Updated: May 15, 2022
There are a lot of lists of things to do in San Juan. When I created this list, I wanted to think of truly unique things to do in San Juan I’ve had beyond just the normal things you may find. Some of these are hopefully new to you and definitely unique!
I love San Juan! There are tons of things that you can do while there and of course, you’ll want to see the most touristy sites while there, but you’ll also want to see some lesser-known spots while here as well. After several visits, I want to share some of the most fun and unique things to do in San Juan.
PS looking for a great place to stay while in San Juan? We loved our stay at Da House Hotel located right in Old San Juan for just $100 a night – it even had a rooftop jacuzzi!
1. Enjoy the sunset from an infinity pool
This was such an unexpected and unique find while in San Juan! The Vanderbilt Hotel has an incredible infinity pool that overlooks the water available to you if you come to the spa or buy drinks. We absolutely loved taking in this view at sunset and their mojito bar offers a ton of fun options to try while you enjoy the epic sunset!
2. Sip rum at the Cannon Club
I promise, not all of the things on this list involve drinking, but the Cannon Club is an old spot that has several pianos throughout that involves a special membership to enter. However, there are two main areas where the public is invited to enjoy their drinks and relax as live music is played. It’s such a cute space and honestly a perfect way to end the day.
3. Walk along the city wall for views, Casa Rosa, and Ponce de Leon’s house
I have done this walk a few times. The first time, we walked along the lower edge, along the water. The second time, we chose to walk to Casa Rosa and Ponce de Leon’s house. You’ll get beautiful views of the old city walls, harbors, and see some of the coolest historical buildings along the water. Today they are government buildings, but it’s the perfect spot to walk away from the crowds between the Old City Gate and Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
4. Grab amazing food at Verde Mesa
This small restaurant is located right off the Avenue de Princesa, a popular tourist spot, but from the street, you wouldn’t guess what is inside! This adorable restaurant sources its food locally and the menu changes daily. We loved sitting in here for lunch, enjoying fresh ingredients and really amazing food. I highly recommend it – just look how cute it is! They don’t take reservations, but if you come in for lunch it’s much easier to get a seat.
5. Go to Barrachina
Barrachina is the home of the first bartender who made a Pina Colada. This is a bit of a controversy, but Barrachina is a fun experience none the less especially because if you make a dinner reservation, you’ll get live music and dancing along with it! It’s worth the visit.
6. Walk the colorful streets in search of the Puerto Rican flag
Yes, yes, everyone tells you to walk the streets of Old San Juan, but I think it’s much more fun to go with something in mind. Puerto Ricans are very proud of their island (as they should be, it’s wonderful!) so it’s fun to go in search of the beautiful murals all over the city. I also highly recommend taking some time to relax and enjoy the different squares around the city by sitting at a cafe to sip coffee.
7. Take in the view at La Verguenza
This spot was recommended by a local and is a great spot to take in a great view, grab dinner, and a specialized Pina Colada in all the flavors you can think of! We loved the cool breeze, fun vibe, and food here.
8. Look for iguanas in the fortresses
Again, maybe people recommend the fortresses and they are a must-visit! But… did you know that lots of iguanas call both Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro home? While visiting these fortresses be on the lookout for these fun creatures!
9. Fly a kite and see the cemetery
I love that every afternoon near San Felipe del Morro you’ll start to see a lot of people flying their kites. It’s a popular hangout spot in town where people will play futbol, fly kites, picnic, and enjoy a coco fresco. Spend some time having fun, see the cemetery next to the fortress, and relax in the sun.
10. Walk Paseo El Morro
Another spot that is just beautiful and worth the walk is Paseo El Morro. This pathway goes around the El Morro fortress along the water all the way around the old harbor. It takes about 45 minutes to walk plus some stops to admire the views. You can easily finish the walk at the old city gate.
11. Bacardi Factory
The Bacardi Factory is actually located across the bay from Old San Juan but it’s a fun trip nonetheless. You can take a ferry from Old San Juan here to tour the factory, take a mixology class, and sample some delicious rum. We went on a rainy afternoon and enjoyed sipping drinks while there learning the history of rum and the Caribbean.
12. Check out Carolina
Carolina is a short distance from Old San Juan but has a completely different feel. It feels almost like Venice Beach or another funky beach town you may have visited. There are tons of local cafes and restaurants to try, but my favorite part of visiting there was all the street art. There are tons you’ll come across as you walk through and I love seeing all the creativity as it pours into the streets.
I hope these ideas will spark your interest to see some of the unique things to do in San Juan! I honestly love it every time I visit and would return in a heartbeat if I could. Try out these day trips from San Juan if you have more time to explore.