Visiting the Capitol Building in Old San Juan is a great way to spend some time indoors if the heat is dragging you down this summer. You can spend a couple hours just walking around, taking pictures, and enjoying the day. I think anyone who visits the area will be impressed by what you can find there.
The building is hard to miss--it is a large white marble building with a dome just across the streeet from the Atlantic ocean toward the east end of Old San Juan.
To start off, the Capital building (El Capitolio de Puerto Rico) is right at the end of the Puerta de Tierra sector of Old San Juan, just before you get to the old section. To get there, you can walk east from Fort San Cristobal on Muñoz Rivera Avenue (along the waterfront). You can also take the trolley and get off at Stop 18a. It is a short walk from the Old San Juan cruise ship piers and parking decks.
You can enter the Capital building through the main entrance that faces the Atlantic Ocean. There is always a guard at this door, but you are welcome to go in and look around. The dome is magnificent, with mosaics depicting important events in Puerto Rico’s history — like the arrival of Columbus, Spain’s first encounters with the Tainos, the freeing of the slaves, and the end of the Spanish American war. Beneath the dome, in the rotunda, the Puerto Rico Constitution is on display.
Inaugurated in February of 1929, the Capital remains a beautiful symbol of liberty and democracy that should make Puerto Ricans proud. It is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.
During the week, the whole place is open to the public. But on weekends only the first floor is open. The first floor is more than impressive!
You can call or email ahead of time to schedule a guided tour. Or you can just show up and, if the guide is available, she will tell you about the building, how it was made, where all that marble came from, and the significance of the scenes depicted on the dome.
The Capital Building is open 7 days/week from about 9am to 5pm.
Admission is free.
Tours, offered in Spanish or English, last about 1 hour.
You can make a guided tour reservation by calling 787-724-2030, extension 4609, 4610 or 4611.
The plazas and memorials are outside, so no admission, "hours", nor tours. Just walk around on your own and look.
GPS COORDINATES: 18.466955, -66.105965