San Juan has an eclectic entertainment scene. From salsa performances in backstreet bars to the symphony at Bellas Artes. Resort hotels also have live entertainment most nights, and Santurce's galleries and artsy cafes offer up indie films, performance art and live music.
San Juan has a reputation for being a Las-Vegas-on-the-sea, a mantle it stole from Havana when Castro threw the mob and their gambling syndicates out of Cuba in 1959. As a result, many travelers and islanders come to town purely for the action. All of San Juan’s large resort hotels have casinos; the most popular are El San Juan Hotel, the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and La Concha.
Most offer Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride, Pai Gow Poker and the Big Six Wheel, as well as the standard blackjack, roulette, craps, baccarat and minibaccarat. Casinos typically open between noon and 4pm, and 8pm and 4am. Some are 24-hour, such as the Marriott, La Concha and the Ritz-Carlton.
Baseball is hugely popular in Puerto Rico; watching a game in San Juan is great fun and a good way to get a taste of the local culture.
From November through January, winter baseball is one of Puerto Rico's favorite pastimes. Top teams play during the winter, when major league action in the US is dormant, and many famous players got their starts playing here. However, the tight economics of the local baseball league mean that wages are small and post-game victory banquets are lean. Players are there for the love of the game or in the hopes of being spotted by a scout.
Going to a game is a great way to meet locals – and it's priced for the masses. Seats range from $5 to $18 (kids get in half-price) and large stadiums mean you don't normally need to buy tickets in advance. Vendors wander the stands selling cold beer and mixed drinks (think watery piña coladas) for $3; Puerto Rican snacks and traditional ballpark fare also are available.
Teams have fervent support from loyal fans and games can be raucous. In San Juan, two teams worth watching are the Cangrejeros de Santurce (Santurce Crabbers) and Gigantes de Carolina (Carolina Giants). Learn more about the teams and the schedules of winter league baseball at www.mlb.com/mlb/events/winterleagues.