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Exploring the Santurce Neighborhood

From Art to Dining, Nightlife to Culture, the Santurce District is a Celebration of Diversity…

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The neighborhood of Santurce is the largest in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s bustling capital city. With its idyllic tropical marine climate, the area offers a dynamic and delightfully eclectic blend of old and new—a place to discover the rich tapestry of the island complemented by an incredibly diverse range of cultures and people.

Indulge your artistic side…

Santurce is well known for its incredible art scene. This is a neighborhood where colorful murals adorn the walls of buildings and street art is a way of life. One thing that strikes every visitor isn’t just the vibrancy of the many murals, but the quality. Thanks to a muralism initiative, known as Los Muros Hablan (The Walls Speak), the area has become a hotspot for some of the best global independent artists to create masterpieces in public viewing spaces.

This free-spirited vibe has transcended into a location that boasts incredible festivals, such as Santurce es Ley. You can feast your eyes upon both local and international art displays at the Museo de Arte and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean multimedia works can be seen at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – affectionately known by locals as simply the MAC.

The creative energy encompasses every element of the arts. This includes theatre, music, sculpture, and more. In true Puerto Rican style, the Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré is a world-class venue that plays host to events that vary from symphony orchestras to Broadway musicals, classical ballet to rock concerts.

A gastronomic smorgasbord for every taste

Another aspect of Santurce is how the creative scene filters through to every aspect of day-to-day life. This is a true foodie’s paradise. Whether you’re looking to chow down on street food, hit up some friends over a sharing platter, enjoy romantic fine dining, or dress it up for a night on the town, the neighborhood of Santurce delivers.

One of the beautiful aspects of eating out here is that a food outlet—no matter how smart or how street—is rarely only about food. Don’t be surprised if your brunch at the Abracadabra Café is accompanied by a live theater show. Or if your snack stop at Lote 23 has a live soundtrack—the penchant for showcasing bands is just one of the reasons locals flock to fill its tables (along with the awesome street food on offer). Café Comunión is also a wonderful choice for a leisurely breakfast or brunch and La Casita Blanca is the place to go for truly traditional Puerto Rican fare.

For that special occasion (date night, anyone?) then the wonders of Vianda will introduce you to the delights of sustainable farm-to-table sourced meals. They cater to all dietary requirements, have a great wine list, and plenty of non-alcoholic options. Cocina al Fondo also champions the locally sourced, traditional model, boasting dishes created from recipes handed down over generations of Puerto Rican families.

For more dining options, head to Calle Loíza, a street that’s packed with eateries. Here you can dine on Mexican food and tacos at Acapulco, Asian fusion at Yumbootik, or even Italian delicacies at Bocca Osteria Romana.

Shop, dine, and dance the night away: an authentic San Juan experience

No visit to Santurce is complete without visiting La Placita. This important shopping outlet features market stalls by day and, come 6 pm, morphs into the area’s premier nightlife location. Shop for a range of authentic goods, including artisanal crafts and clothing, grab food on-the-go from the many vendors and, when the sun goes down, join locals and visitors alike as you dance to some of the best live music on the island. This is an atmosphere that must be experienced to truly appreciate. Don’t worry about dressing up… You’ll be just as comfortable in your baggies as you will be in your finest attire.

Another great dining, art, and live music venue is Esquina Watusi. The restaurant is also well known for its displays of street art and murals and is extremely popular, especially at the weekends. If you fancy experiencing traditional Puerto Rico music and dance styles, then be sure to head to Terraza de Bonanza on a Monday evening. Planeros and bomberos perform here, so grab some street food and settle in for the show. Don’t expect to stay in one place for long—this is Puerto Rico, after all. So, it won’t be long before the rhythm gets your toes-a-tapping…

Santurce: an explorer’s dream

One of the best things about the Santurce neighborhood is that it’s small enough to explore on foot. You can take a self-guided walking tour, hook up with a professional guide, or simply wander to your heart’s content. Puerto Rico in general is one of the safest of all the Caribbean islands, with crime rates well below those of many major US cities. It’s a particularly great place for LGBTQ travelers, with the culture being one of the most inclusive and welcoming in the Western hemisphere.

Getting around is easy. Whether you choose to walk, grab an Uber, use public buses, or the Tren Urbano (light rail service), nowhere is very far. Uber, especially, is one of the easiest ways to travel the Santurce neighborhood. The island has over 4,000 drivers, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for your driver to arrive.

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