Puer­to Rico has one main export: music. Puer­to Ricans are raised on music and dance. It is no won­der, then, that find­ing free open-air con­certs is easy, pro­vid­ed you know where to look.

Old San Juan

There are sev­er­al free con­certs dur­ing the week in the Old City. On Paseo de la Prince­sa, bands and artists per­form on Sat­ur­days and Sun­days from mid-after­noon til 5–6 pm. The short street between the Old City’s south­ern fac­ing for­ti­fi­ca­tions is a farmer’s mar­ket, fes­ti­val, and street fair all in one. At the cen­ter of the activ­i­ty is a stage which hosts var­i­ous acts, rang­ing from reg­ga­tone to salsa.

At the top of Old San Juan, near El Mor­ro, Ostra Cosa hosts night­ly enter­tain­ment in an open-air plaza. Cabaret and sal­sa are the most com­mon offer­ings. Nav­i­gate to the far west­ern edge of Calle San Sebas­t­ian (at the inter­sec­tion of Calle del Cristo), and lis­ten for the music. 5 pm til mid­night, generally.

The Old City also hosts month­ly and annu­al events, such as the fabled San Sebas­t­ian Street Fair. Plaza Colon holds month­ly arts and crafts fes­ti­vals with music, dance, and food. Plaza de Las Armas also hosts month­ly events includ­ing free music and per­for­mance art.


Con­dado’s Ven­tana del Mar is a hub of activ­i­ty on Sun­days. Twice month­ly, the park hosts a free jaz­zfest with dozens of ven­dors, food carts, and danc­ing. Gen­er­al­ly, the activ­i­ties start around 10 am and con­tin­ue til 5–6 pm. Ven­dors rep­re­sent a range of crafts and art­forms, includ­ing arte­san baked goods and organ­ic food in addi­tion to tra­di­tion­al craft offerings.

Isla Verde

The City of Car­oli­na holds a week­ly jaz­zfest behind the Wal­green’s on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day nights in the sum­mer. Depend­ing on the sched­ule, free bus­es oper­ate between the park­ing lot adja­cent to Munoze Air­port and Pun­ta Las Marias, pro­vid­ing ser­vices to all hotels. The qual­i­ty of the per­form­ers is on par with Puer­to Rico’s great jaz­zfests. The per­form­ing artists, in true Puer­to Rico fash­ion, fuse New York and New Orleans inspired jazz with Caribbean influ­ences. The stag­ing area and music and light­ing equip­ment are set up for large sta­di­um-size audiences.


La Placita is a local favorite rel­a­tive­ly unknown to vis­i­tors in the Tourist Zone. The Gaze­bo plays host to a week­ly sal­sa band. La Placita is locat­ed between Dos Her­manos and Duf­fault Street, and dur­ing the day func­tions as a farm­ers’ mar­ket. By night, it adopts a par­ty atmos­phere. Dozens of bars and restau­rants are locat­ed in a small two block area, giv­ing La Placita a min-mar­di gras atmos­phere near­ly every weekend.

Ulti­mo Trolley

On week­ends dur­ing the day, the Ulti­mo Trol­ley beach attracts local vol­un­teer bands in the gaze­bo adja­cent to the beach park­ing lot. These are authen­tic Puer­to Rican sal­sa bands using tra­di­tion­al Puer­to Rican musi­cal instru­ments. The band mem­bers assem­ble at the gaze­bo (appar­ent­ly any­one can par­tic­i­pate in the music-mak­ing), and per­form tra­di­tion­al Puer­to Rican stan­dards to the crowds for free. Ulti­mo Trol­ley is locat­ed between Ocean Park and Pun­ta Las Marias.


The music nev­er stops in Puer­to Rico. Requir­ing pay­ment from an audi­ence to hear live music in San Juan is the excep­tion, not the rule.

Source by C E Marion