to enjoy an exciting mix of Caribbean resort life and Puerto Rican city vibes. Enjoy soaking up the sun, surf, and sand during the day with great water sports during the day, then explore all of the beach bars and beach-front restaurants that San Juan has to offer all along one beach. Tourist friendly and open to the public all day, every day, there’s no shortage of attractions, activities, and experiences to capitalize on at Condado Beach.

Condado Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico


The Capitol of Puerto Rico

The Capitol of Puerto Rico

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A must-visit attraction for tourists in Puerto Rico is the Capitol Building. Known locally as El Capitolio or El Palacio De Las Leyes, the Capitol of Puerto Rico remains the home of the territory’s Senate and House of Representatives. Guests to the capitol can explore and admire the building’s neo-classical architecture and white marble construction from the outside, and then head on inside to learn about the history of the building and some of Puerto Rico’s local history as well through guided tours. It’s a great experience for travelers who love art and history as unique design elements within the Capitol are incredible works of art. See incredible paintings or detailed glass mosaics like the one that sits eighty feet above the ground at the Rotunda.

FV8V+PJF, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902, Phone: 787-721-6040

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Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

© Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, or the MAPR for short, is a fantastic attraction for art and history lovers traveling to San Juan or Saturce. Housed in what was once the Municipal Hospital, the building was later renovated and redesigned with strict modern design standards in mind as it transformed from a government building to the beloved museum that it is today. The museum features 18 exhibition halls and thousands of modern and contemporary art pieces in its permanent collection. Additionally, the museum is home to a research center and regularly opens internships and art programs for the public to participate in.

299 Avenida de Diego, Santurce, Puerto Rico 00909, Phone: 787-977-6277


Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo de la Princesa

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If you want to discover the ins and outs of Puerto Rico, a walking tour is one of the best ways to do this. And when it comes to walking tours, there is no starting point better than the Paseo de la Princesa. It is known for being one of the world’s most scenic walkways and is undeniably the most beloved promenade in Puerto Rico. Built in 1853, the promenade is a favorite place to hang out for locals no matter what time of the day. As you stroll along the Paseo de la Princesa, you’ll be greeted by memorable sites and landmarks in Old San Juan as well as historic monuments and sweeping vistas of the San Juan Bay. Also along the promenade are elegant gardens, old-world city walls, and even the Raices Fountain.

Paseo de la Princesa, San Juan, Puerto Rico


Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico

Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico

© Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico

Raise a glass and enjoy sips of the world’s favorite premium rum at Casa Bacardi. Apart from being the home of Bacardi, this Puerto Rico attraction is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. It is accessible from Old San Juan through a quick ferry ride and welcomes all of its visitors with a stunning cocktail at its waterfront welcome Pavilion known as the Bat Bar. Casa Bacardi offers two different tours, the Legacy Tour, and Rum Tasting Tour, while also offering a Mixology Class. Learn about the history of Bacardi, the family’s dedication to the craft of rum distilling, and bottle your own BACARDI all in one place.

PR-165, Cataño, Puerto Rico 00949; Phone: 787-788-8400


Museo de Arte y Diseno de Miramar

Museo de Arte y Diseno de Miramar

© Museo de Arte y Diseno de Miramar

The Museo de Arte y Diseño is a museum for everyone. With the simple mission of inspiring all of its visitors through art and design, the Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar, or MADMi for short, features a permanent collection filled with innovative, unique, and eclectic examples of design and art. MADMi is home to two exhibits: Transformations, which features works by Latin American artists, and Modernism, the museum’s permanent collection of modern design and art. The MADMi also regularly welcomes visiting exhibits with stints by Suzi Ferrer, Nono Maldonado, Jaime Rodrigues Crespo, and Nathan Budoff featured in the past among many others.

607 Calle Cuevillas, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907, Phone: 787-995-7063


Toro Verde Urban Park

Toro Verde Urban Park

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Work up a sweat and indulge your inner thrill seeker at Toro Verde Urban Park, a top-rated indoor amusement park located in the heart of the city. There’s enough at Toro Verde to do for the whole day as it is home not just to adrenaline-pumping ziplines, but a Blazing Bull and Sky Bull as well. Toro Verde also has a challenging ropes course called the Bull Maze, and a huge arcade packed with classic game machines as well as some of the most innovative games in the arcade industry. No amusement park is complete without a spot to enjoy some food, and Toro Verde Urban Park answers this need with the Verbena Restaurant.

300 Convention Boulevard, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907


MUSAN: Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional

MUSAN: Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional

© MUSAN: Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional

Despite being a small museum, the Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional, fondly referred to as MUSAN, is a spectacular display of Puerto Rican art. Known for being a museum that encourages experimentation, the permanent exhibits of MUSAN are both classic and eclectic, with interdisciplinary and intergenerational art spaces lovingly cultivated by the museum’s community. Out of the many artworks featured in this museum, one of the most popular things to see is the unique collection of hand-carved “Santos”. The best way to appreciate the Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional is to take a guided tour so that you can best appreciate the items on display, their history, and their significance to the museum.

1673 Avenue Juan Ponce de Leon, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00909, Phone: 787-455-4216


Barrachina

Barrachina

© Barrachina

Nestled in the middle of Old San Juan is Barrachina, a beloved restaurant that has been feeding hungry travelers and locals alike for over four decades. Aside from being photo-worthy, thanks to its great location in between 200-year-old colonial buildings, Barrachina is known for being the home of the internationally celebrated drink – the piña colada. First made by Don Ramon Portas Mingot in 1963, patrons of Barrachina can get a true taste of refreshing and energizing cocktails while feasting on stunning menu items like the Lobster Tail, Mahi Mahi with Shrimp in Coconut Sauce, the Grouper Isleño. Paella fans can also sample Barrachina’s two fantastic paella offerings provided it is ordered in advance as it takes 40 minutes to prepare.

104 C. de la Fortaleza, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901, Phone: 787-725-7912


20 Best Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico :