San Juan is the epicenter of the cultural cornucopia that defines Puerto Rico. You’ll find everything from fine jewelry, clothing and furniture imports, cigars, crafts, folk art and local artists galleries. Nearby, you’ll also find familiar American chain stores like Marshalls, Walgreens, and Radio Shack. 

As in most tourist destinations, souvenir shops abound in this area and are not hard to find. This article will cover a broad range of shopping destinations with unique offerings for every shopper.

Old San Juan (Ciudad Viejo) Shopping District

Even with everything packed into such a small vicinity, you should still plan your shopping excursion to last around three hours to allow enough time to take it all in. There’s so much to look at that, you could spend days exploring the shopping district and still not see everything. 

When shopping in Old San Juan, check out these streets:

 Calle Fortaleza

Located in the heart of the historic district, Calle Fortaleza is the official residence of the Puerto Rican governor and the Palace of Santa Catalina. This must-see street is filled with shops, high-end boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and jewelry stores. When you see the iconic canopy of umbrellas strung above you, you’ll know you’re in the right place.

Arts, Crafts, and Local Artisan Goods

  • Puerto Rican Arts and Crafts houses two stories filled with ceramics, prints, traditional santos, sculptures, and jewelry made by local artists. This shop should be at the top of your list for those seeking santos, the world-renowned carved wooden iconography.
  • Natural Home provides a selection of beautifully handmade embroidered linens, jewelry, crocheted goods, pottery, and ceramics.
  • The Haitian Gallery offers a wide variety of Haitian folk art, paintings, woodwork, and beautifully crafted furniture.

Calle de la Cruz

Turn a corner and find yourself on Calle de la Cruz. We recommend that you stop and grab a bite to eat at one of the many highly rated restaurants there are to choose from. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to meander down this street, find a good book at one of the bookstores, or sit, relax, and sip a coffee from one of the many cute cafes.

For the bibliophile

  • Owned and run by local poet Lady Lee Andrews, The Poet’s Passage carries a unique stock of local art and books. They even host weekly poetry nights each Tuesday around 7 p.m.
  • Librería La Tertuliais, located in the historic district.
  • If you like a snug cafe or coffee to enjoy while reading your latest book, check out this list of popular cafe spots close by.

Calle San Francisco

Running through the heart of Ciudad Viejo – Old San Juan – Calle San Francisco is one of the most photographed locations on the island. The rainbow-colored homes and shops on Calle San Francisco evoke the Caribbean feel of an ancient island port, and you won’t want to put your camera down. 

Arts, Crafts, and local artisan goods

  • Puerto Rico Homemade Crafts Gallery is a one-stop-shop for locally-made craft art. They carry a wide selection of vejigante masks, typical of those worn during Carnival festivities for the past 300 years. The masks represent a demon from old Spanish folklore and signifies good versus evil. 
Vejigante mask

For authentic clothing and imports

  • Check out Panabrisa for a wide selection of the traditional linen shirt, also called the guayabera, in a multitude of blends and varieties with clothing options for men, women, and children here.
  • For those looking for unique finds, Hecho a Mano provides shoppers with Indonesian imports along with women’s clothing and accessories.

Calle del Cristo

If you are looking for something more familiar, Calle del Cristo will likely have what you are looking for. In addition to a shopping mall, there are many outlets and factory stores for you to check out.

Outlet malls, shopping centers, and Factory stores

Twenty minutes from the airport lies The Outlets at Montehiedra. Here you can choose from factory stores like Puma, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, Gap Factory, Mega Marshalls, with more than 80 additional stores to shop. In addition, you can enjoy a movie at one of the several movie theaters, like the IMAX and Caribbean Cinemas. If you need a break from island gastronomy, familiar American chains like Chili’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill have outposts here.

 High-end mall shopping

Take the Old City Trolley to Plaza Las Americas. This shopping mall holds over 200 high-end shops and is Puerto Rico’s largest and most modern mall. It’s a great place to catch a movie at the onsite cinema or grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent dining options onsite. 

For the bibliophile

  • While visiting Plaza Las Americas, don’t miss out on the opportunity to peruse the shelves of Casa Norberto, a bookstore and cafe on the third floor of the mall. The rather eclectic locally owned bookseller often hosts author lectures and book signings. 

Arts, Crafts, and local artisan goods

  • Be sure to check out La Casa de las Casitas & Handcraft for craft and truly unique artisanry. The shop focuses on traditional island art, including santos, a tradition where wood is carved into Roman Catholic saints. The folk art tradition of making santos dates back at least two centuries and is popular with collectors and tourists alike.

Plan your Getaway with Numero Uno

Regardless of what brings you to Puerto Rico, San Juan should most definitely be on your itinerary to visit. If you are looking for accommodations, we suggest checking out one of our Numero Uno resort locations – our oceanfront Beach House in San Juan’s Ocean Park, or our aquatic-themed Pinones location. 

You can find everything you need in one place – watersports, onsite fine dining and cocktails, and comfortable boutique chic rooms with personalized service. Numero Uno is the perfect launchpad for any Puerto Rico adventure.

Numero Uno Beach House and Hotel sits on the beach in Ocean Park San Juan