Not packed in a bus. Not herded with a group. Self guided walk is the SAFEST way to sightsee while observing SOCIAL DISTANCING!
Plaza de Armas (Arms Square), San Juan

Plaza de Armas (Arms Square), San Juan (must see)

Plaza de Armas is one of the main squares in San Juan. Over the years, it has changed several names relative to the functions it served. Initially, in 1521, it was called Plaza de las Verduras (Vegetables Square). Then, during the 16th-18th centuries, it was known as Plaza de Armas, for being the ground for military exercises. Then, by the early 19th century, it was back to Plaza de las Verduras again, and used as a market.

Plaza de Armas is the city’s de-facto central square, modeled on the classic plazas of Madrid and Mexico. Although the square had factually existed for centuries, it was not until 1840 that the city council approved its proper construction, which commenced in 1851. It was then that the four statues made of bronze and oil-coated to simulate marble, representing the Commerce, Industry, Science and the Arts, arrived here. In fact, there were a total of eight statues to be installed, but the other four were lost. In 1872 the original statues were removed and the new marble ones, representing the Four Seasons, put in their place in the four corners of the square.

In 1955 two circular fountains and two lampposts in the center were added. The four statues were then configured in a circular fountain in front of the Palacio de la Real Intendencia on the western side, which houses the Department of State of Puerto Rico.

A highlight on the northern side is the Spanish colonial style Casa Alcaldía – home of San Juan City Hall – built in 1789, with twin turrets resembling those of a sister building in Madrid. A tinkling fountain, seating, shade trees, and a couple of old-school coffee booths make this a good spot for a sightseeing break.

Why You Should Visit:
An important social gathering spot, used for generations, and a popular tourist attraction.

Tip:
This laid-back space is loved by the locals to buy snacks, watch shows, play dominoes, and chat with friends. Take a seat on a bench to give your feet a break and soak up some of the everyday comings and goings. You can also buy your kids some traditional treats like sesame-seed lollipops or coconut candies.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of San Juan, Puerto Rico within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. 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 de Armas (Arms Square) on Map

Sight Name: Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)
Sight Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
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.
San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan proudly features the country’s oldest quarters and historic buildings. In addition to having the oldest occupied residence in the Western Hemisphere, visitors can also admire the old City Hall, the Cristo Chapel, the historic El Arsenal and many other fascinating attractions. Take this self guided tour to see the most popular and famous historic buildings in San Juan!

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

Old San Juan East Side Walking Tour

The east side of Old San Juan is home to several interesting historical sites, including Castillo de San Cristóbal, El Capitolio, Casa De España and Monumento de la Recordación. Take the following tour to discover the fascinating attractions located in Old San Juan’s east side!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

The old town of San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, is a lovely historic area with a wealth of colorful Spanish colonial architecture. The most notable landmarks include 16th-century El Morro and La Fortaleza fortresses, towering over the Atlantic, and the Paseo de la Princesa bayside promenade, to mention but a few. To explore Old San Juan's most prominent sights, follow this self-guided walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
San Juan Art Museums And Galleries Tour

San Juan Art Museums And Galleries Tour

San Juan is a great place to learn more about Caribbean, Latin American and Puerto Rican art. It has many interesting museums and excellent galleries, featuring fine works by talented international and local artists. Check out San Juan’s most popular art museums and galleries on this self walking tour!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 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 tour!

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

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave San Juan without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to San Juan, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 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

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