Plaza de Armas

sights / Squares & plazas

Plaza de Armas information

Follow San Francisco into the heart of the old city and it opens on to the Plaza de Armas. This is the city’s nominal ‘central’ square, laid out in the 16th century with the classic look of plazas from Madrid and Mexico.

One of the highlights of the plaza is the Alcaldía , which dates from 1789 and has twin turrets resembling those of its counterpart in Madrid. This building houses the office of the mayor of San Juan and is also the site of periodic exhibitions.

At the western end of the plaza, the Intendencia and the Diputación are two other functioning government buildings adding to the charms of the plaza. Both represent 19th-century neoclassical architecture, and come complete with cloisters.

In its time, the plaza has served as a military parade ground (hence its name), a vegetable market and a social center. Shade trees, banks of seats, and a couple of old-fashioned coffee booths still make the plaza the destination of choice for couples taking their evening stroll. The beat of a bomba drum has also been known to light up an otherwise humdrum evening.