20 Best Things To Do: One Day in San Juan [2024]

Looking for the best things to do during one day in San Juan?  This is the list for you!

Tease out what sounds best to you and make this day in San Juan all your own.

20 Best Things to do During One Day in San Juan

The top 20  things to do during one day in San Juan include time at the beach, some of the best restaurants, amazing views, and more!

The list is spread across four main metropolitan neighborhoods of San Juan: Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Condado, and Santurce.  

The majority of the ideas are in Old San Juan.  

1. Beach

Condado Beach in San Juan
Condado Beach

You can’t really go to Puerto Rico without going to the beach!  Shocker- I am NOT the biggest beach person, but loved the views at Condado. 

There are several beaches in San Juan.  Two of the most popular beaches are Condado Beach and Playa Ocean Park.    

2. Castillo San Felipe Del Morro

Castillo San Felipe Del Morro is swirling with photo spots around every corner.  With some of the best views of Old San Juan, it’s not to miss.  Not to mention, tons of exploring inside of the fort itself!  

Entrance costs $10 or is free with the America the Great Annual National Parks Pass.  

Tip: If you don’t have time to fully visit the inside, you can still get amazing views of the large, grassy field and walkway up to the front of the fort.  

3. Wander around Old San Juan

City Murals during One Day in San Juan
Old San Juan Murals

Old San Juan provides iconic architecture around every corner.  The bright colors are not only eye-catching but have a story behind them.  

Download a self-guided walking tour or research San Juan’s history before exploring to experience a  meaningful appreciation!  

4. La Fortaleza

Exploring La Fortaleza during One Day in San Juan
La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza is acclaimed as one of the most famous streets in the old town.  Its colorful features and ever-changing decorations make for a short, beautiful stroll.  

5. Free Walking Tour

You can alternatively explore Old San Juan with the guidance of a free walking tour.  

Free walking tours operate on a tip basis, so be sure to tip your guide at the end.  This is how they make their money!  

6. Placita de Santurce

Placita de Santurce is one of the best-known markets in town.  Its restaurant stalls during the day transform into an outdoor bar space in the evening.  

7. Get a popsicle at Señor Paleta

Señor Paleta has risen to fame over recent years!  It is a favorite spot to grab a refreshing Mexican popsicle from locals and tourists.  They even do delivery!

8. Explore Ocean Park

Ocean Park is one of the greater San Juan area’s biggest metropolitan neighborhoods and definitely worth exploring!  This was my favorite neighborhood next to Old San Juan.  

Locals and tourists alike spend time at the nearby beaches, restaurants, and parks.  Relax at Playa Ocean Park, explore the culinary scene, or take a leisurely walk around the neighborhood.  

9. Eat at Kasalta

Pastries at Kasalta in San Juan
Delicious pastries at Kasalta

While you’re in the Ocean Park neighborhood, stop at Kasalta for some knock-your-socks-off dessert, or brunch!  

They have food for all meals of the day but are perhaps most known for their infamous pastries.  

Kasalta has made it on numerous lists of amazing bakeries in Puerto Rico, and they proudly display that President Barrack Obama has enjoyed a meal at Kasalta as well!

10. Visit The Narrow House

La Casa Estrecha

La Casa Estrecha, or The Narrow House, is a unique find in the old town.  Some say this 5-foot house is the smallest in the world.  

Tip: La Casa Estrecha is located shortly before the famous arch: Capilla del Santo Cristo.  

11. Drink a cup of coffee at Don Ruiz

Don Ruiz Coffee during one day in San Juan
Coffee at Don Ruiz

Don Ruiz is one of the most famous coffee shops in Puerto Rico.  Some of the top food tours make a stop at this small, quaint shop.  I loved the macchiato!  

Tip: Don Ruiz in the old town is located at the end of floor 1 of Museo de las Americas.  

You do not need to purchase entrance tickets for floor 1.  Combine a coffee with your visit!

12. Follow the blue brick road

Blue bricks in San Juan

Looking closely, you will notice shiny, blue bricks paved across the old town.  This majestic foundation was set by Liverpool in 1891.  

13. Sip the OG Piña Colada

That’s right, the original piña colada was said to have been invented at La Barrachina in Old San Juan! 

In addition to serving as a highly acclaimed restaurant, visitors swing by La Barrachina for a classic piña colada.  They can be ordered with or without alcohol.  

14. Paseo De La Princesa

Take a short boardwalk stroll along the lovely waterfront of the old town.  There are lots of restaurants, shops, and local vendors here!  

It can be very crowded when cruise ships are arriving.  

15. Museo de las Americas

The ginormous, coral-pink plaza spills across the first floor of Muse de las Americas. 

Tip: Official entrance to the museum is paid, but you can wander the first-floor plaza for free!

17. La Factoria

Did you know La Factoria was been named one of the top 50 bars in a row, multiple years in a row?  

I unfortunately didn’t make it during my trip, but I hear it’s all the rage and one of the most fun things to do in the old city!

They also offer free Salsa dancing lessons two nights per week.  

16. Kayaking

Feeling adventurous?  There are lots of kayak tours and rental options throughout the town.

You can book kayaking at Condado Lagoon or the famous Fajardo through any popular booking agency or Airbnb Experiences.  

18. Catedral de San Juan Batista

The San Juan Batista Cathedral is known as one of the most important religious buildings in Puerto Rico.  

It’s also the second-oldest church in the Western Hemisphere!  Spend some time admiring the historic building built in the 1500s. 

19. Capila del Santo Cristo de Salud

The beautiful chapel is an example of some pristine architecture in Puerto Rico.  

Built in the 1700s, its historic beauty is admirable and makes for a beautiful photography spot.  

20. Shop local handicrafts

Lots of local artists feature their work throughout parks in town, but especially in Old San Juan.  Features include handmade soap, jewelry, and more.  

Every Saturday and Sunday, tons of artist tents are set up at a park next to Paseo de La Princesa. 

Tip: There is a public restroom located outside of the craft market at this park.  

Read Next: San Juan on Christmas Day, Cancun to Puerto Morelos, Middle of the World City in Quito

San Juan Planning Details

Getting There

Fly into San Juan’s international airport.  It is conveniently located approximately 12 minutes from most places on this list!  The airport is close to Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Condado, and more.  

Weather in San Juan

Puerto Rico is known for its warm, tropical climate throughout the year.  

San Juan can be extremely hot, so plan accordingly!  Occasional sun showers (more like sprinkles) can occur.  

20 Best Things to do: One Day in San Juan

There are so many amazing things you can do during one day in San Juan!  From relaxing at the beach to exploring iconic architecture, it’s easy to plan a one-day itinerary!  

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Alyssa

As a full time employee who loves her job, learn how I honor my wanderlust while working a 9:00-5:00 (because I want to!) This blog welcomes all, and specifically provides resources for those seeking travel intertwined into a busy schedule (3 days to 5 weeks).