Façade and view at the entrance of people entering The Museum of the Americas, one of the best museums in San Juan, Puerto Rico

13 Best San Juan Museums in 2023 (By a Local)

If you’re a history or art enthusiast, you’ll be glad to know San Juan museums offer a quick and deep insight into Puerto Rico’s history and culture.

From art museums to historical houses filled with vintage furniture, San Juan has a museum for everyone, including the best museums in Puerto Rico.

I’m a Puerto Rico local and museum lover myself, and I’ve put together this list of the best museums in San Juan. Let’s dive in!

13 Museums in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

Previously a hospital and now a museum, this art museum boasts 24 galleries with Puerto Rican art.

The author Vanessa Ramos with the Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell with the colorful mural in the background
Me with Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell at Puerto Rico Art Museum

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $6.69 Adults, $3.35 Children | Hours: 11 am – 8 pm Thurs, 11 am – 5 pm Fri-Sun

The Puerto Rico Art Museum located in the Santurce neighborhood is one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico. Its permanent collection boasts more than a thousand pieces and some of them are from as early as the 17th century. 

Art enthusiasts can’t miss the main exhibition, “Puerto Rico Plural”, which boasts 250 pieces distributed between 21 of the total 24 galleries in the museum. 

Visitors can take guided tours through the museum without an additional fee on Saturdays at 10 am and Sundays at 2 pm. Families are also welcome to enjoy the MAPR sculpture garden and ActivARTE, an interactive exhibition hall for kids.

Museo de las Américas

This museum preserves the history of the American continent and the African heritage of Puerto Rico.

The author Vanessa Ramos posing on the grounds of Cuartel Ballaja
Me in the first floor of Cuartel Ballaja 

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $6 Adults, $3 Children | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm, Wed-Fri, 11 am – 4 pm Sat-Sun

Located in the building of Cuartel Ballaja across from El Morro, Museo de las Américas is one of the easiest museums to visit if you’re looking for things to do in Old San Juan within walking distance.

This multidisciplinary museum houses four permanent collections that aim to showcase and preserve the history of the American continent, including Latin America, the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico.

The African heritage exhibit is one of the favorites among history fans. But, you should also check out the temporary exhibits and events announced through their webpage. 

On the first floor of the building, you’ll find bathrooms, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.

Casa Blanca Museum

Visit the house of Ponce de Leon with the best views of San Juan, and historical furniture that recreates life in Puerto Rico in the 16th and 17th century.

White exterior of the buildings at Casa Blanca Museum

📍 Google Maps | Cost: $5 Adults, $3 Children | Hours: 8:30 am – 4 pm, Wed-Sun

Casa Blanca Museum was the first residence built in the San Juan islet and also the first fortification. 

Built in 1521, Casa Blanca was meant to be the house of Juan Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico, but only his descendants were able to live in it.

Casa Blanca is now a museum that houses 16th and 17th-century artifacts that illustrate the lifestyle of families from this era. 

Overlooking the city walls, Casa Blanca boasts one of the best views of Old San Juan. Touring the gardens and exteriors is free.

👉 Pro Tip: Museum personnel takes a lunch break from 11:45 to 1 pm. Whenever you visit San Juan museums, make sure you’re visiting outside lunch break hours.

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

MAC is the only museum in Puerto Rico dedicated entirely to contemporary and modern art in Puerto Rico.

People roaming and sitting in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Puerto Rico
(photo: mark zhu / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $8 Adults, $3 Children | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm, Wed-Sun

Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico is a hidden gem rarely visited by tourists on the island. 

But, with over a thousand pieces in its permanent collection, this museum is the only one in Puerto Rico dedicated to contemporary art from the 20th century to the present.

Visitors not only will find Puerto Rican contemporary art in it, but also contemporary art produced in Latin America, the Caribbean, and by artists in the diaspora.

In its social media, the museum often shares information about temporary exhibits as well as upcoming events.

Museo de San Juan 

Facing the Atlantic Ocean, this museum records San Juan and Puerto Rico’s history with photographs, paintings, and vintage artifacts.

A bright yellow and green façade and entrance view of Museo de San Juan
(photo: raksybh / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Cost: Free | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm, Wed-Fri, 10 am – 5 pm Sat-Sun

Museo de Arte e Historia de San Juan, also known as the San Juan Museum, is located close to Castillo San Cristobal.

The building, which was once a marketplace and cultural center, hosts a permanent collection that illustrates Puerto Rican culture and history in one of its exhibition halls. 

During their tour, visitors will find multiple artifacts like paintings, photographs, posters, and sculptures. 

One of the exhibition halls of the San Juan Museum houses rotating exhibitions. Occasionally, local artists give guided tours themselves. Families visiting can check out their activities calendar and take advantage of their free workshops.

Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional

A niched museum dedicated to the Puerto Rican traditional art of carving saints born in the 19th century.

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $5 Adults, $3 Children | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm, Sat-Sun, open on weekdays with a previous appointment

Museo de los Santos y Arte Nacional is one of the niched museums in Puerto Rico dedicated to the art of carving religious saints. 

This form of art became popular in the 19th century in the countryside of Puerto Rico. As churches were too far to reach, Puerto Ricans carved figures of saints and improvised altars in their homes.

Culture lovers will enjoy their three permanent exhibits that, besides carved saints, also include a once-private art collection from the 1960s.

Museo del Mar

The only nautical museum in Puerto Rico that hosts the largest collection of lifesavers in the world.

Closeup look of a retro style golden compass above an old map

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $5 Adults, $2 Children | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Wed-Sun

Once rated among the most important ports on the American continent, it’s not surprising that San Juan boasts a maritime museum.

