Take a break from exploring Old San Juan in the city’s historic main square, Plaza de Armas. This pleasant plaza is decorated with impressive sculptures and surrounded by important governmental buildings. Come here to mingle with local residents over a cup of coffee or to take a seat in the shade after walking around the old city’s numerous sights.
Soak up the atmosphere in a square that has been a focal point in San Juan since the 16th century. It was established in 1521 by the Spanish settlers and was used for military drills, giving the square its name. Governor Don Juan de la Pezuela commissioned a redevelopment for the square in 1851, when it became a public space with fountains, outdoor seating and sculptures.
Admire the centerpiece of the square, a fountain surrounded by four statues. Each one of these figures represents one of the seasons and dates back to the 19th century. Benches around the edges of the square sit beneath rows of trees, making it a peaceful place to stop and admire this public art.
Join other San Juan locals and visitors for a cup of coffee in one of the cafés that offer open-air seating in the square. You may catch sight of old friends playing dominoes or feeding the pigeons well into the evening.
Take some photos of the impressive City Hall, or Alcaldía, which dominates the square. The eye-catching red and yellow building was built in 1605, with the two turrets added in 1842. Compare it to the City Hall in Madrid, which inspired the design of this landmark. Plaza de Armas also features buildings used by the State Department of Puerto Rico.
Walk to Plaza de Armas in less than 10 minutes from the cruise docks. The square is within walking distance of sights such as the San Juan Cathedral and the Museum of the Americas. Visit here as part of a walking tour of scenic Old San Juan, an internationally recognized heritage destination.