Santurce, Puerto Rico (2023 Guide) – All You Need To Know

Santurce is a vibrant and lively neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

It offers a rich history with a thriving art and cultural scene, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. 

I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years, and Santurce is one of my favorite places to party at night. Not to mention the aesthetic cafés and restaurants to choose from.

In this article, I will cover everything that you need to know about Santurce, Puerto Rico:

What is Santurce?
What is Santurce Puerto Rico known for?
Is Santurce the same as San Juan?
How far is San Juan from Santurce?
What does Santurce mean in Spanish?
Is Santurce Puerto Rico safe?
What are the best things to do in Santurce?
Can you visit Santurce without a tour?
Is Santurce worth visiting?
How much time do you need in Santurce?

 

What is Santurce?

Santurce is the biggest neighborhood in the capital city of San Juan.

image of Santurce
Santurce is a bustling neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Popular neighborhoods close to Santurce include Isla Verde, Condado, and Old San Juan.

Santurce was founded in 1760 and was initially named San Mateo de Cangrejos. 

Santurce has many vibrant murals and a thriving arts scene.

This area is also home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Puerto Rico, with more than 1,500 people attending two of the local synagogues.

It’s a culturally diverse neighborhood with Dominican, Cuban, Colombian, Argentine, and Chinese communities. 

Below is a video showing the neighborhood on foot:

 

What is Santurce Puerto Rico known for?

Santurce is known for being one of the top ten most populated areas on the island. 

Popular sub-neighborhoods like Miramar, Loíza, Isla Grande, Barrio Obrero, and Condado are known for their trendy spots for tourism, music, art, cuisine, museums, startups, and more. 

The neighborhood has a lively atmosphere and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, which is why they are famous for being known as one of the best entertainment districts on the island. 

 
 
 
 
 
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In addition to its cultural offerings, Santurce is home to several parks and green spaces, including the Parque de Santurce and the Jardín Botánico.

 
 
 
 
 
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These provide a chance for visitors and residents to relax and enjoy the outdoors in a tropical setting. 

The neighborhood is also home to many shopping and dining options, with diverse restaurants, bars, and cafes.

image of a mural in Santurce
The murals in Santurce showcase the vibrant arts and culture of the community.

Santurce is a young and trendy spot to explore, full of life and picture-ready murals from each corner you turn.

 

Is Santurce the same as San Juan?

No, Santurce is a neighborhood in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

San Juan is the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico, and it comprises several neighborhoods, including Santurce. 

Santurce is located in the eastern part of the city, near the coast, and it is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene and street life. 

While Santurce is a part of San Juan, it is a distinct neighborhood with unique characters and attractions.

Below is a Google Map that shows the location of Santurce:

 

How far is San Juan from Santurce?

Santurce is a neighborhood within the city of San Juan, so it is not a separate town or city. 

Santurce is located in the eastern part of San Juan, near the coast, and it is a short distance from the central part of the city. 

Below is a Google Maps of the distance between Old San Juan and Santurce:

Depending on where you are starting from and the mode of transportation, it may take a few minutes or up to half an hour to travel between the two neighborhoods.

Read more in our article How To Get Around Puerto Rico.

 

What does Santurce mean in Spanish?

The word “Santurce” comes from “Basque Santurtzi”, which means Saint George. 

So in other words, Santurce translates to Saint George in English. 

Santurce is heavily influenced by Spanish Culture due to its early history.

image of the railroad that connects San Juan and the city of Rio Piedras through Santurce
An early image of the railway that connects Rio Piedras to Santurce.

An engineer from the port town of Santurtzi in Spain’s Basque Country arrived to help with the construction of the railroad system that would connect San Juan and the city of Rio Piedras through Santurce. 

Or, in this case, “San Mateo de Cangrejos” as its original name.

This promoted the gentrification of Santurce.

image of San Mateo de Cangrejos
The historic church of San Mateo de Cangrejos is located in the heart of Santurce.

After several years, the engineer was granted the title of Count Of Santurce, the Hispanic equivalent to Santurtzi. 

With this new title, the district was renamed again after his title. 

 

Is Santurce Puerto Rico safe?

Like any city or neighborhood, Santurce, Puerto Rico, can have more or less safe areas. 

Taking the same precautions you would take when visiting any unfamiliar place, such as staying aware of your surroundings, keeping valuables secure, and avoiding walking alone at night in poorly lit areas, is a good idea.

It is worth noting that crime rates in Puerto Rico have been on the rise in recent years, and the island has struggled with issues such as drug trafficking and gang violence. 

Below is a video regarding safety tips in San Juan:

However, Santurce is a large and diverse neighborhood, and the level of crime can vary widely from one area to another. 

Some parts of Santurce may be safer than others, so it is always a good idea to do your own research and use your best judgment when traveling to any new place.

Santurce is primarily safe during the day; I recommend staying in popular areas where the bars and clubs are if you’re going there at night. 

Don’t walk alone in dark areas; take Ubers as often as possible. 

Read more in our article Is San Juan Safe?

 

What are the best things to do in Santurce?

There are many things to do and see in Santurce, Puerto Rico.

Here are four suggestions for things to do while you are in the neighborhood:

 

1. Visit the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR)

image of Museum of Contemporary Art
Experience the rich culture of Puerto Rico at the Museo de Arte, a showcase of local and international art.

This museum features works by Puerto Rican and international artists, focusing on contemporary art.

Read more in our article 12 Best Museums In Puerto Rico.

 

2.  Take a stroll through the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden)

image of Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden is a hidden oasis in Santurce, where art and nature come together.

This beautiful garden is home to a wide range of plants and flowers and is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Learn more on the official website for MAPR.

 

3. Shop and dine at the Mercado de Santurce

image of La Placita de Santurce
During the day, locals and visitors gather at Placita del Santurce to shop and dine and at night to enjoy music and dancing.

This open-air market features a wide range of stalls selling everything from artisanal crafts to clothing and other goods. 

It is also a great place to grab a bite, with many food vendors offering local specialties.

image of La Placita
The streets of Santurce come alive at night in La Placita.

La Placita de Santurce is one of the most popular places tourists and locals go to party all night.

 

4.  Check out Lote 23

image of Lote 23
Lote 23 is a trendy outdoor food and drink destination in Santurce, featuring a variety of local vendors.

This is a gastronomic park located in the heart of Santurce.

This park highlights Puerto Rico’s rich culture and delicious cuisine.

You can visit different kiosks, from fried chicken, burgers, fries, tacos, poke bowls, and more! 

For more, check out this video on three things to do in Santurce:

 

Can you visit Santurce without a tour?

It is possible to visit Santurce, Puerto Rico, without a tour.

To visit Santurce on your own, you can make your way to the neighborhood and explore at your own pace. 

Below is a video of a walking tour in Santurce:

If you’re staying in Condado, you can walk to Santurce which takes about an hour to get there.

You can also take an Uber or use public transportation like the AMA bus to get around. 

You can also hire a local guide or take a self-guided tour using a map or app to help you navigate the neighborhood and find the attractions that interest you. 

Whether you are visiting Santurce on your own or with a group, there are many ways to experience the vibrant culture and history of the neighborhood.

 

Is Santurce worth visiting?

Whether or not Santurce is worth visiting depends on your interest and what you are looking for when traveling to Puerto Rico. 

This vibrant and lively neighborhood is perfect if you love to see colorful houses, lively street life, and cultural scenes for picture-perfect moments.

image of a mural in Santurce
Santurce comes to life through its murals, a celebration of the community that lives here.

Santurce is worth visiting if you enjoy vibrant culture and history or are simply looking to explore new neighborhoods and submerge yourself in local life. 

It’s also worth visiting if you like to party!

image of a nightlife in Santurce
Tourists and locals alike love spending a night out at La Placita de Santurce.

If you’re looking to explore nature, enjoy beach time, and enjoy local cuisine from outside the metropolitan area, Santurce may not be worth the visit. 

Although Santurce offers Puerto Rican cuisine, nothing compares to enjoying delicious fried goodies at local kiosk stands when visiting different beaches.

 

How much time do you need in Santurce?

How much time you need to spend in Santurce will depend on your interests and what you hope to see and do while you are in the neighborhood. 

image of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Explore the world of contemporary art at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, a must-see destination in Santurce.

If you plan to visit the main attractions in Santurce, such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, the Jardín Botánico, and the Parque de Santurce, you may want to plan for at least a half day or a full day in the neighborhood. 

This will allow you to explore the main attractions and leave time for shopping, dining, or relaxing in one of the local parks.

 
 
 
 
 
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If you are interested in experiencing the local culture and nightlife, plan for a longer stay in Santurce. 

Staying longer will allow you to explore the neighborhood more in-depth and get a better sense of the local culture and atmosphere.

 

 

FAQ section

Does Santurce have good nightlife?

Yes! Santurce is popularly known for its lively nightlife. There are plenty of bars and clubs to dance the night away in Santurce.

Is Santurce safe for families?

Yes, Santurce is safe for families. Always take precautions to ensure the safety of your family when visiting Santurce.

 

Final thoughts

You must visit Santurce on your trip to Puerto Rico!

Since Santurce is located in San Juan, you should be fine visiting the neighborhood. 

Santurce is home to several parks, green spaces, restaurants, bars and cafe’s to choose from. There’s never a dull moment in this neighborhood.

Overall, Santurce is an excellent destination for those looking to experience the vibrant culture and history of Puerto Rico.

Next, learn all about Condado, the neighborhood located next to Santurce.

If you’re looking for things to do in San Juan, check out our article 40 Best Things to Do in San Juan.

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write.

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