Condado is an upscale beachfront neighborhood flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Condado Lagoon to the south. Luxury hotels such as La Concha Resort and the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel share Ashford Avenue with modern high rises, a diverse array of restaurants and charming oceanfront parks. During the day, visitors can lounge on postcard-worthy beaches or kayak on the lagoon before diving into the local nightlife once the sun sets. The adjacent Ocean Park neighborhood is best known for its beaches and boutique hotels.
The financial center of San Juan is split down the middle by La Milla de Oro (The Golden Mile), a section of Juan Ponce de Leon Avenue occupied by rows of imposing government buildings and banks. Event venues such as the Hiram Bithorn Stadium and the José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum are located here, just a few minutes away from the Plaza Las Américas, the largest mall in the Caribbean.
While it is not officially located in San Juan, neighboring Carolina’s Isla Verde neighborhood begins where Ocean Park ends – at Ultimo Trolley Beach. Isla Verde Avenue stretches for several miles along the coast, with its strip of hotels and beachfront apartment buildings resembling those of Miami Beach. The Balneario de Carolina, the Hotel El San Juan and Ocean Lab microbrewery are also located here.
Once its own municipality, Rio Piedras was incorporated into San Juan in 1951. The main campus of the University of Puerto Rico was established here in 1903 and serves as the cultural and economic heart of the area. The Casa de Cultura Ruth Hernández hosts literary events for locals beyond the student population while shopping hubs such as the Paseo de Diego and Plaza del Mercado round out the visitor experience.
Courtesy Placita de Santurce
Santurce & Miramar
Across the lagoon from Condado are San Juan’s Santurce and Miramar neighborhoods. The two districts have distinct personalities, but they’re inextricably linked. Calle Cerra -- a mecca for street art -- and Calle Hoare serve as hazy division lines. The urban center of Santurce is home to the lively Placita de Santurce. Miramar is residential, but architectural gems are hidden within its maze-like streets. The neighborhood is also home to cultural hotspots such as the Conservatory of Music, Fine Arts Cinema and the new Museum of Art and Design.