Santurce, San Juan
The dense district of Santurce is a modern business district in the Greater San Juan area, which has developed since the Second World War. The Avenida Ponce de León is the main shopping and commercial street.The Santurce district is changing and evolving as many businesses and homeowners move to newer areas. There is, however, lots of great nightlife around including the Habana Club which claims to be the home of salsa in San Juan. Take note that the district is not a place to wander around after dark in, visitors are advised to travel to and from the area in taxis. The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is located in Santurce.
Useful tips: This is not the safest neighborhood.
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is one of the highlights of San Juan, and is a prominent facility in the Caribbean cultural scene. The building, which was opened in 2000 as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, was constructed around a 1920s hospital building. The older portion of the building displays the museum's permanent collection and is the first thing visitors will see as they enter. The newer portion (the east wing) is a five story structure containing a multi story atrium, theatre with seating for up to 400 people, a sculpture garden, and a popular restaurant. There are also other rooms available for workshops and exhibitions.In all, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico contains 130,000 sq ft of space. The museum has an excellent permanent collection and also hosts temporary exhibitions.
Fine Arts Center
A modern facility opened in 1981, the Centro de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Center) is the largest of its kind in the Caribbean. The center offers concerts, plays, and opera. It is located in Santurce on Ponce de León Avenue where show information and tickets to upcoming events are sold.The Centro de Bellas Artes has three halls which seat 2000, 750, and 450 patrons in relative comfort. It is located just a short taxi ride away from the main tourist centers. If, after seeing a show with lots of dancing and you feel the need to move your feet, San Juan's dance halls are located nearby.
Museum of Contemporary Puerto Rican Art
Changing exhibits showcase the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico (Museum of Contemporary Puerto Rican Art) collection of modern island-made prints, paintings, posters and sculptures.The Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico can be tricky to find as it is located inside Sacred Heart University in the Barat building. The museum was founded in 1984 and is a popular spot with the artsy set in San Juan.It is a fascinating place to see what sort avant garde type art work that Puerto Rico's finest artists are producing. As the exhibits change frequently, be sure to contact the museum or visit their excellent website.
Ballaja Barracks and Museum of the Americas
Up to 1,000 Spanish troops and their families once lived in the Cuartel de Ballaja (Ballaja Barracks). Construction began in 1854 and the main building was completed in 1863. A chapel was added in 1881. The building was the last and largest building to be erected by the Spanish in the New World, and featured a central courtyard, prison cells and dining rooms. The U.S. used Cuartel de Ballaja to house its Infantry, and in 1943 it was converted into a medical facility. Presently, the building houses the Museum of the Americas, which features changing exhibits.