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The 9 Best Free Things to Do in San Juan

ViaHero · February 13, 2019

Whoever said “awesome” and “free” don’t belong in the same sentence clearly hasn’t spent enough time traveling to San Juan. Want proof? Put these 9 free things to do in San Juan at the top of your Puerto Rico itinerary and then tell us if it’s possible to take a cheap trip to Puerto Rico. Just kidding, we already know the answer. It’s yes. Any questions? Send us a message.

Want to explore Puerto Rico differently? Have a local plan your trip.

#1: Noche de Galerias

Noche de Galerias is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

The only thing better than drinking delicious wine and enjoying local art shows? Doing both of them for free. Enter Noche de Galerias—on the first Tuesday of every month, every art gallery and museum in Old San Juan opens its doors to visitors, free of charge. Even though it’s one of the best things to do in San Juan, enjoying Noche de Galerias doesn’t even require an RSVP! That said, locals suggest arriving as soon as the event begins at 6 PM.

#2: Ventana al Jazz

Ventana al Jazz is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

Ventana al Jazz is an extension of the Heineken Jazz Festival in San Juan, which is a good indication of how incredible these jazz bands are. On the last Sunday of every month, head over to Paseo Caribe in Old San Juan to hear Puerto Rican jazz under the stars. Music begins at 5:30 PM, but like most incredible things to experience in San Juan, this shindig runs until 9 PM or later.

#3: Oceano Lounge Salsa Lessons

Getting salsa dance lessons  is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

No trip to San Juan is complete without a night or two of salsa dancing. Just off of trendy Avenida Ashford in the Condado neighborhood (one of the best places to stay in San Juan), the Oceano Lounge is the #1 example of San Juan’s fantastic nightlife. Grab a seat by the oceanfront balcony around 9 PM when the salsa bands start. Best of all, every Tuesday, salsa instructors offer free salsa lessons at Oceano.

Pro tip: Salsa is a huge part of Puerto Rican culture, so have a San Juan local point you toward salsa spots and clubs far away from Puerto Rico's main tourist attractions.

#4: Plaza Darsena Sunset Concerts

Going to some Plaza Darsena Sunset Concerts  is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

One sunset concert at Plaza Darsena is guaranteed to make you fall in love with San Juan. Just off the waterfront in Old San Juan, Plaza Darsena hosts free concerts every Sunday from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. This awesome Puerto Rican activity features local bands that play traditional and modern music as locals dance around the plaza.

#5: Paseo de la Princesa Artisan Exhibits

Seeing the Paseo de la Princesa Artisan Exhibits  is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

Even if you’re just traveling to San Juan for the weekend, the Paseo de la Princesa Artisan Exhibit is an absolute must. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM to 8 PM, the Paseo de la Princesa Artisan Exhibit features local artists’ stalls, live music, and delicious cheap eats—all against the backdrop of the Paseo de la Princesa walkway, one of Puerto Rico’s most gorgeous sightseeing spots.  

#6: Cine de Estuario

Going to the Cine de Estuario  is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

Every August, Condado Lagoon hosts Cine de Estuario (AKA “Lagoon Movie Night”), open to the public and free of charge. Moviegoers bring their own food and drinks and watch a popular movie while listening to the ocean waves. Cine de Estuario doesn’t require reservations, but be sure to get to this San Juan highlight early to claim a seat.

Pro tip: Condado lagoon actually boasts some of the most awesome beaches in Puerto Rico, so don’t be afraid to spend the whole day!

#7: El Morro Battle Reenactment

Roleplaying in the El Morro Battle Reenactment is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

On the last weekend of April, relive the 1797 Battle of San Juan at the city’s most famous castle (and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous places to visit)—San Felipe del Morro. Members of Regimento Fijo de Puerto Rico don their 18th-century costumes and show off their cannon-firing skills. A really unique thing to do in Puerto Rico, the El Morro battle reenactment is free to watch and a great way to experience San Juan’s colonial past.

#8: Festival de San Juan Bautista

Every year on June 24th, the entire island of Puerto Rico celebrates its most important fiesta patronales, the Festival de San Juan Bautista—and San Juan is the celebration center. To party like a Puerto Rican local, join festival goers in their midnight swimming traditions, vejigante dancing, and live bomba y plena bands.

Pro tip:Fiestas patronales (patron saint festivals) take place around Puerto Rico year-round, so if you can’t make it to San Juan Bautista, ask a local about other fiesta patronales that work with your itinerary.

#9: Casa Bacardi

Visiting Casa Bacardi is one of the free things to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

A quick ferry ride from Old San Juan, the Casa Bacardi Rum Museum is easily one of Puerto Rico’s best vacation spots (not the least because visitors get free rum). Even if you’re not big on rum, the factory has plenty of history and culture attached to its name.

These fun, free things to do in San Juan are just a few of the amazing things you can add to your Puerto Rican adventure. Find more low-budget, high-fun experiences with info from a local Puerto Rican guide (AKA Hero). Any questions? Message us! And for more info, check out: