23 Best Things To Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Rosalia Ignatova

Rosalia Ignatova - Travel Writer

Published: June 30, 2023

Hey there! I'm Rose, and I've curated a list of the top things to do in San Juan for 2024 based on my personal experiences in this vibrant city. Discover the hidden gems, soak up the rich culture, and make unforgettable memories during your trip to San Juan!

Awesome Things To Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a vibrant and historic city that is rich in culture, art, and architecture.

From its stunning beaches to its colonial-era architecture, San Juan offers visitors a wealth of experiences to enjoy.

In this article, we will explore the top things to do in San Juan from the moment you leave San Juan airport, including visiting historic landmarks such as the San Juan Cathedral, Castillo San Cristobal, and Old San Juan, exploring the city's charming streets, and enjoying the cuisine on a food tour.

Join us as we take a closer look at San Juan and all that it has to offer.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Explore Old San Juan.

Top Choice Hotel

The Vanderbilt, Autograph Collection

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

El Batey

Best Time to Visit

Sunny weather, May to October, vibrant arts scene.

Average Temperature

Warm and pleasant temperatures in San Juan, United States.

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, rideshares: options aplenty in San Juan.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When in San Juan, United States of America, immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage and vibrant atmosphere of this stunning city. Take a leisurely stroll along the historic cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, where colorful buildings and winding alleyways create an enchanting ambiance.

Indulge in authentic Puerto Rican cuisine at local eateries, savoring dishes like mofongo and tostones while sipping on a refreshing piña colada. As you explore the city, don't miss the opportunity to visit the imposing Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century fortress that offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. With its picturesque scenery, delectable food, and fascinating history, San Juan promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to return for more.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Valid identification (e.g., passport or driver's license)
  2. Comfortable walking shoes
  3. Lightweight and breathable clothing
  4. Sunscreen and sunglasses
  5. Swimwear
  6. Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  7. Travel adapter for electrical outlets
  8. Local currency or credit/debit cards
  9. Guidebook or maps of the city
  10. Travel insurance for added peace of mind.

San Juan, United States of America is a vibrant city known for its rich history, stunning beaches, and vibrant culture. As you plan your trip, make sure to pack the essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Bring your valid identification, such as a passport or driver's license, as it may be required for various activities or identification purposes. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as you'll likely explore the picturesque streets of Old San Juan and its numerous attractions on foot. Lightweight and breathable clothing will keep you comfortable in the tropical climate, while sunscreen and sunglasses will protect you from the sun's rays. Don't forget to pack your swimwear to enjoy the gorgeous beaches that San Juan has to offer. Taking a camera or smartphone will allow you to capture the memories you'll make during your trip. Additionally, bring a travel adapter to charge your electronic devices, and have some local currency or credit/debit cards for your convenience. It's always a good idea to have a guidebook or maps of the city to help you navigate your way around, and travel insurance will provide you with added peace of mind throughout your journey.

What Not to Miss

  1. Old San Juan: historic streets, colorful buildings, and impressive forts.
  2. El Yunque National Forest: lush rainforest with hiking trails and stunning waterfalls.
  3. Castillo San Felipe del Morro: a majestic fortress with panoramic views of the ocean.
  4. Condado Beach: beautiful sandy beach with a vibrant atmosphere and great water activities.
  5. La Placita de Santurce: a lively market and nightlife district, popular among locals.
  6. Bacardi Distillery: take a tour of the world-famous rum distillery.
  7. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: an art museum showcasing local and international artists.
  8. Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art: a modern art museum housed in a beautiful historic building.
  9. San Juan Cathedral: a stunning cathedral with a rich history dating back to the 16th century.
  10. Street food and local cuisine: don't miss trying local delicacies like mofongo and alcapurrias.

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist areas and streets during peak times.
  2. Going out alone at night in certain neighborhoods.
  3. Engaging with street vendors pushing aggressive sales.
  4. Leaving valuables unattended on the beach or in public areas.
  5. Ignoring local customs and etiquette.
  6. Assuming everyone speaks English fluently.
  7. Overpaying for tourist attractions and services.
  8. Drinking tap water without filtering or boiling it.
  9. Neglecting to wear sunscreen and protective clothing in the sun.
  10. Disrespecting historical and cultural sites.

1. Explore Old San Juan’s Cobblestone Streets and Historic Sites

Old San Juan’s Cobblestone Streets and Historic Sites

As you wander through Old San Juan's charming streets, you'll be transported back in time to the city's colonial era.

You'll have the opportunity to visit iconic landmarks such as the Old San Juan, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

With so many sites steeped with history and hidden gems to discover, exploring Old San Juan's streets is a must-do on any trip to San Juan.

2. Visit San Juan Cathedral, a Beautiful Church With a Rich History

San Juan Cathedral

One of the best things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico is to explore the many Old San Juan Cathedrals. These places are a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, architecture, or religion.

These cathedrals are beautiful as they have many of the same architectural elements you would find in a San Jose church.

3. Check out Castillo San Cristobal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

 Castillo San Cristobal

From the impressive city wall and tunnels to the stunning views of the ocean, there is no shortage of things to do in San Juan. This includes in Castillo San Cristóbal and Old San Juan.

Castillo San Cristobal is an awe-inspiring fortification that has guarded San Juan's harbor for centuries.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is recognized for its historical significance and architectural grandeur.

Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique experience, a visit to Castillo San Cristóbal is a must-do in the historic hotel of San Juan.

4. Take in the Stunning Views From Castillo San Felipe Del Morro

 Castillo San Felipe Del Morro

Near Castillo San Cristóbal, and perched on a cliff overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea, Castillo San Felipe del Morro offers some of the most breathtaking views in San Juan.

This historic fort has been there to protect San Juan for over 400 years. It stands as one of the most important architectural heritage of this capital city, next to San Juan Bautista Cathedral, Calle del Cristo, Parque del Indio, and La Placita de Santurce.

5. Walk Through the San Juan Gate

San Juan Gate

Some other things to do in San Juan include passing the Gate of San Juan. The gate in Old San Juan is going to take you back in time to the earliest days of the city's history.

This historic gate was built in the 16th century and is one of the oldest such city walls and gates in the Americas.

Today, the San Juan Gate is a popular attraction for visitors who want to experience the city's rich history and immerse themselves in its vibrant culture.

6. Experience the Local Culture and Cuisine on a Food Tour

 Local Culture and Cuisine

No trip to San Juan is complete without experiencing the city's rich culinary traditions. One of the best ways to do this is on a tour, where you can sample everything from classic Puerto Rican dishes to modern fusion cuisine.

As you explore the city's tourist attractions and landmarks, you'll have the chance to meet local chefs and taste the flavors that make San Juan so unique.

Whether you're a foodie looking to immerse yourself in the local food culture or simply want to find interesting things to do in San Juan, a tour is an unforgettable way to experience the best of San Juan.

7. Enjoy the Sun and Sand at Condado Beach or Ocean Park Beach

Condado Beach

If you're looking for some fun in the sun, Condado Beach and Ocean Park Beach are two of the best spots in San Juan Bay. With their soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, these beaches offer the perfect place to relax and soak up the Caribbean sun.

Whether you're looking for a private beach to swim, sunbathe, or try your hand at water sports like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, there's something for everyone at these popular beaches.

8. Take a Salsa Class To Learn Some Moves and Experience Puerto Rican Culture

Salsa Classes

Puerto Rican salsa dancing is an integral part of Puerto Rican culture, and taking a salsa class is an amazing way to experience it firsthand.

Whether you're a seasoned dancer or have two left feet, there are classes for all levels and ages in Old San Juan.

In addition to learning some new moves and improving your dance skills, you'll also have the opportunity to meet new people and immerse yourself in the vibrant and energetic culture of Puerto Rico.

9. Visit the Stunning El Yunque National Forest and Take a Hike to a Waterfall

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque rainforest is a breathtaking Puerto Rican natural wonder that offers a unique experience for visitors to Old San Juan.

