Plaza Colon (Columbus Square), San Juan

Plaza Colon (Columbus Square), San Juan

Columbus Square is one of the most important squares in San Juan. Originally known as Santiago Square, back in the 17th century this square literally marked the doorstep to the old town. Encircled by stone walls in 1635-1641, the only way into the city was then through five gates, the centermost of which was Puerta de Santiago (the Land Gate), straddling the sole highway linking the walled San Juan islet to the rest of Puerto Rico by land.

By 1772 the open space adjacent to Puerta de Santiago had taken the shape of Santiago Square, albeit still unpaved at that time and long afterwards. From 1862, several projects had been undertaken to refurbish the square until in 1870 it finally started to take its current shape. In 1893 the statue of Christopher Columbus was installed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Puerto Rico, upon which the square was renamed Colón, or Columbus Square.

To the south of the square is a gem of Puerto Rican entertainment culture, the Theater Tapia. Inaugurated in 1824, this lovely piece of neoclassical architecture was initially known as the San Juan Municipal Theater. Over the years, many notable performers have graced its stage. Outside the theater, along Fortaleza Street, there are a number of quaint restaurants and cute little cafes where one can sip some iced coffee outside whilst enjoying the sight of Columbus Square, the symbol of progress and testament of new and old San Juan!

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in San Juan. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Plaza Colon (Columbus Square) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza Colon (Columbus Square)
Sight Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico (See walking tours in San Juan)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Juan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Among the crafts that followed the Spanish to the island was mundillo, a kind of decorative lace made of wooden bobbins. Over the next few centuries, the mundillo craft flourished on the island and today is one of the most popular local products sought after by visitors.

Being Caribbean, the country also...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles
San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan was founded by the Spanish in 1521, which makes it the third oldest European-established capital city on the American continent. Owning to its long history, the old town of San Juan is filled to the brim with heritage colonial buildings.

Chief among them, La Fortaleza is the longest-standing executive mansion in continuous use in America, whereas the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

Founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it "Rich Port City", San Juan is the third oldest European-established capital city in the Americas and the oldest one in the U.S. territories.

During the Spanish colonial times, most of the city population resided in what is now known as Old San Juan. Today, this part of the town is a lovely historical area renowned for its narrow...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Old San Juan Squares

Old San Juan Squares

A distinctive feature of Old San Juan is the number of quaint historic squares. Many of them are adorned with beautiful fountains, prominent monuments and intricate sculptures recounting rich history of this amazing city. Check out San Juan’s most popular squares on this self-guided walking tour!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

The uniqueness of Puerto Rico is partially associated with its political status - part of the United States yet with a Latin twist. Other than their widely-acknowledged musical talents, e.g. Carlos Santana and Ricky Martin, Puerto Rico is just as rich in many other good things. When you're in...