Museo del Mar houses scale ship models, vintage navigation instruments and tools, coins, and maps.

Navigation enthusiasts will rave about what is said to be the largest collection of life-saving devices in the world. 

Best of all, this museum offers interactive tours that take you on a walking tour through San Juan. They even do historical recreations! You can see their upcoming events and book tours through their social media.

Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art

A small museum in Rio Piedras home to El Velorio, one of the most significant art pieces in Puerto Rican art history.

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: Free | Hours: 9 am – 4 pm, Mon-Fri

Although off the beaten path for many tourists, this small museum inside the University of Puerto Rico is worth a visit if you’re in the area. 

The Museum of History, Anthropology, and Art houses one of the most important pieces of Puerto Rican art, El Velorio, by Francisco Oller. This art piece measures over 13 feet wide and it displays a baquiné, a wake held for a dead child.

Art enthusiasts could spend forever analyzing different techniques, how light and shadow are used, and finding hidden characters. 

The museum also hosts Egyptian artifacts, mummies, and an indigenous skeleton. 

Museum of Art and Design of Miramar

This museum showcases the evolution of design in Puerto Rico with the ideals of modernism.

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $5 Adults | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm, Tues-Sat

The Museum of Art and Design of Miramar, also known as MADMi, is a museum dedicated to decorative arts and design. 

The MADmi’s permanent collection focuses on how design for ordinary daily objects in Puerto Rico evolved with the ideals of modernism.

During your visit, you will come across chairs, tables, and lamps side by side with paintings, engravings, and drawings.

This museum also offers interactive familiar guided tours so the entire family can enjoy the experience.

Casa del Libro

This amazing place hides 11,000 volumes of books, including a collection of rare books with incunabula.

View of the ancient book spines

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: $4.50 | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm, Tues-Sat

Casa del Libro is a small museum located in Calle del Cristo, next to one of San Juan’s most iconic landmarks, Capilla del Cristo.

This small museum in Old San Juan is home to over 11,000 thousand volumes. 

Bibliophiles will rave about the rare book collection which includes 400 incunabula, two 1490s decrees signed by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Fernando and Isabel, and a Suma Teológica by St. Thomas Aquinas.

Visitors can also enjoy temporary exhibitions, workshops, and buy books at the shop.

👉 Pro Tip: Visitors can only see the rare book collection by making a previous appointment and by paying an extra fee. Call ahead to +1 787 723 0354 to make an appointment.

Museo de Felisa Rincon de Gautier

Right by the city gate, this museum highlights the life of the first female San Juan mayor.

📍 Google Maps | Museum Website | Cost: Free | Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 4 pm, Saturdays 10 – 3 pm

This Old San Juan museum near the San Juan Gate is dedicated to the life of Felisa Rincon de Gautier.

Also known as Doña Fela, Felisa Rincon de Gautier became the first female mayor of Puerto Rico and the first female mayor of a capital in the American continent in 1946.

She was known for founding schools, housing projects, and protecting San Juan’s cultural heritage.

This small house is filled with pictures, outfits, and memorabilia of Felisa Rincon de Gautier. 

Pablo Casals Museum

This collection honors the life of the famous cello player, Pablo Casals, and his legacy in Puerto Rico.

A sunny view of the façade of Pablo Casals Museum
Original home of Pablo Casals located next San Jose Church (photo: Pamela Brick / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm, Mon-Fri

Although it was originally located next to the San Jose Church, now the Pablo Casals exhibition is located on the second floor of the Carnegie Library in Old San Juan.

The exhibition documents Casals’ life and has memorabilia, photos, and objects that belonged to the famous cellist.

Pablo Casals was the founder of the Casals Festival, Symphonic Orchestra, and Puerto Rico’s Music Conservatory. 

Music fans can also visit the Sala Sinfónica Pablo Casals where you can watch the Festival Casals and other concerts.

Capilla del Cristo

This chapel houses paintings and artifacts from the 17th to 19th centuries.

View of the religious-related paintings on the intricate altar at Capilla del Cristo

📍 Google Maps | Cost: Free | Hours: 12 pm – 6 pm, Sat-Sun

The Chapel of the Holy Christ of Health is one of the best sites in San Juan.

Although it’s a chapel, Capilla del Cristo is also considered a museum. Its altar has artifacts from the 17th to 19th centuries, including paintings by Jose Campeche and Manuel Garcia.

It’s said the chapel was built in the current location after a man fell with his horse over the city walls in that same spot and survived. 

FAQs About the Best Museums in San Juan

What are the two most important museums in Puerto Rico?

The two most important museums are the Puerto Rico Art Museum and the Museo de las Americas in San Juan. Other top museums on the island include the Ponce Art Museum, Casa Blanca, and Castillo Serralles. 

What time does everything close in Old San Juan?

Most popular attractions in Puerto Rico close around 4 to 5 pm including government buildings, historic sites, and museums. But, bars, restaurants, and shopping malls close between 9 pm and 12 pm. 

What is the #1 attraction in Puerto Rico?

The  #1 attraction in Puerto Rico is Old San Juan. This neighborhood is home to the most popular historical sites on the island, including El Morro, the San Juan Gate, Paseo de la Princesa, and Castillo San Cristobal. 


You’ve reached the end of the best San Juan museums list! Keep adding fun to your vacation with all the fun things listed in our popular attractions in Puerto Rico.

Have fun exploring San Juan museums!

(Featured Image Credit: William Silver / Shutterstock)

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One Comment

  1. ¡Gracias por la inclusión en la lista! Hay alguna información que se actualizó y quisiéramos compartir con la escritora. Quedamos al pendiente.

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