While Puerto Rico may be well known for its long stretches of sandy beaches, the island’s capital, San Juan, is also a great destination for culture vultures. The abundance of San Juan museums means there’s something to suit every interest, from animals and natural history to art and culture. Whether you’re traveling as a family, a couple or on a solo trip, make sure you get your itinerary organized, so you don’t miss any of the city’s top cultural attractions.
Discover the most interesting San Juan museums and historical sites
- Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
- Museo del Nino
- Museo de las Américas
- Casa Blanca
- Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
- Museo de Arte e Historia de San Juan
- Casa Museo Felisa Rincón de Gautier
Are you ready for your culture fix? Read on to find out more about some of the top museums and historical places to visit during your trip to San Juan.
1. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
Art enthusiasts can’t miss a trip to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. The eye-catching, red-roofed white building was once the city’s Municipal Hospital and is worth admiring in its own right. After a process of restoration, it opened its doors as an art museum in 2000 and today you’ll find some of the country’s most treasured artworks inside. As well as the permanent collection, which features the work of many talented local artists, the museum hosts a regular roster of temporary exhibitions, so it’s always worth checking the Museo de Arte’s website to find out what’s on during your visit.
2. Museo del Nino
If you’re looking for a San Juan museum that you can take your family to, the Children’s Museum is a must-visit. A combination of education and entertainment, the Museo del Nino has something to suit everyone’s interests, from the soft play areas for the littlest members of the family to the science exhibitions for budding brainiacs. There’s even a go-kart racetrack and the chance to explore inside a real plane, as well as a quiet coloring area and an outdoor nature trail. If the kids have spent all their energy in the museum, don’t forget that you can request a ride with the Uber app to save walking to your next destination or hotel.
3. Museo de las Américas
The impressive Museo de las Américas has been open since 1992, with four permanent exhibitions celebrating The Popular Arts in the Americas; African Heritage; The Indigenous of America; and Conquest and Colonization: Birth and Evolution of the Puerto Rican nation. There’s also a regular schedule of temporary exhibits that get to the heart of the country and continent, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the history of Puerto Rico.
4. Casa Blanca
Get a glimpse of colonial San Juan with a trip to Casa Blanca – a museum that is housed within a historic building that was once the residence of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. The building itself is one of San Juan’s historical sites and a prime example of the architecture of its era, while the museum inside is a great way to find out more about the history and culture of the country. Discover a collection of artefacts inside from the 16th and 17th centuries, and make sure you take a wander outside among the landscaped gardens.
5. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Another must-visit for art lovers, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico is full of cool and creative pieces that you won’t want to miss. The permanent collection includes works from some of the country’s most beloved artists, as well as featuring pieces from others based across Latin America and the Caribbean. The changing exhibitions highlight some of the most thought-provoking work from the latter 20th century onwards, while the Living Workshop offers an insight into the processes of the artists behind the masterpieces. Here, the museum hopes to create a connection between visitors and artists.
6. Museo de Arte e Historia de San Juan
San Juan’s Museum of Art and History is a great guide to some of the key events and historical places in San Juan’s rich past. In fact, the building itself is in another of San Juan’s historic sites; it used to be the location of the city’s main marketplace. Today, you’ll find paintings, sculptures and photographs telling the story of the city, as well as a mixed-media exhibition that includes a rolling documentary film. Head to the East and West wings to discover works of art from local creators.
7. Casa Museo Felisa Rincón de Gautier
Learn more about life and culture in Old San Juan with a trip to the former home of Dona Felisa Rincón, the first female mayor of San Juan. The pink building has become an iconic San Juan museum with an exhibition inside which tells a rousing tale of the fight for equality between the genders. While exploring inside, you’ll find artefacts that give you an insight into both the personal and political life of the house’s former resident.
With so much to see and even more to learn, you’ve got a busy trip ahead in San Juan! And don’t forget that there’s plenty more things to do in Old San Juan, too. Request a ride with the Uber app to easily move between museums, historic sites, must-see streets and other popular attractions and ensure you make the most of your time in this fascinating city.