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Esquina Watusi, a typical Puerto Rican Chinchorro, a corner bar in the Santurce neighborhood.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Santurce

Esquina Watusi, a typical Puerto Rican Chinchorro, a corner bar in the Santurce neighborhood.
  • By Jhoni Jackson
  • Photos by Dennis Rivera Pichardo
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Santurce is often described as an up-and-coming arts district, but that’s too narrow a description for this densely populated barrio, which contains 40 sub-barrios and dates to the 1800s. Newer shops and modern restaurants are peppered among long-standing colmados (mini-markets, often with bars), historic architecture and murals (thanks to an annual street art festival). All around are homages to island traditions and tributes to political and social movements.

Meet Jhoni Jackson

Jhoni, an Atlanta native of Cuban descent, relocated to Puerto Rico in 2012. She first experienced Puerto Rico with her abuelos during her preteen years. Through the friends and community she’s found, San Juan has become an unexpected but fulfilling home.

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Santurce

Esquina Watusi
This no-frills corner bar is a neighborhood favorite: It’s tiny, so everyone drinks and socializes outside, munching on frituras (fried finger foods) from nearby outdoor vendors. The best time to visit is on Thursdays, when there’s live bomba and plena music.
Esquina Watusi, 801 Calle Elisa Cerra, San Juan
Kudough’s Donuts & Coffee Bar
Artisanal sweets are handmade daily, the coffee is local and a rotating drink menu features specials like prosecco spritzers. Bask in the sun in a booth up front (with a mural in view) or head to the dim, cozy area in the back to relax.
Kudough’s Donuts & Coffee Bar, 622 Calle Cerra, San Juan
El Hangar en Santurce
Run by a collective, El Hangar promotes resistance in community, hosting a monthly queer market, drag shows, bomba workshops, and DJ nights that fill its space (yes, a plane hangar) with the heat of dancing.
El Hangar en Santurce, 706 Calle Hoare, Santurce
Johnny & June
Step into another era at this hip and carefully curated vintage shop, which specializes in pieces from the ‘60s through the ’90s. Accessories and vinyl records are for sale, too.
Johnny & June, 1205 Ave. Fernández Juncos, San Juan
Museum of Contemporary Art Puerto Rico
In two floors of galleries, you’ll find works by Latin American and Puerto Rican artists, surrounded by an expansive courtyard. Visit the MAC not only for the art, but also to take in the architecture of the building, which was formerly a school.
Museum of Contemporary Art Puerto Rico, Avenidas Roberto H. Todd and Ponce de León, San Juan
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Jhoni Jackson
Jhoni, an Atlanta native of Cuban descent, relocated to Puerto Rico in 2012. She first experienced Puerto Rico with her abuelos during her preteen years. Through the friends and community she’s found, San Juan has become an unexpected but fulfilling home.
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jhonijackson
Dennis Rivera Pichardo
Dennis is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in San Juan.
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dennismanuel

CITY GUIDES