Plaza del Cuartel, in front of Museo de las Americas, near Galeria Nacional/National Gallery, and Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena

Getty Images

Museo de las Américas

Top choice in San Juan

This museum presents an impressive overview of cultural development in the Americas, including indigenous, African and European influences. Four permanent exhibits integrate art, history and anthropology in thoughtful and provocative ways; the coverage of slavery is particularly moving, including the recreation of travel on a slave ship. Audiovisual highlights and knowledgeable guides enrich visits. There are interesting temporary exhibitions, along with a store stocking books, jewelry and art.

Every Saturday at 2pm, workshops (US$1) are offered to introduce the public to various forms of folk art of the Americas. Though geared toward children, all are welcome; reservations recommended. If you're interested in buying folk art, the museum also hosts Domingo de Artesanos the first Sunday of every month, where local artists showcase and sell their works.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Juan attractions

1. Cuartel de Ballajá

0.02 MILES

Built in 1854 as a military barracks, the cuartel is an impressive three-story edifice with large gates on two ends, a series of arches and a large…

2. Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña

0.03 MILES

Constructed in the mid-19th century as a shelter for the poor, this bright-yellow building houses the executive offices of this institute that organizes a…

3. Plaza del Quinto Centenario

0.07 MILES

This modern square is shoehorned in among several architectural landmarks and offers great views over El Morro and the ocean beyond. Built in 1992 to…

4. Casa Blanca

0.09 MILES

First constructed in 1521 as a residence for Puerto Rico’s pioneering governor, Juan Ponce de León (who died before he could move in), Casa Blanca is the…

5. Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño

0.09 MILES

The grand edifice with a red-roofed dome, arches and porticos across from El Morro was an insane asylum during the 19th century; now it's a prestigious…

6. Casa Rosa


Built in 1812, this tropical pink villa first served as barracks for Spanish troops. In 1881, it was converted into officers’ quarters. The building has…

8. Iglesia de San José

0.12 MILES

What it lacks in grandiosity it makes up for in age: the Iglesia de San José is the second-oldest church in the Americas, after the cathedral in Santo…