Home to lush rainforests, towering mountains, and stunning waterfalls, the El Yunque forest is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

One of the best ways to experience Puerto Rico's El Yunque is by taking a hike to one of the forest's many waterfalls. Furthermore, during your hike, you may also come across Paseo del Morro, a boardwalk that borders the outer edge of Old San Juan's imposing Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

10. Take a Dip in the Crystal-clear Waters of Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach

Even after Hurricane Maria, Flamenco Beach is one of the best beaches in Old San Juan, and for good reason.

With its clear waters, soft white sand beaches, and picturesque palm trees, it's the perfect spot to relax and unwind.

Take a dip in the refreshing waters, explore the underwater world that Sir Francis Drake once sailed, or just lie back and enjoy the stunning views.

11. Explore the Local Flora at the Botanical Garden

San Juan Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden in San Juan is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone looking to explore the local flora.

With its lush greenery and beautiful flowers, the garden is a tranquil oasis in the heart of Old San Juan.

This Puerto Rican Botanical Garden also hosts various events and workshops throughout the year, making it a dynamic and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

If you're looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of San Juan, the Botanical Garden is the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.

12. Visit the Historic la Fortaleza, the Residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico

 La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza is a historic landmark in San Juan, Puerto Rico, originally built as a fortress in the 16th century.

It later became a governor's palace and is now the official residence of the Governor.

Visitors can take a guided tour of La Fortaleza, which features a unique mix of Spanish Colonial and Neoclassical styles, making it a must-visit attraction in San Juan for history and architecture enthusiasts.

13. Take a Stroll Down Paseo de la Princesa, a Picturesque Walkway Along San Juan Bay

Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo de la Princesa is a picturesque walkway along San Juan Bay that offers some of the most stunning views of Old San Juan.

This Puerto Rico's historic promenade is lined with palm trees, beautiful fountains, and colorful street vendors selling local crafts and treats.

Visitors can take a leisurely stroll down the walkway, stopping to admire the walled city and the beautiful views of the bay and the nearby landmarks, including the San Juan Gate and the imposing walls of San Juan.

With its charming architecture and lively atmosphere, Paseo de la Princesa is the perfect place to soak up the culture and energy of San Juan.

14. Visit the Castillo San Juan National Historic Site To Learn About San Juan’s Rich History

Castillo San Juan National Historic Site

The Castillo San Juan National Historic Site is a fascinating attraction that offers visitors the chance to learn about the city's rich history.

Visitors can explore the site's various fortifications, including Castillo San Felipe del via el Morro, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With its impressive architecture and fascinating historical significance, a visit to the Castillo San Juan National Historic Site is a must for anyone interested in the city's past.

15. Learn About the Island’s Famous Rum at the Casa Bacardi Distillery

Casa Bacardi Distillery

No trip to San Juan is complete without a visit to the famous Casa Bacardi Distillery. Located just a short drive from Old San Juan, this historic distillery offers visitors the chance to learn about the island's famous rum and its rich history.

With its beautiful architecture and fascinating history, Puerto Rico's Casa Bacardi distillery is a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in the island's famous rum culture.

16. Take a Dip in the Ocean at Isla Verde

Isla Verde

Isla Verde is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Old San Juan and for good reason. With its soft white sand and crystal-clear waters, it's the perfect spot to relax and take a dip in the ocean.

Whether you're looking for a relaxing day on the beach or an exciting adventure in the water, Isla Verde has something for everyone.

17. Go Deep-Sea Fishing

Deep-Sea Fishing

Fishing is a popular activity in San Juan, where visitors can cast a line and try to catch some of the local fish. With its prime location in the Caribbean Sea, San Juan is the perfect place to go deep-sea fishing.

Whether you're looking to catch some fish for dinner or just enjoy the thrill of the catch, deep-sea fishing is a must-try activity in San Juan Puerto Rico.

18. Take in Some Live Music at a Local Bar or Restaurant

La Perla district

Old San Juan Puerto Rico, is known for its lively music scene, and one of the best ways to experience it is by taking in great music at a local bar or restaurant in the La Perla district.

