People on the island of Puerto Rico love to drink. This makes all the bars in Puerto Rico very popular. While we stayed in San Juan, we did some touristy things, but mostly tried to immerse ourselves in the local scene. After asking around about night life, a few locals insisted that we go to La Placita if we were looking for a real Puerto Rican nightlife experience. I have to say it was, by far, one of the highlights of our trip!
Introduction to La Placita:
La Plaza del Mercado in Santurce is a hot spot for locals to hangout in Puerto Rico. Located across the Baldorioty de Castro Highway, just on the other side of Condado, at Dos Hermanos and Capitol Streets it is jam packed with people of all ages.
The famous La Placita, as it’s called by the locals, is a historical market place where, during the day you can buy many different fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other local produce. And at night, it transforms into a lively block party. Everyone comes to enjoy a night out with their friends and family.
The list of activities is as varied as the people who flock to it. Go bar hopping from street to street. Eat the good local food at the different local eateries. Dance to the awesome live music, from live salsa to the best DJs in the Caribbean. And drink Puerto Rico’s national drink, the Pina Colada.
Why you should go to La Placita:
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and go where the locals go, La Placita is the best place to be for an adventurous night. Not very many tourist know about this block party but it’s the most authentic destination to experience the flavor and vibe of Puerto Rico.
The best time to visit is Thursday through Saturday. After 10pm is when the crowds start to show up and the party begins.
Parking there is near-impossible so take a cab or walk. It was only a few blocks from where we stayed in Condado, so we walked. I never felt unsafe during the walk, not even on the way back at 4am. Still good to be cautious if you do decide to walk.
I also felt very safe the whole time at La Placita. There were cops on every corner and security guards at all the bars. Nothing worried me there.
Before you leave your hotel be sure you are wearing the proper clothing. We made this mistake and had to leave La Placita, go back to our hotel and change again to be able to enter into any of the bars. It’s a formal outing.
Men can not wear shorts and a tank top! My brother and friends, as the only tourists that night, stood out even more in their sleeveless shirts. They were actually told they couldn’t enter the bars. They were informed that the dress code was jeans and a button down shirt.
I was fine in my dress, and all the other women I saw were either wearing dresses or skirts.
Where you should go in La Placita:
There are plenty of great places to dance, drink and eat in this square.
Some of my favorites included:
Tabaco & Ron Lounge, if you’re looking for a hookah come to this bar. Smooth hits and good tabaco. They also have great music.
El Coco de Luis, this is one of the smaller bars in La Placita. They serve the best Mojitos and Pina Coladas.
Mijani Club, was a great place for salsa dancing. Some locals showed us how it was done.
Fat Tuesday, This is a Mardi Gras-themed bar at La Placita. Come for the DJs and daiquiris.
Puerto Rico was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria on 20 September, 2017. High winds and flooding resulted in the destruction of homes, businesses and infrastructure. Check your country’s travel advisory for more information!