El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro)
Castillo de San Felipe del Morro (known locally as simply El Morro) is one of the most photographed sites in the Caribbean for good reason. A beautiful 16th-century citadel, El Morro has an utterly fascinating history, and the many tours available will delight you with amazing tales of its construction, its place in several wars, and its preservation. Located just 1.1 miles/1.8 km from our hotel, it's one sight you absolutely do not want to miss.
San Cristobal Fortress
Considered the sister fortress of El Morro, the Castillo de San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. Upon its completion in 1783, it covered about 27 acres of land, and entry to the city could be completely sealed by San Cristóbal's enormous double gates. In 1897, about a third of the fortification was demolished to help the flow of traffic, but the majority of this impressive fortress still stands just 0.3 miles or 500 meters from our hotel.
Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)
When you walk through Plaza de Armas, make sure you look closely at the four statues flanking the square: all are over 100 years old, and each represents one of the four seasons. Plaza de Armas was carefully planned to be the main city square, and as such it is not only a common meeting place but also a frequent site of music, markets, and festivals.
Plaza Colon (Columbus square)
Originally called St. James Square, this impressive plaza features a grand staircase and a fountain at the feet of the statue of Christopher Columbus, after whom the square was renamed in 1893 to honor Christopher Columbus on the 400th anniversary of his landing in Puerto Rico. Be sure to read the bronze tablets at the pedestal of the Columbus statue, which record important events in the explorer's life.
Bahia Urbana is one of the best examples of how the old and new come together with a beautiful result in Old San Juan. This impressive waterfront park and amphitheatre is home not only to extensive retail opportunities and fine dining, but also a beautiful park that hosts many musical and theatrical events year-round. There's always something amazing going on at Bahia Urbana - it's a good place to go with a spare afternoon!
Del Cristo Chapel
A true Old San Juan landmark, Del Cristo Chapel is a masterpiece of late 1700s architecture. It anchors the busy Cristo Street and is the site of countless legends and historic tales. Be sure to see the beautiful Campeche paintings inside and take a close look at the gold ornamented altar; even when the Chapel is not open to visitors, both can be viewed from the glass windows.
Plaza San José
Much more intimate than most plazas, Plaza San Jose is located on one of the highest points of land in Old San Juan. It features the charming cobblestones of the area leading up to a statue of Juan Ponce de Leon that was cast - unbelievably - from an English cannon. Stroll on San Sebastian and Calle del Cristo streets for an array of delightful cafes and restaurants that allow you a moment to enjoy the local cuisine and the beautiful view.
Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Quincentennial Square)
Commemorating the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the New World, this plaza appropriately echoes some elements of Plaza Colon, with a grand staircase and a truly amazing fountain.
Bacardi Rum Factory
Uncontestably, the Caribbean is the heartland of fine rum, and the real spirit of Puerto Rico can be found in the casks at the Bacardi Rum Factory. Enjoy tastings of famous rums, learn about the fascinating history of the Bacardi Rum Factory, and see the production process firsthand with one of the daily free tours.
Casa Barcardi is located 9.8 miles / 15.7 km from Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel; it is easily accessible by taking a ferry to Catano.
Centro de Bellas Artes
If you love live entertainment, head over to Centro de Bellas Artes for their concert hall, theatre, and music hall. Home to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and hosting the finest entertainers from all over the world, this central venue is the perfect place to attend a concert, dance or musical theatre performance, symphony, or even an opera.
Puerto Rico Museum of Art
Featuring the work of notable island artists, the Puerto Rico Museum of Art is a masterpiece in and of itself. Located in the Santurce neighborhood and built in the neoclassical style, the museum is over 90 years old and includes 18 permanent galleries, a sculpture garden, and its own theatre. Ask at the Sheraton front desk about current must-see exhibitions.
Museo de Arte de Ponce
The Museo de Arts de Ponce focuses primarily on European works from the 14-19th centuries as well as some of the island's most lauded pieces. It was recently renovated to the tune of $30 million and is home to some of the finest art you can see anywhere in the Caribbean.
Museum of the Americas
Focusing specifically on the history and culture of America from perspective of early European settlers in the Caribbean, the Museum of the Americas frequently hosts local concerts in the open courtyard. On Thursday and Friday evenings, be sure to head over to this museum for a free 30-minute light show on the side of the building.
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