A day trip to visit Old San Juan is a must-do for any Puerto Rico stay longer than a few days. Well over 500 years of history, along with a thriving art scene and plenty of restaurants to choose from, await your discovery. Here, we’ve made deciding what to do in Old San Juan easy.
Fortunately, most of the district’s attractions are concentrated in a fairly small area. You can start by taking a walk through La Muralla Park to El Morro—a fortress that overlooks San Juan Bay, complete with historic cannons and the remains of a sea wall. Admission to this National Historic Site comes with a small fee, but it also gives you access to Castillo San Cristóbal, another major landmark at the district’s other end and incredible ocean views.
You can get there by using the free trolley, or simply walk: the distance is less than 2 miles, and the route takes you through the heart of downtown. Feel free to wander among the area’s more than 400 restored buildings—San Juan’s city hall, for instance, dates to 1602. There are also several museums you can stop by on the way, including a Children’s Museum, the National Gallery, and Museo del Mar or Casa del Libro—free-to-attend centers dedicated to nautical travel and rare manuscripts.
Keep an eye out for restaurants as you explore: from French cuisine at Trous Cent Onze to a Latin-Asian mix at DragonFly and Caribbean offerings at the Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar. It’s amazing how many great options are located inside the relatively small area of Old San Juan. Make a visit part of your next trip to Puerto Rico and check it out for yourself!