Many of san juan's top attractions, bars, and restaurants offer live music performances throughout the week, making it easy to find a show that fits your schedule.

19. Visit the San Juan Capilla Del Cristo

San Juan Capilla Del Cristo

The Capilla del Cristo is a stunning chapel located in Old San Juan at the top of a steep hill that offers breathtaking views of the city.

Visitors can admire its architecture, religious art, and artifacts, including a statue of Saint John the Baptist.

This charming chapel is a popular destination for weddings and other special events, making it a must-visit attraction for those interested in history, religion, or simply beautiful views.

20. Take a Tour of the Biggest Shopping Mall in San Juan, Plaza Las Americas

Plaza Las Americas

One of the most fun things to do in San Juan is to visit the Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping mall in San Juan. This place is a must-visit destination for shopaholics.

This massive Old San Juan mall boasts over 300 stores, including international brands such as Macy's, H&M, and Sephora, as well as a variety of local boutiques, specialty shops, and food trucks.

21. Explore the Street Art Scene in Santurce


Santurce is a vibrant neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is known for its colorful art scene.

Visitors can take a walking tour of the area to explore San Juan and the many murals and street art installations that adorn the neighborhood's buildings and walls.

Many of the murals feature social and political themes, while others are simply beautiful works of art.

Walter Otero Contemporary Art Gallery

San Juan is home to a thriving contemporary art scene, with a variety of galleries and art spaces showcasing the work of local and international artists in the La Perla District.

Visitors can take a San Juan walk and explore the city's art galleries to discover cutting-edge contemporary art in a variety of mediums, from painting and sculpture to video and installation art.

That said, the most popular gallery in San Juan Puerto Rico is the Walter Otero Contemporary Art Gallery.

Many galleries also offer guided tours and special exhibitions throughout the year, providing visitors with an in-depth look at the capital city of contemporary art.

23. Visit the Colonial-era Cemetery To Learn About Old San Juan

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

San Juan, Puerto Rico, has a rich history that spans over 500 years, and one of the best places to learn about the city's past is its colonial-era cemetery.

The Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a beautiful and historic cemetery that dates back to the 19th century.

A visit to the Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of San Juan's past and the important role that the city has played in Puerto Rican history.

FAQs About Things To Do in San Juan

Here, you'll find answers to some of the most common questions about visiting San Juan, including what to do, where to go, and how much time to spend in this vibrant city.

If you're planning a trip to San Juan or just curious about what this exciting destination has to offer, keep reading.

What is the number one attraction in Puerto Rico?

The number one attraction in Puerto Rico is the San Juan National Historic Site, which includes Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Juan ponce De León, Calle San Sebastian, San Juan Bautista, and Paseo Del Morro.

How do you spend the day in San Juan?

Spending a day in San Juan could include exploring historic landmarks such as those found in old San Juan, and the city walls, relaxing on the beach at Ocean Park or Condado Beach, bar hopping, or indulging in local cuisine on food tours.

What do people do in San Juan?

People do a variety of things in San Juan, including visiting historic sites like Castillo San Felipe del Morro and exploring the old city itself's cobblestone streets, enjoying the beaches and San Juan activities, and experiencing the local culture and cuisine.

Is 3 days enough in San Juan, Puerto Rico?

There are so many things to do in San Juan that three days may not be enough time to fully explore the whole city. It is recommended to plan for at least four to five days to truly experience all the fun things to do in Puerto Rico and San Juan.

Summing Up: Best Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

In this article, we've highlighted the top 23 fun-filled things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

From visiting historic landmarks like San Juan Cathedral and Castillo San Cristobal to exploring the city's beautiful streets and indulging in delicious cuisine, there is never a dull moment in this vibrant city.

We've also highlighted the city's stunning beaches, beautiful gardens, and unique art scene, giving you plenty of options for fun and adventure.

So, pack your bags and head to San Juan for an unforgettable experience filled with history, culture, and endless fun.